Sunday, December 5, 2021

Our Client's Customer's Membership End-User Subscription Fees

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Do you have clients or customers? And do you know (or care) about the difference?

Simply put, a client is the one who wants professional support or services from the company. Whereas, a customer refers to a person who purchases products or services from the company. Most of the time, clients commit to a longer business relationship, which may or may not end after the first purchase. 

Zoom became "a verb" long before COVID-19 changed the world forever. Last estimate, there are 1B+ people using Zoom for free - which costs Zoom Video Communications, Inc. around $100M+ per year, just to keep the free service, free. And yet, there are enough people in the world to make Zoom around $2.7B in 2021. So, even with giving Zoom away for FREE to over a billion people, Zoom had a net income of around $340M+ for the Q3 2021. 

Way back in 2014: "The Consumer Product Zoom - Zoom's HD video and screen sharing platform has an unprecedented ability to produce and stream a distinctively crisp image and a very clear audio transmission throughout your conversation, regardless of your bandwidth situation." 

Customers. Clients. Members. Users. Subscribers. 

I am old enough to remember paying AOL by the HOUR for their service. Then - AOL went to a flat monthly fee. Then - AOL became FREE. Today, from time to time, I still see people using an AOL email, like For me, that just makes me snicker, and I think to myself like DUDE! Get a Gmail, you look like a luddite with that AOL email.

BACK IN THE DAY: I remember paying around $0.50 per minute for my NYNEX cellular phone service - plus a monthly fee. It did not take much to have a $200+ monthly car phone bill. Today, you can get an "all you can" eat plan from most carriers for $15 per month. So back in the 1980's if you had a phone installed in your car you were in business (in some capacity) or very wealthy. What did you do for a living that you NEEDED to make phone calls from the car for around $0.50 per minute, plus taxes and fees? 

Peloton. Disney+. Netflix. Amazon Prime. Salesforce. NetSuite. QuickBooks. Workplace from Meta. Facebook from Meta. So ask yourself: the monthly cellular phone service that you are getting from ONE of the Big Three Wireless Carriers - are you a customer, a client, a member or a user - or a subscriber? 

With roughly 2.89B monthly active users, Facebook (from Meta) is the biggest social network worldwide. But Workplace (from Meta) has around 7M+ users worldwide. Facebook is free, Workplace is not free. Companies pay to have access to Workplace. But both have users. Not clients or customers or members, but they call them users

Twitter. LinkedIn. Uber. Airbnb. The Harvard Club. Your (local) country club. If you are reading this blog (and, you are - if you got this far) are you a subscriber of my blog, or is this a one-time thing? And do you have a favorite podcast

Zoom has 1B+ users world wide, but only a fraction of those users pay for Zoom. And yet, things are very good over at Zoom Video Communications, Inc. The community that I run NYDLA (and now NADLA) shall have 10M+ members come 2022 - mostly thanks to (sadly) the global pandemic. Other than Zoom, I don't know who could have grown more (or faster) during a global pandemic, as we pivoted from distance learning to DIGITAL learning to DIGITAL LIVING. And trust me (like Zoom) only a fraction of our membership pays. Otherwise I would be writing this blog from the beach in Fiji.

So, what do you have in YOUR business, in YOUR company? Customers? Clients? Members? Users? Subscribers?

Yes. The answer is yes, all of the above.

You have Customers, Clients, Members, Users AND Subscribers. It just depends on the day (or the year) you ask the question. 

Robbie is also the host of the podcast
"Subscription Stories: True Tales from the Trenches" She coined the popular business term “Membership Economy"
which is now being used by organizations and journalists
around the country and beyond.

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