Why Brands Need to Take a Netflix Approach to Content

Why Brands Need to Take a Netflix Approach to Content

Why Brands Need to Take a Netflix Approach to Content

To stand out and grow in today’s world, brands need to approach their audience more like Netflix, and less like broadcast TV.

Once upon a time, people used to watch this thing called broadcast TV. It was a crazy concept: everyone would watch the same thing at the same time. Everything was mainstream, designed to generally appeal to everyone, but not ideally suited to any specific person’s tastes.

We’ve moved beyond that now. If you want to watch Friends today, you don’t have to wait until Thursday evening at 8 p.m. (7 central). You can watch any episode you want, at any time. And if you don’t want to watch Friends, you have other options: namely, everything ever put on any form of video, ever. People today are used to choosing the content they want, and have no real reason to put up with a mass-market approach that isn’t tailored to them.

The Landscape Has Changed

 This new Netflix model of creating and consuming content also applies to brands. The old one-size-fits-all approach does not fit all. More importantly, it doesn’t really fit anyone perfectly. And in a world of endless choices, you’re not going to get very far by just kind of appealing to people a little bit.

Different Values

For example, different audiences value different aspects of your product or service. To a 22-year-old, a new iPhone may represent innovation and prestige. It’s a chance to own the latest and greatest shiny new object. For a 55-year-old, that same iPhone might mean convenience and accessibility. It’s not about being cool, but about being able to FaceTime with their young granddaughter. A message designed for one audience wouldn’t appeal to the other, and a generic message aimed at both would get ignored or skipped over by both.

Different Consumption Values

The way that people consume content has changed, as illustrated by the trend away from network TV (including cable channels) and towards on-demand services like Netflix. Networks still offer a chronological lineup of shows, broadcast nationally and blandly blanketed across all demographics. Even with niche channels, you still have to buy the larger package in order to see the specialized channel you want, and you’re still limited by their schedule.  

Netflix puts the consumer in charge. Their shows are not time-bound or channel-bound, so the customer can pick and choose as they please. And from a business perspective, because the platform is dynamic and discoverable, Netflix can present new shows and depth of interests without spending (and charging) additional dollars for content expansion.

Different Expectations

We all now expect things to be delivered instantly (Postmates), on-time (FedEx), and in a frictionless, uninterrupted manner (Amazon). With a network TV approach, you have to wait for your show to run in its time slot; you can’t binge or go through a series quickly, much less skip episodes; and you have to suffer through commercials disruptive to the experience. None of that exists in Netflix. It’s on your own time, at your own pace, and there are few interruptions.

Current Marketing Methods Are Out-Of-Date

Consumers are still consuming, but they now go about it in a different way. If your advertising and brand messaging are being planned and distributed like network TV, you’re not keeping up with your consumers. In fact, you may be turning them off to your brand.

Current Methods Are No Longer Working

The “fill-my-feed” strategy of distributing content only on your organic Facebook feed and blog is both wasteful (in time and resources spent creating the content) and ineffective (less than 1% of your followers will ever see that post, much less people who don’t “like” your page at all).

Additionally, the aggregate result of your Facebook, Instagram, or other social feed is like network TV: blanketed across all of your target demographics, and unpersonalized to your customer’s unique user experience.

Current Metrics Are No Longer Relevant

In network TV advertising, the key measurement was always the number of impressions. But if a message is seen by a million people, and due to its generic, non-targeted nature doesn’t really connect with any of them, how much are all those eyeballs worth? Similarly, online metrics such as the number of followers or likes don’t necessarily mean anything if those people aren’t actually seeing your content, or are seeing it but never taking action.

 Current Spend Is Not As Effective As It Once Was

Of course, ad money spent chasing after the wrong people, with the wrong message, in order to reach the wrong goals, is not going to be money well-spent. And that low ROI puts your company at a competitive disadvantage.

Applying the Netflix Approach

To solve these issues, brands need to start approaching customers the way that Netflix approaches its viewers.


Comedy? Horror? Girl power movies? Reality TV shows about food?

Nobody is going to like all the content on Netflix. In fact, you may not be interested in 99% of the shows and movies they offer. But you’re going to love that other 1%. And with the way Netflix works, you never have to watch something that you’re not interested in.

Your brand should likewise strive to provide potential customers with only the content that they would be interested in, with messaging that speaks to their pain points and personality. Unlike Netflix, your company probably can’t be all things to all people, but you can target your different audiences with the content that matters most to them.

