Recently a co-worker who has been assigned off-site marketing for a web site, attempted to market to the wrong demographic entirely with a test radio ad. Not surprisingly, it wasn't very successful, and now we're not doing any radio ads for that product.
A little over a year ago, Google purchased dMarc. dMarc's focus is automated advertising to radio stations. Recently Google started a test on print marketing, which I am sure will work.
The key to the success of Google ads is the inherently different way that the ads are able to reach potential customers. Whereas traditional marketing techniques like radio put the marketing message out there hoping that the customer will remember the message when they are ready to start shopping. Google Ads on the other hand reach the customer when they have already started shopping.
Say I was buying someone a big screen TV for Christmas, being the type of shopper I am, the first step would be to research big screen TVs. How do I do that? I type in "Big Screen TV reviews" into Google and see what happens. You know how the rest goes...
I can't imagine how Google will repeat this advertising model in radio and print. Without customer input, like the search for TVs above, it's pretty hard to deliver the right message to the customer at the right time.
Why will Google off-line media ads be successful?
Because they will solve the problems of their customers. Google's customers aren't the people using their search engine. Web companies market online because it is the most efficient way of marketing their web product. Google ads are the easiest and fastest way to gain market share. You want a market, you go out and buy it from Google and Yahoo. The return on investment is measurable, and cost easy to justify.
The problem online marketers have, is how to market off-line. They have this nifty interface where they can buy the customers, set up the ads, track the results, and generate reports. If web marketers want to market off-line, they either need to learn how to talk to people, or hire somebody that knows how to talk to people and what people to talk to.
Google will solve this problem. Google will do the talking to people for the web marketer. No longer will a marketing person need to call up an advertising agency or radio station and put up with the excessive meetings and boring sales presentations.
Say I want to put a radio ad out that reaches parents across the US between the ages of 35 and 40 that are going on a vacation without their kids in the next month. Google can do that. How? Who knows... but it's just data, and the mining of massive amounts of data seems to be something Google is pretty good at.
Yes, I'm a fan of Google. They're systematically taking the shmooze out of marketing.