The Long Tail and the demise of Mass Marketing

The Long Tail

Here at the Inbound Marketing Automation Blog we’ve been talking about the fundamental shift in power from Seller to Buyer. Empowered by the massive amount of information now freely available 24/7 on the internet, today's b2b Buyer is firmly in control of the early part of the sales cycle. The b2b Buyer determines when, where, and what he or she is interested in.  Anything else, from the Buyer’s perspective, is simply interruption and noise.

This empowerment of the b2b Buyer to drive the early part of the sales process is one of the big reasons why traditional mass-marketing is dying, and why 1:1 online marketing is the new norm.

Want proof? Look inside the fascinating world of SEO search queries and the Long Tail.

For those not familiar with the Long Tail, here’s a quick review using a b2b example. Search queries can be separated roughly into 3 categories: the Head, the Middle, and the Long Tail. The Head represents the most popular search queries, like “Plastics”, with a monthly global search volume of over 2 million queries. The Middle covers more specific, yet still popular searches, such as “Plastics Manufacturing”, with a monthly global search volume of about 20,000 queries. The Long Tail covers the rest, usually consisting of highly specific queries made up of 3 or more keywords, such as “Rotary Injection Molding Machines”, that may get less than 10 search queries every month.

The Long Tail is even longer than most people believe

The Long Tail is even longer than most people believe

Now, marketers (sellers) flock to the head and the middle, competing for the “popular” terms. Their motives are obvious. Surely those popular terms comprise 80-90% of all the search volume, not so?

Yet search statistics prove otherwise. Did you know that 70-75% of all the search volume is in the Long Tail? In fact, a little known Google statistic (highlighted recently by our good friends at SEOmoz) reveals that a full 20% of Google's monthly search volume is from queries never before encountered. Completely unique!

Now, this clearly has SEO implications for marketers who simply cannot compete for those ultra-popular search terms. The Long Tail offers very attractive fishing grounds.

But there’s a bigger picture. The statistics clearly indicate that 70-75% of searches (Buyers) don’t conform to the herd. Their searches (and their perceived needs) are quite unique. And so it is a natural conclusion that b2b Buyers ignore mass marketing.  Instead, the majority of the b2b Buyers seek customized solutions and prefer customized 1:1 communications.

With new developments in Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation you can now easily micro-segment your market, and build meaningful 1:1 communication and relationships. So stop interrupting your b2b prospects and customers with meaningless mass marketing. Stop sending them information about your “packaging” solutions, when all they really care about are your “medical” solutions.

Instead, take the hint from the Long Tail, and treat your customers and sales prospects like individuals. Your top line and your bottom line will thank you for it.

Until next time – Axel

One Response
  1. Eric 4 years ago

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