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The Subscription Economy

Why the Subscription Model is the Future and What to Do About It

Shep Hyken sat down with Tien Tzuo to talk about the subscription model and how companies like Salesforce, Uber, and Caterpiller are helping to make it the future of business.

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Top Takeaways:

  • The subscription economy is a phrase coined to describe the idea that people don’t have to buy products anymore to meet their everyday needs or to get from Point A to Point B. It allows companies to switch from selling products to selling a service that consumers can use while transforming an industry for the better.
  • The subscription model is a win-win for customers and businesses. For businesses: It scales better, is easier to run, and guarantees recurring revenue. For the customer, it’s less expensive and more convenient.
  • To jump into the subscription economy, start with a view of what your customers are doing with you and track all of the usage and interactions. This allows you to understand how you can broaden your footprint with the customer and create a more meaningful relationship.
  • Anybody can take your product, reverse engineer it, and offer a clone to their customers. If your competitive advantage isn’t based on your product but instead on your knowledge of what your customers are doing and the relationships you have with them, that is a much stronger position to be in.


“Once consumers taste a subscription service, they’ll start asking why can’t everything be like Uber, Netflix, or Salesforce?” – Tien Tzuo

“In the future, all aspects of our lives will be run by subscription services.” – Tien Tzuo

“It’s easy to steal a product, It’s harder to steal the knowledge of your customers and relationships you have with them.” – Tien Tzuo


Tien Tzuo is the CEO and founder of Zuora. Previously, he was the 11th employee of Salesforce working as the Chief Strategy Officer and CMO for eight years. He’s also the bestselling author of Subscribe: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company’s Future and What to do About It.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. What is the subscription economy?
  2. Is the subscription model disrupting traditional business?
  3. How can companies get started in a subscription model?
  4. What’s the competitive advantage of the subscription model?
  5. How can companies create a 1-1 relationship with customers?


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