What exactly is “the Long Tail” in Marketing? The Long Tail in marketing is the concept that, outside the mainstream, exists a large, diverse and potentially underserved market. For a growing number of products and services, reaching the underserved market is increasingly becoming the primary goal, and online marketing appears to be coming out on top as the way to get the job done. (Evans 2007) According to Anderson (2004), “everyone’s taste departs from the mainstream somewhere, and the more we explore alternatives, the more we’re drawn to them. Anderson speaks of the amazement in the sheer size of the Long Tail; speaking about music as an example, he exclaims, “Combine enough non-hits on the Long Tail and you’ve got a market bigger than the hits. ” This is basically describing the rising demand for an obscure product or service. Anderson sums up the Long Tail in the article title itself; “Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bit stream. ” Is Email Marketing an Effective way to market to the ‘Long Tail’ of customers?
Anderson (2004), in his article regarding the Long Tail in marketing, differentiates between the world of scarcity and the world of abundance. The scarcity he describes is that of there not being enough shelf space for all of the CD’s and DVD’s; there not being enough screens to show all the available movies. His belief is that now, between the likes of online distribution and retail, we are making our way into “a world of abundance. ” In other words, it is possible that a market could be twice the size it appears to be, provided we can overcome the economics of scarcity.
Venture capitalist and former music industry consultant Kevin Laws reports: “The biggest money is in the smallest sales. ” Email marketing is described simply as the promotion of products or services via means of email. The main problem posed by email marketing is spam. O’Connell, (2008) describes an interesting dilemma regarding email marketing in her article, “Email Marketing can work even with a spam-struck audience. ” The question: “When is an e-mail a nuisance and when is it an inducement? ” Email is an effective tool for communicating and building relationships with consumers online.
The following are the advantages of email marketing as outlined by Chaffey et al (2009, p. 550). •Low cost: the physical costs of email are substantially less than direct mail. This also enables options for testing, meaning it is relatively easy and cost effective to test different email creative and messaging. •Response rate: direct response medium encourages immediate action. Email marketing is a form of push media. It encourages click-through to a site where something such as an offer can be redeemed instantly, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of an immediate or impulsive response. Easy to personalise: the process of personalisation is easier and cheaper than that of physical media. •Faster campaign deployment. So is email marketing an effective way to market to the “Long Tail” of customers? Personally, I think online marketing in general is the most effective way to do so, however I feel email marketing alone is not an effective enough way to market to this bit-stream. Combining the advantages and opportunities of email marketing with the likes of search engine marketing and optimisation, social media, and other online tools, effective marketing to the “Long Tail” may flourish.
Anderson (2004) reported that the most successful businesses on the internet are based on aggregating the Long Tail in one way or another. For example, Google makes most of its money off small advertisers (the long tail of advertising), and eBay is mostly tail also- niche and one-off products, more than half of Amazon’s book sales come from outside its top 130,000 titles. By overcoming the limitations of geography and scale, Google, eBay and Amazon have discovered new markets and expanded existing ones. This is ultimately the power of the Long Tail.
The problems with email marketing are outlined in Blackens (2001) article regarding the dangers of shoddy email marketing. “Most clients use internet marketing because it is cheap, but has anybody really thought about the cost of doing it badly? ” In her article she highlights the risk of damaging brand perceptions via unwanted emailing, and consumers’ tolerance with regard to permission to communicate. How could you use email marketing to reach these customers without committing any of the “seven deadly sins of email marketing? The following are the seven deadly sins of email marketing as reported by Pepperrell (2007) in Digital Web Magazine. 1. “Failing to test the design of the email in multiple email clients 2. Failing to spam-check the email copy before sending 3. Putting hurdles in the way of unsubscribing 4. Neglecting to maintain the list’s invalid addresses 5. Becoming complacent 6. Sending content that isn’t relevant to what the user signed up for 7. Emailing a user without their permission. ” According to Groves (2009), customers expect you to protect them, know them, ask them, give them options, and free them.
So in order to use email marketing to reach these customers without committing any of the “seven deadly sins of email marketing,” Groves has summarized ten key ways to overcome any trouble in this regard. 1. “Only send email to people who know you 2. Don’t treat email addresses like email addresses, treat them like relationships 3. Send relevant content that has value to your recipient 4. Engage your audience in the content you write 5. Maximise your delivery rate 6. Don’t share email lists with anyone 7. Set expectation with you recipients 8. Look professional whenever you communicate 9. Be ready to respond 10.
Regularly review your campaign results. “ An example of an innovation that used email marketing to reach the “Long Tail” consumers is the silver medallist for “Best Personalisation/ Segmentation Strategy; (MarketingSherpa Email Awards, 2011). The entrant was Robert Reed, of The Centre for American Progress; The innovation; “American Progress Prioritize and Personalise. ” American Progress is a multi-issue non-profit organisation and their audience include people who work in many different fields. For example, a subscriber who works on green issues may not be interested in receiving updates regarding political policy.
So they designed a system that allows them to focus on the specific needs of key segments of their audience, and to keep each engaged in a way that fits their particular level of interest. Here is what Bridgeman; the lead judge had to say about the innovation; “This entry was chosen for demonstrating how maintaining a high quality contact list along with sending targeted email messages to the right audience can have a huge impact. By organizing their contacts based on priority, American Progress was able to personalize email messages corresponding to the influence of each contact.
This micro-targeted approach resulted in highly relevant issues being delivered to highly influential contacts. Not only were the click through and open rates higher as a result, but 82% of those polled say they enjoyed receiving their messages. ” To conclude, I believe email marketing is an effective and innovative way to market to, and successfully reach the ‘Long Tail’ of customers. Bibliography Anderson, C. , (2004), The Long Tail. Change This [Online]. 10. Available at http://changethis. com/manifesto/10. LongTail/pdf/10. LongTail. pdf Blackden, E. , (2001).
The Dangers of Shoddy Email Marketing. Admap [Online]. 420. Available at: http://0-www. warc. com. millennium. it-tallaght. ie/Content/ContentViewer. aspx? MasterContentRef=0d0da875-86d9-4ffa-9a10-5a5be933c013&q=email+marketing. Last accessed 30th September 2011 Chaffey, D. , Chadwish, F. E. , Mayer, R. , Johnston, K. , (2009). Internet Marketing: strategy, implementation and practice. 4th ed. Essex: Pearson Education Ltd. , P. 550 Evans, D. (2007). Marketing to the Long Tail. Available at http://www. clickz. com/column/1692211/marketing-long-tail. Last accessed 29th Sept 2011. Groves, E. (2009).
The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing, USA: John Wiley & Sons Inc. , P. 3-6, 9. O’Connell, S, (2008), ‘North “Email Marketing can work even with a star-struck audience”, Irish Times, 5 May. Available From http://www. irishtimes. com/newspaper/finance/2008/0529/1211830559382. html Pepperrell, V. S. (2007). The Seven Deadly Sins of Email Marketing Management. Available at: http://www. digital-web. com/articles/seven_sins_of_email_marketing/. Last accessed 30th September 2011 Sutton, A. T. , (2011) MarketingSherpa Email Awards, Data and Insights from 17 Innovative Email Campaigns, p. 68.