• Loved

Still Subscribed?

The subscription economy continues to boom.

For many, driving subscriptions has become the core of their businesses, fueled by platforms like Substack.

There is a lot to love. Recurring revenue. A lower pricing decision point. The ability to make money from micro transactions with little capital outlay.

But at what point does it become easier for the consumer to end a subscription? Ideally, this could be done from anywhere. Say, the account credit card screen of your bank. A simple API connection would notify the provider of your decision.

Having just spent more time than I’d like trying to unravel a recurring subscription from Peloton (still not resolved) that AMEX won’t cancel or block for me, there has to be a better way than simply cancelling the credit card.

I’m always surprised how many don’t do a thorough review of their credit cards. For many, it’s a treasure trove of lost cash on unused or unutilised subscriptions. But cancelling them is going to be interesting.

This could be made easier – every subscription should be cancelled from the financial account it is attached to.

  • Loved

Marketplace Accountability

Marketplaces as a platform and eCommerce channel continue to grow around us.

Their benefits are clear – rapid deployment using off-the-shelf Cloud-software enable new marketplaces to be stood-up in record time. They extend the reach of small businesses to a wider group of consumers. And they give consumers access to more products and services in one place, bundling them conveniently.

The flip side, a darker side, is they largely operate without accountability. So, you order you meal from Providoor, the meal doesn’t arrive as ordered, and you are instantly pushed back to the supplier on the site – say Supernormal. Supernormal is a great restaurant and small business – so can they scale to respond and sort the issue out? Ultimately you bought from or through Providoor – but Providoor operates without any accountability for the product delivered.

They appear to view themselves as an advertising medium, simply directing you to choices. But that isn’t what they are. They take orders, orchestrate orders, take payments, and clip the ticket. So, they are far from being, say, an online news outlet.

Having run into issues with both Providoor and Kogan, I wonder at what point a customer charter or something to that effect is needed. Hopefully this doesn’t need to mandated by the Government. But it might need to be to protect consumers.

Amazon is particularly good at this. When purchasing a product from Amazon, from a third-party and in their marketplace, Amazon does seem willing to step-in and sort an issue out. Much like Uber, their starting principle appears to be, “just make the customer happy”. And I’m guessing the cost of that happiness is ultimately just passed onto the marketplace participant.

Either way, we need new rules as Marketplaces rise. Or, we need much greater transparency during the purchase process of what you can expect in terms of service and remediating issues – including who is accountable.

Marketplaces are critical for SME businesses and vital to SME e-tailers. They should thrive. But they won’t if they disenfranchise and dissuade consumers from buying on them.

I’m not likely to buy from Providoor or Kogan again. But am likely to buy visit Supernormal.

Accountability starts where the purchase is made.

  • Loved

The Rise of Low Code / No Code

I’m seeing more and more marketers getting into low-code / no-code platforms to drive marketing automation. Like many of the more geeky things, it’s starting with a bunch of smart tech-centric marketers who are fed-up with the cost, complexity, and frankly – archaic interfaces and features of most current marketing automation platforms.

Products like Coda, Airtable and Notion are popping-up everywhere. Notion replaces the annoying features of Confluence with something more flexible and friendly. Airtable provides a simple way to integrate data sources and mine data.

Then there are data platforms like Hevo. Hevo helps marketers connect and manage large data sets – letting them mine them for insights – say correlating digital ad performance and sales without the need for or to bother a data team.

Marketers have battled for years with the services costs and talent gap in deploying Martech – low-code / no-code platforms flip the switch on a more efficient and affordable way to make marketing work.

  • Loved

Week 43 | Reads & Feeds

  1. The Power of Small Steps from my mate Dandapani (you should do his course – The Power of Focus)
  2. If you want to know how Amazon works – this guy is the expert.
  3. The rise of the corporate private investigator
  4. The Science of Wisdom (or, as Miles Kington’s dictum goes: ‘knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad’)
  5. A spooky poem ( though we are heading out of winter)
  6. The art of finishing things (loved My Octopus the Teacher)


  1. This latest course from the Do team. Looks pretty good. Think I am in. The principles of what we need to question and unlearn really resonated with me:
    • We think we have a sales problem, yet we have a culture problem.
    • For me, that is a metaphor for why we need to unlearn business as usual.
    • We look to the outside for answers when the answer is here on the inside.
    • We look to the competition and think they have the answer.
    • We spend a huge amount of time with people and yet do not know what is going on in their lives.
    • We hire amazing people and then tell them what they can’t do.
    • We fear failure, and yet out of it often come our best ideas.
  • Loved

Reflection: More of the same

My inbox is littered each morning with invites to another CMO conference and inevitably is the same old same. Either a bunch of vendor-side CMOs touting their wares or big brand CMOs geared to speak on what’s next and their essential coolness. I get it, I’ve been both.

What we need to hear more from are the levels down in the organisation. The people doing the doing. The makers of marketing can tell us so much more. And I’m guessing many would speak the real truth as to the effectiveness of the tools they are using. Alongside them, we need to hear more from Academics. There’s no question the immense value Byron Sharp and Mark Ritson have added to the marketing conversation.

It’s not an either/or question. We need both. What’s lacking today is a real conversation about real marketing and the challenges marketers are facing.