Online movie purveyor Netflix has a finely tuned technology infrastructure. They’ve invested years and millions of dollars to build a platform to allow their 36 million customers located in 40 countries to access more than a billion hours of TV shows and movies each month.
Yet, it was the company’s production, promotion and exclusive distribution of Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards political drama that drew rave reviews from customers and helped hook in a myriad of new subscribers. House of Cards was such a powerhouse for Netflix that the company green lit funding for new episodes of Arrested Development, a quirky comedy killed by Fox seven years ago.
Amazon has gotten into the entertainment and content creation business as well with its Studios division. The company recently announced production of Alpha House, a political satire series that will star John Goodman.
What lessons can business-to-business and government-focused corporate and field marketers take from the content forays of Netflix and Amazon?
1. It is exceptional content that is king. Companies often fall into the trap of mucking up their blog and social media channels (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc.) with promotional hype and marketing speak. Then, everyone wonders they are unable to attract much in the way of readership.
When crafting an editorial strategy think the 3Es – engage, educate and entertain. It’s dynamic, thought leadership content that will help you quickly build a community of loyal readers.
2. The lines of influence continue to shift away from traditional sources of credibility. Journalists, industry analysts and conference event organizers remain important, yet their impact and relevance has diminished. Through social media and digital communications, companies are able to create low-cost distribution channels to connect with customers, prospects and partners.
3. Measure impact by revenue creation. Awareness…executive visibility…search engine optimization are all high-value outcomes. Yet, the benchmark for success in business is positive influence on the sales pipeline.
How has a promotional program helped the sales team increase the number of leads, cultivate more intimate prospect relationships and, ultimately, close deals?
Netflix funds the creation of shows like House of Cards and Arrested Development because it helps them keep existing customers and attract new subscribers. It’s that simple.