Subscribed Sydney 2019: It’s all about the customer

For weeks leading up to Subscribed Sydney, which was held on the 15th of October, we talked about bringing together the largest group of Subscription Economy participants in the southern hemisphere. And we weren’t exaggerating.

There was a lot to take in, but if you didn’t get to every session, or if you couldn’t make this year’s event at all – don’t worry: we’ve summarised some of the best bits.

“Australia and New Zealand get it”

Amy Konary is Zuora’s Vice President of Customer Business Innovation, as well as the founder and Chair of the Subscribed Institute. During her opening keynote address she told attendees that “Australia gets it” “…and New Zealand too”.

What did she mean by “it”?

Amy referred to results from the 2019 Global End of Ownership Survey. As part of the research, 13,000 people from all over the world were asked about their preferences toward ownership, products and services.

Of the Australians surveyed, 67% said they believed that a person’s status is no longer defined by what they own. Sixty-six percent of New Zealanders said the same thing.

If they could get the same outcome for less money, 78% of New Zealanders and 73% of Australians said they would be willing to subscribe to a product or service instead of owning it.

Looking ahead, about three quarters of all Australians and New Zealanders surveyed said they expected people will subscribe to more services and own less physical products in the future.

What Australasians get, Amy told us, is that ownership is being replaced by usership.

This is great news for customers who, in almost every case, are getting from the Subscription Economy more of what they want for less. For businesses there are huge potential benefits, as well, including the opportunity to understand customers more profoundly than ever before.

But, as Peter O’Connell, the cofounder and CEO of amaysim, told Amy, a business only gets access to this valuable information by earning it. And they earn it by retaining customers.

1.) “You have to win customers every month”
Peter is something of a Subscription Economy pioneer. In fact, a decade ago, he was putting Subscription Economy principles into practice with amaysim’s mobile phone business before the term really existed in Australia.

In his conversation with Amy, he talked about amaysim’s soon-to-be-released subscription energy service, which uses Zuora’s platform to launch and manage flexible energy plans. Peter said that if a business is serious about their subscription model they will offer their customers freedom. Freedom, he believes, breeds loyalty.

And loyalty is critical because, as a subscription business, you can’t sit back after a single transaction, dust your hands and say “Job done.” You have to, in Peter’s words, “win your customers every month”, demonstrating that the service they signed up for is worthy of their continued investment.
You can do that in many ways, but to Peter’s way of thinking, what you offer must be simple, transparent and above all, provide value.

2.) Make your service “loveable”
Kayo, dubbed Australia’s Netflix of sport, has made simplicity a fundamental pillar of its offering.

Since launching in November last year, they’ve gained 331,000 paying subscribers by offering just two pricing plans.

Adam King, who spoke during Subscribed’s ‘The Future of Media and a Blueprint for Subscriber Centricity’ session, is the Chief Audience, Commerce & Data Officer at Kayo. He said that when his team was working out what they wanted the service to look like, they had customers at the front of their thinking.

“Our starting point for Kayo was ‘What’s loveable to our customers? Can they fall in love with it? Will they tell their mates?’”

“At every stage of the planning we had a single view of the customer across every touchpoint.”

3. Iterate and optimise constantly
Kayo is at the very start of their subscription journey. At the other end of the spectrum is Nearmap, an aerial imagery technology company founded in Perth in 2008 and now taking the world by storm.

In the ‘Powering Growth in the Subscription Economy’ session, Nearmap’s Director of Commercial Systems & Operations, Rahul Ranjan told attendees about a growth strategy that has led them to market penetration in New Zealand, the United States, and Australia. They’re now even moving into Canada.

One of the challenges Nearmap faced was the fact they were offering a new service and so had no pricing benchmarks to work from. So even after they had tested and eventually standardised their rates, they never stopped adjusting their pricing strategy.

This practice of constant review, with the customer in mind at all times, led to their success, Rahul believes. They’ve reviewed every single customer touchpoint and “weeded out the weak points”, making sure that they’re not holding the system back from growing with the company.

Thanks and congratulations
It was, as we said, a big event – and not just going by the raw numbers; the diversity of the people and the organisations they represent was also significant. We hosted disruptors, representatives of traditional companies changing their business models, Australian Subscription Economy pioneers, data scientists (thanks Dr. Carl Gold) and even the woman who coined the term “Software as a Service”.

The discussion, as you can tell, was just as varied.

Among the many organisations represented were some of our partners, Synthesis Systems, GoCardless, Worldpay, Pendula, Bambora and We’re grateful for their support.

We also announced our very first Subscription Economy Excellence Awards at the event. A big congratulations to:

-NextDigital Media who won in the Supergrower category.

-amaysim who won in the Transformer category.

-Kayo Sports who won in the Innovator category.


Looking for more? Check out the highlights reel and photo gallery for just some of our favorite moments!

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