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Growth marketing is about increasing pipeline so the sales organization can be more successful, faster. My guest on this episode of the podcast approaches growth marketing through hyper-personalization. What is that? Imagine yourself driving down the highway and two billboards appear along the road. One is a generic, “buy this product from us” presentation while the other speaks directly to you, addressing a very specific personal need you have. Which are you most drawn to?
Ari Capogeannis is Senior Marketing Director in charge of Demand Generation for Cumulus Networks.The company designs and sells a Linux operating system to deliver networking solutions for large datacenter, cloud computing, and enterprise environments.
. Ari has seen how hyper-personalization —directed at every person within the decision-making unit of mid-market and enterprise businesses — can accelerate sales pipeline with truly qualified leads as well as decrease the time to close. Listen to hear a brief but deep-dive explanation of what hyper-personalized growth marketing could do for your modern marketing strategy.
This episode is sponsored by XANT, the enterprise leader in sales engagement. Xant has authored the Definitive Guide to Sales Cadence. Get your copy at www.SalesCadenceGuide.com
Acquisition, Engagement, Retention: Three Pillars Of Growth Marketing Ari explains that there are three aspects of growth marketing that must be mastered:
Acquisition Engagement Retention He explains how a hyper-personalized approach to growth marketing can improve the effectiveness of each of these pillars by introducing a new concept: He calls it “Demand Gen 3.0.”
Demand Gen 1.0 is marketing that’s focused on marketing qualified leads (MQLs) which is primarily a volume play with limitations.
Demand Gen 2.0 is focused on generating opportunities within target accounts and managing those opportunities in collaboration with the sales team. It uses scoring models to develop accountability and measure the journey of those opportunities. It’s less about leads. It’s all about driving opportunities at accounts.
Demand Gen 3.0—which is what Ari is advocating— refers to a holistic approach whereby marketers create a digital experience that addresses specific pain points of each person encountered on the website and other digital channels. Different than 1.0 and 2.0, this 3.0 approach is not just lead gen and it’s not just coming up with scoring models that allow sales teams to be more efficient.
Demand Gen 3.0 is about leveraging the marketing technology stack to deliver messaging that speaks directly to the pain points of the varied members of the decision-making team within a prospective customer’s decision-making unit. It’s done by segmenting content according to role and persona and also providing it directly to the sales team for their use.
What Size Marketing Staff Is Required to Hyper-Personalize Marketing This Way? An approach to growth marketing that dives so deeply into hyper-personalization by personas and buying stages sounds very people intensive. It’s understandable to think that it could require many people. But Ari explains how, by making the right choices about tools within the MarTech stack and centralizing the data, these tasks can be handled by a team of one, two or three people, of course depending on their other responsibilities.
He says you must hone in on the tools that can integrate effectively. You may need to replace four or five separate technologies in your MarTech stack to achieve centralization of data that enables your team to manage personalized messaging. This change will impact everything, including targeting, predictive analytics, sales enablement and more in a way that accelerates your ability to be effective in this growth marketing strategy.
Effectively Passing Personalized Assets To The Sales Organization By using this streamlined set of predictive analytics tools and other MarTech solutions, Ari’s team can discover insights about the prospect’s buying journey, both on and off the company’s website.
Off-site: Are people researching key brand terms or other terms related to the products that Cumulus Networks sells? Are they exhibiting behavior that indicates an interest in the company’s offerings?
On-site: Ari’s team can tell exactly when people from matched accounts are hitting the website each day, tie it to a sales territory, and arrange to sort each one by sales engagement stage. Then he can identify leads that indicate buying intent and provide them to the appropriate person in the sales organization. The integrated and centralized way the tech stack works enables sales to understand the content paths they should use—by vertical, purchase intent, stage, who they are competing against, etc.
Ari refers to this as “People-Based Marketing”—it…
Here’s a Personalization Growth Hack I’ve been working on.
Using Notifia, we display a custom Website Discount that shows the users First Name, and either a Website they own, or work at. We could also list Technologies they use on there website like Shopify or WordPress.
Then, on our Website we inject a Screenshot of there Website, into our Widget Builder without them ever needing to click a button!
