Embrace agility in subscription business to boost customer lifetime value

Discover how incorporating agility in subscription business models drives innovation, customer loyalty, and revenue optimisation.


Embrace agility in subscription business to boost customer lifetime value

Discover how incorporating agility in subscription business models drives innovation, customer loyalty, and revenue optimisation.


Meet the author

Simon Steele

Senior Consultant

In part six of our Drive to Subscribe series, we look at the benefits of incorporating agility in subscription business models and how to do so.

In today’s digital age, the subscription economy is booming. Digital subscription companies boast a market cap of $14 trillion and the markets are continuously growing. The subscription box market will reach $105.4 billion by 2032, eCommerce subscriptions are set to reach $904 Billion by 2026 and streaming subscriptions $2 billion by 2025 (1). The opportunities in this dynamic landscape are significant, but the key to staying ahead lies in embracing agility—a principle not only vital for product development but also critical for thriving in the subscription market. 

Much like in Formula 1 racing, where continuous development is essential to maintain a competitive edge, agility in subscription models ensures companies can adapt swiftly to evolving consumer demands and market conditions. However, agility extends beyond mere reactive problem-solving; it serves as a catalyst for driving innovation, meeting dynamic consumer needs, fostering customer loyalty and optimising revenue streams.

The benefits of building agility in subscription business models

1. Driving innovation and differentiation

Agility empowers subscription businesses to innovate rapidly, experiment with new ideas, and differentiate themselves in a crowded market. By embracing agility, companies can create unique value propositions that resonate with consumers and set them apart from competitors.

2. Meeting dynamic consumer needs 

Consumer preferences are ever-evolving, requiring subscription businesses to continuously refine their offerings. Agile models enable companies to introduce new features, expand content libraries, and adjust pricing tiers promptly, ensuring subscribers always have access to value-driven experiences.

3. Fostering customer loyalty

Agile subscription models demonstrate a commitment to customer satisfaction, fostering loyalty through responsiveness to feedback and proactive improvement efforts. This dedication to continuous enhancement strengthens bonds with subscribers, increasing lifetime value and advocacy. And loyalty is a winner for the profitability of subscription businesses as it costs 5x more to acquire a new subscriber than it does to retain an existing one (2).

4. Optimising revenue streams

Agility extends beyond product offerings to revenue optimisation strategies. By experimenting with pricing, upselling, cross-selling, and identifying new monetisation opportunities, subscription businesses can maximise revenue while delivering exceptional value to subscribers.

The foundations of an agile subscription business

To capitalise on the above, it is essential to build agility into the foundations of a subscription business. This will likely require a shift in all facets of the organisation and cross-cuts people, processes, technology and the overarching strategy. All of these will need to work in harmony to build a truly agile subscription organisation and without this, the ability to remain competitive diminishes. But what are the essentials for success?

Five pillars of success for agility in subscription business models


1. Produce a unified vision across the organisation

An agile organisation has a clearly defined goal and principles for how to get there. For a subscription business, this will likely be the definition of how you will continually add value to your subscriber. To ensure its effectiveness, every contributor to the organisation understands and aligns with it, which enables the co-creation of value across the organisation and ultimately the subscriber lifecycle.

2. Embed a team of teams approach

Introducing a flexible organisational structure where smaller teams collaborate seamlessly will allow them to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and share information transparently to achieve common goals. This emphasises decentralised decision-making and fosters a culture of collaboration and innovation across interconnected teams.

3. Create the ability to rapidly make decisions and learn

Constantly reviewing and iterating on the ‘thinking’ and the ‘doing’ evolves the learning of those involved in the business side of the subscription. This ultimately enables the ability to continually innovate and operate at all levels of the business. Without this, subscription organisations are set to repeat the failures of the past and stagnant operational processes will introduce longer-term pain and reduce the ability to react quickly.

4. Cultivate an agile culture with a people-centred op model

Culture underpins organisations. Put people at the centre, define the key values for them to operate against and give them autonomy and ownership. What follows is true collaboration and cross-cutting value that will be evident to all aspects of your subscribers interactions with the business.

5. Facilitate the adoption of new technologies

Your people, process and products or services will rely on the tech your organisation has. Fundamentally your org needs the ability to facilitate and adopt a continuously shifting tech architecture to meet the ever-changing needs of your customers. Subscription businesses that don’t have a model to identify and support new technologies are set to lose competitive edge over time.

In essence, to succeed in the subscription economy you need to embrace agility—a multifaceted approach that encompasses innovation, responsiveness, customer-centricity, and a commitment to continuous growth. By adopting agile principles, subscription businesses can navigate the ever-changing landscape with confidence, unlocking new opportunities for growth, enhancing customer experiences, and driving subscriber lifetime value.

If you need help revving up subscription success for your business, please get in touch.

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