I am a fanatic about Kevin Spacey. And House of Cards. Just like Frank Underwood at the White House, Netflix is turning the table on television and teaching us all a little something about marketing. And it is a pretty easy lesson really. It’s looking at television as content and giving the audience what they want – control.
Kevin Spacey reminds us of three important tenets of marketing today.
1. The Customer Wants to Be In Control. In February 14, the second season of House of Cards premiered on Netflix. While Netflix doesn’t publish numbers, some estimate that as many as 16% of Netflix 30 million domestic viewers watched at least one episode on the premiere night, and some 25% of all Netflix viewers will watch season two when they choose to. One-third viewers are engaging in what we call “binge watching”, watching more than one episode at a single sitting. For marketers, we need to offer our products to our customers the way they want them, not how we want to deliver them.
2. Content is Storytelling. Spacey tells us that the audience is craving good stories. Really good stories endure and your audience will always seek them out. Make sure you are telling compelling stories about your brand. Some of the brands that tell compelling stories are Toms, Starbucks, Nike, Allstate’s Mayhem, Chipotle, Nordstrom, and P&G Olympic Moms. These stories capture our hearts and then our minds.
3. Data is Our Guide. Netflix users watch 2 billion hours of programming each month, and that immense data allows Netflix to determine the subscriber populations around genres, so they can predict a baseline audience. They knew how many folks loved Kevin Spacey and how many loved the type of serial drama they were creating. That’s hugely different that the crap shoot that the networks use each year to determine whether a pilot will succeed. Marketers now have access to data that can help them make important decisions about the type of content their audience desires. That data, if analyzed, can help guide the storyline for your marketing.
And if you are wondering, yes, I have watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards. And I know how it ends. Let’s put it this way. Frank and Netflix do alright.