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An Especially Heavy Digest

As promised two weeks ago, we have a lot of ground to cover. After a slow week in marketing news pri
The Marketing Brief
An Especially Heavy Digest
By Rob Bettis • Issue #8 • View online
As promised two weeks ago, we have a lot of ground to cover. After a slow week in marketing news prior to our last digest, the last two weeks have been packed. Let’s get it!
This week includes a ton of Amazon news, after they dropped a ton of new product info at their September 20th event. Although Amazon isn’t exactly just marketing, they do represent the biggest threat to e-commerce retail (e-comm representing roughly 30% of all retail) and they are the third largest (and rapidly growing) digital ad platform. So they remain a significant variable in the marketing space and, subsequently, deserving of our attention.

The Amazon Event
Announcing updates to almost every Alexa-enabled product, and releasing many new products (including a microwave ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), Amazon is tripling down on their beloved voice assistant.
Amazon announcing Alexa-enabled hardware products
Mike Murphy
Amazon has announced 12 products in 57 minutes

Apple introduced 4 in 1.5 hours
1:58 PM - 20 Sep 2018
But amidst a season of distrust for most of the big tech companies, critics are becoming increasingly cynical of Amazon’s motives.
Nicholas Thompson
Today Amazon announced 70 new products that will listen to you all over your home. Some are very cool! But the company said nothing about privacy.
9:14 PM - 20 Sep 2018
Rob DiMarzo
@A_Skomski @internetofshit @MaxKriegerVG 1. Buy 5 potatos at Whole Foods
2. Microwave 5 potatos in Amazon Microwave
3. Alexa suggests you buy 5 more potatos weekly through Amazon Fresh
4. Amazon thinks you love potatos - ads for potato merchandise appear
5. Prime Video suggests potato documentary
6. Become couch potato
6:58 PM - 20 Sep 2018
The Other Big Amazon Announcement
Beyond their plethora of listening devices, CNBC’s Lauren Thomas is also reporting on another ambitious move by Amazon. Going from 3 to 3,000 stores in 2+ years seems unlikely (read: impossible), especially given the technology component of each cashierless store. For some perspective, there are currently ~2,000 Home Depot stores.
Amazon considers opening 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021: report
Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger shares drop on report that Amazon is planning up to 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021
3:21 PM - 19 Sep 2018
The Other Small Amazon Announcement
Small - as in small business. As Amazon continues their Godzilla-style, brand-crushing march through small businesses, now it offers a baited trap for small brands to fall into - called Amazon Storefronts. I have written before about the dangers of brands succumbing to commodity status on Amazon’s platform. But now Amazon has written an open invitation for small brands to hand over all of their product and traffic data to their most feared competitor.
Amazon Storefronts is a new retail hub exclusively for US small businesses - The Verge
To Further Make My Point
In case you feel like I am being melodramatic about Amazon’s gathering of retailer data, I will direct your attention to our next two stories.
EU's antitrust commissioner opens probe into Amazon
And if that weren’t enough, Amazon employees are also selling retailer data for their own personal gain.
Amazon Investigates Employees Leaking Data for Bribes - WSJ
Twitter Reconsiders Algorithmic Timeline
After months of outrage from users, Twitter is walking back its stance the algorithmic timeline. The full thread can be read here, but this is big news for Twitter power users.
Now if they would just reconsider their wrecking of third-party apps…
Twitter Support
4/ So, we’re working on providing you with an easily accessible way to switch between a timeline of Tweets that are most relevant for you and a timeline of the latest Tweets. You’ll see us test this in the coming weeks.
7:58 PM - 17 Sep 2018
Facebook Continues Digging Their Own Grave
Amidst a season of intense scrutiny, Facebook continues to spit in the face of Facebook users. In this week’s edition of this tired old story, a group of academics from Princeton and Northeastern University exposed that Facebook was using the phone numbers meant to provide a second level of security for accounts as a datapoint for serving ads. This report came after Facebook had previously denied the same accusation.
Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information
Anil Dash
It's hard to overstate how irresponsible it is to use *security* features like two-factor authentication as a wedge to target ads. Abusing features that are meant to increase user safety & security is an indication of a fundamentally untrustworthy product decision-making process.
9:52 PM - 27 Sep 2018
Instagram Jumps In To E-Commerce
In our last digest, we discussed Instagram’s forthcoming standalone shopping app. After the news broke, Instagram wasted little time taking the plunge within the current app.
Instagram adds a shopping tab to the Explore page - The Verge
I'm All 👂🏼's
That was a lot. Whew. Did I miss anything? If so, let me know -
Did you enjoy this issue?
Rob Bettis

Every week I summarize the most important stories, trends, & commentary in #eCommerce marketing - and deliver them directly to your inbox.

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