Amazon’s Unassuming Impact on Consumer Goods Brands


The Signal P&G event brought together brands we see in the news almost daily — from Twitter and Facebook to Coca-Cola and more. But the brands on Procter & Gamble’s dais getting less media attention, or perhaps less positive media attention, were the most interesting that day. The update on Amazon in particular taught me to reconsider the power of unassuming brands.

As shiny-new stories about Pinterest, Google and Facebook distract our attention, several unassuming brands, like Amazon, have quietly become pervasive and have a much bigger story to tell.

The Mighty Amazon
After Amazon launched in 1995, a then-client suggested the site was a Ponzi scheme. Not only was he wrong, he was one of the first of many Amazon naysayers. But for most of us, we’ve come to know Amazon as one of the only Internet mall concepts from the dot-com era that came to fruition.

This quote from Forrester Research’s Sucharita Mulpuru shows how far Amazon’s come since 1995: “Amazon is beating Walmart in price.”

This six-word metric is telling. But its not the only reason consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands should consider Amazon in their marketing mix.

Sales Taking Off: CPG is Amazon’s fastest growing category  making up 4 percent of Amazon’s 2011 sales.

Customer Base: Amazon has more than 170 million active customers — customers spending money, not users.

Scale & Personalization: It has the ability to personalize each customer’s experience, suggesting other items she might enjoy and what others purchasing an item also bought. This gets users to spend and brands to advertise.

Daily Deals Show Potential: Amazon taps into more than its fair share of the daily deals phenomenon that’s estimated to generate $7 million every day. In addition to Amazon Local, it owns LivingSocial. Amazon also leverages its personalization technology to create MyHabit.com. This “private sale” site and mobile app offers brand-specific promotions — tailored to each user. None of these are typically leveraged for CPG, but they do represent an interesting, untapped opportunity.

Autopilot Purchasing: It may sound odd to buy products like toilet paper through Amazon. But Empower MediaMarketing vice president of strategy, Mitch Dunn makes a great point. “If you find a staple product like toilet paper at the right price on Amazon, why not have it sent automatically to your house, at regular intervals, on an ongoing basis? It’s one less thing you need to think about. And you’ll never run out of it.”

Amazon Drives Offline Sales for Crest
It’s not surprising Procter & Gamble has experienced great success selling its Crest brand through Amazon. A Crest White Strips campaign gave the brand a 26-percent lift in its Amazon sales and even impacted offline sales. Procter & Gamble’s Amazon-based campaign increased offline sales an additional eight percent, or $1 million, according to Lisa Utzschneider, Amazon’s global vice president of ad sales .

Amazon’s Digital Ecosystem
During Signal P&G, CNET’s Brian Cooley detailed why Amazon’s success will not be short-lived. Whether its an online site or offline gadget, CNET looks first for a product’s digital ecosystem to determine how successful it might be in the future.

A digital ecosystem includes the device, a service, apps, as well as an operating system. Google has one. Apple has one. Verizon, Samsung and Nokia all have one. Amazon does, too.

All of these companies can provide consumers with media that is in sync no matter where they use it, when they use it or even which device they use to access it. A digital ecosystem can make or break a products future success. So if I predict a future wherein you’ll be buying our clients products on your Kindle Fire, it may sound odd or presumptuous. But the odds are good that I’ll be right.

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Kevin Dugan
Kevin Dugan

My content creation habits were formed as a kid -- filling notebooks with writing and taking stacks of pictures. These habits have evolved through my 20 years in marketing, as I’ve been immersed in all forms of content, social media and online technology. As Editor-In-Chief of Media is Power, I guide editorial strategy and ensure your needs are met. This is one way I help tell Empower’s story as the director of content.