When Netflix debuted House of Cards it was a lesson for inbound marketing here in Lansing, Michigan. The new show cost millions of dollars to create and the risk for Netflix was monstrous. It’s their first original series. The real magic of the launch was that Netflix released the first seasons of the show all at once. Netflix allowed their viewers to consume this new show the way they choose - all at once, a show a day, a show a week, their choice.
That is the lesson for marketers - consumers choose. Consumers are no longer depending on the networks to dole out shows once a week. Viewers have recording options like TiVo and DVR so they can record seasons and view when, where and how they choose. And, subscription services like Netflix allow even more flexibility with a full season at the viewer’s fingertips.
Netflix understands how to help their customers make choices. Their interface has helpful screens that display things like - people who viewed this also watched these three shows. And, they allow the user to save shows in a queue to view when it's convenient.
Consumers are not waiting for marketers either. With search engines, a consumer can find whatever they want, when they want it. Buyers don't have to wait for a sale at a local store to get a deal, they find it online NOW. They don't have to wait for the newspaper or broadcast news for up to date information, it's online instantly and it's free.
It doesn't matter if you are B2B or B2C. Local marketers can now put relevant information in front of consumers when, where, and how their customers choose to look for their products or service with in-bound marketing. When you allow consumers to find your content online, it's like putting big enter here signs for your business, exactly where consumers are looking. For example, a car dealer can do a daily list of available used cars in narrow price ranges. But, to be effective the list has to optimized, allowing for the consumer to find the list in the way that they are searching. Then the consumer can deepen the relationship by choosing what happens next in their search with calls to action. A call to action sets up the next stage of the sales cycle - a way to qualify for a loan, test drive one of the vehicles, have a representative call, or find out what their trade in is worth. These steps can now be organized in an automated marketing-work flow for the searcher. And, to the searcher, it feels right when the next logical step is presented to them.
The biggest lesson from Netflix is on-demand marketing; to give it all up at once and let the customer decide how to use and process the information. I once spoke to a realtor for high end homes that wouldn’t post prices in their home listings. Their thinking was that if someone really liked the picture, they would have to call and make an appointment. And, if the buyer had to ask the price, they couldn’t afford the house. As a buyer, I would simply move on. There are tons of great houses on the market and I don’t want to be tricked into doing business or be downgraded in someone’s opinion because I like to know what I am paying for something. Just give up the information that consumers want, make it easy to do business and consumers will respond.
The market is now self selecting themselves as buyers. Buyers are figuring out who they want to buy from on their own. Netflix is the gold standard in giving consumers total control and flexibility and it’s brilliant. Take a lesson out of their playbook and be first in your product category to understand inbound marketing.