At the heart of our business is a concept called "the long tail." In a nutshell, Chris Anderson explains it this way:
The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of "hits" (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-target goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.
What does this mean? Think of it in terms of a bookstore. Let's say a bookstore has enough shelf space for 5,000 titles. The owner must pick the most popular titles to maximize sales, so he can pay his rent. Along comes Amazon. Now, there's room for millions of titles, and no rent to pay for retail space. And because there's so much variation in personal tastes, Amazon can actually make more money by selling ten copies each of millions of titles, than by selling millions of copies of ten popular titles.
The same "long tail" applies to marketing. There are millions of groups with unique interests, and they're using the Web to coalesce and share information. Producers who have something to sell are realizing that they can't just talk about themselves anymore -- they need to reach out to the segment of the population that comprises a potential customer base, and talk directly to that group.
At Learfield, we're helping clients who've identified that core audience by producing unique content that the audience will find valuable. It might be something as specialized as a podcast featuring high-level discussion of the issues related to swine production. Or maybe assistance with media relations for an anti-drug abuse campaign. The idea is to use our skill set -- from news gathering to multimedia communication to story-telling -- to craft a message that reaches each client's unique audience, somewhere along that long tail.