The Automatic Customer: A Book Review

Pile of hardback books with white covers, one standing on topHave you ever heard of the Blue Car Syndrome? It’s the non-scientific name for what happens when you buy a blue car, then start seeing blue cars everywhere. I’ve been experiencing the effect lately when it comes to subscription businesses.

While working on a book about the implications of subscription models on marketing, I started seeing subscriptions everywhere. My Safeway club card? That’s a subscription paid with data. Amazon Prime? Subscription. Insurance policies? Check. The more I thought about them, the more variations I found on the subscription model.

John Warrillow has done the work of describing, labeling and analyzing those different models in his new book The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry.

The book identifies and labels nine distinct variations on the business model.

  • Netflix, for example, uses an “all-you-can-eat library” model.
  • Stitch Fix and BarkBox use the “surprise box” model.
  • Facebook is built on the network model.

The book discusses the differences in these variations, as well as their fit for different industries and businesses. It does a great job of describing the overall benefits of a subscription model. Warrillow clearly explains the revenue metrics that businesses should track in a recurring revenue environment.

I loved learning about new subscription businesses I hadn’t encountered in my own searches, including Standard Cocoa and Conscious Box.

Key takeaway: If you’re not sure about how a subscription model might fit in your business, or if you’re starting up a new business and debating revenue models, this is your go-to resource.

One Comment on “The Automatic Customer: A Book Review

  1. Pingback: An Insider’s Guide to the Membership Economy (Book Review) | Anne Janzer

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