Taking the time to ask new subscribers why they subscribe and saving their last visit data are two of the most powerful things you can do to keep your email readers engaged.
Many marketeers obsess about the total number of subscribers and unsubscribe rates on their email lists. However those numbers are often highly misleading. The total subscribers and the unsubscribe rate are the typically only the top of the iceberg when it comes to inactive subscribers. For all practical purposes – a much larger part of the subscribers are already inactive and the damage typically happens long before the unsubscribe event occurs.
Capture the purpose
Subscribers sign up to emails for a reason and with a purpose. Those companies who do not try to identify the reason or purpose when new subscribers sign up are missing out. This is one of the main reasons that delivering on the subscribers’ intent and expectations is so hard.
Subscribers all have very different reasons for subscribing – identify them per subscriber and you are in a much stronger position to deliver on their expectations, engage, grow and keep the relationship.
Interest in your domain,
This shows how different subscriber needs can be and why you should identify and capture this data, if you want to establish a relevant conversation. When people sign up for your newsletter or register – they are the most motivated to answer your questions. Especially if you keep questions to a minimum, make them meaningful and promise to align your messaging accordingly.
Typically new subscribers are more engaged than older subscribers. New subscribers open, click and convert more often than older. As time goes by – the typical pattern of subscribers is that engagement fades away.
For most, the time between clicks and email opens becomes larger until a point where opens and clicks stops or unsubscribe happens.
Subscribers have a lifecycle and most eventually become inactive. This means that the total subscriber count is pretty meaningless if your objective is to drive business from your lists. It’s the number of engaged subscribers that is important – not the total.
How many of your subscribers are already inactive?
In a recent survey we did with a number of our customers – we found that up to 80% of subscribers were inactive. They were still subscribed, but they did not respond to the emails that they received. We typically conclude that a subscriber that have not opened or clicked a email in the last six month can be classified as inactive. The likelihood of these kind of subscribers to re-engage is very small.
Do the reality check
A very productive exercise is to define when a subscriber is inactive in the context of the business you run and count the percentage of your subscribers who are in fact already inactive. Repeating this exercise quarterly will give you insight into the impact your messaging is having on your subscriber lifetime – and as a result how many new subscribers you really need in order to compensate for the inactive ones.
The most important engagement metric
The single most important metric to monitor on a subscriber level can be captured directly on your website. By recording this metric and updating it on your individual subscribers, you will be able to differentiate your strategy against the most important behavioral segments of your subscriber list.
The metric is last visit date. Subscribers with a more recent visit date will be more engaged than subscribers with a older visit date. The longer the recency, the smaller the engagement and the smaller change the subscriber will ever come back.
We typically create five behavioral segments with the following definitions:
You should consider developing different strategies to each of these segments in order to keep as many subscribers as engaged as possible for as long as possible and to re-engage previously engaged again.
I will return with a separate article outlining some ideas for each of these segments, but for starters, reduce frequency of mailings the further the subscriber moves down from engaged. Consider restructuring your regular newsletter into automated flows that are triggered by visits – so frequency is high following a visit and it automatically drops if the visit is not repeated. Content elements can be shared among the different flows as one subscriber will only be in one flow at any time.
The single most important thing you can do to improve your email performance is to stop sending the same message to all subscribers on your list. If you have tracked what the subscribers purpose was when subscribing, you know what your emails should be delivering to each individual subscriber.
If you track your subscribers category interests based on their visits to your website, you should deliver content that is aligned with the individual category interests. If you use our behavioral segments above – you should differentiate the frequency of mailings to engaged, fading and inactive.
Lots of research into why subscribers unsubscribe are pointing at too many emails as a core reason. I don’t agree. Too many irrelevant emails is more to the point. If you emails are relevant, there is almost no upper limit to how often you can send. But if you continue to send irrelevant stuff – the leash gets shorter and fast.
Consider automatically reducing the frequency for subscribers that shows signs of fatigue – non-responders who do not click or even open your emails should have longer intervals between contact than highly engaged subscribers. Or event better – a separate communication track entirely.
