Brilliant Reads: customer-centric planning, simplifying newsroom CMS & tech gets personal

Data is fuelling Netflix’s ambition to be the first global content network

Netflix has recently rolled out its service to 130 new countries. The expansion meant negotiating local licensing agreements, building robust global infrastructure and dealing with various legal systems. Despite the challenges, Netflix is committed to offering all content to all markets – even if that’s far from the current reality.

The company is using the data from its 75 million global subscribers to make sure people see the content that will most interest them. When analysing the huge amount of data collected to determine content preferences, the streaming giant all but discards age, gender and location – it has found that these treasured metrics have little impact on what programmes we want to watch.

As we’ve found in our own work creating data-driven personas (more on that in the post below), brands that approach planning with a fuller, more realistic view of the customer will see far more effective results – as Netflix can attest.

Netflix’s grand, daring, maybe crazy plan to conquer the world
Wired 17 mins

Your customers don’t care which team or channel they’re dealing with

In this post, from strategist Dave Preece, we take a closer look at our approach to connected customer planning.

The traditional marketing approach can be disjointed, brand-centric and based on assumptions about the customer. Our approach to planning content, or other activities, combines qualitative and quantitative data to focus on true customer needs and behaviours. With a data-driven view of the customer and a clear idea of what interests both the brand and the audience, you can bring together teams from across the organisation to provide a truly joined up experience.

Brand planning that puts the customer first
Brilliant Noise 4 mins

Simplicity and collaboration are key to creating an efficient CMS

The Telegraph has just rolled out a new, internally built CMS. This new system replaces an outdated, overly complex and far from user-focused CMS and cuts publication time down by 85%.

The development team began by observing the workflows of the journalists and producers, looking for inefficiencies. For example, with the old CMS, staff had to use Photoshop to resize an image, while the new system allows images to be resized quickly and easily without using a separate application. The focus on user needs over shiny technology has been a real success and could lead the way for other publishers.

How the Telegraph built its new CMS by focusing on simplicity
Nieman Lab 7 mins

Will Medium become the platform for professional publishers?

Medium will soon be offering ways for publishers and brands to monetise their posts on the site. In this interview, CEO Ev Williams hints at the expansion of sponsored content on the site and confirms that the long-term plan is for Medium to be the go-to platform for publishers. With the tech taken care of and the networks already in place, he could be right.

How can marketers and publishers best use Medium? Ev Williams shares his vision
Advertising Age 7 mins

Technology has always been a way of bringing people together

While technology is frequently blamed for making us more anti-social, narcissistic and distracted, we must also remember the awesome power it has to connect us with those who are not by our side.

This reflective piece serves as a rebuttal to the cynicism – for example, smart phones enable us to share moments with loved ones who are thousands of miles away as easily as they allow us to ignore our dinner companion.

The upside to technology? It’s personal
The New York Times 4 mins

When does conversational search turn into an A.I. nightmare?

The rise of virtual assistants such as Siri and Cortana, and the developments in Google’s conversational search capabilities, mean that as well as connecting us to other people, technology is taking on a more human role.

The knowledge that Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa are always listening to you (if the auto-response features are enabled) seems creepy to some – even if the companies promise that the majority of data is discarded. This article argues that, as advanced as these technologies are, the changes we’ll see in the coming years will be confined to specialists (such as A.I. that can join in email conversations and schedule meetings with ease). It also discusses how the sci-fi fantasy of comprehensive A.I. will likely come from a web of these specialists, rather than a complete personality as seen in the movie Her.

Terrifyingly convenient
Slate 26 mins