AutoPoint Blog

Get the popcorn ready.

Posted by Hilary Biggart Tuesday, July 19, 2016

This is an installment in a weekly series on uncommon tech innovations and implementations across all industries. Get an inside look at how other companies have changed their brands, their sales, and their retention through digital and mobile tech. 

Do you remember the world before Netflix? Maybe you vaguely recall a little company called Blockbuster. If you wanted to see a movie that wasn’t in theaters, and you didn’t want to buy it, then you had to rent it. Which meant going to a brick-and-mortar store, browsing the shelves, and hoping your favorite film wasn’t out of stock.

Netflix changed all that, beginning with their mail order DVD rental service and now with their streaming platform. Founded in 1998, Netflix took everything that was wrong with the traditional movie rental company’s approach and transformed it into a rental experience based around customer preferences.

Today, Netflix has become synonymous with exceptional content and lazy day binge-watching. So much so that the company’s name is often used as a verb—the epitome of branding success. But it all started with the customer experience.

Return that movie whenever you want.

Netflix’s first innovations, aside from offering DVDs sent straight to you through the mail, was to banish late fees and offer unlimited movies for one low price.

If you remember shelling out a wad of cash just for returning Home Alone 2 a week late, then you remember why Netflix’s features were so attractive. All the movies you want and not a late fee in sight. No shipping costs either—just mail the DVD back in the same bright red envelope you got it in.

Start the streaming revolution.

Now, when you think Netflix, you think streaming. Netflix launched the streaming revolution with their “Watch Instantly” platform. Through the Netflix website, you could still queue the physical DVDs you wanted to receive, but there were also a number of titles available to watch right on your computer.

Netflix’s streaming service has no far outstripped its DVD rentals because of one simple premise: instant gratification. No more waiting for a movie in the mail. Plus a near-endless array of content options are constantly available, right at your fingertips.

Curate your customers’ content.

The initial idea behind Netflix has evolved into a company that both anticipates its customers’ tastes and creates content specifically for their audiences. You may have noticed the “Suggested for You” section on your Netflix account. Netflix watches what you watch and suggests similar titles for you to watch next.

Netflix has also become a production company, producing some of the best-loved TV shows directly for the web. Again recognizing how their customers prefer to watch shows, Netflix opted to release even their own new productions as one big package. Customers could now consume entire seasons of shows in a single day.

What we can learn.

Netflix is a prime example of catering to customers’ tastes. There’s a reason the company has done so well with younger generations in particular—they target customer pain points, address them through innovative features, and respond to customer feedback. Even the company’s decision to release entire seasons at once, instead of one episode per week, is designed to satisfy customers’ binge-watching preferences.

In a dealership setting, playing to customer tastes is an essential part of the effortless customer experience, especially as it pertains to your marketing efforts. Your marketing messages should know what your customer needs to hear and which channel to send it through for maximum impact. Customer-centric marketing targets the right customers in the places they visit most and sends reminders or special offers they actually want to hear.

If you want to get through to your most valuable prospects, your marketing system needs to know what they want to see next. 


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