This next month marks the annual Digital Signage Expo (DSE) held in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s a time for signage software and hardware vendors to show their stuff. You get to see what is on the cutting edge, learn about new and exciting products, rub shoulders with industry experts, learn in forums and speeches from the pros, watch award’s ceremonies and hopefully get a taste of Las Vegas. This has been great for us, as we’ve visited as both attendees and as a vendor in times past, but there are a number of reasons we’ll not be attending this year. Before I outline them below, I want to include this caveat. The Expo is great for the novus in digital signage. It helps you get an idea on the lay of the land, so to speak. If you want the full list of marketing reasons TO visit the Expo in Vegas this next month, you can probably find one by visiting the Expo’s website.
I’ve been to the Expo a half a dozen times or so. I’ve also attended shows like NRF and InfoComm. They all emphasize different things, but here are some downsides and why we won’t be there in 2014.
First, it doesn’t really fit our strategy. Our marketing strategy–without going into everything we do–plays better with the SMB. The small and medium enterprises won’t be at the Expo and while the deployments of 1,000+ displays are where the big dogs make their cheese, it’s not where the lion’s share of the volume in this industry is coming from. From digital menu boards in restaurants to the corporate waiting room that needs a display, most of the networks we service are around 20 in size, not in the thousands. Believe me, we get our fair share of much larger deployments, but did we meet them at the Expo or hob-nob with them on the strip. No.
Secondly, we have our own relative return on investment to measure. Unfortunately for us, the Expo was a great place to make connections, but at the end of the day you need to make decisions as to where your money and–perhaps MORE importantly–your time is spent. With today’s marketing automation and marketing tracking tools, it’s much easier to measure and follow the dollars spent. We’ve found our money and time can best be spent elsewhere. Expos for other industries far removed from digital signage have proven much more helpful, but now I’m giving away too much of the secret.
Our story may be diametrically opposed to that of our competitors who seem to gain a great deal of traction from visiting the Expo and showcasing their wares. In fact, some might argue the Expo is more necessary for overall branding and recognition from the industry itself. This may be true, but our focus is providing the best dollar-per-investment returns to our shareholders which–at least from our metrics–has not yet come from DSE. As always, comments are welcome.