PBS Passport: The Non-subscription Subscription

Netflix is essentially a Sustainer membership. So is Stars, Hulu, HBO GO, Showtime, and Prime Video. Viewers already have a cognitive frame for those ‘set it and forget it’ subscription services. The only time those service providers contact users about the monthly charge is when a price hike goes into effect or when a credit card fails due to an expiry date or other bank-related issues.  Some also send e-mail announcements about new series.

Strictly speaking, PBS Passport is a member benefit, not a subscription service—although it behaves like one and fits the frame of the aforementioned on-demand, over-the-top services. I presume that for many of our donors, PBS Passport is a ‘subscription.’ That makes Passport a valuable tool for signing up and converting donors to monthly Sustaining membership.

When it’s time to renew the donor who activated and uses Passport (or update a Sustainer’s credit card), does your station focus on the expiration of the Passport benefit or of the membership itself, with loss of Passport a consequence of lapsing?

Have you used the ‘subscription’ model as an analogy in off-air solicitations aimed at converting annual donors to Sustainers?

Does your station regularly remind donors of the importance of keeping their memberships current in order to receive the Passport benefit?

Do you promote the value of the benefit through a “Passport Picks” email?

Conversion is a mass-marketing effort. Stewardship/renewal require segmentation. Both, however, have in common a generality in messaging.

Segment of one
Knowing as much as possible about your donors will, of course, help you better communicate with them. While Passport activations are important to have on each member account, viewing history is even better. That level of detail will help you communicate better with high-touch clients, with whom you might converse in person or through a hand-written communication.

The CDP Analytics Engine is designed to marry PBS Passport viewing data (on an individual account level) and stations’ CRM, allowing stations to customize communication like never before. Using viewer data, technology now exists that can help stations craft individual electronic or direct mail communication that will, indeed, ‘show them that you know them.’

The data-driven ‘segment of one’ approach allows for contextual marketing that goes beyond mail merge and starts a conversation about the very things your donors love.

Join us at 3PM EST today for a CDP Analytics engine webinar. If you did not receive an invitation, please contact Mallory Salvaggio for instructions on how to join and participate.

Barry NelsonComment