Well that died down pretty quick.
I’m referring to the hullabaloo around the New York Times article from a couple weeks back which for a minute blew the roof on the working conditions off the world’s largest retailer (yes, only by market cap but isn’t that crazy unto itself?). Apparently Amazon runs itself like some sort of corporate Lord of the Flies where employees are encouraged to make other ones look bad, losing a loved one or falling gravely ill is frowned upon, and you’d better answer your emails promptly whether it’s 2 pm or 2 am.
To be honest the article ran the gamut of emotions from “that’s pretty horrible,” to “that is understandable” to, in the end, “are we really surprised if this is true?” The third seems to majorities take as not much was heard about the piece after Jeff Bezos’ retort.
However, as a digital marketer trying to help retail companies sell as much of their product online as possible there was one thing the article really impressed upon me; these people are serious about selling everything they can online. It seems for every product category they have specific teams (like greeting cards for goodness sakes) whose only reason for being is to figure how to sell said product category online as quickly and for as cheap as possible. With some 450 million different products and 150,000 employees worldwide there probably isn’t much Amazon isn’t trying to sell.
So the question begs does your client have a team like this doing this for them? Probably not. Do they kinda hope you’re that team or at least a major part of it? If they don’t then you, as a trusted advisor (I am now speaking to fellow digital marketers), should be impressing upon them of taking their digital efforts, whatever those may be, very seriously. This internet thing ain’t going away and there it isn’t just Amazon out there looking to take their customers from them.
But at the same time these digital efforts need not come from a place of fear necessarily. Us digital marketers should really be articulating and impressing upon them the opportunity they have to find new customers and new markets for their products. So what we need to do is impress upon them this need to look at their business and determine just how much they think this can help their business both from a defensive standpoint but also by taking the offensive against these large competitors. After all, the user on the other end just has a need for a product that your client can provide. Let’s help them do it!