What Amazon Could Teach Radio

76aI can’t think of a more competitive marketplace than one that offers infinite choice. This is the marketplace that Amazon operates in. It’s called the internet.

So how is Amazon doing?

Exceptionally well.


Customer Focus

The Motley Fool writes that Amazon’s secret weapon for success is just a handful of core principles with the leading one being to “focus relentlessly on our customers.”

Jim Collins, author of such great books as “Good to Great” and “Built to Last” created the strategic framework that Amazon uses known as the “flywheel.” Here’s what that looks like from Amazon.com via Benedict Evans


The beauty of this concept is that while it takes a lot of effort to put everything in motion, once it is moving it develops its own momentum that contributes to future growth. Much as I learned in my college physics class about Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion. These things are really universal and when you can connect the dots, magic happens.

Christmas 2016

You’ve probably heard by now about how merchants did selling stuff for Christmas. The forecast for 2016 was one trillion dollars to be spent; an increase of 3.6 to 4% over 2015.

So with that kind of spending on the table what we see is Macy’s, Sears and Kohl’s among other retailers reported flat or down sales for Christmas 2016. Macy’s, Kmart and Sears announcing store closings as a result.

Amazon meanwhile reported its best holiday season yet, shipping over one billion items worldwide.

AMAZON Christmas 2016

To give you a better idea of how strong Amazon’s Christmas sales were in 2016, let’s look at the Monday before Christmas. Slice Intelligence reported that Amazon sold 49.2% of items purchase online.

For the 2016 Christmas season, Amazon ended up making 38% of all online sales followed by Best Buy at 3.9%, Target at 2.9% and Walmart at 2.9%.

Customer Focus Rules

When you focus on your customer relentlessly, you organize your whole organization around a single goal and insure that everyone stays focused on that goal 24/7.

Your radio station(s) have the power to do what other media services can’t do, be live and local delivering entertainment and information that can’t be obtained from any other source.

One of the big advantages Amazon had this Christmas was their Prime 2-day delivery. It meant that Christmas shopping procrastinators aka most of us men could shop closer to the big day.

You might have read or seen that Amazon is working on delivery by drones and delivery services shorter than 2-days. Amazon appears to be thinking about owning its own delivery supply chain eliminating the need for UPS or USPS.

So how much time has been devoted by you and your people to customer focus? That means your listeners and your advertisers.

Once per year?

Once per month?



So what’s stopping you?




Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales

6 responses to “What Amazon Could Teach Radio

  1. And, this is a no cost line-item for radio! Amazon success is built on easy home delivery of exactly what you want. Real Radio success is ability to present, curate and deliver important & attractive content: news, weather, information, sports, personal communication, local connection and music. Non-local, cookie cutter automation, same & boring (or too far out there) music and 8 unit stop sets are killers. Simply, do it! If It’s Sunday Morning, it’s another great lesson from Prof. Dick Taylor. Thank you. Clark, Boston. http://www.broadcastideas.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ken Dardis

    “…it takes a lot of effort to put everything in motion…”

    Made more difficult when you dismantle newsrooms and promotion departments, depend on voice tracking, and abandon the farm system for talent development.

    There was a time when I worked at a station with this posted on the control room door: Our product is created in here.” How many stations can claim that today?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ken, love the story of the sign on the control room door that reads “Our product is created in here.” After the era of network radio and the birth of independent, locally originated radio — it was all done that way. It was the radio I grew up listening to and worked in.

      The pendulum swinging from high touch to high tech would introduce the majority of radio we have today.

      However, a new breed of broadcasters are working to bring back locally originated radio. -DT


  3. Excellent article. Many radio stations have become deserted islands. It’s like trying to shake the invisible man’s hand. Eventually you realize there’s no one there and you stop reaching out for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Curt, that’s a good observation. When the public realizes there’s no one home, they will stop using that venue as a resource. Habits change over time and they don’t change back quickly.

      Thanks for stopping by the blog and adding to the discussion. -DT


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