In this environment, then, how do you break through the clutter, overcome the inertia, and find your market?
Two marketing answers come to mind. “Niching” or focusing on a small but important area of superiority (in the mind of potential clients, not necessarily because your product or service are really ‘superior’) will certainly help. But I think the most effective approach to bridging the gap is to simply put your self-interest aside and focus on the needs, values and priorities of your ideal client — and you can often do this by discovering their areas of community/interest and doing everything possible (within your skill sets) to help out.
The “long tail” relates to the fact that many things that would be formerly unmarketable are now saleable, if only on a world-wide scale. You can post your home-made videos, self-published books, and indie music on the web, and start earning (some) money right away. Of course, it won’t be a lot, and it won’t help you too much if you are a renovation contractor serving a specific community to achieve world-wide recognition for your hobby music.
But your hobby, your sport, the interests of your child, coupled with new media and innovative connecting, may well help you build your reputation and brand locally — and, if you aim things right, reach right to those at the top of the power curve. And, when you have their buy-in, the rest will likely follow.