By Rex Hammock

Perhaps you’ve heard the big news of the week. No, not the midterm elections. I’m referring to Amazon sending out a 70-page catalog promoting Christmas toys this year. A real catalog. The kind printed on paper pages, not displayed on web pages. The kind of catalog I used to look forward to every year about this time.

It makes sense that Amazon would try a print holiday catalog now. Toys R Us is no longer around, and Kmart and Sears are up against the ropes, so Amazon’s got a big market to itself. Sort of like when Jeff Bezos decided to sell content-covered paper products—sometimes called books—over the internet.

While it may sound ironic that the company dominating e-commerce is coming out with a paper toy catalog, think about it: Amazon is no longer just an internet retailer. They own everything from a chain of grocery stores to a company that sells video doorbells. Moreover, Amazon’s mastery of content encompasses creation, marketing, storage and delivery.

How savvy is Amazon when it comes to content? Its Amazon Studios subsidiary is investing billions of dollars in the creation of programming, while its Amazon Web Services (AWS) company provides the network and infrastructure that enables its No. 1 competitor in that business, Netflix, to deliver its programing to your home. In other words, everytime you watch something on Netflix, Amazon gets a cut.

Even more unprecedented, Amazon provides both marketers and customers the tools they need to develop and display content such as reviews and video how-tos on each of its millions of product pages.

Takeaway | Be inspired by the way Amazon makes up its own rules when it comes to using content in the sales process. It works wherever it serves the needs of customers—even when the customers are your competitors. Content works for big companies and small. Paper works. Digital media works. Video and audio work as well. Live events and webinars and things we think shouldn’t work as content marketing turn out to succeed.

So get over the shock that Amazon is sending out a paper version of a toy catalog. And don’t be forlorn if you didn’t get one in your mailbox: Here’s a digital version.

Image: Getty Images

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