Dynamic vs. Linear Distribution

With Netflix, the viewer is not forced to watch whatever episode comes out this week. If they are new to a show, they can go back and start at the beginning, with the pilot episode; if they are familiar with it, they can skip to a later season or re-watch their favorites. Either way, they get exactly what they want, or need, to move forward in their relationship with the show.

Marketers need to do something similar with their content. You should match your content to where each user is in the customer lifecycle. For example, you don’t ask for the sale before they even know who you are. You need a series of content pieces that drive people through the stages of awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty, and advocacy. Through remarketing ads or email drip campaigns, you can track which users have viewed or engaged with a particular piece of content, and present them with material that drives them to the next stage.

Dashboard vs. Depth

Don’t overwhelm people with all of the content at first. Let them drive their own experience. Study them, curate what they really want to know about you, give them recommendations, and present opportunities to explore more, if that’s what they choose to do. If you can provide value for them even before they buy from you, that serves as a pretty strong signal that your product or service will also be helpful in their lives.

Measure the Right Metrics

The value of impression-based metrics is nearing zero. Engagement metrics are the floor now, while consideration and conversion metrics are the most valuable (and trackable). Test different ad variations and optimize your campaigns base on the metrics that create value.

Pay to Play

Let’s be realistic. The Facebook of today isn’t a source of free exposure for brands; it’s an ad platform with social weaved in. Google exists to provide ad revenue, not free search results. Amazon is the third-largest online ad platform, and is growing at over 100% per year.

This is an opportunity, not a threat, because it gives you the capability to target the specific people with specific messaging at specific times. And because it is all fully trackable, you can use it to test hypotheses in small batches before rolling out a campaign to a larger audience.

By taking advantage of the tools and capabilities of the digital landscape, we can do a better job of marketing to people while at the same time helping our customers more than ever before. So stop spamming people, or throwing stuff on the wall and seeing if it sticks. With a personalized, customer-focused Netflix approach, you’ll not only get more customers, but have happier customers that keep coming back.

Get In Touch With Us

Don’t be shy, say hello! We’ll utilize every tool in our digital arsenal to empower you to listen to your customers, reach out to potential clients, engage with relevant audiences, and increase revenue opportunities. All you have to do is drop us a line.

Unacquired: That Time We Sold Our Digital Agency & Then Bought It Back

Unacquired: That Time We Sold Our Digital Agency & Then Bought It Back

At the end of 2016, we sold BuzzShift. This acquisition seemed like the culmination of all our work building the company over the previous seven years; a way for our digital startup to really grow as part of a much larger agency. 10 months later, we bought it back. 

Needless to say, it was a learning experience for everyone involved. We don’t regret going through the process, and we’re now wiser and stronger because of it.

Now that we’re back with what we’re calling BuzzShift 2.0, here are a few insights for other business owners who may be facing similar decisions.


A little Q&A with Our Co-Founders


Cameron Gawley and Eddy Badrina - BuzzShift

BuzzShift Co-founders, Cameron Gawley & Eddy Badrina at WeWork Uptown

Why did you sell BuzzShift?

We saw the potential in joining a larger, traditional firm like Ivie, getting to work with larger clients, and hopefully helping the team there transition some of their traditional clients over to digital.

The fastest-growing brands in the world are digitally-led brands, but they’re not limited to only using digital channels. Being a part of a more holistic marketing play with brands, which included everything from print ads to in-store signage, was something very important to us. Ivie allowed us that opportunity.  


Why did you buy it back?

Like many relationships, you go into it with the best of intentions and on the same page. In the end, though, it simply didn’t work out the way either party thought it would, so we decided to amicably part ways.


What lessons did you learn?

There were several big takeaways:

  1. Companies start and end with culture. BuzzShift has a unique culture. We’re very flexible in how we work with clients; when we work; where we work (in terms of being remote or in the office); and even in the types of jobs that each person can fulfill (such as moving from project management to operations, or shifting from graphic design to creative strategy). It’s difficult to assimilate into another organization without losing some of that company culture.
  2. Our team is everything. Very early on at BuzzShift, we focused on ways to create, maintain, and grow a great team. Hiring slowly. Firing quickly, when firing was needed. Instilling high autonomy and even higher responsibility. Creating an environment that promotes authenticity and honesty. We didn’t try to create a family; we took a professional sports approach and tried to create the best team to put out on the field. Team members change, grow, and move on, but we always tried to grow the quality of the organization, so we could better attract high-performing team players.
  3. Looking back, we realize how fortunate we are. Consider the odds:

In short, we hit every milestone we could have in seven years. That’s mainly due to the team we have had the good fortune of hiring. And that goes back to culture. See lessons #1 and #2.