If you track your subscribers interests in your business by tracking what categories of content they consume on your site and when – then, you have a live high resolution image of what each subscriber is interested in from your business. The cool thing about tracking your subscribers interests are that they constantly change – and if you personalise your email content, the emails will automatically reflect the individual subscriber’s actual behavior.
Build automated tracks that are specifically designed to address the purpose your subscribers report upon sign-up. These tracks may likely be the most productive lead generators to your business.
Using basic segmentation and moving away from campaigns toward triggered and highly personalised messaging flows will position you very differently compared to your competitors. You would likely keep the conversation going with a larger percentage of your subscribers and you should convert more subscribers to whatever your business objectives are with your email lists.
The modern consumer is increasingly conscious of the value of their data. Not merely that, they’re more and more cognisant of privacy legislation sweeping the globe, and the rights it gives them.
Where privacy has normally been an afterthought most B2C brands’ go-to-market strategy, limited to a generic policy buried on the annals of its website and exists solely for mitigation purposes, it should now be seen as vital a differentiator as price, product, and customer experience.
As newspaper headlines continue to be awash with data scandals from personal information breaches, to surreptitious location tracking, digitally-savvy consumers are turning to brands that respect their data preferences. For brands that have relied on third-party data sets and cookie tracking to power its marketing this time of digital disruption is quite the headache. However, for those marketers committed to forging honest, meaningful relationships, and adopting a fully-fledged privacy-first strategy, they will have the ability to win, win their competitors and retain their customers.
The personalization and privacy paradox
The new era of privacy has created a catch-22 for marketers. Today’s consumer expects true personalization, bespoke content and tailor-made product recommendations, complemented by tighter privacy controls, and the right to have their information erased with the click of a button. This is the personalization and privacy paradox.
This seismic shift in the data landscape has even alarmed the normally uncompromising tech behemoths, with Google rolling out plans to curtail cookie tracking, and Facebook shutting-off its billion-dollar Audience Network. As Forrester extols in its latest report: The Capabilities Marketers Need To Build A Strategic Privacy Function, it’s time every brand follows suit and treats privacy as a fundamental, and not a necessary evil that stifles creativity.
It’s time for marketers to skill-up
Forrester states marketers need to up their privacy prowess. In practice, this means that the collecting of compliant data is the job of all in the marketing department, and they need to apply the same level of creativity that they do into conceiving engaging campaigns to delivering compelling, data-collecting experiences.
It was not too long ago that eCommerce sites would merrily capture email addresses before users had clicked submit, and marketers would lavish budgets on the purchase of aggregated third-party data sets. In this new world, marketers need to laser-focus their attention on collecting the permissions and preference data to power more personalized marketing — the differentiator in the privacy era.
“Cheetah Digital…has built marketer-friendly solutions to design consumer experiences that encourage and enable users to share preference, intentions, and context with consent built in.” – Fatemah Khatibloo, The Capabilities Marketers Need To Build A Strategic Privacy Function, Tools And Technology: The Customer Trust And Privacy Playbook
As Forrester declares: “For most marketers, first-party data has historically been their most valuable data. As we enter the era of privacy regulations, an important subset is zero-party data.”
Zero-party data is a class of preference data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand in exchange for tangible value. Zero-party data allows brands to build direct relationships with consumers, and in turn, better personalize their marketing efforts, services, offers, and product recommendations. As it comes directly from the consumer, there are no intermediaries, no guesswork. So you don’t just know what your customers have done in the past, you have the data to know what they will do in the future.
Business leaders are rightly fixated on strategies that drive revenue today, through identifying prospects, retaining and growing accounts. Privacy initiatives have not been seen as a revenue driver, but the tide is turning. Forrester asserts that if marketers don’t make the right investment in privacy capabilities, they risk being “tamed” by their privacy and security peers rather than becoming a lead partner in the privacy strategy of their organization.
New technologies are radically changing the way businesses interact with customers. As a result, customer expectations are constantly changing. Businesses should innovate and evolve in order to meet those expectations and build relationships that customers value.
To do this, businesses should rethink their approach to customer experiences and engagement.
84% of consumers consider the experiences provided by a company as important as the products and services offered. In fact, a memorable experience with one company has most customers expecting the same from other companies.
