In one of Stockholm’s current best kept secrets, the newly opened At Six Hotel, 120 members of the Scandinavian Subscription Economy came together this week for our second annual Subscribed Popup Stockholm to share stories of what it means to launch or pivot to a recurring revenue model. Spearheaded by a lively keynote from Zuora CMO David Gee, we welcomed eight speakers from Media, SaaS, and IoT who discussed wide-ranging topics, from the realities of running innovation projects to how the market values subscription businesses.
Today’s businesses need to the freedom to test, fail, learn, and ultimately grow in the shift to a subscription model.
Towards this end, David Gee shared some of the latest trends and cutting-edge examples of the Subscription Economy from around the world. For example, did you know that Amazon sells more ladders than Home Depot? Examples such as this illustrate the once-in-a-lifetime market shift we are currently experiencing as winning businesses shift their focus to relationships, not transactions.
To focus on relationships means to offer customers what they want, when and how they want it. Our panel explored the steps it takes to become a truly relationship-focused business, from defining new business models to establishing new operational and technology architectures.
Spotlight on the Media Industry
Presentations narrowed in on the local market with Jon Erik Ofstad, Managing Partner at AbOn, and Tore Frihagen, EVP Strategic Alliances at Cense, exploring how these themes are playing out in the Nordics’ Media industry. They discussed the importance of mass personalisation and the careful exchange of data between subscribers and publishers that is necessary in order to deliver memorable and valuable user experiences. Publishers need to truly understand their subscribers to know how to acquire and nurture mass volumes of customers. Topics discussed included finding the perfect price points, designing bundles, and using algorithms for aided discovery.
Why Wall Street Loves Subscriptions
In the shift to subscriptions, no-one is more affected than the CFO — both in their internal roles and in the way they communicate to external stakeholders, such as investors. Maria Åhr, partner at Alfréd & Didrikson, spoke of the importance of value and the metrics she uses to assess the health of the businesses she decides to invest in — from MRR to R&D.
As Ahr phrased it: “Every Kroner earned as a subscription is worth more than the same earned in the old economy.” The value of subscriptions is that they are both predictable and recurring.
Ahr was joined by Anders Kloster, VP Finance & Legal for Falcon.io, and Magnus Olausson, COO Quinyx, who brought inside perspectives on the complexity of subscriptions and the importance of entire businesses agreeing on strategy and priorities (growth vs profit, for example).
But ultimately, perhaps uncharacteristically for a finance-based panel, the most salient point of this discussion was the opportunity that subscriptions create for companies to build strong, human customer relationships that translate to working cultures that are worth coming into the office for.
Monetising Innovation through the lens of IoT
Few would have guessed that the 350-year-old Husqvarna would be leading innovation in the Subscription Economy, and yet Petra Sunsdtröm, Director Idea and Innovation Management at Husqvarna Group, wowed the audience with tales of connected tractors and the digital services that are keeping the brand as relevant as ever.
Between Sunsdtröm; Fredrik Östbye, VP IoT at Telenor Connexion; and Peter Gustafsson, Managing Partner at Shoreline Labs, the audience learned what it took for a company to be “innovative.”
“I like Elon Musk’s quote on this topic,” quoted Östbye, “There are two ways to disrupt an industry: to know everything about it or to know nothing about it.” Gustafsson underlined this point by touching on the importance of larger, perhaps even disrupted companies, getting over the hurdle of moving forward despite potential operational or knowledge gaps. Sunsdtröm also shared how, at Husqvarna, they built and tested on their ideas, making iterative mistakes that were documented and shared, so that learnings ultimately lead to success.
Stockholm, home of Spotify, is a natural home for the Subscription Economy and with companies like Husqvarna, Quinyx, and Telenor leading the charge, our second Subscribed Popup Stockholm delivered on the promise to inspire and educate the next wave of “revolutionaries.”