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What We’ve Learned from Netflix

AdAge has, for good reason, chosen Netflix as 2016’s Marketer of the Year. This movie company has entered the living rooms, cell phones, and hearts of billions of people across the globe and generated a marketing buzz that decades-old agencies dream of.

So—what can we learn from them going into 2017?

Tell Stories.

Our copy and the brand messages that we describe should tell a story. They should be able to describe any offer or announcement or collection of pictures in a way that transports the audience into your world, into your brand’s mission, and into believing that your brand is the best in its class.

Of course, there are tools to do this. Take a note from JJ Abrams and use mystery to draw people in, or use this holiday’s most tender ad, from Heathrow Airport, to pull on their heartstrings and create a positive association with your brand.

Use Targeting.

Coming up with a compelling, transportive story that can get a reaction is only the first step. You wouldn’t tell your sweet grandmother the crazy story about almost dying because you maybe had a few too many drinks and you maybe gave your Uber driver a very, very wrong address.

But you’d tell your friends! And your friends would love it! Unless you tell it over and over again. Then your friends would hate it.

The same goes for how we tell stories—big or small—to our target audiences. We now have the resources to know exactly who we’re talking to in the digital space, so why wouldn’t you tailor your message to fit the interests and pull the heartstrings of exactly the demographic you’re talking to? And why would you tell them the same thing over and over again?

That’s exactly how Netflix has achieved near-world domination. They take advantage of the incredible data they’ve generated and leverage that data to create content at the right time, for the right people—fueling the high demand for their service.

GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT.

Sure, we love the revivals a-la Gilmore Girls. And we love how emphatically Netflix gave it to us, but we also see how brilliantly this plays into their advertising budgets.

By incorporating well-loved series like Fuller House and Gilmore Girls into their lineup, they’re generating a media buzz that they don’t have to pay for. People have been dying to see how Kimmie Gibler turned out! Of course they’ll tune in and watch every interview she gives while promoting it!

If you give the people what they want, they’ll return the favor in droves.
If your brand has the opportunity to offer something people LOVE, capitalize on that and give them something to talk about.

Genuine excitement that generates genuine word of mouth seems old school, but it may be the missing link in many of today’s seemingly fleeting digital marketing efforts.

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