The latest Amazon drone video was released the day before Cyber-Monday, an unlikely coincidence perhaps. While Amazon, Google, Walmart and Facebook wait to hear the FAA's response to their petition to fly drones, there are brilliant marketing lessons to be learned from Amazon's recent moves:
1. Don't be afraid to hire a disruptor
Jeremy Clarkson built his success on crazy car stunts on British car program Top Gear that used to gain an estimated worldwide audience of 350 million viewers. He is often in the news for all of the wrong reasons. Most recently, he was publicly fired by the BBC for physically attacking a member of his production team. That didn't stop Bezos paying $250m for three seasons of shows with Clarkson and his two co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May.
2. Gather a magnet-hire in your new ideal industry
Just as Bezos hired Cathy Beaudoin from Gap when Amazon wanted to launch their new fashion business, Bezos is now targeting global household names like Clarkson to boost their ratings of original content on Amazon Prime. Amazon continues to chase Netflix, who paid $100m for two seasons of House of Cards as they continue to establish a foothold in the video-streaming space. Hiring a magnet-hire that will attract others from the industry will help catapult fast growth.
3. Cross promote your products
Amazon's drone video not only shares the future innovation of drone delivery but it also puts Clarkson at the forefront of Amazon's customers, building awareness for when the Top Gear equivalent show releases on Amazon Prime in 2016.
4. Make rapid fast experiments
Amazon will often test small fast experiments across different small teams to rapidly innovate. One example, which could be gearing up for drone-ready tracking, is Prime-Now that launched in Los Angeles last month. I have been delighted to benefit from this new service where I can order groceries and gifts and get them delivered for free in less than two hours. This service competes with its existing Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service, for some companies this would have caused it to come to a grinding halt, but not at Amazon. Fast experimentation and rapid sun setting of projects that don't work provide insights from customers faster than some companies take to still be planning a launch.
Amazon Prime-Now lets you track on a map exactly where your delivery driver is and how long before your parcel arrives at your doorstep. This is just the technology that could be used for tracking your drone as it flies across freeways and fields to your house.
Amazon may be known for their ruthless innovation, but not known for their fantastic marketing, in fact many of their past campaigns like the echo wireless speaker commercial, have been downright cringe-worthy. While the cynical may be saying this was just a Cyber Monday PR push, it could well be part of a very strategic marketing play by Bezos and his team.