There are plenty of quote collections from the world’s richest man floating around out there, but Jeff Bezos just has a habit of saying smart things. Perhaps if we marketers listened to him more, rather than running off after the next shiny object, we would all be a little bit smarter and more effective.
In a recent interview in Forbes Bezos talks about the importance of planning for the future and creating a roadmap for success that allows everyone in the company to know what actions can be taken without a constant need for approval. He states,
“I very rarely get pulled into the today. I get to work two or three years into the future, and most of my leadership team has the same setup.”
Bezos understands that this quarter’s results were baked in three years ago and that no amount of fine-tuning and optimisation is going to make up for the wrong strategic decision. Having a clear strategic road map enables widely dispersed teams to work effectively and enables them to act quickly to seize incremental opportunities without seeking approval from multiple layers of management. It is just the same when it comes to brand building. If you want to move fast, know where you are going.
Make sure it is different
When it comes to the big new ventures, where Bezos characterizes himself "chief slowdown officer" he first assesses its uniqueness,
"We have to have a differentiated idea. It can't be a 'me too' offering.“
I know I am a broken record on this subject, but if you don’t believe me maybe you will take it as gospel if it comes from someone who built one of the most valuable brands in the world: you will not grow your brand by doing the same as everyone else. That applies to everything from the basic offer to the customer experience and how you advertise the brand.
Earn people’s attention
Bezos identifies a laser-like focus on customer experience as the reason for Amazon’s success, but when he talks about developing content for Prime all marketers ought to take notice,
“You can have the best technology, you can have the best business model, but if the storytelling isn't amazing, it won't matter. Nobody will watch.”
Just as with the Amazon business overall, when it comes to developing content Bezos starts with the human, not the technology. In an age of content overload only the most remarkable, inspirational or useful is going to earn people’s attention.
Those are just a few of my favourite Bezos quotes.
Written by Nigel Hollis, Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown