SFU Pub355: Chris Anderson's The Long Tail and How It Affects Book Publishing


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The cost to reach customers has dropped because of 3 factors:
* Democratization of the tools for production
* Democratization of distribution
* The ability to connect supply with demand

In a world of infinite shelf space and niche consumption patterns, how do publishers (of any content: books, music, videos, photos) get noticed?

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SFU Pub355: Chris Anderson's The Long Tail and How It Affects Book Publishing

  1. 1. The Long Tail PUB 355: September 17, 2010 by Monique Trottier monique@boxcarmarketing.com You should follow me on twitter @boxcarmarketing
  2. 2. The Theory of the Long Tail • With the web, the cost of reaching customers has fallen dramatically. • More choice in the market significantly changes consumption patterns. monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  3. 3. • We’ve moved from consuming a small number of hits and bestsellers to a large number of niche products. • Example: Amazon and iTunes • Source: http://www.novelr.com/2008/02/08/the-long-tail-and-online-fiction-how-to-get- read monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  4. 4. The Cost of Reaching Consumers Has Dropped because of 3 Factors: • Democratization of the tools for production • Democratization of distribution • The ability to connect supply with demand monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  5. 5. Democratization: Tools of Production • Personal computers, the internet and cheap technology have given the majority of people access to tools of production: • Blogging software like WordPress is free. • Video and music production software is cheap - iMovie and GarageBand come pre-installed on macs. • Production costs are no longer a major barrier to entry. monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  6. 6. Democratization of Distribution • With the web, anyone can distribute – there are no geographical limits and no costs of physical shelf space or warehousing. monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  7. 7. The Ability to Connect Supply With Demand • In the past, we found products through mass media (TV, radio, newspapers and magazines). • We are in a period of transition, where we now also finding products by searching online and reading peer reviews. • The web allows us to find niche goods that are tailored to our personal tastes and areas of interest. monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  8. 8. Examples monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  9. 9. What the Long Tail Means for Marketing • The examples of Amazon and iTunes shows us that customers have more and more products to choose from. • Just 25 years ago there were, GUESS HOW MANY • Running shoe styles • Over-the-counter pain relievers • Soft drink brands • Types of milk • Choices on a McDonald's menu monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  10. 10. What the Long Tail Means for Marketing • As marketers, we need to find ways to stand out. But how? • The media landscape has changed. It’s more fragmented. There are more tv channels, more radio channels, more magazines, more news sources … This means that as marketers we can’t depend on “mass media” because it’s not reaching the same “mass audience”. • Audience attention is fragmented. monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  11. 11. • There are 2 ways to think about the Long Tail. • What it tell us about the market (number of products, choice architecture) • What it tells us about marketing (mass market vs. niche markets) • Chris Anderson’s “long tail” theory urges publishers to forget hit- making and instead to take advantage of the near-zero cost of digital distribution to try and make money from selling small numbers of a lot of different titles. monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  12. 12. With the Long Tail, Publishers Should Be Asking Themselves: • How do I take my book or newspaper content and sell it in all different channels? • If I can’t sell exactly the same thing, because we’ve trained people to think that things online are free, then what can I get them to pay for? • Or, how do I just communicate to my audience in all the places where they are, rather than forcing them to come to my channel, my newspaper, my website? monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  13. 13. What’s Fascinating about Google, Amazon, Netflix, iTunes • Their business model is the clue to how customers behave in markets of infinite choice. • Those companies are at the head because they’ve build business models based on availability, trusted sources, filtering, searchability and discovery. Those players have the attention because they’re using technology that responds to what users want to do. • People no longer only buy what’s available. They buy what they want. And if they can’t find exactly what they want right away, there’s the internet—someone, somewhere is offering exactly what they want. monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  14. 14. Anderson says: • Publishers no longer have packaging, manufacturing, distribution or inventory management. • You only have finding, making, and marketing. monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  15. 15. Did anyone do the math? • For a popular album that sells 300,000 copies, the creative costs work out to about $7.50 per disc, or around 60 cents a track. • Add to that the actual cost of delivering music online, which is mostly the cost of building and maintaining the online service rather than the negligible storage and bandwidth costs. Current price tag: around 17 cents a track. • By this calculation, hit music is overpriced by 25 percent online - it should cost just 79 cents a track, reflecting the savings of digital delivery. monique@boxcarmarketing.com twitter: @boxcarmarketing
  16. 16. So what’s the business model? monique@boxcarmarketing.com You should follow me on twitter @boxcarmarketing