BuzzShift Workspace in Lights at WeWork Uptown Dallas

How did this experience change your view on owning a business?

It made us all the more thankful that we could run our own firm. And being a part of a larger company made us appreciate how much tougher it is to scale a small business up and manage it through all the growth transitions. Being a leader in a huge organization is tough sledding, with difficult decisions that are far reaching. It’s no joke.


What is BuzzShift 2.0? How is it different from the old BuzzShift?

In some ways, BuzzShift 2.0 is the same as it ever was: fantastic people, great culture, great clients, and a dynamic quality of work. But in other facets, BuzzShift 2.0 is totally different: we’re leaner, more nimble, and even more focused on the future of digital marketing. Our mission of helping businesses grow hasn’t changed, but our digital strategies and tools continue to evolve as the market does.



Why move to a coworking space (WeWork)?        

For us, it was about flexibility and agility. We needed to figure out how BuzzShift 2.0 would function and operate as a business model, so we had to have an office arrangement that was highly flexible. WeWork didn’t lock us into a 3-5 year contract usually associated with commercial leases, so that allows us to stay nimble and grow as needed. They take care of all the operational logistics that added hours back to our day (utilities, internet, snacks, etc), so it gives us more headspace to work on the business, not in it.

Being heavily connected into the community of other entrepreneurs, tech startups, agencies, and like-minded people is another major benefit of officing in WeWork.

BuzzShift Dallas Digital Marketing Agency Acquisition

Common Space at WeWork Uptown Dallas – BuzzShift

What advice would you give someone who was considering selling their business or getting acquired?

Talk to a good cross-section of business owners in your space. We had great wisdom and input from other techrelated founders and advisers whom we trust, and have known personally for years. We didn’t have to go into details with them, but just the fact that they knew our industry/space, and our business model, helped us a great deal.

Also, a good accountant and a business attorney are both worth every penny. Don’t skimp on those in the beginning of your venture, and don’t try and minimize their value at the end.


Would you do it again (get acquired)? If so, what would you do differently this time?

Under the right circumstances, we would be open to it, but we probably need a little break before the next one! The difference would be that we have an acquisition under our belt, so we have a better sense of what to look for now in terms of due diligence, and we will have our expectations dialed in more accurately.

BuzzShift Team

That’s it for now, but stay tuned for more thoughts and insights about where digital marketing is headed. Feel free to connect with us on social, or drop us a question in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Our amazing Madison Mentesana

FYI Friday: Ad Tech Edition

FYI Friday: Ad Tech Edition

Ad tech can be seen as a blessing or a curse. It can simplify your job as an advertiser, or seemingly make it more complex. It can give you better returns on your advertising dollar, but it also costs money in and of itself.

For this week’s FYI Friday, here are some interesting recent articles on the state of ad tech:

  1. Where Are You in the Ad Tech Food Chain? – This article highlights the disparity between what an advertiser spends and what the publisher actually gets. For us, we constantly question how we can add more value to that chain, and how can we lessen the costs for our clients (the advertiser) by being smarter about, and aware of, newer and more efficient ad technologies. If you don’t know how efficient you are in the food chain, or if this isn’t even familiar to you, you should definitely give us a call.
  2. Ad Tech May Be Getting More Complicated, But CMOs Don’t Want to Hear About it – We hear this a lot from clients implicitly, mainly through “let me see the end results and give me the supporting data later” type statements. And they are right. Ad tech and the agencies using them should be like UPS: it only matters when a package ends up in your hands, not how.
  3. Face it: Facebook (THE Social Ad Platform) is the Internet for Many People – By now, you’ve probably seen Mark Zuckerberg’s 10 year plan for Facebook. But if you dig deeper beyond the altruistic plans of connecting underdeveloped countries to the internet, the financial play is obvious: he wants a platform to show the world more ads….and sell that ad space to advertisers. Read this Economist article in light of that, and you will realize the grand scope and ambition to be the world’s broadest and most saturated ad tech platform.
  4. The New Career Route: Agency-to-AdTech-Back-to-Agency – Looking for a lucrative career for the next 10-20 years (at least)? Start at a digital agency as a lowly coordinator, go get some experience in the ad tech world, and come back being highly sought-after. The reality is in today’s agency world, it’s becoming (almost) all digital, and that digital media is being bought, distributed and shown in a programmatic way. As long as there are ads in the world, you’ll probably have a job if you know the technology behind it.