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How to Make Money from Membership Economics: Unleashing the Potential of Subscription Models

Unleashing the Potential of Subscription Models
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, membership and subscription models have emerged as powerful drivers of growth and revenue generation. Research conducted by Manifesto Growth Architects, a renowned international growth strategy firm, reveals that an overwhelming 70% of business leaders recognize the significance of membership and subscription models for future commercial success. However, despite this recognition, only a quarter of businesses have implemented such models, with a mere 7% generating significant revenue from them. This article delves into the untapped potential of membership economics and provides valuable insights for businesses seeking to capitalize on this thriving market.

The Membership Economy: A Paradigm Shift

The rise of membership models across various industries has been evident in recent years. Giants like Disney, Unilever, and Netflix have embraced this transformative trend, highlighting its undeniable appeal. While some businesses have already ventured into the membership economy, many remain hesitant or uncertain about how to approach it. Manifesto's research emphasizes the urgent need for companies to invest in their direct-to-consumer offerings to safeguard market share, enhance revenues, and foster long-term customer relationships.

Beyond Subscription Fees: Maximizing Revenue Potential

While subscription fees are often seen as the backbone of the membership model, Manifesto contends that there are alternative revenue streams that hold equal, if not greater, potential for growth. Transactional revenue, advertising, and affiliate income are avenues that businesses can explore to diversify their revenue streams. However, seizing these opportunities may require a departure from traditional business practices. Companies must be willing to challenge the status quo and embrace innovative approaches to fully unlock the financial benefits of membership economics.

Sector Analysis: Identifying Potential and Dispelling Assumptions

Manifesto's comprehensive study delves into sector-specific analyses to shed light on industries with the highest potential for membership models. Leisure and Entertainment, Retail, and Media sectors are identified as frontrunners, citing successful subscriber models such as The Wall Street Journal, The Times, and Netflix. Contrary to assumptions made by business leaders, Manifesto challenges the belief that Utilities and the Automotive sectors have the least potential, emphasizing the importance of in-depth analysis to uncover hidden opportunities in these industries.

The Consumer-Centric Approach: The Key to Success

At the core of a successful membership or subscription model lies the consumer. Manifesto emphasizes that the consumer proposition and experience must be carefully crafted to ensure long-term viability and profitability. By continually evolving their offerings to meet customer needs, businesses can capture and retain fresh revenue streams. However, it is crucial to approach this transformation with precision and attention to detail. Manifesto's groundbreaking report not only highlights the revenue potential of well-executed membership models but also identifies the core capabilities businesses need to master for success.


The membership economy presents an immense opportunity for businesses seeking sustainable growth and enhanced customer relationships. With subscription and membership models gaining momentum across industries, the time is ripe for companies to embrace this transformative approach. Manifesto's research serves as a wake-up call to business leaders, urging them to explore new customer propositions and capitalize on evolving consumer behavior. By adopting a consumer-centric approach, businesses can tap into the vast potential of membership economics and secure their place in the thriving market.


What is the membership economy?

The membership economy refers to a business model where customers pay a recurring fee to access a product or service. It offers benefits such as exclusivity, convenience, and personalized experiences.

How can businesses maximize revenue in the membership economy?

Apart from subscription fees, businesses can explore alternative revenue streams such as transactional income, advertising, and affiliate income. Diversifying revenue sources can lead to enhanced financial growth.

Which industries have the highest potential for membership models?

Leisure and Entertainment, Retail, and Media sectors have shown significant potential for membership models. However, it is important to conduct sector-specific analyses to identify hidden opportunities.

Why is a consumer-centric approach crucial in the membership economy?

A consumer-centric approach ensures that businesses meet the evolving needs and expectations of their customers. By continuously improving their offerings, companies can secure long-term viability and profitability.

What should businesses consider before implementing a membership model?

Businesses should carefully craft their consumer propositions and experiences. Attention to detail and precision are essential to create a compelling and valuable membership offering.

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