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Belkin CMO: The ultra long term view keeping Amazon years ahead

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Amazon's ultra long term view on products helps cement its position as a market leader across multiple categories, says Kieran Hannon, a member of this year's CMO 100.

Andrew Brent: Smaller companies tend to be super focussed on growth. Though many companies, as they get larger, lose some of that focus. Amazon hasn’t. They’ve been a company extremely focused on ultra long term growth as an outcome. Could you talk me through your observation of them as a corporate beast, who has maintained focus throughout its growth cycle?

Kieran Hannon: I think it’s very clear that Jeff Bezos has a view on ultra long term growth. As you know, public companies tend to go from quarter to quarter with earnings, and we’ve never seen anybody who is as laser-focused on ultra long term growth as Jeff. And he’s been consistent in the way that he talks about Amazon to the markets. It’s a 20-30 year view he takes in everything he touches. So going back to Amazon starting as an online shopper: they have built these incredible in-house capabilities in order to deliver those experiences. One of those was the fact they had one of the first cloud implementations. They built their own cloud infrastructure, the software and hardware to enable those businesses to scale rapidly.

Over time, that became a business in and of itself, which we now know as Amazon Web Services, it is an $8bn business for Amazon, where they are re-selling cloud instances to customers, such as ourselves (Belkin). We are huge users of AWS for our brands. The Linksys smart Wi-Fi cloud sits on AWS. WeMo similarly. And they have such a high rating in the approach, pricing and the value that comes with that.

We are huge users of AWS for our brands. The Linksys smart Wi-Fi cloud sits on AWS. WeMo similarly. And they have such a high rating in the approach, pricing and the value that comes with that.

But that’s one of many. if you also look at the acquisitions they have made: they purchased IMDB, they did that because, the data that comes with that, the meta tagging that comes with that database, was an ingredient they used to accelerate the launch of the Amazon Prime TV platform.

Now they had the foresight years and years ago to purchase IMDB knowing that it would be built out and used on that platform. That in itself has been one of the ways they have fueled the success of the fire TV platform and Amazon Prime.

They have been very quick to learn and iterate. Though they haven’t been successful in all areas. Look at the Fire Phone. They had two or three shots at that, and it didn’t go the way they had hoped. But again, in the similar fashion, huge hits in the past year, is Amazon Alexa. It’s natural language platform that they launched initially with Echo. That in itself has foundationally changed how people can interact, not just with Amazon’s services, but other brands such as ours like WeMo. You can come straight into your home, if you have your hands full of groceries for example and say, Alexa tell WeMo to turn on the lights.

Amazon really has an ability to rapidly identify, build a product and bring it to market, and see if that proof of concept lives or dies.

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