No industry is experiencing more calamitous disruption than retail. Specifically, Amazon is reinventing commerce, customer experience, and the rules of consumer engagement. 

At first glance, Amazon appears to be the poster child for disruptive technology. But in fact, the real innovation is that Jeff Bezos (the company’s founder and the world’s richest man) is focusing on what’s not being disrupted.

While innovations in eCommerce, supply chain, and distribution are the parts of the company we observe, if you peer deeply into the heart of the real Bezos strategy, you learn something radically different, as he explained in an interview.

“I very frequently get the question, “What’s going to change in the next 10 years? And that is a very interesting question,” he said. “I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that this second question is the more important of the two because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable over time.”

“In our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future where a customer comes up to me and says, ‘Jeff, I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ or ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ And so we know the energy we put into serving those needs today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now.”

“When you have something that you know is true over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”

Rather than focusing on the latest trends or leveraging emerging technology for new business models. Bezos has a laser focus on improving what people already know they love and want. 

Amazon, the most disruptive company, is built on a handful of constant human desires – low prices, fast delivery, vast selection – not space-age drones and algorithms.

Technology did not create these human needs. It’s quite the opposite. Serving these needs created the technology.

This seems like an elegant way to approach the world of marketing disruption, too. Instead of feeling dizzy over these continuous technology shifts, why not establish a foundation for business success that’s built on the things that we know won’t change – constant human truths – and then figure out how technology can be made to serve those unwavering needs?

– from “Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins” by Mark Schaefer