Google and Offline Ads

There is a story (premium link) in the Wall Street Journal today about Google's entry into the offline advertising marketing (print, radio, etc.). We've written about this issue here. While it is truer now than ever that Google presents a major threat to the old-line advertising agencies, it is also true that Google's entry into the offline advertising market is easier said than done. With respect to radio and print, much of it is local. And selling locally means putting feet on the street. Today, Google does not have a salesforce that fits this mold. Anecdotally, I'd venture to guess that much of the growth of AdWords has been powered by a combination of an extraordinarily low-risk cost of entry, terrific return on investment in most cases, and phenomenal word-of-mouth. In other words, the service is so good, its customers drive awareness and it sells itself. Selling print and radio spots presents an entirely different set of challenges for Google as the article points out. A logical move for Google to make if it's serious about entering the offline ad markets is strategic alliances with and/or acquisitions of media (newspapers) and/or directories (yellow pages) that already have large salesforces with existing relationships with all of the local ad buyers.

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