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Lifecycle Marketing for Subscription-Based Services: Four Subscriber Personas

by Yoni Barzilay  |  
February 13, 2018
  |  2,486 views

Subscription-based services have been around since the turn of the previous century: Think of library memberships, or milkmen providing their goods to their "subscribers" door to door.

Now, the Internet era and the increased efficiency of postal and courier services have led to a boom in companies' using the same B2C subscription-based service business models.

Among the most popular types of subscription service companies are those that ship consumables—replenishable or perishable goods such as cosmetics, food, and drugs. Examples include Blue Apron and Freshly, Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, and Capsule.

Those companies spend tremendous amounts of resources acquiring customers, offering them signup promos and competitive pricing. But retaining these customers is a whole 'nother challenge. Up to 80% of customers cancel their subscription in the first three months, and up to 15% of those customers renew their subscription only to take advantage of another lucrative promo.

Subscription-based businesses create consumer behavioral patterns that are different from pay-per-product consumer patterns, and marketers must adjust accordingly to focus on increasing longevity by nurturing long-lasting relationship with clients and increasing lifetime value (LTV), rather than impulse or seasonal purchasing.


My company, Optimove, identified common customer personas by looking at the data of various consumable subscription-based companies. This article will offer suggestions on how marketers can effectively engage and retain the personas we uncovered in our research.

1. Promo Abusers

Promo Abusers are customers who took advantage of a signup promo (e.g., $30 off your first box) and canceled their membership right after they paid or after they received the goods.


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Yoni Barzilay is director of data science at customer-retention Cloud company Optimove.

LinkedIn: Yoni Barzilay

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