Nov 25, 2004

Branding, Social software and The Long Tail



what am I talking about. Well I picked this up from Robert Scoble's blog. Scoble discusses a conversation he's had with Young & Rubicom's David Thorpe. As Scoble says:

I shared with him that "the long tail" is where the next few big companies will come from. In fact, Microsoft and Apple and Google all came from the long tail. Remember 1976? Only a handful of people were into personal computers. A few small user's groups. A few hobby magazines.
That's a lot like where podcasting is today, no? Or even blogging. About 10 million blogs exist right now, right?
So, if you wanna figure out what is coming in the future, you must build relationships with the long tail. You must figure out ways to see things happening in the long tail before anyone else.
Finally, those who pay attention to the long tail will build strong brands, profitable
companies, and strong organizations.
Latest success story to come out of the long tail? Google.
Think about it, Google didn't pay attention to the 80% of the market. They paid attention to the weirdos at the end of the tail. The folks who really used search a LOT.


Not really an original idea right? We all have heard variations of these thoughts, the creative edge is where new ideas come from, etc etc.

But what is different is what Scoble goes on to say about Blogging and branding and conversations , that really made me sit up. Just an "evil geek" he isn't :-)

I told David that blogs are only the tip of the iceberg. Blogs are only the
part of the word-of-mouth networks that we can see. So, for every blog that
talks about something, there are probably 100,000 conversations that we can't
see. Blogs just give us a fuzzy picture of what really is being discussed
person-to-person in IM, email, on the phone, or over turkey dinner tomorrow at
Thanksgiving.
They don't understand bloggers who celebrate audiences of hundreds of
people. They don't understand Google, who built a search engine for the
hard-core-searcher (they are still trying to react to Google's vision six years
later).
They don't grok wikis. After all, only the geeks are using wikis
today, right? (You and I know they are wrong, but selling the long tail is
tough).


Imagine that. A tech company saying that they don't grok wikis! Weird!
So, remember that, you marketer who thinks for the long-term. Watch and listen to the long tail. Next decade's biggest new idea could come from there. Leave next quarter and next months sales figures to the branding and sales guy. You do R&D and listen to the innovators and experimenters.

Anyone know if I can get a "I'm a long tailer" sticker from somewhere?