15 Beyond-the-Obvious Films and Shows Every Marketer Should Watch on Netflix

15 Binge-Worthy Marketing and Business Movies on Netflix.

Netflix is perfect for cozy Friday nights spent on the couch, a date with your “bae” and, of course, marathon binge-watching shows alone in your pajamas. As it turns out, with an abundance of marketing and business movies on Netflix, it’s also not a bad source of inspiration for your small business marketing campaigns.

With over 137 million customers who watch a combined 1 billion+ hours of movies, documentaries and television shows every month on Netflix, your next Netflix binge session could actually be educating you on the latest and greatest skills.

If you think you’ve tapped into every resource as a marketer, don’t worry—you haven’t. There are a number of marketing and business movies on Netflix that are interesting and also packed with marketing insights! Read on to discover the list of the best marketing and business movies, shows, and documentaries on Netflix.

Ready to inspire your Netflix queue with a dose of marketing and business flicks? In this article, we’ll recommend our favorite beyond-the-obvious business movies, shows, and documentaries every marketer (and entrepreneur) should watch.

Our picks for top marketing and business movies on netflix

1 – Brene Brown – Call to Courage

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Brene-Brow

The gist: 

The godmother of vulnerability, Brene Brown, is at it again… This time on Netflix. (For those of you who are not familiar, Brene Brown is a New York Times bestselling author, whose self-help mantra is to “have the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome.”

This riveting documentary captures the University of Houston research professor talking to a filled audience at UCLA about being courageous. “Call to Courage” is equal parts motivational and funny, making it an easy watch… Even if you’re doing it for professional gain. 

Category: Documentary Length: 75 min.

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

There’s a reason Call to Courage makes the list of best business documentaries… It helps us gain courage through vulnerability. Vulnerability applies to both our personal and professional lives. If we’re vulnerable, we subject ourselves to new experiences and challenges, which is the key to growth as a small business owner or marketer. This documentary will help eliminate common mental roadblocks every small business professional faces, so you’re teed up for growth. Here are some additional takeaways of the talk: 

  • Vulnerability is not a weakness, it’s a strength. It’s a way to assess courage. 
  • Vulnerability and creativity go hand in hand. Brown says, “No tolerance for failure, no innovation. It is that simple,” she advised. “If you’re not willing to fail, you can’t innovate. If you’re not willing to build a vulnerable culture, you can’t create.”

Vulnerability allows us to answer the call of courage. Ask yourself, “What if I would’ve shown up?” in this situation… How would you have responded or acted differently?

2 – Inside Bill’s Brain – Decoding Bill Gates

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Netflix show Inside Bills Brain

The gist:

Bill Gates, the software magnate, is a mystery to the world… Up until now.  Gates was the face of Microsoft during the company’s booming success, yet he’s kept somewhat quiet and away from the media. 

Well, in this business docu-series, Gates is demystified. He opens up, so viewers can get to the core of who he is. He answers questions like “What makes one of the world’s wealthiest people tick?” “What shaped who he is as a person?” and “How did he come to dominate a fiercely competitive industry?”

The series covers much of his personal life: his childhood, education, growing Microsoft, his family life, and his charitable foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The series features three parts, which are broken down as follows:

  • Part 1: Gates speaks about his mission to get better sanitation to the developing world. And, his sisters share childhood memories about him.
  • Part 2: Gates speaks about his childhood friend and co-founder Paul Allen and other strong bonds with individuals along the way. 
  • Part 3: Gates details his passion for tackling climate change solutions. 

Category: Documentary Length: 52 min. (Three parts)

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

It’s always helpful to step inside the mind of a genius… And this business documentary helps you do that. Gates is passionate, intelligent, and savvy—all essential qualities of any small business marketer or owner. After viewing the series, you’ll feel clearer and more motivated to tackle your business’ growth in 2020. 

3 – The Mind: Explained

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Netflix show The mind explained

The gist:

Our minds are unexplainable—or are they? The Mind: Explained is a new Netflix docu-series featuring the inner workings of our brains. It answers the underlying question, “How can we help ourselves, and each other when our minds betray us?” and “What can we do to take back some control?”

The series allows you to take an adventure through five parts of your mind, covering the following themes:

  • Memory
  • Dreams
  • Anxiety
  • Mindfulness
  • Psychedelics

Category: Documentary Length: 20 min. (Five episodes)

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

Have you ever heard the term “neuromarketing”? It’s as simple as this: it blends marketing and psychology together to better understand consumers. This docu-series will broaden your sense of neuromarketing so you can step inside the minds of your core audience members.  (Episode one, on memory, is especially useful.)

