14. Gladwell’s Tipping Point meets Anderson’s Long Tail for small business
Chris Anderson’s ‘Long Tail’ concept works with Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Tipping Point’ to create results beyond expectation.
Down in the Long Tail the niche opportunities exist, and every so often a success emerges – I have mentioned before Heather Gorringe’s WigglyWigglers.co.uk for instance. And here is where the Tipping Point concept comes in. From a remote rural worm-farming business operating in obscurity to an internationally known and sought out niche market provider of renown. This very rarely happens by accident. And in this case it has been achieved in part through Heather’s use of the social media to find her niche interest groups and to focus them on her business. The combination of the right message at the right time and in the right context is generally, as Gladwell points out, what makes the difference between the ‘virus’ that fails and that which becomes an epidemic.
Indeed, her ambition has gone beyond developing the niche: Her blog: Around the World in 80 Megabytes is subtitled: ‘One woman’s journey around the World – with the aim to shake up farming using Web 2.0 and Social Media’ – WOW!
The point being that as far as her business is concerned, she has successfully used social media and Web 2.0 (a catch-all description of the new capabilities of the web and its applications) to create an interest group, and to allow that interest group to further include and introduce others. They have found WigglyWigglers not simply because there is a web presence, but through a wide range of different routes. These might include the more obvious search engines and Google Adwords and similar targeted advertising tools, but also referrals from all sorts of specialist interest groups where there is relevance and where the proactive nature of WigglyWigglers has found an interest – and ultimately converted that interest to becoming either a customer or referrer. And here it is happening in another context, since I have just become a referrer too!
Perhaps Heather will also hit the Tipping Point on her global campaign – we shall see – but she has certainly succeeded so far as her commercial programme is concerned. And her real passion about her campaign will only help in driving more interest in her business, which of course shares common ideals and a common passion for the ecosystems whether locally or globally.
Meanwhilehow does the Long Tail provide opportunities for your business, and, if you choose to develop there, how will you get to the Tipping Point?