A useful story for you, will hope
After really being attracted, and thinking a lot about it, I didn't do so via Creative Cloud. I think you might like to consider why, and things that can be good to do about it.
I'm a long-time customer and adept with the tools, but it's important to know that what I do with them is to the side rather than in the center of my endeavors. In that, I suspect I'm like very many of your customers besides those directly in design shops.
Probably many of us have also been the every-other-release updaters, which rather than 'avoiding paying up' put our income stream for you in a balance with value received. I might add that I've been an consultant executive starting new media business within a big name, and fully understand the draw that subscription business models can have, if you can subtly choose and thus successfully manage them.
Here are the deepest problems Creative Cloud showed to me at present:
Apart from the first year offer, Creative Cloud would be more expensive to me. Yes, you added the extra apps, but not in proportion to their use value for me. Maybe the 'new apps' really will help me keep up with things like eBook and Html5 developments successfully, but that's an open question, isn't it, given history?
Once on this gravy train of subscription to you, I would be committed_forever_ to keep paying, if you look at your offer practically, and with the idea of needing to use the tools. That is not something my gut would let me do. Paths can change, and particularly will on the mature side of the ledger and with the kinds of creative things those of our weight can very usefully offer, which often need to be done on a stringent budget until they can flower.
Tools. The very point in having tools is that they are there when you need them to be, both in moments where learning takes place, and in intervals of creating deliverables. That's an emotional matter, surely, and you should know strongly at the heart of any purchase of the kinds of things you make, especially by individuals or individual decision-makers, who in principle I am going to presume are in fact a significant proportion of your buyers.
What can you do about this? And maximize your profits?
Primarily, I think you should modify the Creative Cloud exit terms. Instead of reverting to whatever products we had going in, which would then be obsolete, we should revert to the recent version of those products. Thus if I had come in at CS5.5 Design Premium, I might exit when CS8 was current, and in my CC use: that CS8, now stand-alone, is what I should go forward licensed to use. Now my investment is covered, and you get all the subscription business you can receive from me, while keeping the incentives to keep me going forward, whether CC or standard licensed. I now would be free to be in or out as suited my own situation -- an immense and proper comfort.
I also feel it would do very much for Adobe customers in daily use and in their perceptions that you use the relaxation a more committed revenue stream gives you to fully share any application fixes and upgrades as soon as they are ready. It should be a privilege of all who support you, not just those who can reasonably choose to do it in the subscription way. What's begun in a much better sharing by certain courageous managers on the forums would blossom, with the turnaround on fixes and improvements available most fairly.
Can you improve the way the rates work? An elephant in the room is surely that you can always raise the rate charged. But also, there can be times surely for many where the rates just go over what the current use of the subscription will bear. I would think there's a place for the 29.95 rate to be always available, below a certain time-percentage use level per month of the tools. Now you have something a customer can stick with -- through life changes, illness, investment in new venue, and so forth. You also have an entry available for all those who need to learn them, your future customers, and I don't have to mention what alternative method enough of them use when you don't have this. So, a flat rate, for maintenance and for the new?
Let me return to the thought of tools. A person's paintbrushes ought to be always there; we don't rent them, even if in some production of art we may pay for materials including brushes at a stream. Inspiration asks that those brushes be there every time needed, to express what may become value (which will be shared with you), even or especially when we are not in such a stream. Especially in a picture like this, a satisfied and secure customer is a much better customer, don't you think?
The short of it is, subscriptions give Adobe a kind of security. Any but the most corporate of your customers need their own security in return. By improving the terms of the Creative Cloud, you will improve our ability to support you in it. Removing the threat of what happens when circumstances indicate we leave,and during periods it doesn't make individual sense to participate, would create the real virtuous circle here.
Thanks for considering this, as well as you've considered some other things and made appropriate changes, which we notice in recent times. Appreciated.
Better exit strategy? Agreed. I get the impression that Adobe's still mulling that one over and we may see more mutually beneficial terms emerge in future.
Don't know that anyone other than Adobe is happy with the current all-or-nothing terms.
Mid-cycle feature updates for perpetual customers? Won't happen other than the 0.5 releases (wonder how much longer they'll be around?). That's one of the UPSes (Unique Selling Propositions) of the Cloud.
Clearly, Adobe eventually wants to deliver all its software via subscription. They are going in the same direction as mobile (cell) phone carriers and utilities (gas/water/electricity) providers.
2010/2011's subscription model offered little value to most and got a muted response. The 2012/2013 Cloud model is much closer to the mark and the adoption rate is much higher but still being tweaked (e.g. Lightroom just arrived).
The Cloud's value obviously tempts you (so you're obviously on the fringe of the target market)- but not quite enough yet to sign up. I'm sure the balance will tip soon and tempt you again.
I'm sure the Cloud offerings will improve over time.