Lots and Lots of Value May Retain Members, But It’s Not a Business Plan

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Value May Retain Members, But It’s Not a Business Plan

It didn’t take long for the Movie Pass bubble to bust. It offered unlimited movies for $9.95 a month. Movie Pass paid theaters full-price admissions for the tickets, and Movie Pass members took full advantage. Now Movie Pass is out of cash and dying.

They attracted the wrong crowd of members. They attracted takers — those who love taking advantage and who had nothing better to do than spend a Thursday in the theater watching every movie at the multiplex, then come back on Friday and watch them again with friends. At $9.95 a month for unlimited movies, there was no reason to spend the summer anywhere other than the theater.

For a while, it looked like the Move Pass strategy was working. Movie Pass subscription numbers exploded past 2 million members. Movie Pass was compared to Spotify and Netflix. And retention was great. Until the company ran out of cash.

Movie Pass members were shocked this July when the app crashed and they weren’t able to watch Tom Cruise start the new Mission Impossible movie. Movie Pass has made a lot of changes to make their business sustainable, limiting members to three movies a month and prohibiting watching the same movie more than once. These changes have killed their once-stellar retention figures.

Movie Pass clearly violated what I wrote in my book, Retention PointValue retains members

 This is a challenge that the subscription box and association industries have. Leaders today in both segments of the membership world focus too much attention on delivering value.

In the subscription box, they are convinced that the secret to long-term retention is to give the member a much higher dollar value in goods than what he paid for the box. They add up the retail value, post it on little cards, and brag about the dollar amount of the retail value for the price. Problem is, the retail value is meaningless; all that matters is the member’s perception of value. If he doesn’t care, what you delivered has zero value.

Similar conversations are raging within the association industry. Two of the best-selling books on association growth focus on delivering more value. It’s horse shit.

It’s like the wife who wants to keep her husband faithful by having sex with him three times a day. Trying to overdeliver may appear to work for a short time, but it’ll only lead to frustration and disappointment for everyone involved.

The value has to be there. But it’s just one portion of your deliverable. And you know what? This is GREAT news!

Can you imagine trying to sustain a subscription box business where your members pay $50.00 and you deliver $100.00 worth of product each month? That’s not a business model, that’s indentured servitude. It would be better to get a job than try to make that business work.

Instead, deliver something that only you can deliver. Focus on solving their problems. Most customers are excited to buy something for $50.00 that solves a pressing problem. Especially if it comes from someone they trust and like.

Lots and lots of value for members retentionBut while delivering too much is often a problem, I also encounter the reverse: clients who come to me, just don’t understand why they can’t get new members, and I discover they aren’t delivering ANYTHING of value.

You must deliver meaningful benefits or you are going to look like a scam. Even if you don’t feel like you are running a scam because you mean well and you are proud of what you deliver, if a significant number of potential members are saying that you look like a scam to them, that means you aren’t delivering value they appreciate. What you deliver is not solving an important problem your members face.

This is often a challenge in the SaaS portion of the subscription membership world. Someone builds what they believe is a great tool. Then, as they try to scale their business, they encounter tremendous resistance. Just because YOU wanted this solution doesn’t mean there’s a huge crowd of others who want the same thing as you.

The secret to value: deliver something that solves an important problem your member faces. Communicate how your solution solves a problem, and show a before and after image of what their life will be like after their problem is solved. That’s enough.

Retention Deficit Disorder is a silent killer that destroys memberships. Too many Membership Marketers try to treat it by delivering MORE value. You now know that more value only makes the problem worse.

The best treatment for Retention Deficit Disorder is to solve your members’ problems. When I’ve helped clients make this switch from delivering value to solving problems, we’ve often seen memberships triple in size.

This may sound impossible to believe. And, I understand, when you are suffering from Retention Deficit Disorder it’s difficult to see the way out. Solving member problems is the doorway to maximum membership growth.

About Robert Skrob

The problem with subscription membership programs is that members quit, I fix that problem. For more than 20-years I have specialized in direct response marketing for member recruitment, retention and ascension in diverse subscription members environments including non-profit associations, for-profit publishers/coaching, subscriptions and SAAS companies. For an evaluation of your current churn rate and how I can improve it, contact me here. I discover there are often two or three quick wins you can implement within a week to lower churn immediately, let’s talk about your quick wins.
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