An article in Marketing Week flags up the tendency in the online world for the larger players to edge out smaller competitors, resulting in a ‘concentration of power among a small number of brands.’
Over the last months we have all learned to participate in events online – online meetings, fitness classes, teaching, virtual pilates, etc. The list goes on.
As we emerge from lockdown, many of those who used to provide an in-person service, fitness coaches for example, are thinking of staying virtual. This promises the advantage of potentially serving more clients, in more places, more of the time. With none of the extra hassle and costs of travel, venues, and so on.
However, going virtual-only also has the effect of drastically lowering the barriers to entry. No longer are you one of a few local providers in your niche, providing your service to a fairly captive local market.
You can provide your service to anyone, anywhere – but so can the big guys, with their ability to ruthlessly cut costs and amp up their marketing.
In short, the move online suddenly introduces a ‘drastic and permanent increase in competition from bigger, less expensive, more famous alternative suppliers.’
To make the long tail work for the local supplier – in other words, to leverage the potential of a small niche – will require developing and nurturing a strong brand: Good marketing will be critical for survival.
There are some who are smashing it. For example, take a look at https://www.instagram.com/lynseysuzanne86/ for example. Though Lynsey combines virtual with in-person sessions, which I think is probably a better, more sustainable model that going totally virtual.
Thank you Mark Masters of You Are The Media for drawing my attention to this article. Top image by Scott Beck on Unsplash