Highly sophisticated target marketing is finally coming into its own, about 10 years after everyone predicted that it would.
Supermarkets are finally beginning to send out offers that relate to what they know people are buying, for example.
Yahoo's problem is going to be dragging the marketers into using this technology. Target marketing is a lot of work for the ad buyer. Most ad agencies will give a tremendous amount of lip service to it, but in reality they don't want to fool with it because it takes too much time and makes them too little money.
Retails are only a little more interested. Most want carry the products people are seeking and have little interest in creating demand for new products or even growing demand for established products.
Yahoo, therefore, needs to talk directly with the makers of consumer products about deploying this technology.
But, you have to be careful. Automakers, for example, have designed new cars to go after, say, the youth market, only to find that it is the baby boomers who like their car.
I published a industrial magazine that had different rate cards for different markets. Only 45 percent needed left-handed widgets, so we charged the widget makers half of what we changed the copy machine firms. That's what is going to happen at Yahoo and elsewhere eventually as the targeting gets more and more precise. That still going to beat "pay per click" however.