What Every Growing Business Can Learn From The Netflix Story

July 16, 2024

What are you watching tonight?

20 years ago, this question would have attracted confused glances. Buttoday, Netflix is a name synonymous with almost every kind of video-on-demandcontent online which is worthy of binge-watching. With a large library ofmovies, television shows, and documentaries on offer - Netflix has found itsway into the hearts of millions of entertainment seekers across the globe.

From an outdated DVD rental service to the world's largest content streamingservice, Netflix has chalked a phenomenal growth story. Something that everyentrepreneur would like to emulate for their business. So, what’s the secret?It Isn't one but a series of actions that Netflix has done not just differently but successfully too. By 2020 it helped them garner a gargantuansubscriber base of over 200 million - the highest among all the streamingservice providers across the globe.

Netflix knew early on that understanding audiences’ preferences wasimperative to business growth. So, besides adapting to the changing genrepreferences of users, they invested in devising models to use data analyticsand  artificial intelligence . This helped them in making almost accuratepredictions for ‘highly likeable’ content, and personalising recommendationsaccording to the target segment. But at the core of everything was theirstrategy of constant audience engagement.

The same was backed by a well-thought-out digital marketing plan whichincluded integration of diverse social media platforms to maximize the customertouchpoints and strengthen their connection with the audiences in every waypossible. 

Let’s take a closer look into what went into this streaming giant’s winningmarketing strategy.

1. Original content

Netflix understood early on that they needed anedge and just streaming movies wouldn’t be enough. Netflix Originals with itsfirst breakout hit House Of Cards turned them from just an on-demand videostreaming source to a successful production house as well. Getting to besynonymous with the world’s biggest name in entertainment wouldn’t have beenpossible without a content collection worthy of it.

The Takeaway. Let your contentdo the talking. Spread brand awareness, engage, create lead generation,continue lead nurturing etc., with original content. Set clear goals for theseveral types of content that you as a B2B or B2C business can delve into. Accordingto Demand Metrics, content marketing costs 62% less than traditionalmarketing and generates 3 times the leads.

2. Integration of multiple social media channels

Netflix very cleverly rode on the success ofvarious social media platforms. It did not restrict itself to its webproperties. Rather, it went all over the place with a strong presence onpopular social mediums including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.Many of the highly-watched Netflix Originals shows such as Patriot Act areavailable for free on YouTube. One doesn’t have to subscribe to Netflix towatch the same. Though the tactic seems counter-intuitive to revenuegeneration, allowing some free streams gives viewers the taste of good contenteventually bringing potential paid-sign ups to Netflix applications. 

The Takeaway. Tapping on mediums with ahigh user base with the intent of strategically sharing your content can helpyou with piggybacking on the engagement created. Offering valuable content toyour followers, enhancing customer engagement - all this eventually finds itsway back to your brand.

3. Humor in advertising

Creating witty, sassy, humorous, and catchyadvertisements is how Netflix loves to do it. But more than that, it is howtheir audience loves to receive it. Be it videos, posts, or pictures, theircampaigns are memes and jokes. In fact, ‘casual humor’ is their brand tone.That is how they caught the viewers’ fancy and got them talking. They are alsoquite proactive in responding to the funny captions and tweets revolving aroundNetflix. 

The Takeaway. If your brand allows it thenyou should definitely have the courage to try it. Humor is an instantice-breaker and a universal communication tool. And keep the conversationgoing. These smart but simple tactics not only increase customer engagement butalso keep the brand top of mind.

4. Data-driven brand communication

The originality and authenticity of Netflix’sbrand communication is backed by data analytics and consequently a deepunderstanding of its consumer personas. Although they are not the first to dodata-driven marketing, they certainly took it all a notch or two up and ithelped them strike that perfect chord with their audience.  

Despite minimal use of hashtags, emojis, andphrases, Netflix’s posts go viral in seconds. This shows how invested the brandis in maintaining its originality. They often create polls and ask quirkyquestions to keep the users engaged and keep a lookout for what audiences areup to. Netflix is largely a data-driven company making their marketing backed bya lot of numbers. It has statistics related to every video and everysubscriber. It knows what videos create the maximum impact, and which contentkeeps the viewer hooked till the end. All this quantitative data helps Netflixdesign its advertising in a way that is highly relatable to its consumerpersons. 

The Takeaway.Gone are the days oftradition and intuition. Today, how well you understand your customer is abouthow strong your data analytics is. Set up a culture of taking data seriouslyand drafting communication plans based on statistics.

3. Personalized Email Marketing

With quite simple, relevant,innovative, and personalized emails, Netflix  creates a lot of hype aroundits content. It employs advanced machine learning algorithms to keep a tab ofevery user’s browsing behavior. It keeps track of viewing habits by recording:

  • Day and time of watching
  • Devices/apps used
  • When they pause or resume
  • Region and search history of the user
  • Type of content users watch
  • For how long users watch in one go

All this quantitative data is used in assigningconsumer personas, which helps in personalizing email communication.

Here’s how some of their customizedemail tag lines usually look like:

“Top suggestions for you”, “We justadded a movie that you are likely to like”, “Rewind and watch again”, “Finishwhat you started”, “Top 10 Horror movies”, “Best Movies to watch thisChristmas”

Whether it is renewing their interestin half-watched movies or compelling them to pick a new one from their topsuggestions, Netflix knows the art of retaining customers through effectivecommunication. Besides personalization, the areas where its emails score highare:

  • Catchy subject line to boost the open rate
  • Bold ‘Call to Action’ buttons to improve click-through     rate
  • Interesting GIFs or pictures to enhance read rate

The Takeaway. With smart personalization you can make emails as relevantand meaningful as they need to be. Segmenting helps you identify your audienceclusters and increase relevance. And above all keep it simple and get theoldest social media tool to work its magic on your brand.

To sum it up

In the digital era, Netflix hasdemonstrated success through intelligent and creative use of social mediachannels. The originality of its content and strong brand connection to thecustomers shines through its marketing communication. The authenticity of itsbrand voice helps it break through the competitive clutter. That’s why with$24.9 billion in revenue in 2020, it safely nestled into the top position inthe global video streaming industry.