Digital signage has been around for a while now, but it continues to be somewhat polarizing. While some people tout its low cost as a significant strength, others complain they’ve been burned by an early investment or feel that it’s difficult and time-consuming to deploy. The reality is that both the good and the bad can be true. Before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, consider this: According to Russell Reynolds Associates, at least 30 percent of executives across all industries are preparing for a major digital disruption in the next year.
It’s easy to get caught up discerning which digital signage software is the best, which hardware makes the most sense, or which platform will be future-proof. This thinking is problematic because it doesn’t account for the real purpose of digital signage: the content.
Selecting digital signage hardware and software is similar to selecting a car. Countless models exist in more colors and with more packages than you can imagine. It’s natural to get bogged down in the details, but it’s important to remember that almost every option will be able to take you from point A to point B. That’s the real reason you’re buying the car in the first place, isn’t it? When it comes to digital signage, what you’re really after is a content strategy. Start there, and the rest — like working out platform specifics — will come easier.
Use Signage to Monetize an Audience or Communicate in Corporate
There are two underlying reasons most people make an investment in digital signage: The first is to monetize a captive audience. Traditional signs and displays are cheap options, but they lack the draw of digital displays. Eighty percent of customers have elected to go into a store after having their interest piqued by a digital sign. Displaying relevant advertisements close to the point of sale can also encourage a purchase (or an additional purchase). Forty percent of shoppers report that this tactic can cause a shift in the products they buy.
The second reason to make an investment in digital signage is for the speed and ease of distributing communications. This platform becomes super helpful when looking to make an impact in your business, either by creating alignment, promoting concepts, reinforcing culture, or providing accolades. This type of use case isn’t limited to internal communications, however. Digital signage, especially when interactive, can be a fantastic tool for helping elevate your customer journey, from personally welcoming guests to your facility to ensuring they receive a consistent message.
Strategy With Signage
Deployed and managed properly, digital networks are capable of promoting the desired culture, fostering alignment across various locations, and bringing in additional revenue — all at an incredible value. For inspiration, here are five ways you can maximize your investment in digital signage:
1. Illustrate the customer journey. Placing digital signage throughout your facility, showroom, or briefing rooms can illustrate how you work with customers and what they can expect when engaging with your brand. Whether you’re utilizing passive storytelling or more of an interactive guided tour, this method ensures that every customer receives consistent messaging.
2. Foster team alignment. Digital signage helps a company overcome the gaps that naturally form between teams in different locations. Highlight wins or high-performing employees, welcome new hires, or make sure process changes are uniform across your entire organization.
3. Promote desired culture. Keeping internal communications consistent concerning some of the “soft” aspects of companies can be challenging. No one denies the importance of a healthy company culture or developing employees, but it’s easy to overlook these items in favor of activities related directly to performance. Digital signage is useful for filling in this void and reinforcing items related to community, charity, benefits, and other items that help define a culture.
4. Sell advertising. It depends on the situation, of course, but digital signage shouldn’t be overlooked as a revenue platform. Any place with a large, captive audience — think stadiums, airports, or even the doctor’s office — is viable, and many brands are willing to pay for partial placement or even an entire takeover where all screens display their advertisements for a given time period. Especially for companies concerned about the cost of deploying digital signage, selling space can help quickly recoup the initial investment.
5. Display promotions and incentives. This tactic is especially beneficial in retail locations. Sending relevant advertisements to displays based on geographic location, time of day, current events, and even weather can help engage audiences and drive conversions. Examples include highlighting spring apparel at the tail end of winter or advertising umbrellas when the forecast calls for rain. It’s also particularly useful to send out incentives when you need to encourage certain customer behavior. If you’re looking to drive last-minute revenue at the end of the fiscal quarter, digital signage can be used to promote a sale or a “buy one, get one free” to clear shelves and make room for new inventory.
Content in Action
Do you have ideas for your digital signage but aren’t sure what it would look like in practice? One of the best ways to create an effective strategy is to first look around for inspiration.
A business built on signage: You may have seen GSTV at gas pumps around the country. It’s a remarkable example of advertising to a captive audience because most of us stand near the car while we’re filling up. If you’re looking to monetize a digital signage network, you should definitely explore what GSTV has accomplished.
Promoting services: KeyBank has deployed and manages upward of 2,000 screens spread across all of its locations. The company manages multiple screen configurations and several different channels of content, but all are aimed at bringing awareness to banking services customers may not know about, putting current incentives front and center, all while reinforcing brand messaging. This type of promotional use is perfect for driving incremental sales.
Communicating values: Nexteer Automotive uses digital signage in its world headquarters to aid in distributing information to both visitors and employees. No matter the audience, the messaging is intended to showcase who Nexteer is and what the company is capable of. To keep things fresh, different templates allow the company to maintain a consistent look when it incorporates fresh content.
One of the biggest strengths of digital signage is the flexibility. Whatever content strategy you’ve embraced, digital signage can deliver it in a way that allows you to reach your audience members and move them to action. Digital signage is here to stay, and investing in it means an investment in your brand, your organization, and your advertising and communications capabilities.