What does a successful subscription marketing team look like?

subscription marketing team
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Effective subscriber acquisition and retention are critical for any publisher trying to build a robust reader-revenue stream. Technology, from clever paywalls to micropayments can play a part in helping sign up paying customers, but a successful subscription marketing team can make or break a publisher’s move into paid content.

A recent article from Matt Broad of subscription solutions firm Piano considers the key roles needed to build that team?

Key roles

Growing digital subscriptions requires cooperation across publishing departments, from editorial to ad sales. However Broad writes that the most successful subscription publishers dedicate people to growing their subscriptions business, allowing them to market ‘nimbly’ with resources in place to constantly optimize their efforts.

 For companies planning to grow their teams, he says the following roles are ‘foundational’:

Head of consumer revenue
Setting group objectives and KPIs, the person in the lead revenue role makes sure subscription marketing campaigns target the right customers, through the right channels with the right messages. They understand what makes the product valuable to users and have an overview of everything that drives subscription sales, from marketing campaigns to product pricing.

Marketing manager
Overseeing day-to-day campaigns, the marketing manager identifies target audiences and executes campaigns that ‘target, engage, and convert’ users throughout the customer journey. Broad says they should have a background in digital marketing or audience engagement and, alongside running campaigns, should be able to iterate and improve efforts to enhance sales and retain users.

Creative support
A creative eye helps build a ‘frictionless’ user experience and ensure that the look, feel and messaging of marketing campaigns are aligned. Developers and designers can often be shared resources, so whenever possible, templates with content fields should be developed to allow the subscription marketing team to update messaging and run new tests or promotions without the need for creative support.

Data team
Broad says it is useful to have data analysts working across functions to help the subscription marketing team understand their audience segments and what information they have about them. Data teams can help identify low-hanging fruit and help build out additional campaigns. Long term, the data team plays a critical role in benchmarking KPIs like cost of acquisition, customer lifetime value and retention rates.

Tech team
Having the technical resources to support the subscription team is important, from the basics of order processing to collecting the data required for making strategic recommendations around pricing. A strong tech team understands organizational systems and processes and how relevant data is leveraged throughout the business. They ensure integrations are working  and that data is transferred correctly between systems.

Team success

The right subscription marketing team, working across departments, can help publishers achieve reader revenue growth and retention targets. And with the subscriptions sales and audience engagement experience in place, they can advise on performance improvements and the introduction of trials and promotions.

Broad’s key advice in building a subscription marketing team is that:

If there’s a single most important factor in successfully marketing a subscription program, it’s having a top leader in the newsroom and someone on the business side engaged and in agreement that subscriptions are the priority.

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