“The end came quickly,” as authors of morbid weepies like to say. On Monday WiReD magazine editor Chris Anderson effectively admitted game over for his “Long Tail”, the idea he’s been dragging so lucratively around the conference circuit for the past four years. In as many words, he downgraded it from “the future of business” to something that’s, er, not very helpful for your business at all.
Off course there should be a bit of nuance in this quote from The Register: The Long Tail can be the future of your business as well it can be not very helpful for your business at all.
The Long Tail used to be something of mythical proportions making the mass market approach something dirty that was doomed to fail. However the mass market approach does work as well as The Long Tail does (and they even work well when you apply them both on the same market). What you should keep mind in:
- The market in which you operate
Some markets are not for The Long Tail, that is not something bad, that is just a fact. Some markets are better off with a mass market approach and you should not feel bad about that.
- Your business
Not all businesses have the ability to adopt their business models and their processes to The Long Tail. It can be very hard to implement The Long Tail concept and still be cost effective (most common result of The Long Tail concept is that costs will increase harder than the revenue). A kind reminder: The Long Tail is not only about maximizing profits and earning tons of money, it is also about getting a larger audience for your products and services.
Do keep in mind that The Long Tail can work, however it does not work due to the fact that you are applying a myth to your business. It does work when the market allows it and when your business has the ability to implement The Long Tail in a cost effective manner.