From the Trenches

The Value of Good Marketing and Customer Service

Will Davis | July 29, 2009

Marketing takes it on the chin a lot.  Marketing as a word has almost dirty connotations to some (although I imagine not many of you reading this space).  And so it’s always nice to see the value of good marketing.

In a move that came as a surprise to many last week, Amazon acquired Zappos for what will end up probably being somewhere between $800 and $900 million (since the deal is mostly in stock it will vary depending on how the stock is valued).

I was with a few colleagues when we heard the news and it sparked an interesting discussion.  One of the folks in the room pointed out that while Zappos revenue numbers are a bit hazy; they trumpeted hitting the $1 billion mark in sales in a press release celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2008.  His point was that they sold for less than 1 year’s sales.

My point was completely different.  Here you have, the behemoth of online commerce, that already has its own shoe operation, purchasing Zappos.  And it’s clearly a triumph of marketing and customer service.  I don’t think any of us believe Amazon needed Zappos for operations (warehouses, access to shipping, etc.).  Clearly if success were tied solely to these types of operational logistics Amazon could have crushed Zappos.

Where Zappos succeeded was in marketing and great customer experiences.  Building a brand and a culture around customers, then delivering through surprise discounts, an accessible and personable CEO leveraging the social web, and what is legendary customer service they have been driving incredibly high levels of repeat customers and phenomenal word of mouth.  It’s that strategy that led to the acquisition by Amazon.

At a time when marketing in general takes so many hits, it’s worth hearing the Zapposs story and learning something from it – That smart marketing and phenomenal customer experience can indeed go a long way.

Related Posts:

  • Mike Sweeney | May 18, 2011

    You’re Not Too Busy, You’re Under Prioritized

    “I am just really busy. There are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.” I hear some variation of that statement at least once a day, both in my business life and personal life. I am pretty certain that I’ve even uttered those exact words at least a dozen times over the […] read more

  • What Belongs in Your Messaging Guide
    Mike Sweeney | September 26, 2014

    Messaging Before Content: What Belongs in Your Messaging Guide

    Stay on message. The phrase is often used in politics and by politicians, some of whom — even the most skilled and polished — can’t resist the temptation to engage in a discourse that takes them far away from their core message. Going off message, however, doesn’t only happen in politics. It happens in every […] read more

  • Mike Sweeney | January 28, 2010

    How to Build an Interactive Marketing All-Star Team

    Some call it interactive marketing.  Others call it digital marketing.   Still others use internet marketing, web marketing or online marketing.  Frankly, the terminology doesn’t matter.  What matters is that companies need to and want to address this function, and are becoming more and more open to exploring the different ways of doing it. Occasionally we […] read more