5 Lessons We Can Learn From Amazon

Jeff Bezos has just become the first person ever to reach $200Bn in wealth. I’ve always seen Jeff as more of a traditional businessman but with a really good mind for innovation and growth rather than a typical tech entrepreneur like a Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey. He was one of the first to turn to the fast expanding internet in the late 1990s and see its huge potential and it was this vision, tenacity and new thinking that created the big success we see today.

So let’s take a look at 5 things we can all learn from Mr Bezos and Amazon as we build our own digital marketing strategies.

1. Move fast

Amazon is in a constant state of flux. You will find new departments, new partnerships, new UX, amends to call to actions and changes on the seller networks. Amazon have a great track record of moving quickly to deliver results. Introducing Amazon Prime is a great example. This is not something that was especially requested by customers but there was a strong belief that being able to deliver products within a day, or even hours would be a game changer. And this vision was exactly right. It has since gone on to set the standards for delivery across the world. This pace is an essential part of success in the digital age. Forget the tortoise – the faster businesses usually win the race.

2. Innovate

As well as Amazon Prime, the company is known for many infamous innovations. The ‘people like you also bought’ concept was really pioneered at scale by Amazon. I talk about this case study in my book Digital Marketing Strategy. The cross selling opportunity here was enormous. Many of us have found ourselves discovering new products, buying sets of goods and adding things to our basket that we never realised we ‘needed’. This smart concept, powered by tech has been as much a game changer for Amazon as Adwords was for Google. Never stop innovating.

3. Never stop testing

Amazon are great at testing concepts. Much of what we talk about above and below was tested to a specific market or segment before being rolled out. And then there is a lot you won’t kow about that was tested and failed. In fact Jeff Bezos once said he’d “made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon”. Not all tests are positive but that is why we test. We learn more from failure than we do from success. It’s important to ensure you can quickly roll back if something fails and to be sensible about testing precisely and then expanding. Why plan tomorrow what you can test today?

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4. Have a long term strategy

Those of you that follow me closely will know that I have a thing or two to say about strategy. It is essential for any business to have goals and a direction of travel, even if this pivots, otherwise you are just doing things. Amazon is a patient business. Despite moving fast and constantly testing, they are patient with some of their innovations. Some of their plays took years, sometimes more than a decade to be profitable. But with a vision, a clear strategy and the relentless focus they are famous for, they have made a success of some difficult challenges. Be strategic and commit to your plans.

5. Diversify intelligently

If there’s one thing you can say about Amazon it’s that it is not a one trick pony. Amazon Prime, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Kindle and Amazon Web Services are just a few of the diverse propositions now on offer. From shopping to streaming to tech products to back-end hardware, Amazon has fingers in many pies. However this isn’t totally random diversification. Each move has been a natural expansion.

We sell DVDs. Let’s deliver them. Let’s stream them.

We sell books. Let’s offer them through a digital reader.

Look at your products and services and consider how you could expand into new markets that have a natural fit.

For more on Amazon and other digital marketing case studies read my international best-seller, Digital Marketing Strategy.

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