Guide
August 15, 2011 | By Tim Williams

The long tail of modern day economics is driving ever-more specialized companies, professionals, and workers.  This is manifest in the advertising and marketing world in the wide diversity of firms serving different segments and phases of product marketing.

Now more than ever, there really is no such thing as “full service,” and the every-increasing proliferation of communications and marketing channels will only mean more diversification and specialization among providers of marketing communications services.

Some telling examples:

Buddy Media, which specializes in helping marketers maximize their presence on Facebook.  Not all social media – just Facebook.

Mobisix, provider of mobile marketing solutions.  Not all kinds of marketing media – just mobile.

iProspect, specializing in search marketing.  Not all marketing – mostly just search.

Anderson Analytics, with hyper-specialized capabilities in not just basic analytics, but the newest iteration of analytics: of text and data mining.

Ever since Adam Smith’s groundbreaking book “The Wealth of Nations,” the division of labor has been one of the real drivers of economic success.  Writing recently in the Harvard Business Review, a group of academics and business professionals observed that “Much of the prosperity our world now enjoys comes from the productivity gains of dividing work into ever smaller tasks performed by ever more specialized workers… We are entering an era of hyperspecialization …”i

You can’t be good at everything, but you can be good at something.  Specialists – and hyperspecialists – provide best-in-class services vs. trying to be all things to all people.

Below is one way to look at how the focused firms on our industry are segmented along the marketing communication continuum.  Where does your firm fit in?  If your answer is “everywhere,” then you don’t really have a business strategy; you have the absence of a strategy.


i“The Age of Hyperspecialization,” by Thomas Malone, Robert Laubacher, and Tammy Johns, Harvard Business Review, July-August 2011

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