5 things you have to consider when starting with Digital Signage – Interview with Digital Marketing expert Andy Smith from Arrow

by Michael Ghezzo

Andy Smith is the EMEA Marketing and Strategy Manager at Arrow OEM Computing Solutions. Arrow provides hardware and know-how for companies that want to use the power of digital signage to increase their sales and branding. He is keynote speaker at the Confare event »Marketing & Vertrieb 2.0« on June 5th. In this interview he provides some insights to the organisational success factors for Digital Signage.

Do companies use the full potential of Digital Signage today?


The world has become a very exciting place.  We have benefitted from the development of more advanced technologies in the past century, than in the previous four combined.  Today’s and tomorrow’s consumers are very different from yesterday’s buyers.  The number of Digital Natives (those who have grown-up using digital technology) is of course growing significantly – for example, in the UK, where I come from, 61% of consumers are expected to be Digital Natives by 2020.  That is up from 19% in 2013.  These Digital Natives will expect their buying experience to keep-up with their technological advancement.


We know these tech–savvy consumers want to communicate and share information and experiences electronically.   While we see many companies, such as Costa Coffee, Emirates airlines, Audi, Lego and others incorporating the latest digital technologies into their marketing, point of sale and point of information campaigns, many others are missing out.   And when I talk about Digital Signage I count all forms of digital communication out of the home, which includes point of sale and point of information devices, kiosks, wayfinders, vending machines and self-service devices, as well as simple media players with a screen attached!


This is about having the ability to create an ‘experience for the consumer’ that attracts, engages and encourages him/her to purchase, and to engage in your brand across multiple platforms.  As an integrated, dynamic communications solution, Digital Signage can enable companies to target consumers more precisely and specifically. Meeting consumers’ expectations and making it possible for companies not only to advertise successfully, but also to provide their customers and prospects with customized information.  This is what makes Digital Signage such a powerful communications tool and what clever Marketers are using to attract, inform and interact with their customers and buyers.


What is the ROI of Digital Signage?


ROI can be measured many ways, and it’s important to decide what your goals are.


  • At its simplest a point of sale promotion can be enhanced with a video running on a loop, promoting the attributes of a product.  Measuring sales results before and after the promotion gives a simple ROI metric.
  • More subtle ROI comes from a sustained brand awareness campaign across multiple platforms (TV advertising, direct mail, eMarketing, etc.). In such campaigns the ROI will be less easy to measure in any other way than traditional awareness metrics that we use today, but the impact of targeted out of home advertising can be dramatic, especially if the location and timeliness of content delivery is smart.

An aspect often not thought about, and very valuable for measurement and targeting, is the opportunity to gather valuable data directly from the devices that deliver the content. Of course an interactive device such as a kiosk has the ability to gather data if the application is done well, but even a seemingly simple media player can use video analytics to know the gender and age of the viewer.  This data has real ROI value for Marketers who are able to provide hard results from a given campaign.

Who should be involved in a Digital Signage project?


Digital Signage campaigns are about creating the most impactful experience for the customer to attract attention, provide information or support the selling process. 


While many Digital Signage solutions are not difficult to install, monitor or maintain they are best implemented by a strong collaboration between marketing and technical support.  While marketing can provide the strategy, content and approach, a technical or innovation partner can support implementation and integration to other tools such as a Customer Relationship Management system or reporting tools


Regardless, of your comfort and skill level with Digital Signage, there are many options and many companies that can consult with you on the best options as well as support implementation if needed.

What are some things that should be considered when developing a Digital Signage campaign?

  1. Goal: What are you hoping to achieve by using Digital Signage in your campaign? Awareness, entertainment, adding a ‘wow’ factor, wayfinding for visitors, advertising— or maybe a combination? The purpose of Digital Signage will drive its content. Which will have a big impact in how you develop your campaign.
  2. What Kind: There are many different kinds of Digital Signage that we see and use every day – at the airport, bank, subways and retail stores- giving us information, catching our attention and helping us pay for things faster.   Speak with a Digital Signage expert to find the right combination of video walls, kiosks, electronic signs, interactive touchscreens, etc. 
  3. Content: Content is very important for Digital Signage campaigns. Simple content, such as slides of text and small graphics, may be easy to find, but may not be as impactful or get the right results for your campaign.  To get the most out of Digital Signage, you need to move to a more digital, engaging approach — with moving images, video and sound.  You should also evaluate how to incorporate social media.
  4. Content Management: In large scale deployments, especially across multiple sites, there is a need for a content management solution (CMS) that will allow the scheduling of content, management of the devices, monitoring the health of the system, and collecting data for business intelligence purposes.  Often CMS is a Cloud service, but could be an on premise Server where appropriate.
  5. Interactive: Adding some interaction with the viewer will greatly increase the chance of the message having impact.  It also allows you to offer rich content which is navigated by the user, so they self-select the content of most interest.  And again – and device which interacts with consumers is gathering valuable data that can provide huge value as mentioned in the ROI subject above.
What are the future perspectives for smart Digital Signage?


First of all, the global Digital Signage market size was nearly $14 billion by the end of 2013 according to a report from IHS Inc.  There is no doubt that these solutions are making an impact and being embraced.


What is driving this growth?


·         The cost of hardware is falling all the time, and so the capital cost to deploy large screens, and the compute power to drive them is accessable to more market sectors and applications.


·         Digital Signage is proved to make an impact.  When it’s done well companies see a strong ROI, and this fuels wider adoption.  New revenue streams from advertising revenue encourage marketing investment in ever more glass!


·         It is interactive and communicative – exactly what today’s Buyers want and today’s Marketers need.  The new savvy consumer is no longer impressed with simple content – they expect to interact with it.  Watch your child approach a screen and assume it has a touch interface!


 What is new and cool


    • Touchscreens are common, but the latest multi-touch solutions allow more than 60 simultaneous fingers to be tracked, allowing new applications such as touch tables for several users to interact with at one time.
    • Social Media Integration is beginning to come.  Applications which allow the user to receive content, and then interact, share and socialize that content with friends from their smartphone via QR codes, NFC or Bluetooth wireless technology.
    • Technologies such as the Microsoft Kinect allow gesture recognition.
    • Video analytics with a simple camera but very smart software that can recognize the age and gender of the viewers.
    • People counting to determine the foot fall, and dwell times of users at points in a retail store provide valuable metrics for designers of retail floor space.
    • Digital Tables in retail space provide an opportunity to sit across from a Sales Assistant and share content together in a way that is not possible on front of a conventional screen.
    • Transparent displays that allow a vending machine to display the product for sale whilst using the whole front of the machine to play content.

Meet Andy Smith on June 5th at “Marketing & Vertrieb 2.0” in Vienna – Find more Detail about the Programme: http://www.confare.at/10357_DE-7210_4._Jahresforum_Marketing_Vertrieb_2.0-Einfuehrung.htm

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Pricessa Grimmie 12. Mai 2014 - 5:58

I like how you explain better about digital signage campaign. This simple 5 steps would be very helpful in making a perfect signage who caught people's attention and possible customers. You are really genius Andy Smith.

novisign 17. Oktober 2014 - 14:28

Informative post! You incredibly explained important things that we have to consider before starting with Digital Signage. All thanks to you Andy Smith. Indeed, you did great job. Kudos!


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