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3 Strategies to Personalize Subscription Lifecycle Management

By 08.09.23
Reading time: 4 minutes

“Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with—your household.”

That’s the message that Netflix shared in May as it cracked down on password sharing. Millions of viewers groaned in response as their days of scrounging off family and friends came to an end. 

But despite industry doubts, the crackdown paid off, and Netflix’s new subscriber count grew 236%. That growth is impressive, given that streaming services are facing challenges getting viewership. 

According to Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends survey, streaming video providers are struggling to retain customers as subscription growth rates have slowed and churn rates have increased. Nearly half of consumers say they pay too much for the SVOD (streaming video on demand) services they use, and about a third intend to reduce the number they subscribe to. 

Companies that operate on B2C subscription-based revenue models are turning to personalization to ensure relevant experiences across their customers’ journeys with the hopes of retaining happy customers and gaining new ones. 

Here we share strategies for integrating personalization into subscription lifecycle management by leveraging Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Marketing Cloud Personalization listens to how your subscription customers interact with your platform across channels. Marketing Cloud interprets the data to understand each individual and then acts on the insights gathered to deliver the right experience, recommendation, or next best action/offer.

1. Grow subscriber relationships by utilizing anonymous data

In May, a new streaming service called Max was launched, combining HBO and HBO Max with Discovery and discovery+. According to Discovery Streaming global CMO Pato Spagnoletto, Max “is focused on not just reintroducing old audiences to the new name and brand but also encouraging audiences that previously passed over HBO Max to give the company another chance.” 

The Max national marketing campaign includes digital, social, radio, TV, and OOH, and one of its goals is to increase general awareness. While making a splash to garner attention is essential, streaming services may want to consider adding more personalization to their campaigns to grow subscriber relationships. 

Let’s say that Amazon Prime is promoting Jack Ryan. By using Marketing Cloud Personalization, Amazon Prime can feature Jack Ryan content for potential subscribers using search engine marketing (SEM) ads served on title keywords. The visitor is guided by the ads to the Amazon Prime homepage, where they will see a Jack Ryan trailer video. 

The homepage video trailer would change depending on the specific Amazon Prime title the visitor searched for. The goal is to increase impressions by using anonymous data from title affinity sourced from SEM ads. 

2. Move prospects from an abandoned cart to a free trial with open-time emails

Millennials spend USD$54 per month on paid streaming video services — more than any other generation. But millennials are also high for “churn and return,” where they subscribe to watch specific shows and movies, cancel when they’re done, and then resubscribe to watch a new season or film. The Deloitte Digital Media Trends survey reveals:

  • 62% of millennials have canceled a paid SVOD service in the last six months
  • 43% of millennials have canceled a paid SVOD service and then later renewed that same subscription in the last six months
  • 31% of millennials dropped at least one paid entertainment subscription and switched to a free ad-supported service

Capturing lost audience viewership is a challenge whether they are millennials, Generation X, or boomers. Streaming services can re-engage their prospects by using Marketing Cloud Personalization. 

For example, say Pete Prospect is considering a free Hulu trial because he wants to see the new season of the Hulu original Only Murders in the Building. Pete goes to the Hulu homepage and clicks on a “Try It Free” teaser promotion highlighting Hulu originals. He doesn’t click on similar teasers for movies or sports. 

Marketing Cloud assigns Pete a content affinity based on his Hulu originals selection. When Pete creates a Hulu account but abandons it before starting his free trial, Pete’s identity is added to a segment of abandoned cart users. Pete then receives an email from Hulu with a CTA to complete his subscription with content recommendations based on his Hulu original content affinity or top titles, such as Only Murders in the Building, based upon where Pete clicked on the site to begin his account creation.

3. Upsell current customers with upgrades and bundles using home screen personalization

Earlier this year, NBCUniversal’s Peacock made headlines when it announced it no longer offered its free, ad-supported tier to new customers. To get Peacock, new customers now must select between paid plans for Peacock’s Premium tier at $4.99 per month or Premium Plus tier at $9.99 per month. The main difference is that Premium is ad-supported while Premium Plus is ad-free. 

The change is a shift for Peacock, which once used the tagline “Free as a Bird” to promote its streaming service and leveraged it as a competitive advantage. 

“As part of Peacock’s growth strategy, we are shifting our focus to the Premium offering which is more reflective of the brand and the unique experience we can bring subscribers,” an NBCUniversal spokesperson said in a statement.

Many other streaming services are following Peacock’s lead, moving away from free versions and promoting their premium plans. By personalizing home screens on the web and mobile with Marketing Cloud, streaming services can target current customers with upgrade packages highlighting the benefits of the next best subscription tier or offering a bundle discount.  

For example, suppose Peacock wanted to upgrade an existing subscriber from a Premium plan to a Premium Plus plan. In that case, it might showcase personalized content based on the benefits of a subscription package higher than the currently enrolled package. For Peacock, this could include focusing on Premium Plus’s offline viewing or promoting a live stream of the subscriber’s local NBC channel. 

Manage your entire subscriber lifecycle with Silverline

Silverline helps your company stay ahead of changing subscriber consumption habits by using Marketing Cloud Personalization to attract, support, and retain subscription customers. Silverline aligns your marketing strategy with customer experience, technology, and operations to drive digital marketing transformation. Our media team members are Marketing Cloud experts with the experience to optimize your digital campaigns and lead your next innovation while adding incremental value along the way. 

Find out how Silverline can help you leverage Marketing Cloud Personalization for your subscription lifecycle management.

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