Amazon has long been a financial conundrum. Writers like Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times have written extensively about how the brand operates like a charitable project, funded by the stock exchange, letting the world buy cheap stuff. In fact, the company has rarely made year-end net profits, instead opting to reinvested revenues in new and often profitable ventures like its enterprise cloud services and hosting company, Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The company’s stock price has been strong for the last five years but has increased its share price by more than 100 per cent in the past 11 months. The secret? Content marketing and community engagement.
The company began releasing its quarterly earnings data from AWS in April and the data now shows that unlike other Amazon properties, it has been profitable in the third quarter with more than $500 million USD in profit. Its year-over-year revenue also showed a 78 per cent growth, which led to Deutsche Bank declaring AWS as the fastest growing tech enterprise in history in its analysis of Amazon’s numbers last month. AWS is said to be worth more than $160 billion and as a result Amazon’s share price has more than double from $300 to $700 per share in 11 months.
How is AWS communicating differently?
1. Extensive blogging.
The community built around AWS is huge. Every day at least three articles are published as well as two or three webinars presented to the community. Each of its 19 product categories has its own blog and the brand promotes external content like how-to articles or product reviews that mention its tools. Plus, the main AWS blog publishes a list of articles that discuss the brand from external sources each week.
2. Engaging with analysts.
Analysts are similar to reporters in that they publish content that reports on a brand’s activities. The difference though lies in analysts forecasting and offering educated opinions and projections on a company’s profitability. Like journalists, analysts require information to make assessments and AWS makes that information available through extensive white papers and product documentation located its analyst’s section. The result is technology analysis firms like Gartner can compare and contrast AWS against its competitors with ease, which has led to high favourability for the platform in its most recent review published in October.
3. Focusing the consumer conversation on the products.
Customers love Amazon because of its products. The only people who are care about its stock price are its shareholders and those parties receive financial news about the brand through analysts. Looking at the brand’s recent corporate communications initiatives, Amazon is promoting its products, not its perceived value. Only one of the company’s last 36 press releases mentions its earnings.
By sharing detailed information with analysts Amazon’s stock value exploded. Being transparent about product offerings and maintaining a user community through blogging helped drive deeper brand engagement while collecting valuable information on use cases and feedback from clients.
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