Providing exceptional customer experiences can help you stand out from the competition.
How can small businesses create an above average and memorable experience?
Automation and personalization can help marketers attract attention and create memorable experiences. It also allows consumers to advance on their buying journey at their own pace. Personalized experiences through various marketing platforms can increase engagement.
In the process, businesses can build loyal relationships with customers.
What is Marketing Automation?
According to Salesforce, marketing automation tools can help companies manage various marketing processes. They leverage technology to automate and manage complex marketing campaigns across many channels.
Most marketers use automation to handle repetitive tasks and coordinate activities throughout their sales and marketing teams. However, it is much more powerful than that.
Marketing automation gives your business the opportunity to target the right consumers with the right messages. You can target them across different channels, including social media, email, and text. You can also build different messaging variations of the same ad to engage different audiences.
Automation workflows send messages to customers after they perform specific tasks to streamline sales and marketing.
For example, you can pretty much automate the whole process of lead generation, lead scoring, lead nurturing, and measuring campaign ROI. It helps you identify audiences, create the right content, and trigger actions based on customer behavior.
Doing this reduces human error and gives employees time to handle high-priority tasks. This can help your company increase operational efficiency, promote customer loyalty, and generate revenue in the process.
What is Personalization in Marketing?
Personalization involves delivering individualized and highly relevant content to consumers. Marketers do this using data collection, analysis, and automated processes. This allows businesses to engage a target customer by communicating with them on an individual level.
You send the consumer relevant messages through the right channel at the right moment to trigger a highly intentional result. This involves using consumer information to deliver personalized experiences. Their behavior, interests, and demographics help you determine the right channel, time, place, and person.
Personalization helps you reach consumers with creative and interesting messages that are relevant to their needs. You understand each consumer and can develop exceptional experiences in a personal and meaningful way.
Personalization and Automation in Marketing
When customers have great experiences, they buy more and share their experiences with friends. As a result, brands get more purchases and increased revenue.
Personalization and automation allow you to meet the consumer’s desire for instant communication. But it will require you to adopt automation where it makes the most sense or where it leads to the biggest ROI.
Start by understanding where your resources and staff are having a hard time keeping up with the demand. It could also be where a data-driven approach will provide great experiences to consumers.
Identify the problem, then find solutions that fit your needs and those of the customer.
Some of the areas you can implement automation and personalization include:
Personalized website content depending on the consumer’s location or buying behavior
Automated emails based on consumer shopping and browsing behavior
Automated social media responses through social media monitoring
There are many more areas to incorporate automation and personalization, but keep your main business goals in mind.
Automation and personalization can help optimize the customer experience you’re delivering and make your business processes more effective.
Optimizing the customer journey can help brands turn customers into loyal brand ambassadors.
However, marketers must balance their automation and personalization efforts. It’s possible to take personalization too far, where it becomes spammy or creepy. Balance your marketing efforts between offering customers great experiences and building trust. Provide them with only relevant information and in a concise manner.
Consumers find personalization tactics helpful, especially if they make their brand experiences better. They want brands to understand them better, but also know when to leave them alone. Brands must identify customer needs and execute personalization in a meaningful way.
According to a Privacy and Personalization report by SmarterHQ, 63% of consumers will stop buying from a brand after poor personalization. 68% will tell their family and friends, 41% will leave a bad review, and 33% will talk about it on social media.
Consumers find it creepy and frustrating when brands make incorrect assumptions about their interests and likes.
PwC found that customers define great experiences as convenience, speed, consistency, and friendliness. They also need a human touch. They want brands to use technology to make the experience feel more human.
The second something goes wrong; there should be a human to talk to the consumer. 59% of consumers in the PwC study feel that marketers have lost the human element of the customer experience.
Too much automation, and consumers feel that your brand is inauthentic and detached. The consumer will lose interest when they start receiving campaigns not tailored to their needs. Too much personalization also feels intrusive, creepy, and overwhelming.
To find a balance, remember that technology is there to ease and improve the customer experience. It’s not there to remove human interactions completely.
If you assign an issue to a bot that fails to understand the consumer, they may take their business to your competition.
