Last week, the Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA) hosted several hundred attendees in downtown Chicago for their annual Recur Conference. Recur brings together new Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) subscription businesses, industry veterans, and subscription vendors for three days of learning and networking.

With nods to all six segments of the subscription industry, the event offered a packed schedule with 27 speakers. Dan Burkhart, Recurly CEO, led one of these sessions. He and Justyn Howard, CEO of Sprout Social and fellow subscription-industry veteran, provided insight into the lessons they’ve learned in the industry over the last decade. 

Lessons learned

Justyn noted that having Recurly as a partner from the start meant they didn’t need to think about billing and could focus on building a great product and an excellent customer experience. His biggest piece of advice for new subscription businesses was to build a framework and discipline early on around serving your existing customers before chasing after new ones. Justyn also championed building discipline around capturing and analyzing your data to understand and improve your business.


Across the remaining sessions, Justyn’s advice to focus on existing customers emerged as a common theme. While Justyn recommended a mindset of re-earning your customers’ business each month, Ben Smith, COO of Athletic Greens, encouraged attendees to continually think about ways to surprise and delight their customers. Carl Gold, Chief Data Scientist at Zuora, suggested that marketing to existing customers and leveraging Customer Success to engage customers with your product could reduce churn. And Victor Cho, CEO of Evite, said that existing customer experience (measured via NPS at Evite) is far more important than other metrics. Getting this right should be the starting point for subscription businesses.

If you’re looking for a partner to handle your subscription billing and free you up to focus on delivering a great customer experience, contact our awesome Sales team for a demo!