A few months ago "The Long Tail" became available in Dutch, but since then I haven't heard much about it in Belgium. Until this week an article appeared in De Morgen, better late then never (nothing on line, sorry).

Anyway, I thought this was a good moment to blog my view on how a company should integrate this new economic reality in its business model.

The Long Tail, or rather the evolution of technology that is driving it, enables companies to get rid of the 80/20 logic. So you can stop 'SKU reduction', 'Product pruning' and 'Focus on the major accounts'. That is, if you succeed in putting technology to work to become a lean & efficient enterprise. Automate your processes to the max, exploit available business intelligence and optimize customer relationships through the web.
By doing so, you can increase your offer and win more happy customers.

A larger offer requires that you help customers to find what they want. There are basically two ways to build filters:
- Technology: Use state-of-the-art search technology or build the most intuitive navigation possible.
- People: Engage your customers to share their feelings and opinions about your products, thus helping others to find the product they need.

In the Long Tail of communications, the amount of clutter is infinite. Therefore traditional advertising will not work. The answer is in inviting consumers to join you, rather then trying to yell at them as loud as your budget allows.
So make sure you search engine ranking is OK, offer on-demand information (RSS) and stimulate conversations.

With a Long Tail of competitors, it gets increasingly difficult to bring in new customers. And with a large offering from your own side, every customer bears a bigger lifetime potential then before.
Reason the more to invest in the customer relationship. Take into account their preferences and do not bombard them with irrelevant messages. Be honest and respect the people you have a relationship with.