Personalization also requires paying attention to your target customers. How does your recommendation make them feel? If you received the same message, would you feel isolated or helped?
Always put your customer needs first and logically approach automation and personalization.
Using Personalization and Automation for Business Growth
Today’s consumer appreciates and demands that marketers know who they are. They want businesses to understand their priorities and needs.
RedPoint Global found that 63% of consumers consider personalization a part of the services. 61% assume companies have relevant data on them. Another 53% expect brands to know their preferences and buying habits. They should also anticipate their needs.
Balancing automation and personalization allows you to meet customer needs and expectations. You can interact with customers on a personal level and offer exceptional experiences. It also increases conversions and leads to business growth.
The following are some ways you can use automation and personalization for business growth:
1: Provide Target Customers with Valuable Content
Create content that speaks to the consumer on each communication channel. Sending personalized content results in a higher ROI.
Segment your audience depending on their levels of engagement with your brand and then send targeted content. For example, send simple reminders of a big sale or a promotion that’s coming up. You can also send abandoned cart emails to get consumers to complete their order.
Use dynamic content to customize your emails, depending on subscriber data. For example, are they male or female? What is their location? What demographic information do you have about them?
Offering valuable content requires that you know what message type resonates best with your audience. Are your target customers into podcasts, blog articles, images, or videos?
Luckily, there are content automation tools you can use to drive people to seek out your content. These tools use consumer histories, behaviors, and industry to identify content that resonates with audiences.
Cortex, for instance, predicts how your target customers react to various aspects of content. What kind of images should your content have? What version of your content will resonate better with your target audience?
Cortex ensures you create content that inspires your target customer to act.
Other tools like inPowered and OneSpot can also help you produce content that drives business results.
With automation and personalization, you can produce purposeful content. You will be able to meet customer needs while still delivering on your business’ monetary needs.
2: Enhance Customer Experience
Bad customer experiences drive consumers away. PwC found that 59% of U.S. consumers will walk away from a company they love if they’ve had several bad experiences.
Use automation and personalization to improve customer experiences. Become available to customers across channels and at each stage of the sales funnel. Automation allows you to monitor, listen, and improve interactions.
You gain access to social media posts, mentions, survey responses, and reviews in real time. You can then reach out to them immediately to provide a resolution. Customers can also actively engage with your brand.
Customizing experiences to customer needs makes them feel valued. Offer customers a seamless journey by using analytics and data to anticipate their needs. Then you can use those insights to make informed decisions.
This personalization then increased conversions and loyalty. A Genesys CX report found that customers value customized and personalized experiences. It encourages them to repeat business with the brand and recommend it to friends and family.
3: Increase Productivity
When used efficiently, automation tools can boost productivity. Then your sales and marketing teams will not have to spend time nurturing unqualified leads. They use email automation to segment customers so that only the sales-ready leads are passed on to the sales team.
The sales and marketing teams work together to define a sales-ready lead. They then set parameters based on customer activities using the automation tool. The parameters qualify a lead based on how closely they fit your ideal buyer profile.
Once qualified, the marketing team transfers them to the sales team to follow up. The sales team then nurtures them with targeted content and campaigns that drive conversions. Automation combines data and technology to engage and communicate with customers better.
The team controls all aspects of a marketing strategy with real-time data. The insights help them improve and change their strategies. The teams can also access information from all platforms in one location. It makes collaboration easy, boosts efficiency, and improves sales.
4: Cross-Sell and Up-Sell
Automation allows your business to collect information about:
Pages a customer visited
Items they considered
Once the customer returns to your site, you can recommend products they may want to buy. Recommending products based on data collected makes the customer feel connected.
You can use predictive analytics to predict customer buying behavior based on purchases from similar customers.
For example, a pet store can recommend a litter box to a person who buys cat food, based on purchases by other cat owners. This predictive method allows you to up-sell or cross-sell while boosting personalization.
As the customer information comes in, use it to build customer personas. The personas help you visualize your ideal customer and improve your marketing strategy.
Automation helps you analyze and recognize patterns in the data. Continuously testing your marketing efforts ensures you learn from the data collected. Marketing analytics maximize results by telling you what you need to improve.