4 – Broken

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Netflix show Broken

The gist:

Netflix recently released Broken, a documentary series made up of four investigative episodes. Each explores different processes behind the demand for four mainstream American products like:

  • Makeup
  • Vape pens
  • Furniture
  • Plastic 

Category: Documentary Length: 1 hr. (Four episodes)

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

This Netflix marketing documentary will not only make you a smarter consumer, but also a smarter business owner. The lesson is clear—deceptive marketing and business practices never win in the long run. It’s all about maintaining high-quality products or services from the get-go. 

This Netflix documentary empowers you to understand the forces of globalism, branding, mass production, and marketing. All elements that impact any business, big or small.

5 – Tony Robbins – I Am Not Your Guru

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Netflix Show I am Not Your Guru

The gist:

Tony Robbins – I Am Not Your Guru offers a behind-the-scenes look of Tony Robbins’ seminar Date With Destiny, attended by thousands of attendees in Boca Raton, Florida, each year.

Tony Robbins is an American author, public speaker, life coach, and philanthropist. He started his career publishing self-help books, like Unlimited Power (1987) and Awaken the Giant Within (1993).

This one man’s reach is widespread. In fact, he helps anyone with psychological, emotional or spiritual issues by dealing (head-on) with their issues. Robbins knows how to reshape any negative life event into a positive, as he coaches people throughout the documentary to success.

Category: Documentary Length: 1 hr. 55 min.

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

Self-help transcends to all areas of your life, professional life included. If you’re facing any mental obstacles as a small business owner or marketer, Tony Robbins’ lectures will help you tackle them. 

(Pro tip: If you’re more of a reader, check out Tony Robbins’ books above, or our list of the best books for entrepreneurs.)

6 – The Great Hack

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Netflix Show The Great Hack

The gist:

There is a dark side to social media. This reality was unearthed in the Netflix documentary about the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal. “The Great Hack” shows how technology, consumer information, and data analysis have become a social experiment.

So, where does personal privacy begin and end online? This documentary reveals the lines are blurred. It becomes a moral question… And this documentary explores the lines crossed by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

This documentary takes a look at trends and ideas and how they are spurred by hyper-targeted marketing.

Category: Documentary Length: 1 hr. 54 min.

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

Watching this documentary will quickly debrief you on how personalized behavioral marketing works. While it’s a lesson of what to avoid, it will shed light on how the industry works and how you can proceed (morally) with customer data, especially with Facebook advertising.

7 – The Creative Brain

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Netflix Show The Creative Brain

The gist:

In “The Creative Brain,” David Eagleman, a famous neuroscientist, channels the creative process of a number of iconic innovators, like:

  • Claire Bousher, “Grimes: musician 
  • Kelis, former pop music artist turned professional chef
  • Tim Robbins, actor
  • Zachary Lazar, author
  • Michael Chabon, novelist
  • D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones co-creator 
  • Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft CTO
  • Robert Glasper, Grammy-winning pianist 

Eagleman is enchanted with the human imagination. In this psychology/marketing documentary, he outlines the main functions and categories of the creative brain. Watching this documentary will bring you back to high school science class, while also broadening your capacity of understanding creativity and how to spark it in your everyday life. It will help you better understand how the human brain works and how you can tap into that knowledge.

Category: Documentary Length: 52 min.

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

Whether you believe it or not, you can undoubtedly become more creative, and this marketing movie can help. Why is creativity important in business? Creativity is the lifeblood of it. Without it, you will produce stale, generic marketing messages that don’t resonate with your core audience. And that leads to lackluster leads

(Pro tip: Check out our guide on how to write unique copy that truly stands out.)

Here are three primary concepts of the documentary that help you better understand what creativity is and how to think about it:

  1. Creativity is about refashioning what already exists.
  2. Creativity is about avoiding familiarity and staring failure in the face. 
  3. Creativity is about pushing boundaries.

Eagleman remarks: “In this way, we can take advantage of what it is to be human, to drink in the world and produce something, anything, that has never existed before.” It’s clear that creativity is naturally within all of us — we just have to tap into it correctly. 

