Netflix insights head: CMOs must use gut instinct with data

Tim DonzaUS streaming giant Netflix’s consumer insight director Tim Donza today told a room of marketers how the best marketing decisions come about through the use of a combination of gut instinct and data analytics.

Speaking this morning at the ADMA Global Forum, Donza explained to the audience how just as the film industry had found the formula for successful film-making involved forging an emotional connection with people, marketers needed to find a way to connect their product to consumers “as people”.

“You should look for that emotion selling proposition,” said Donza. “Brands are looking to connect with people as people, on a deeper level and really forge that connection with the brand itself.”

Donza, whose streaming platform boasts more than 33 millions users globally, said there were no perfect formulas to achieve this and that there are often risks in projecting too far ahead.

“There are many of us here in this room… who are seeking that perfect algorithm or that perfect gut, that data that will really tell us what to do. A good and powerful Oz who can make everything we want for our brands.

“But if you pull back the curtain there is really just people hard at work and potentially putting the cart before the horse. By which I mean, when we focus on the future so much you sometimes mistake what the challenge is today.”

For Donza too many people in the marketing space focus too much on gut instinct or data.

He argued marketers needed to develop a methodology which questions “what do I hear?” referring to their experience and interactions with others about the product, “what do I know?” referring to data, analytics and high level analysis based on the company’s data assets and then finally “what is the truth?” which brings the two together.

“What we want to do as marketers is connect with people and build brand love,” he said. “We want to build those deep emotional connections so that our brands become friends and trusted partners, from now going forward. This is something we are marketers have to be disciplined in and avoid the temptation just to rely on data or just rely on gut.

“Big data is a tool to inform your gut and that really is what golden data is – combing the ‘golden gut’ and big data – golden data is the stuff that will really help your brand connect and build brand love.”

Netflix, which has confirmed it will launch in Australia this year, declined to answer questions about the upcoming launch.

Nic Christensen 


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