Track engagement across channels to analyze performance. You can then provide a more personalized experience, engage customers more effectively, and grow your business.
Personalization will help you interact with customers better. Automation offers you insights that can help you improve your marketing strategies.
The two work together to help you understand customer needs and personalize their experiences.
However, you must remember that automation is only a tool that helps you market better. Your customers will still need a human touch. It offers you technical solutions while your team builds lasting relationships with clients.
By using personalization and automation, you can improve experiences leading to increased conversions. The strong relationships you build become the foundation of your company’s growth.
These strong relationships then lead to you getting additional purchases from good recommendations and reviews, which leads to your brand becoming trusted.
How have your personalization and automation efforts impacted your growth?
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant, named the #1 social media consultant in the nation by PROskore Power Rankings. He has expertise in business development, online marketing and is an SEO specialist who has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and a number of A-list celebrities.
There’s a reason consumers are drawn to streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go. And it’s not just the fact that the combined cost of these services is often cheaper than many cable packages.
If we look at this from a design perspective, there’s definitely something about the way the user experiences are designed that makes them more attractive than other movie or TV viewing options. Especially Netflix.
Today, I want to put the spotlight on Netflix and give you 3 lessons you can take away from the platform’s design and features.
1. Make Onboarding Painless
Obviously, Netflix is a household name, so it doesn’t need to mince words on its website.
While you won’t be able to get away with a navigation-less website, what you can do to emulate the Netflix UX is to deliver just as brief and benefits-driven of a message above-the-fold.
Unlimited movies, TV shows, and more. Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime.
It perfectly sums up what users get while also taking the risk and fear out of it with “Cancel anytime.” Can you do the same? Totally.
While you’re at it, build a shortcut to the conversion point (e.g. newsletter subscription, SaaS purchase, schedule an appointment, etc.) in the same banner. Most of your visitors will need some time to educate themselves, but this will at least shorten the signup process for those who are ready to take action.
When that happens, make sure your conversion funnel is streamlined, too.
In the first step of Netflix’s signup process, it lets customers know how many steps there are while reiterating the benefits. The interface is distraction-free and easy to follow.
Next, users see plan options. Again, the UI is simple and easy to follow. The table comparing the features and value of each plan is a nice touch, too.
The final step is just as minimally designed. With a clean and clear interface, and a benefits-driven message, there’s no reason a user should have any problems getting through this process nor should they have any doubts along the way.
2. Use Your Data to Create a More Personal UX
Every year, it seems like we have a new law that sends web designers and business owners scrambling to strengthen their website privacy and security policies. And while it might feel like we’re losing control over all that big data we’ve gained access to in recent years, that’s not really the case.
What’s happening is that consumers want businesses to more carefully protect their data. Plain and simple.
There’s nothing in these laws that’s telling us to stop collecting user data. If that happened, I think consumers would be just as outraged. Personalization is one of those things consumers actually look for in the user experience — and the better a website can deliver on it, the more loyal they’ll be as customers.
As far as being responsible with user data, that’s up to you and your clients to manage. As for using the data you’re given, Netflix has shown us a number of ways to use only the most necessary data points to create a very personal experience.
First, you need to start collecting data that’ll help you refine the experience. Netflix empowers customers to help with this here:
With each movie or show’s page, users can:
Add it to their personal viewing list;
Rate it with a thumbs up or thumbs down.
Netflix uses this information to provide helpful recommendations throughout the platform.
The first spot it does this is here:
When customers are rooting around for a new movie or show to watch, this percentage should give them a clue as to how much they’ll like or dislike it. This, in turn, encourages them to rate more programs so that Netflix’s ranking algorithm can become more attuned to their preferences.
The second spot Netflix provides personalized recommendations is the main page. It actually uses this page in a couple of ways to deliver custom suggestions to users.
The first is with “Because You Watched” categories:
If a user spends enough time with a particular product, service, or content on your site, there’s a good chance they’ll like similar ones. So, this is a great way to build those suggestions into the UX.
