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To Post or Not to Post: Taking a Marketing Page from Jeff Bezos’ Playbook

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by: Todd McCormick (@TMcCormick2011)
10 September 2013

Unless you’ve been vacationing on a remote island somewhere (in which case, I’m a little jealous), you probably know by now that Jeff Bezos, founder of, the world’s largest online retailer of, well, nearly everything, purchased The Washington Post last month for $250 million. Journalists and business experts alike have been scratching their heads, wondering how Bezos, the 19th richest man in the world, will apply his business acumen and innovative leadership to the struggling media giant.

While they’re trying to solve this riddle, marketers can examine all Bezos has done right and learn a thing or two from the guy who revolutionized not only online shopping, but also how we buy books and (thanks to Kindle and print-on-demand) how we consume them. Here are a few pages digital marketers can take from Bezos’ playbook to give customers exactly what they want:

1) Buy The Washington Post. In other words, get yourself a large database for your message. You may never have a readership of nearly 19 million like The Post, but with a robust marketing automation platform, you can pull in more data from more channels than ever before. By enabling you to capture data on your customers’ demographics, purchase histories, and buying behaviors, marketing automation provides all the information you need to keep your customers renewing their “subscriptions.”

2) Offer something for everyone. Whether you prefer to curl up with a hard copy of the latest bestseller, download the digital version to read on your next business trip, listen to the audio version while in traffic, or save a buck by purchasing a used copy, Amazon has an option for you. And when you get ready to check out, Amazon uses your purchase history, and those of shoppers with similar tastes, to recommend products that might interest you. This level of automated customization makes Amazon stand out from other online retailers. With a unified digital marketing platform that stores data on all of your customers in one place, you can offer buyers the same level of personalized content and promotions.

3) Focus on a thrilling customer experience. Amazon has created and purchased technology solutions that not only reduce operating costs and overhead, but actually improve and customize each user’s experience. With loads of self-service options and user reviews on each product, Amazon empowers customers by providing the information and tools they need to quickly and easily make purchases. Digital marketers can do the same thing — leverage the right technology solutions to ensure customers feel good about doing business with your company.

4) Have a strong vision. Bezos understands the value of knowing exactly what you’re aiming to achieve. At Amazon, he set a clear, achievable vision for his company — to become a place “where customers can come to find and discover anything and everything they might want to buy online.” Similarly, Kindle was introduced with the aim to make “every book ever printed in any language all available in less than 60 seconds." 

Bezos saw what was possible and clearly understood what his consumers wanted, even before they did. Successful digital marketing campaigns must be just as focused and relevant. Ask yourself: What is my company trying to achieve with this campaign? How does that align with what customers want from us? And how can we use what we know about our buyers' behaviors to deliver our message in the most powerful and provocative way?

As the business world continues to keep an eye on Bezos, you can use his success strategies to make a name for your company. Who knows, maybe we’ll be reading about you in The Washington Post soon!

Related Resources:

1) Blog: “Universal Behaviors: What It Means for Marketers and the Customer Experience

2) White Paper: “20 Ways to Personalize Content and Enhance the Customer Experience

3) Blog: “3 T’s for Improving the Customer Experience


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