If you Want an Audience Start a Fight

product marketing lesson from Netflix vs. Vudu

I recently caught this messaging from online video provider, VUDU. From it, I think there are several lessons right out of Trout and Reis’s 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. The main one that jumps out is the Law of Opposites (Law #9), “If you are aiming for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader.”

VUDU needs to differentiate itself from the online movie market leader, Netflix, if it hopes to carve out a niche. Netflix currently has the most eyeballs and awareness when it comes to online videos. Without having a differentiated strategy, VUDU is just another online video site without much of a reason for consumers to notice.

Kudos to the team for highlighting the 2555 day advantage they have with new releases over Netflix. That’s a message that will get people to pay attention.

Now, the next question is, do they have the Resources (Law #22) to change Perceptions (Law #4) when it comes to them being the site with the “newest” releases for watching movies online? An even more important question, is this a sustainable position?

What do you think?

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  • like the post:  kinda goes with the old adage “there’s no such thing as bad press” – great way to shake up the market when you’re not #1.  (as long as VUDU can maintain that differentiation anyway)

    • Jonathan,

      Thanks for the comment and great point. I think you are right, when you are trying to get noticed, any press that can help shake up the market is good. VUDU is under a giant shadow with Netflix so will be interesting to watch to see if they can gain any traction. 

      Thanks again,

      Josh

  • like the post:  kinda goes with the old adage “there’s no such thing as bad press” – great way to shake up the market when you’re not #1.  (as long as VUDU can maintain that differentiation anyway)

  • Being in the UK, I don’t know what kind of visibility VUDU has, but I would have thought being owned by Wal-Mart would mean that they could invest a lot on marketing to get visibility. And that now would be the time to do it.
    – Netflix customers looking for alternatives
    – Before holidays and Winter

    Positioning against Netflix seems like absolutely the right strategy, but I don’t know that the delay for some new movies is the best differentiator?

    Is that what Netflix customers are unhappy about? – I would have thought there was an angle around guaranteed price, giving loyal customers better service… that would be more effective

    • Giles,

      Thanks for the comment and for the reminder that VUDU is now owned by Walmart. Forgot that even thought they are the underdog, they should have deep pockets to help with the visibility. However, they still need to come up with a reason for people to take notice. 

      Right now, one of the big complaints about Netflix online is their lack of new movies. On- demand movies from the cable company and video stores seem to be getting the new releases first so the fact that VUDU has them (not sure but I don’t think Amazon gets new release either) does seem like an advantage. 

      The main thing that I liked was that they didn’t just say we have new movies but they created a powerful message – a 2555 day advantage over Netflix! 

      I think you bring up another good point that trying to differential around price, service, etc. may be more long term sustainable. 

      Thanks again,

      Josh

  • You’re right…it’s brilliant marketing. It emphasizes a strength of VUDU which is their access to streaming movies the day they arrive on DVD. 

    Like Jonathan, I’m wondering if this is a strong enough differentiator to compete against Netflix now…and whether it might hold in the future. It’s one thing to attract attention…quite another thing to capitalize on it.

    My quick analysis is that there are some major gaps they’d need to shore up before really putting competitive pressure on Netflix. What they effectively hide is that these “same day as DVD” movies come with a $5-$6 per rental price tag. They also only offer HD on set-tops (iOS and PCs only play SD). Finally, while they show they have a gazillion movies, click through to some of the older ones and you’ll find they’re only available to buy rather than rent.

    Yes, Netflix is now vulnerable…so it’ll be interesting to see whether someone (VUDU or otherwise) can steal customers and positive market sentiment.

    • Chris,

      Thanks for the comment and for the analysis. To sum up your point, it doesn’t matter how great the message is if the product can’t live up to it. Sounds like VUDU has some holes it needs to fill before it can go head to head with Netflix.

      Thanks again,

      Josh