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Amazon has the keys to a mobile steamroller

March 30, 2011

Adam Grenier is marketing manager of mobile at Zoosk

By Adam Grenier

Do not blink – the mobile landscape is being rocked yet again.

While all sights have been locked in on Apple and Google to see how high the bar will be raised, Amazon has built what is arguably the best combination of products to be a force in the mobile marketplace.

Do not believe me – just take a look at what is Amazon has been cooking:

– The “Amazon Cloud Player,” a cloud-based music storage and player launched this week

– The “Amazon AppStore for Android” featuring exclusive content and the only market allowing in-browser trials launched last week

– 15-plus million songs in its MP3 store

– 85,000-plus audio books seamlessly through

– One-click purchasing that customers trust and use

– 5,000-plus streaming movies and television shows

– 850,000-plus e-books (Apple iBooks has 200,000)

– Kindle available on seven-plus platforms

Throw in their gigantic, active community and what is universally considered one of the best retail experiences and you have an industry changing behemoth.

The Kindle alone shows Amazon has the ability to create a grade-A device while concurrently embracing the beauty of mobile by providing a platform-agnostic solution.

The rumor mill says that Amazon may release a proper tablet, mobile device or that all existing Prime members will receive a free Kindle as a loss leader for their e-book and MP3 services.

No matter what path they take, there are a few lessons for mobile marketers to keep in mind.

This is not a two-horse race – and there are more than just horses on the track. While Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile operating systems are current industry leaders, they will not be the only players making moves.

For every Apple, there are 10 Amazons. For every Amazon, there are 10,000 developers, carriers and content producers who want to change the current mobile course.

As marketers, it is our responsibility to tap into the industry leaders while also keeping these disrupters in our peripheral view so we can adapt and grow with the marketplace.

Stop asking “is this the year of mobile” and ask “what will this year in mobile look like?” If you are still asking when mobile will really hit its stride, you are likely trying to cover up for the fact you are three years behind the market.

One of the key reasons people still feel mobile is not mainstream is because, without fail, it looks different every year.

Six years ago, I was targeting JAVA developers to build cool “applications” for all the new mobile phone users.

Four years ago, I was preaching the amazing ability to reach individuals with text messages on their own personal device.

Three years ago, I was helping my clients understand how to balance the excitement of these cool new smartphones with the huge scale of feature phones.

Two years ago, it was all about applications.

Last year, it was location and tablets.

This year has been about the diversification of mobile experiences and discovery.

Amazon is making aggressive moves into a marketplace that it was not even considered a competitor a few weeks ago.

As a marketer this opens a whole new array of opportunities to interact with our customers and refine our products to be the best they possibly can be.

Do not get too comfortable though, as several other disruptions are bound to follow.

Adam Grenier is marketing manager of mobile at Zoosk Inc., San Francisco. Reach him at

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