30
58
Gini Dietrich

Communication Tips for Netflix

By: Gini Dietrich | July 25, 2011 | 
94

I think we can all agree the way Netflix handled the communication of their price increase was a PR disaster.

But before we get to the communication lessons, let’s get this out of the way.

It sucks they had to increase their price. This economy sucks and, in the U.S., it could very well get even worse.

But you know what? We all have to increase our prices.

As Jay Dolan so aptly points out, $16 for DVDs and unlimited streaming is still A LOT cheaper than cable. In fact, if you order three movies on OnDemand, through your cable service, you have just spent as much as your monthly Netflix charge.

Now that we have that out of the way, I hope we can all agree this blog post is NOT about the price increase. 

It is about the way they could have handled this so much differently, still had the price increase, and not taken a beating on the web.

One would think they’d have learned their lesson when they planted actors in Canada during their launch…and got caught. But it seems they’re too arrogant to figure out how this whole social thing works.

You see, they have 93,000 Twitter followers, nearly two million Facebook fans, and 118,000 blog readers. The size of that community makes me envious.

But they have not, not once, asked anyone what they think.

It could go something like this:

  • Facebook update: The big boss says we have to increase our prices. How would you prefer to pay for your subscription?
  • Twitter: If we were to separate DVD rentals from unlimited streaming, would you prefer two prices or one bundled price?
  • Blog: A few hundred words about the need to increase the price and ASK people how they would like their subscription.

The thing about handling it this way is you are asking the questions in a very strategic manner (because you already know what needs to happen), but you’re involving the gigantic community in the decision.

At first, Netflix said it’s going to increase the price and you have to pay $16 for both. Then, after being under fire for a week, they announced two prices for separating them.

They could have avoided that second “announcement” altogether.

But what’s even more bothersome? They still haven’t responded to Twitter, Facebook, or the blog comments.

Shame, shame.

How would you have advised them to announce the price increase?

Want to learn how to use your blog to drive serious leads? Marcus Sheridan is joining this week’s webinar to give you the tools to do exactly that. It’s $50 and should not be missed. So register here.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] situation has been all the buzz on the Internet, not so much that they raised their rates, but how they handled the situation. But aside from that, it just goes to prove that every business, no matter how solid or entrenched [...]

  2. [...] can be readily demonstrated by the PR gaffes in the past year that we have seen from companies like Netflix, Alaska Airlines and Kenneth Cole.  Granted, these are three completely different scenarios [...]

  3. [...] you hiked your prices and alerted customers by an email that arrived in the middle of the [...]

  4. [...] This could all be solved with just a little engagement by Facebook. Rather than making a speech in front of a bunch of techies at the f8 conference (Idon’t even know what that is) talk to your customers. [...]

  5. [...] why are you on Twitter if you aren’t going to respond to your customers (cough, Netflix, cough)? Why would you even bother having a Facebook page if you are going to block people from commenting [...]