When looking at different marketing strategies for businesses, there are two differing types of strategies that are considered: the blockbuster approach and the long-tail strategy.
The blockbuster marketing strategy
The blockbuster approach is essentially placing all of your bets on a small number of products.
The theory is that by investing large amounts on a few carefully selected products that are most likely to appeal to the larger audience, a higher number of sales will be made on those specific products and there will be a much greater return on investment.
Being reliant on the popularity of a few winning products, this approach is risky — but as the saying goes, it’s high risk and high reward.
The success of this approach is often driven by consumer behaviour: people want to have what other people have. Most consumers are attracted to popular products and ideas, especially when they are promoted by celebrities and other influential people.
The customer wants to be on-trend, and feel relevant and involved in the current conversation in society.
The long-tail marketing strategy
The long-tail approach, on the flip side, spreads the investment evenly across a wider range of niche products. It focuses on the idea that the modern consumer, with a greater choice at their fingertips online, will be more interested in finding something niche that matches their taste specifically.
As studies on consumer’s purchasing behaviour have shown, the success of this approach is due to consumers purchasing niche products more often than the customers who are only interested in the big, popular items.
These customers also want to be part of a conversation, but it is a different conversation that is characterised by the consumers wanting to own something that is unique and perhaps stands out from popular mainstream ideals.
The best marketing strategy for small businesses
While the blockbuster approach is known to have high and fast return on investment, the likelihood of success is greater for bigger, well-established businesses. They already have enough capital to afford to make large investments in a few winning products, as well as a large online reach and recognition.
For small businesses, it is useful to do some initial product testing to see how different products perform, and only then, if you see a substantial interest and demand, implement the blockbuster approach and invest more to promote the high-converters.
When generating new leads, boosting the most popular products will attract more new customers and result in a higher conversion rate.
The long tail offering on the other hand will help to diversify your audience, and can also be good for a consistent conversion rate. Your existing customers will most likely have chosen to purchase from your company because of the range of niche products you offer, and these will result in a higher profit margin.
We already know the importance of long-tail keywords to improve SEO and subsequently your discoverability, and this concept applies to long tail product offerings too. You will gain more website traffic when you offer the tailored products your customers are looking for.
To decide on the right strategy for your business, you will need to take into consideration your target audience, your company goals, and your business values. Even using elements and learnings from both strategies can be beneficial.
The tail is getting longer and thinner as more brands are popping up online everyday, competing for consumers’ attention and offering a wider range of unique products.
Carrying out regular market research will help you remain up-to-date with what your target audience is looking for.
After researching to see how your different products perform, investing in promoting big-hit products, while being strategic with organic SEO for your long tail, less popular products will give you the best chance of reaching your target audience, increasing conversion and growing your business.