The other way Netflix uses this page to deliver a personalized experience is through its categories. Note the categories I was shown above:
Totally Awesome 80’s;
Violent Asian Action;
I have a history of watching movies and shows in these highly specific categories, so it’s pretty awesome to see these aggregated lists ready to go for me. If you can deliver a tailor-made list of recommendations, you’ll find it much easier to keep customers engaged with your product.
3. A/B Test All New Features
I’ve been a Netflix customer since 2007, so I’ve seen it go through a ton of changes over the years. WebDesigner Depot has, too:
From branding to layouts, and pricing to features, Netflix always seems to be switching things up. But here’s the thing: Netflix always implements changes that are meant to enhance the user experience. And when they don’t? It simply rolls the platform back to the way its customers preferred it.
One of the first times I remember this happening was with Max, Netflix’s talking bot:
This wasn’t a feature that was shoved onto users. It would sit in its dedicated space, waiting to be interacted with. Max would then welcome you back and ask what you’re in the mood to watch. You could pick a genre or you could let the bot provide recommendations based on how you rate other movies.
In all honesty, I was on the fence about Max. It was entertaining and I loved finding hidden gems through it. However, there were too many nights where I’d use Max hoping to find the perfect movie… only to abandon it and find something on my own.
That’s why it was no surprise when Max quietly slipped away. I have a feeling other users were just as ambivalent about it as I was.
There are a number of lessons, UX or otherwise, you can take away from this:
Be careful of trying the latest AI fads, they’re just too costly to invest in without hard data that proves that’s what your users want;
Give a new feature enough time to build up steam and provide you with reliable metrics — I remember Max being available for about six months, that’s more than enough time to gather user feedback and decide if a feature is worth keeping or not;
Personalization is great, but not necessarily if it’s at the expense of your customers’ time, sometimes the simpler feature is better.
Max isn’t the only example of Netflix playing around with its features. Do any of you recognize this?
This appears when the opening credits and theme song play at the start of a TV show. There’s really not a lot of value in sitting through this every time, and I’m willing to bet that Netflix saw that most of its users were manually fast-forwarding through them when it decided to try out this feature.
Here’s another recent feature that I think has some staying power:
While streaming services are responsible for the epidemic of binge-watching, it’s not necessarily in their best interest to allow customers to do so. Think of this “Are you still watching?” wake-up call as a form of ethical design.
This feature has been around for over a year, and it’s still going strong.
Bottom line? It’s really important to research your users when you’re in the process of building a website. However, there’s nothing more valuable than real user input from a live website.
Whether you plan to roll out a new feature or simply want to test the validity of one that exists, don’t run on assumptions. Use the new data coming in every day to further improve your design and features.
Invaluable Lessons UX Designers Can Take from Netflix
Although Netflix’s market share is slowly being chipped away at by the competition, it continues to reign supreme when it comes to streaming video services. I don’t see that changing anytime in the future either, considering how how long it’s demonstrated its willingness to innovate alongside evolving consumer needs.
And that’s really the key point I want to make in this post. While I could’ve pointed out its dramatic color palette or use of a responsive layout, we already are familiar with these concepts. The most important UX lessons we should be taking away from Netflix are the ones here.
Customer data is now available at an unprecedented scale, and the technology to enable meaningful and positive customer experience (CX) has never been more advanced.
What’s more, there is broad consensus that CX is critical as a competitive differentiator.
So, why is it that CX efforts so consistently fall flat?
What Is the CX Gap?
There is a yawning gulf between organizational measures of customer experience and actual customer satisfaction. A full 87% of marketers say they are delivering engaging customer experiences. Considering that marketing teams are often tasked with CX strategy and execution, the overwhelmingly positive assessment here suggests that brands are delivering on CX, after all: 87% of marketers couldn’t be that wrong, right?
Let’s juxtapose that figure with the consumer perspective. In the same study, nearly half (49%) of consumers reported that brands failed to meet customer experience expectations, and two-thirds couldn’t even remember a time when a brand exceeded their expectations.
An in relation to traditional advertising, an overwhelming majority of consumers say their experiences miss the mark: 91% of consumers say the ads they are seeing have become even more intrusive than in the previous few years, and 84% say obnoxious or intrusive ads give them a poor opinion of the brand being advertised.
In other words, there are real consequences to getting CX wrong.