As the curator of the INSIDER Guide to New Product Development (NPD), I’m constantly keeping an eye out for bite-size information that will help you develop and scale better subscription products. Here’s my “Five on Friday” list for August 7th, featuring the five best trends, tips, quotes or stats from my reading this week.
1. Take Internal Readiness Into Account When Prioritizing New Opportunities
How do you decide what opportunity to pursue when you’re on a limited budget (and who isn’t)? This decision-making process normally focuses on a cost-benefit evaluation, with the project bringing in the most money for the least cost getting the green light. While this process nominally takes into account how ready you are to deliver a new product option, following are five questions to ask your organization to improve your prioritization process:
- Is our back office set up to process this type of revenue? Product bundles, BOGO and other special offers can be problematic for Finance due to accounting rules; accepting credit cards over the phone requires security procedures.
- Does Marketing understand this market? If not, how much in time and dollars will it cost to make them conversant with it?
- Is there legitimate incentive for Sales to sell the new products, versus sticking to the familiar?
- Do our contracts and/or online T&C’s cover this new product? How difficult will they be to change?
- Are there new processes or policies that will rattle those of our staff who are change-averse? How significant a factor could that be in our success?
Some opportunities are attractive in terms of pure revenue opportunity, but are less so when the internal impacts are tallied.
2. What is a “Good Lead?”
I was going through some cached reading material and came across this “B2B Marketing Fact Pack” from Ad Age. The graphic shows minimum criteria for a lead, and reminded me of the bumps I experienced while setting up a lead-generation process for a publisher a few years ago. The graphic illustrates some tips to keep in mind when setting up such programs:
Finding and Fixing Leaks in Your Revenue Bucket
- We don’t want to alienate prospects, but we do need to nurture them through what may be a long investigation and decision-making process. Asking Sales to follow up only if a prospect specifically asks to speak to a rep could leave money on the table.
- The sales team should have a big say in what constitutes a “good lead,” but that definition needs to be created upfront. Allowing Sales to accept or reject leads on the fly guarantees that some good leads won’t be contacted.
- Use your scoring system to identify “suspects” and nurture them to “prospect/good lead” phase. If you don’t trust the scoring system, don’t use it.
In summary; many of us have implemented lead-gen technology without building the processes to make it successful. Critical to that is establishing upfront definitions of what a good lead is, and staging responses to leads in that great middle ground between prospect curiosity and immediate desire to subscribe.
3. Benefits of a Subscription Business: Customer Interaction
Two points jumped out at me from a recent eConsultancy article on the benefits of running a subscription-box business (both of which also apply to traditional publication subscriptions):
Fulfillment = Marketing Opportunity. Not only can you communicate your own additional product opportunities, you can get paid for including offers from other companies with your subscription product, whether delivered in a box, a plastic envelope or online.
If a customer orders from you twice a year, it takes you a long time to understand [and prioritize] any problems… If customers buy every month, they soon tell you of the issues, which means you remove problems quicker and in turn create a better product.
4. Less Can Be More, in Publishing
Quality over quantity can still be a winning strategy, according to SocialTimes. The graphic here illustrates how a wide variety of publishers are getting this formula right:
5. Why Social Media Marketers Really Fail To Innovate
I just read an article “Why Social Media Marketers Fail to Innovate” that was so bad I’m not going to link to it. That said, the question of why social media marketers do fail to innovate is a good one. So – why? Here are three real reasons:
- The numbers aren’t there. According to SocialTimes, the average person maintains five social media accounts. Even those under age 35 only maintain six – and they may not be active on every account. Your social media gurus are being savvy by sticking to proven channels.
- It takes time to build a presence. Most social media marketers advise a campaign commitment of 18 months to see results, and I agree.
- They are not agents of change. The reason I clicked through in the first place was because I was intrigued by the unintended implication of the title. That? We continue to confuse people who work with new technologies with people who are agents of change. A costly mistake.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Diane Pierson, our INSIDER Guide to New Product Development, is a leader in product management and marketing, having delivered results to companies including Dun & Bradstreet, LexisNexis, American Lawyer Media and Copyright Clearance Center. She has built products & services that have delivered over $100 million in revenue and knows what works, and what doesn’t, when executing product plans and strategies. (Read Diane’s full Bio)