Netflix, the Power of Simplicity and the Rise of Content Marketing

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Have you ever noticed that simplicity is the key to coming up with a great product and marketing it? Take Netflix, for example. They just started out as a DVD delivering service. What a great alternative to Blockbuster, most of us thought. But from just delivering DVDs in the mail, they’ve now progressed to streaming and even creating their own shows. How did they go from sending DVDs in the mail to becoming a production house? And on top that, you’ll find that most of their shows are really good. Not only do they appeal to a variety of demographics, they’re also well-made, well-crafted and featuring good actors. And all this without the disturbance of advertisements, which you would have on TV. What can you learn from Netflix about marketing your product?

Keeping it Simple

The one thing that Netflix has done throughout is keeping things simple. When you went to Blockbuster, they would try to entice you by displaying DVD covers. This obviously took up a lot of space. With Netflix, you would get these cover photos and descriptions online. So it wasn’t necessary to include a cover with the DVD. Instead, they just used paper sleeves. Of course, this resulted in some DVD breakage but most of them made it to people’s homes safely. By doing away with extra packaging and making their product sleek and practical, Netflix managed to corner the DVD rental market.

If you think about the concept of streaming, you’ll see that it’s also quite simple. In the beginning, all you needed was a simple plugin which was downloaded in a few minutes. Now, you don’t even need that. All you do is go to the Netflix home page and click on what you want to see. As long as you have a decent internet connection, you’re all set.

You might think that Netflix was just lucky in terms of having simple products to sell. But you’d be wrong. There are many ways in which you can simplify whatever you’re making. If you sit down to make a list of ways in which this can be done, you may find that you come up with a lot of things.

Consider Apple products too. From the beginning, Apple has made an effort to keep their products sleek and simple. This is probably what explains their great popularity despite the fact that they make the most expensive phones and computers on the market.

Using the internet as your base can help a great deal in simplifying things. You can include extensive descriptions and photos of your products online but keep the product and packaging itself simple. This is content marketing performing to its full potential.

Technically speaking, Netflix isn’t writing marketing copy, just providing simple descriptions. However, this is the beauty of content marketing—it helps you to sell your product without promoting it overtly.

Making it Convenient

Nowadays, most people are getting used to getting whatever they want delivered at home. From food and DVDs to clothes and electronics, it’s possible to buy whatever you want on the internet. Of course, it’s still fun to go to the mall with friends and browse through stores, whether you mean to buy something or not. And most people trust the evidence of their eyes. They’ll believe a certain dress looks good on them when they can see themselves in it. So it’s not as though shops are going to disappear anytime soon. Shopping on the internet is usually just an addition to shopping in stores.

In the case of Netflix, internet shopping replaced shopping in stores completely, largely because it became so convenient. Netflix offered the option of getting DVDs delivered cheaply. People didn’t have to pay more for this convenience. Most of the time, they ended up paying less. They saved time as well as money.

So you need to think about what you can do to make things more convenient for your customer. One of the reasons why people prefer to shop for things in person is because they’re going to be able to try it on and see how it looks. Is there any way you can give them this convenience at home? Can you provide free shipping? And if the customer doesn’t like the product, can they ship it back at no cost to themselves? If this isn’t practicable, think about what else you can do to make things convenient.

In the recent movie The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, Hathaway runs an internet company where they sell clothes that have been tried on and described by real women. You may not realize it but this is a form of content marketing. When most of us go internet shopping, we don’t get detailed descriptions like these. We just see a photo of the product and we learn what colors it’s available in. By providing these detailed product descriptions, Hathaway’s character is giving another level of convenience to women, just like Netflix does for its customers.

So don’t underestimate the power of descriptions. It may seem as though you’re using a lot of words to describe something simple. It may seem as though it’s a better idea not to overload your customer with too many details. But most people appreciate it when you give them detailed descriptions. Maybe someone is looking for a lace top that doesn’t feel scratchy or a pair of jeans that holds your tummy in. Just looking at models wearing these clothes isn’t going to help. So Hathaway’s character gets it right as far as content marketing is concerned.

Contact us for more great tips on keeping things simple and convenient through content marketing.

Mike Templeman

About Mike Templeman

Mike Templeman is the CEO and Founder of Foxtail Marketing. He is passionate about tech, marketing and startups. When not tapping away at his keyboard, he can be found spending time with his wife and kids. He is also Canadian… or more importantly, he is Canadian.

Foxtail Marketing is a digital marketing firm that provides content marketing, digital marketing, and lead generation services for small and mid-market companies.

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