Marketing is changing. In a time of data abundance, incredible technology, imaginative canvases, and serious cultural and social conflicts, marketers, suppliers and agencies face increasing complexity and competition. While the industry is ripe with different “thought leadership” conversations about “what’s next” offering simple magic solutions, the one consistent thing is that sooner or later someone will mention Amazon.
Since its incorporation in 1994 and via a close escape from being called “Cadabra”, Amazon.com Inc, the US-based retail giant, has grown to become the world’s largest internet retailer despite an explosion of competition. It is only the second company to exceed a market capitalisation of $1 trillion in intra-day trading. Indeed Amazon’s scale now seems to be its only threat.
As Amazon adds new categories and new businesses, it has rapidly become both the enemy at the gates and the new hope for doing business.
But what is Amazon?
At Digitas we have been having many conversations and working sessions with clients and colleagues that touch upon Amazon and its impact upon marketing. What is fascinating is that whether you are an Amazon expert, a customer, a Marketplace seller or even a media insider, everyone has a different perspective. Amazon is so vast, with so many subsidiaries, brands, verticals and products that you are rapidly reminded of the infamous “blind men and the elephant” parable.
In the marketing industry there is often a tendency to project partial knowledge as whole truth, and perhaps only God or Jeff Bezos can truly know Amazon, but based on conversations, many articles in the trade and mainstream press, detailed reports and even some (public) internal Amazon material, we sort to lay down a primer, the basic starter knowledge if you will, of how Amazon is changing marketing.
The world needs less PowerPoint.
Instead of writing another report or slide deck we combined research and sources into a Concept Map similar to our previous Map of Modern Brand Building. Only a little bit bigger.
“With a concept map, a viewer can see both the forest and individual trees. The big picture is clear because all the ideas are presented on one surface. At the same time, it’s easy to dive in and see details and how they relate.”
Four nodes began to appear in the map.
- What is Amazon, its pillars and how it creates value across the globe.
- The increasing competitive impact for marketers in CPG, Auto, Fashion, IoT, Electronics, Home Services and Entertainment (both from
- Amazon and from 3rd Parties on Marketplace including those causing “the China Crisis”).
- The 5 Convenience Principles behind how Amazon is affecting and transforming the Customer Journey in terms of customer expectations.
- The growing Amazon Advertising and Media services that brands and sellers can make use of to build their brands and reach new audiences.
This “Map of Amazon and its impact on Modern Marketing” does not claim to be exhaustive and only covers one and half of Amazon’s three primary pillars (Prime, Webservices, Marketplace). It does not go deep into AWS, healthcare, AI or Finance.
And yet it reveals two competitive forces that Amazon’s customer obsession has unleashed to transform the marketing value chain: Experiential Competition and Perceptual Competition.
Experiential Competition is about new, practical ways of selling. This type of competition promotes customer experiences that replace others or reposition them within the customer journey. It is about offering accessibility, simplicity, service convenience, personalisation, purchase convenience, and channel flexibility to improve sales activation, fulfilment, useage and repeat purchase. It is not just about “time well saved” but expectations met or exceeded.
As Benedict Evans observed, new customer journeys lead to new kinds of decisions that change what gets bought and then further change how it is sold. Experiential Competition is driving these changes.
This can lead to Amazon famously selling more private-label batteries than Duracell or 55% of US consumers starting online product searches on Amazon rather than Google. And it can lead to infamously rigid industries like Automotive being forced to reimagine the purchase experience more around people than dealers when Hyundai opens a virtual showroom in Amazon Vehicles.
While there are many “magic bullet” tips and tactics out there promising marketers short cuts to delivering great experiences, too few channel the Amazon Experiential Competition lesson of “sell something the customer wants to buy, at a price the customer wants to pay, with the service the customer expects”……Read More>>>