The one-sentence summary
Endless choice is creating unlimited demand so you probably need to re-think your business model: make everything available and help customers find it easily (online).
- Endless choice is creating unlimited demand.
- Traditional business models suggest that high-selling hits are required for success. These are at the high-volume end of a conventional demand curve.
- But in the Internet era, the combined value of the millions of items that only sell in small quantities can equal or even exceed the best sellers.
- Modest sellers and niche products are now becoming an immensely powerful cumulative force. In this respect, many “mass” markets are turning into millions of aggregated niches.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- This is a very original and thought-provoking book. It takes a while to get into, but it’s worth it.
- It introduces reasonably complicated mathematical theory in a user-friendly way, particularly micro-analysis of the very end of a very long tail. This is where helpful truths about the economics of your market can be seen properly.
- Contemporary examples from music (radio and album sales), books and films lend a populist slant to the theory, which should appeal widely.
- Old theories such as the 80/20 rule receive a thorough going-over. It’s never exactly 80/20, and the percentages can apply to different things (products, sales or profits). And they don’t add up to 100.
- The nine big rules of the Long Tail are:
- Move inventory way in…or way out
- Let customers do the work
- One distribution method doesn’t fit all
- One product doesn’t fit all
- One price doesn’t fit all
- Share information (lose control)
- Think “and”, not “or”
- Trust the market to do your job
- Understand the power of free
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- The model works best with true Internet and digital products that do not take up any storage space. For example, Amazon books still require storage space that has a cost. I-tunes do not. So careful thought is required as to the nature of the market you are analysing.