Netflix Uncovers Clue to Customer Preferences


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Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 10.13.41 AMCall it the case of the mysterious movie preferences.

For the past several months, looking at my Netflix viewing options was like being confronted by a rogue Amazon recommendation engine. Instead of offering me the kinds of programming I prefer, such as “House of Cards” and “Star Trek: Next Generation,” I’ve been subjected to “H2O: Just Add Water” and “Glee.”

In other words, Netflix has been suggesting my kids’ viewing choices to me. While in some cases that is OK – we do share a passion for the BBC’s “Sherlock Holmes” – their tastes in other programming are not what I’d call entertainment. We were at risk of a brand-relationship rift.

Then I got an email from Netflix that changed all that. With a few thoughtful entries on our computers (phones or iPads), we could create individual personalities, with preferences, for every person in my household, at no extra fee.

“No longer will kids, a significant other, roommates or guests wreak havoc on your Netflix suggestions,” the message told me. “Now, everyone in your home can have their own profile – their own Netflix experience built around the TV shows & movies they enjoy.”

Now doesn’t that make sense? Netflix has put the customer in charge, giving us the option to willingly share personal choices that it could then use to improve the brand experience. With this simple-to-attain information, Netflix can discern how each individual in one home interacts with its service, enabling it to better understand not only individuals, but also the household, down the road.

For instance, when my youngest leaves for university, you can bet the entertainment demands in my house will change dramatically, except perhaps during the summers when everyone is home. We’ll see if Netflix can be that nimble.

In the meantime, my next question (and plea) is this: How long before all other household entertainment memberships offer this kind of service? As Netflix has shown, it doesn’t take Sherlock Homes to solve the case of the varying household movie preferences.

It just takes a little bit of thinking like the customer.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bryan Pearson
Retail and Loyalty-Marketing Executive, Best-Selling Author
With more than two decades experience developing meaningful customer relationships for some of the world’s leading companies, Bryan Pearson is an internationally recognized expert, author and speaker on customer loyalty and marketing. As former President and CEO of LoyaltyOne, a pioneer in loyalty strategies and measured marketing, he leverages the knowledge of 120 million customer relationships over 20 years to create relevant communications and enhanced shopper experiences. Bryan is author of the bestselling book The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information into Customer Intimacy


  1. Hi Bryan, It is happening very quickly. From retail to non-profit to big companies, everyone is talking about big data but not everyone has internalized the importance of personalization in real-time. Netflix and Amazon’s recommendations will become personalized New York Times online edition. There is already technology to personalize websites in real-time. Tamar, Insightera


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