Lessons from Amazon

Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore Amazon. The online retailer continues to grow at an amazing rate, all the while maintaining top rankings for customer satisfaction.

In in his annual letter to shareholders released last week, CEO Jeff Bezos explains how setting high standards helps Amazon keep pace with increasingly empowered consumers.

“How do you stay ahead of ever-rising customer expectations?” he writes, adding that it takes a combination of strategies. “But high standards … are certainly a big part of it.” He then describes seven “essentials” of what he has learned about the importance of high standards.

While his experience is based on retail, Bezos writes, “I sense that the same customer empowerment phenomenon is happening broadly across everything we do at Amazon and most other industries as well. You cannot rest on your laurels in this world. Customers won’t have it.”

In mobile-computing boom, a battle rages for marketing

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO, Thu Oct 4, 201 – Amazon.com Inc. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, who quipped at a shareholder meeting a few years ago that “advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product,” is eating those words.

Three years on, as the company moves aggressively into the mobile computing business with its Kindle tablets and ereaders, Amazon has already spent $34 million on TV advertising for the Kindle in the first half of the year, according to Kantar Media, and there’s more to come.

Indeed, in the consumer technology business, where billions of dollars are poured into marketing, great products go only halfway towards winning market share.

Take Apple Inc, for example. Perceived as a company that has triumphed with exceptional technology, it has long been the pace-setter on marketing, too, spending some $1.5 billion on iPhone and iPad advertising since their introduction.

Now Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Amazon, Microsoft Corp and other tablet and smartphone makers are stepping up with big spending on TV spots, print ads, guerilla marketing stunts and over-the-top launch events.