The Complexity of Digital Signage Part 2

Posted by on Aug 2, 2011 in Insight

This is a continuation from yesterday’s post…

Personally, I feel content is complicated. Some time ago I wrote a piece which talked about Content as-a-Service. This article speaks of the necessity for new and engaging content. It also speaks of how content can be one of the most costly ongoing expenses for a network operator. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: content can be a high recurring expense and thus must be planned for and simplified as much as possible.

Digital sign advertising is complex. As any ad network understands, advertising is not about having the carriage, but it’s more about having a horse to pull the carriage. Screens does not instantly mean advertisers will want to place their spots and pay out dividends. Screens means now, you must push to sell real-estate. And, anyone that runs ad networks for digital signage knows that this can be a difficult and complex sale, especially for the novus ad salesperson.

My final thoughts on the complex nature of this business has to do with audience measurement and ROI. Measure audiences and return on investment is difficult in many industries. It’s even tougher and often more costly in digital out-of-home. This represents some of the most complex, but greatest opportunity for those wishing to make REAL revenues in digital signage.

How can we simplify the complicated?

In simple terms simplifying is simple. My personal advice would be to outsource, partner, and stick to your core competencies. In marketing and sales, selling something to existing clientele is many times easier than selling something to new customers. For those who have been selling their services to customers in the past and wish to sell digital signage as an addendum marketing tool, it may be best to leave the hardware and software portions of the network to those who know how to handle such.

Additionally, complicated issues are often simplified by taking your network a piece at a time. Too many of our quote requests arrive with too much at once. They want XXXX players and they want to know how to use the software by yesterday, etc. etc. Biting off a piece at a time is best for sanity’s sake. Planning ahead and sticking to a schedule also eliminates headaches:

“Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part…”

Great words of wisdom. Finally, there are many ready-made tools available, which can help in simplifying the complexities of the place-based landscape.

What tools are available to help simplify?

Some of the largest entities in digital signage and IT have been working feverishly to help take digital signage to the mainstream. HP, NEC, Intel, Microsoft and Google have all been sticking their fingers into the pie with good results. In addition, those who are already in the industry know fully what DOOH networks needs might include. In many instances, simple tools created within the industry have proven much more beneficial than external entrants wishing to make an industry push. Still, software and hardware components continue to improve and fall in price. Audience measurement devices and advertising network aggregation tools are simplifying the landscape and toppling barriers to entry. Audience measurement, taken from the security and law-enforcement sector has proven very beneficial in digital signage audience measurement and return on investment calculations. Many of these tools are currently available at greatly reduced costs than what has been had previously.

While DOOH is complicated, keeping familiar with the tools that simplify the complexities will give digital signage the ability to expand much farther than it would have otherwise, taking the technology to even the smallest reaches of the business worldwide.

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