Netflix and Discoverability: Bring it to Magazines!
I want to continue the Netflix lovefest started by Jim Sturdivant by looking at another one of their handy features. Netflix does a really good job of finding me things I like to see. I’m used to Amazon and their algorithm of “people who liked this also liked…” and I appreciate it. What I like about Netflix, however, is they actually define what kind of a person I am.
I am, among other things, a person who likes “strong female leads in RomComs.” Now I didn’t even know that myself, but once offered up a slew of indie movies with young spunky leading ladies in unusual situations that they manage, McGiver- or Julia Child-like, to get themselves out of, I realize, they know me. They really know me. I can literally (this is a bit of a true confession) go from one movie to the next, enjoying seeing “myself” in these situations. In this way, I’ve discovered actors I never knew existed, amazing directors, and a range of foreign TV and film that I am very happy watching, but would have never gotten to on my own.
They also know that I like drama and foreign films and so much more. And, Netflix, unlike Amazon, doesn’t make me feel like a hodge podge person, even though my husband and I both use the service. It makes me feel multidimensional rather than schizoid when it offers me Rockumentaries and Thrillers and Foreign Films, and Comedies and Because I watched… I think the difference is that they offer a range of titles, not just one in each category. Turns out there are a lot of ways to think about the world.
My question for digital marketing is this: How, Apple, Google, Amazon, can we “borrow” from Netflix to make our own discoverability of an equally diverse and varied (not to mention international) world come to life for our readers, magazine readers? That’s what we need for the digital magazine industry. If we could port over Netflix’ ability to define our reader, and show them the world they did not know existed, but will love when they find it, we’re in like Flynn.
M. Thea Selby is a Principal in Next Steps Marketing, a San Francisco boutique firm that solves audience-building challenges in creative, customized way using practical "call-to-action" marketing techniques where the return is clearly measurable by clicks, online sign-ups, responses to direct mail, orders from partners, or sales at newsstand.
She was the 2010 Women's Leadership Conference Chair, is a co-founder and board member of Exceptional Women in Publishing—a national organization dedicated to supporting women in and through the power of online and print media—and is the former CEO and Publisher of Light Green Media, a digital publishing company.