8 – Jiro Dreams of Sushi

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Netflix Show JIRO Dreams of Sushi

The gist: 

This foreign documentary profiles sushi chef Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old master who owns an obscure, $300-a-plate restaurant. His restaurant is legendary among foodies worldwide… But, why?

Category: Documentary  | Length: 1 hr. 22 min.

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

How does a ten-seat sushi restaurant in the basement of Tokyo’s Ginza subway station that serves no appetizers or dessert earn three stars from the most prestigious restaurant guide in the world?

The chef and owner Jiro Ono creates an unforgettable customer experience. Why are his customers so convinced a quick, underground sushi meal is worth $300? Sure, the taste is a big factor. But the experience is right up there with it.

In an article for CNN, customer Dan Shapiro recounted his experience upon arrival:

“I am escorted to one of 10 seats at this shrine to Japanese sushi, offered a warm towel to cleanse my hands and face, a cup of tea and even a small rubber pad so that my camera doesn’t make direct contact with the altar-like countertop.”

Chef Jiro then plates each of the 20 pieces of sushi by hand one at a time before setting each down in front of the customer. He takes time with each customer and cares about the delivery of his product, the sushi.

Long story short, customers leave the restaurant talking about much more than just the sushi—they talk about the experience. So, this begs the questions as marketers…

  • What kind of experience are you offering your customers?
  • Is it memorable?
  • Are you creating a personal experience for each of your customers?
  • Is your brand worth raving about?

These are the questions Jiro Dreams of Sushi will challenge you to answer.


Once you decide on your occupation, you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success… and is the key to being regarded honorably.

JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI

9 – The Founder

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Netflix Show The Founder

The gist: 

“After a fateful encounter with the McDonald brothers, struggling salesman Ray Kroc becomes driven to change the way hamburgers are made and sold,” says Netflix. Kroc is a ruthless and money-hungry man who took McDonald’s from the McDonald brothers and turned it into a global corporate chain.

Category: Movie | Length: 1 hr. 55 min.

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

Here’s an example of a great business movie because it’s the story of capitalism at its finest—and at its most frightening. Ray Kroc, a traveling salesman specialized in the restaurant industry, stumbles across McDonald’s: a family-owned and operated restaurant with a novel approach to speed and efficiency. Instantly, Kroc wants in—all in. As he partners with the founding brothers, their relationship strains as Kroc seeks full control of a fast-growing empire, while the two McDonald’s brothers watch as their restaurant, wealth, and legacy is wrenched away from them.

In this business movie, where Kroc’s sense of morality is lacking, the narrative has an abundance of marketing genius and business know-how that fuels the franchise’s success. The proof? Krock is able to replicate, maintain, and scale the same brand experience across every McDonald’s enterprise.

While Kroc is certainly an antihero, marketers can take away the fact that with a consistent and prolific brand, exponential growth is possible. The key is maintaining a consistent look and feel and delivering the same expected customer experience each time.

10 – Mad Men

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Netflilx Show Mad Men

The gist: 

This 92-episode marketing series and period drama chronicles the lives of the 1960s advertising executives in an age where anything can be marketed with the proper tagline.

Category: Television series | Length: 30 min. each 

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

Mad Men offers an immersive experience into the inner workings of agency life in the 1960s; including structure, client interactions, and the creative process—even if whiskey is included. In the intro alone, the show unveils the core of advertising, which is “making people happy.” In a day in age where consumerism equaled happiness for many, this series offers great tips on how to pair marketing strategies with maintaining or earning customer happiness.

So how do you put this to practice?

You need to show the customers not what our product is, but what it will do for them and how it will make their life better. All marketing messages should reflect a brand’s user benefit.


Advertising is based on one thing: happiness.
And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK.


MAD MEN

11 – Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things

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Netflix Show Minimalism Documentary

The gist: 

This documentary follows the lives of those who sold most of their possessions and live the lives of minimalists and ponders the answer to the question, “How might your life be better with less?” Two friends share one thing in common: the desire for less. They team up and petition nationwide to show Americans that less is really more, giving away most of their worldly possessions.

Category: Documentary | Length: 1 hr. 18 min. 

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

This documentary is all about people dedicated to rejecting the American mantra “the more, the better.”

As marketers, we can challenge the idea that quality trumps quantity. Think about it: in our personal lives, we know having less clutter around can clear our minds, so think about that principle’s application to marketing… Creating clear and uncluttered copywriting and design is the best way to resonate and reach your audiences.

