I was scrolling through Netflix the other night and noticed a new section of choices within the program listings: “Top 10 in the U.S. Today.” It particularly stood out to me because of the large numbers next to the thumbnails of the programs.

At first I thought, Maybe they just replaced the “Trending” titles with this section. But that wasn’t the case. “Trending” was still a section, as was the typical “Popular on Netflix.”

From a user experience perspective, all three of these categories of content are kind of the same, and there’s sure to be an overlap of content between the three. But from a business perspective, this is something different. And when you really think about, implementing small changes like this is one reason why Netflix is so successful.

Let me explain why.

First and foremost, the reason why Netflix is so successful is because of its content, and I’m not talking about the older movies and television shows that come and go. I’m talking original content. Netflix spends tens of billions of dollars to create original content, and it’s a major reason why their customers continue to pay the monthly subscription rate—you can’t find Netflix’s content anywhere else.

But you’ve already heard us talk about creating content and its importance within your  company’s marketing strategy.

The second major reason why Netflix continues to thrive is because of its experimenting. Content-wise, the company is experimenting in a major way, because let me tell you: for every Stranger Things-like hit that comes out of Netflix’s production house, there’s 100 other failed concepts. That’s how they spend those tens of billions of dollars.

But the other way Netflix experiments—and what makes them great at distributing content—is within their apps and interfaces, specifically with how users find the content. You may see the  “Top 10 in the U.S. Today” content section mentioned before as Netflix showing what’s popular around the country, but what it really is is testing. They’re testing what that category title and presentation (the visual ranking of programs) causes users to do. Are their customers more likely to watch a program if it’s presented that way? Less likely? As of now, the company doesn’t know—but they will soon enough.

And here’s the kicker: there will probably be a new section next week. And the week after that. And the week after that. Because successful companies know that doing things “how we’ve always done them” isn’t the way to grow. You have to adapt and change with the times.

So when it comes to your company, how are you testing out your communication strategies? 

Are you putting that same job listing on Indeed for the 27th time and hoping you’ll finally get a good candidate? Are you renewing your billboard advertisement because it’s effortless and “seems to be working okay,” even though you don’t have much data to back it up?

When you’re in a city and you follow the same route, day after day, you’re going to keep ending up at the same destination. The same is true for your business—hopefully.

Doing things the way you’ve always done them will hopefully yield similar results, but if you want to grow, you need to test and adapt…a lot.


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