Counterintuitive or clever? The Long Tail Digital Marketing Approach

As the digital world continues to grow and progress it allows for new trends and schools of thought to develop.

One of the more interesting developments is the idea of ‘Long tail’ approach. This refers to identifying niches in the market and capitalising on the value of these within a micro-segmented market.

Whilst it is typical in today’s society for companies to want to mass produce and cater for more prominent demand, Savage (2010) outlines that there is still a lot to be gained from entering into niche markets. This is especially true as society is rapidly embracing a variety of social platforms and marketplaces such as; Ebay, Etsy, Alibaba and Depop which allow consumers to search for tailor made solutions that previously weren’t as readily available.

Although the long tail approach has shown to be successful in the digital world it still seems daunting to many businesses who may have a limited online presence and the lack of strong digital strategies. Therefore, causing them to view this approach as too risky.

However, businesses like Amazon.Com and Netflix have embraced these high risks which have resulted in high rewards, with consumers finally feeling like their unique needs are being acknowledged.

This raises an important implication for digital marketing which is also highlighted by Elberse (2008) ,which is that as digital e-commerce continues to excel and allows products to become more readily available, consumers will be willing to pay for niche products that satisfy their needs and wants. Ultimately allowing the long-tail digital marketing approach to increase its relevance as a viable business approach.

This infographic below outlines the impact of this approach with currently booming businesses.

Source: Chris Anderson/ WIRED

How do you feel about the long-tail digital marketing approach? Do you have a unique hobby or interest that you would like to be able to access more products for, but are currently unable to due to it not being a mainstream interest?

Join the conversation and comment your thoughts down below.

External Readings and References:

Anderson, C. (2004). The Long Tail. Retrieved from

Elberse, A. (2008). Should You Invest in the Long Tail?. Harvard Business Review, 1-3.

Savage, N. (2010). Straightening out heavy tails. Communications Of The ACM53(6), 13. doi: 10.1145/1743546.1743553


11 Comments on “Counterintuitive or clever? The Long Tail Digital Marketing Approach

  1. Such an interesting post! Your analysis is so in-depth I’ve learnt a lot. I think the long tail is a really strong strategy and it sometimes gets overlooked or misused.

    • Thank-you I appreciate that! Is there any approaches you’d like me to discuss in the future?
      This is a really great strategy if implemented correctly. It is definitely one that requires attention and a clear understanding of your goals and target market.

  2. Really enjoyed this read! I think that the long tail approach is ‘easier’ to implement for online retailers as they have infinite amount of ‘shelf space’ however it is much more risky for physical stores to follow suit…

    • Very true! Online stores do benefit greatly from this approach, however, businesses willing to take the risk and be innovative also have a lot to gain from this model.

  3. Awesome post, such an interesting topic – I love this approach and I love marketplaces like Etsy, I’m so sick of seeing the same stuff in every retail store now

  4. Seems like anything can be sold these days
    Very insighting, loving these pieces, looking forward to the next one 😃

    • Thank-you I appreciate it, I’m glad you’re enjoying them!
      There is a lot more in-depth implications that can be drawn from this approach, did you want another post about this in the future? Let me know.

  5. Interesting thoughts! So much to be learnt of how different companies operate and what their strategies are.

  6. I think the long tail is too good of an opportunity to pass up for companies such as Amazon who have such a broad reach & even more so for companies like Netflix who have no physical product!

    • I agree! However, companies that have specialities and niches are likely to benefit the most. By being able to focus on specific quirks and smaller markets businesses who use this approach will have the opportunity to reap the benefits that this model offers on a multitude of levels.

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