Take it from a recent blog post we wrote on design predictions:

“More likely than not, your content is being consumed on the go—on trains, on buses, and in that split second your user is at a stoplight. Pair this with ever-shortening attention spans, and you’ll find that site speed is key to getting your message across quickly.”

Design will have to adapt to ensure that load times stay low. How do you go about this?

By keeping your design minimal (less is always more), and supplementing the clean layout with unique details—think either small bursts of hand-drawn type and patterns, brief animation, or quick dashes of bright color! Experimenting with new techniques will help your message pop, and let the personality of your brand shine through.”

12 – Something Ventured

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Netflix Show Something Ventured

The gist: 

This marketing documentary deep dives into the world’s most revolutionary brands, like Apple and Intel, and how they grew from basement startups to household names through venture capitalism.

Length: 1 hr. 25 min. | Category: Documentary

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

This business and marketing documentary follows big brands—and their founders—from conception to full scale, so you can grasp what it takes to grow a business not only operationally and fiscally, but also marketing-wise.

So, what can we take away as marketers in this documentary? The revolutionary individuals and companies featured share one common thread: risk aversion. We can learn a lot from this documentary because you’ll see that risk, in many instances, resulted in unprecedented rewards.

While you may not be a company founder, entrepreneur, or venture capitalist, there is a hidden lesson that marketing campaigns should push boundaries. Surpassing boundaries can lead to customer attention, intrigue, and ultimately conversions.

13 – FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

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Netflix Show FRYE

The gist: 

A reckless entrepreneur markets the Fyre Festival as a luxury music festival hosted on a private island. However, his team is ultimately unprepared to deliver on the promises made in their wildly successful marketing campaign.

Category: Documentary | Length: 1h 37m  

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

This business documentary acts as a cautionary tale to professionals across the board: don’t sell something you can’t deliver. While the protagonist’s actions are a classic case of ‘what not to do,’ there are elements of marketing genius that can inspire your own small business marketing.

Take for instance the influencer marketing campaign that transformed an unknown festival into a buying frenzy. While outrageously expensive and ultimately unsuccessful, the campaign’s unique tactic to blanket social networks, spark curiosity, and inspire FOMO is certainly praise-worthy.

14 – 20 Feet from Stardom

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Netflix Show 20 Feet Fro Stardom

The gist: 

This show on Netflix highlights the world of modern music’s most talented backup singers and the stars they sing for. And, believe it or not, it can be categorized as a marketing show. 

Episode Length: 1 hr. 30 min. | Category: Documentary

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

Marketers share a common thread—creativity.

Enter the life of a backup singer. A delicate balance of controlled synchronicity and freewheeling creativity. It’s fascinating to watch the incredibly talented singers walk the line between remaining in the background and being stars.

And just like marketing, good background singing ties to perseverance and being the best at your given craft. 20 Feet From Stardom will supply you with ample motivation to keep trying no matter your role as a marketer, while also giving you a blast of creativity in campaign planning this year.

Sometimes, it can be a struggle to know when to unleash that creativity and when to keep it in check.

  • “Should I try something different with this headline…or play it safe?”
  • “Should this video about our product be simple and straightforward…or tell an emotional story?”
  • “Should this Facebook ad be clever and funny…or clear and to-the-point?”

15 – Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

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Netflix Show Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown

The gist: 

This series follows the late chef, author, and television personality, Anthony Bourdain, as he digs into the culture of often-untraveled destinations around the world.

Category: Television series | Length: 42 min. 

How it will make you a better small business marketer: 

As the title suggests, Parts Unknown will transport you places you’ve never experienced. While that may seem like an odd way to become a better marketer, this show stretches your creative mind and allows you to envelop a broader grasp of the world. This is especially helpful when it comes to global marketing. If your brand markets beyond the boundaries of the U.S., this series expands your view of monolithic humans and societies.

While watching someone else chase down life’s curiosities, travel the world, and meet people from different cultures is certainly no replacement for doing those things yourself, it can, at the very least, open your mind to new ideas and perspectives, right?


If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk-in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN

What marketing and business movies on Netflix did we leave out?

The big screen offers a magical medium for conveying a lot of information in a short period. The above-mentioned documentaries, movies, and shows about business are just some of the examples that can trigger all sorts of insights and motivation that will be useful to you in your career as a marketer.

And, the question that’s indefinitely captured your mind: “What Netflix selections have inspired your inner marketer?”

Leave a comment below and let us know!