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How to Use Your Data for Original Content Like Netflix

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Netflix has been on quite a roller coaster ride lately.

After it turned the video industry on its head in the early 2000s, arguably one of the largest industry disruptions in recent years, the company became stagnant, losing customers and revenue as its competitors caught up and its customers began to look elsewhere.

Getting Original

However, the company’s recent push into original programming is poised to not only put Netflix back on the list of most innovative companies, but disrupt yet another major market: television.

Having just released its highly acclaimed original series, House of Cards, Netflix is also looking to release a new season of the cult favorite Arrested Development later this year, and just announced a partnership with Dreamworks for an original children’s show. For customers who are becoming increasingly frustrated with the rising cost of cable, Netflix is positioning itself as a viable alternative to the traditional TV paradigm.

So what’s the driving force behind all of this innovation? Data. Lots and lots of fantastic data.

Know Thy Consumer

Just as artists like Lady Gaga have reacted to the aging business model of their industry, Netflix is looking to innovate by using their tremendous data stores to deliver exceptional experiences to users.

Netflix knows what our favorite shows are. They know when we watch them and how many episodes at a time. They know when we fast forward and when we rewind to watch something again. They know what you like to watch when it’s raining and what you watch on Sunday mornings. And they are using all of this data to generate optimized content for their consumers.

Customize Your Content

Marketing automation platforms, and to a lesser degree analytics services, provide the modern marketer with a lot of the same information held by netflix. Prospect activity tracking allows you to see exactly which content your best leads are spending time on, what they are searching for, and which content is converting them.

With all this data at your fingertips, marketers have an opportunity to follow Netflix’s lead and tailor content precisely to their target audience. If your leads are searching your site for specific content and finding nothing, start building out content to fill that gap. If a particular piece of content is converting well, look to expand on that content or split it up into smaller pieces for your blog or social channels.

Deliver Exceptional Experiences

With their newest original series, House of Cards, Netflix released all 13 episodes simultaneously. Although this completely goes against the traditional television business model, Netflix knows that its users prefer to stream episodes back to back instead of waiting a week between episodes. They are adapting to the way consumers prefer to consume media.

The sales cycle for businesses has changed as well. Customers no longer like to have content and sales messages pushed on them whenever a sales rep sees fit. They want relevant content delivered in a timely manner. Drip email campaigns help marketers deliver extremely timely content that is based on a prospect’s actions and interests (like what they click on or the pages they visit on your website). This is very similar to how Netflix tracks the behaviors of their customers and optimizes content based on those actions.

We have yet to see if Netflix’s push into original content will pay off and disrupt the outdated model of television programming, but the company is certainly taking bold strides in an innovative direction and can serve as a fantastic model for modern marketers.

What do you think of Netflix’s new business strategy? Have you watched House of Cards? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.