The Long Tail - Chris Anderson

The Long Tail - Chris Anderson

Understand how the market migrated from mass culture to the diverse peculiarities of niche cultures.

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Today we are immersed in a sea of information! Thanks to the internet and industry 4.0, we have access to the most diverse possibilities of cultures, products and varied services. This is the central point of the study done by the author Chris Anderson in his book "The Long Tail".

According to him, the business world would not be an exception and, therefore, new models such as the digital market and the market aimed at specific audiences are emerging and are here to stay.

Now, let's understand more about this niche market!

The book "The Long Tail"

"The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More" (2006) is a book developed by bestselling author Chris Anderson.

In this book, he describes through very detailed and structured analyzes, based on data, references and graphics, the great change of consumers profile that left from the mass market to the niche market.

Chris breaks the paradigm created about the mass market in which 20% of products represents 80% of sales, portraying the importance of the niche market for digital marketing and commerce on internet in the New Economic Age.

Who is Chris Anderson?

Chris Anderson is author, entrepreneur and physicist and also British-American co-founder and current CEO of 3D Robotics. He worked for The Economist and was editor-in-chief of WIRED magazine.

He is known for his article published in 2004, bringing the concept of long tail, which subsequently became literary work in 2006.

Anderson is also the author of another book called Free: The Future of Pricing, released in 2009.

Why should I read "The Long Tail" ?

This book is recommended for all people who have difficulty accepting technological development, as older entrepreneurs known as the "old guard" of the market.

In addition, "The Long Tail" is also suggested for entertainment professionals and digital marketers so they can learn more and better develop this important concept of the current market.

What are the key points of "The Long Tail"?

  • Long Tail Concept for a Business;
  • Difference between traditional and modern models;
  • Customization of prices, products and services;
  • New trend in production, development and distribution;
  • Niche marketing: how long tail can offer more solutions and meet the needs of various customers;
  • The power of the niche market and the reaction to market trends.

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[Book Summary] The Long Tail - Chris Anderson

Once and Now

At the beginning of the book, Chris introduces his teenage years as the great successes and dominance of television and radio. He also says that people talked, mostly, about the same issues with low diversity.

Also in the Introduction, he explains the changes that have taken place in the world, mainly due to the internet and its power to transmit information, influencing people in different ways, creating specific types of public.

What is The Long Tail

The long tail concept is geared towards a large number of products that have their own specific characteristics, focused on a certain type of person or small groups of people who have common interests.

Chris Anderson portrays that these types of products are taking and changing the culture of the conventional market and that retailers are being threatened by small fragmented markets.

The author argues that the most popular products, called Head Tail, are responsible for most of the profits, but in the short term.

In this way, it is possible to achieve high revenue through the sale of more private products, focused on different market niches in the long term.

Chris concludes the concept of long tail with the following phrase:

"Few things sell very much and many things sell little".

The characteristic curve presented in the graph below shows the relation between the quantity of sales on the vertical axis and the number of products on the horizontal axis. The long tail is represented by the yellow part of the graph.

Long Tail Graphic

The Triple Force of the Long Tail

The author demonstrates that the distance between producers and consumers is declining. A comparison between the number of great artists (already enshrined in the music industry) and the various amateur talents that exist today is a good example.

Anderson explains this approach, based on three points, called long tail forces:

Propagation of production tools

From the dissemination of various electronic tools such as computers, DVD recorders and photo cameras - allied to the popularization of books, guides and courses with the most diverse concepts - everyone can be and do whatever they want.

Propagation of distribution tools

The main responsibility for breaking down barriers, reducing borders, facilitating the delivery of information and selling products is undoubtedly the Internet. The Web owns the most varied and numerous content present in platforms such as: blogs and social networks.

Offer and Demand

Through recommendations and ratings sites such as Google, you can contact companies and, of course, know the opinions of other customers, allowing the general public to try new things, such as so-called products and services of niche.

The new producers

The diversification of products and services, supported by the three forces presented in the topic above, allowed the emergence of the so-called New Producers.

Chris Anderson portrays that with the "democratization" of the so-called tools of creativity, the number of talents has expanded in a disorderly way, each one with its particularity.

This supports the creation and evolution of ideas that will become the next commercial successes.

The book gives an excellent example on the question of the new producers, talking about the DIY Era, from the English Do It Yourself. This branch features a wide range of independent products, from video games to books.

Anderson also shows a study by the University of California illustrating the creation phenomenon through a participation map that you can check on page 73.

Rules for Long Tail Success

Chris Anderson brings in the end of his book a set of fundamental principles for the success of the Long Tail, divided into three categories: cost reduction, mentality development of niche and control loss.

Reducing Costs

Moving Inventory in... or Out

The book "The Long Tail" presents the alternatives that large companies have had to reduce inventory costs to zero.

Amazon, for example, through the use and application of ingenious and innovative management techniques, works with so-called "distributed stocks", where much of its products are stocked and shipped by partners or third parties.

Like iTunes, Amazon also works with virtual stores by storing their products in digital drives, which is also known as "storage on cloud."

Physical product companies have chosen to work with larger centralized stocks - which favor them when it comes to quantity and variety of products.

Let customers do the job

"The new preference creators are us (the customers)."

Anderson says the key to success is self-service. Customers place an order for a preferred sales site that they track and receive.

Chris still emphasizes that outsourcing is past, the business now is crowdsourcing.

Niche Mentality

One method of distribution is not suitable for all situations

Chris Anderson comments that the flexibility of distribution channels is very important to serve the majority of customers, that means, the most diverse niches.

He compares the types of consumers and ensures that some will prefer buying products or services in a physical store, while others will opt for convenience (shopping online, that's obvious!).

A product does not meet all needs

The long tail deals precisely with the segmentation, specialization and variety of products that, in turn, seek to serve small portions of the market, what is called by him of micro chunking.

One price does not fit all

The author calls the trend of elastic pricing, which consists of selling the same product with different prices.

For example, if you buy a song from an album of your favorite band on iTunes, the price of it will be X. Now, assuming that this album has 10 tracks and you buy the full version, the amount to be paid will be something like around 9.5X.

According to "The Long Tail", this type of strategy helps drive and significantly increase the number of sales.

Lose Control

Share information

Unlike traditional retailers, make recommendations and well detail your products to customers, this helps them in their purchase decision and also helps build confidence in your brand.

Think "and" no "or"

Learn to use and. My store offers those features and, of course these other features... Ah! And these functions!

The more products or services you sell, the more you raise with the Long Tail.

When Doing Your Job, Trust the Market

With the long tail you do not need forecasts or buying patterns from customers. The market itself selects the products it wants.

Understand the value of gratuity

Offer free samples of your product, seek to seduce customers. Many people end up buying the full version or "VIP". Chris Anderson portrays demonstrations, also known as "DEMO" versions, to help build a loyal customer base.

More books about digital marketing

In the book "Launch", the author Jeff Walker presents a guide on how to sell products on the internet, considering all the challenges and difficulties of doing efficient digital marketing.

For authors Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya and Iwan Setiawan, in "Marketing 4.0", in modern marketing, customers are all connected, and this means that the consumers' purchasing path is modified and improved, with the addition of new features.

Finally, in "This Is Marketing", the author Seth Godin points out that effective marketing begins with the identification of people's intrinsic needs and desires. They are usually related to different emotional aspirations, such as adventure, connection, freedom, tranquility and strength.

How can I use the tips?

The fragmentation of the market, according to the long tail, allowed the appearance of the various and more varied niches, also allowing independent production of books, movies, video games, among other entertainment content.

The explosion of the internet has created a new type of market in which there are always consumers for products or services, however peculiar they may be.

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Book 'The Long Tail'