by Lyle Bunn
(This is the second part of a two-part article on digital signage at this year's Media Week. Read part one here.)
Location is the new cookie
Marketers are at a tipping point in the realization that how messages are delivered varies widely from how media is consumed. "Location is the new cookie," since physical location-awareness provides context for messaging in the way that online site visit awareness does for Internet ads.
Digital signage is a location-aware, premium messaging device that is "brand safe." Unlike celebrity endorsement, TV or film placement where the brand is blended or associated with the "carrier" element, or social media where it is linked with opinion, messaging on digital signage can wholly reflect a brand, in particular when used as "owned" media in brand locations.
"We have to engage with consumers differently and go deeper to describe our value," Robert Tas, the managing director and director of digital marketing for JP Morgan Chase, said during Media Week. "Efficiency of assets" is a key goal, and so we think about "video media" that can be applied — TV spots, online and in-branch.
"Mobile is moving from passive to active marketing and from audience to engagement," noted Tim McDonough, VP of marketing for QualComm, a primary provider of mobile phone chips. He added, "Mobile device functionality is being designed to discover things relevant to you, sense local content and services, learn what you like, filter out the irrelevant, know you and what's around you and to interact with your surroundings."
"Mad Men" versus "Math Men"
The "battle royale" is between "Mad Men," focused on creative who perpetuate the art and mystic of marketing, and "Math Men," those focused on tangible value. Art and science are expressed even within agencies as they define themselves as creative, digital, media planning/buying or public relations agencies, among other descriptors. A disconnect exists between the creative agency and the execution agency led by media planning and buying.
Starcom CEO Lisa Donohue said in addressing the 800 delegates of the Tech Media Summit that it takes integration and strategy to build brands. While marketers can be attracted to shiny objects, it is the black and white of investment decision-making that is the science of marketing. It is the combination of art and science — the combination of left and right brain as one brain — that makes marketing work. A disconnect exists between the creative agency and the execution agency led by media planning and buying.
New approaches are challenged by the status quo as those involved in the day-to-day business of the brand are invested in current approaches and business models. Innovation can be very challenging to embrace.
Programmatic buying is a utility for bidding on an advertising inventory source in real-time for the opportunity to show one specific ad to one consumer in one specific context. In providing improved advertising campaign efficiency and effectiveness, it is projected to grow at 53 percent per year in the U.S. between 2011 and 2016 according to IDC. Forrester believes that that programmatic buying will ultimately capture the bulk of digital advertising spending.
NEC's VUKUNET and other platforms which bring efficiencies in selling, planning, negotiating, buying and flighting advertising will increasingly be used for ad commerce and allow media buyers to move to a media trading desk environment. Jack Sullivan, SVP and OOH activation director at Starcom and a long-standing supporter of DPb, advises that "Network operators must successfully sell the concept to brands while bringing appealing display inventory and buying efficiencies."
Digital signage matters
Digital signage matters because of its inherent value proposition — the ability to present pre-prepared messages at points of high traffic, dwell time and influence. But further:
- It is "brand safe," presenting what the marketer or communicator want and need to say, without being blended with other brand messages or curated.
- It allows the brand to make their numbers while experimenting to achieve even greater results.
- Digital Signage allows for a transition into new communications and marketing approaches at minimal risk and with high rewards.
- Digital Signage is about ideas, organizations and most of all, people.
- Digital Signage matters because it is a business-to-business-to-consumer media, and what Digital Signage has to offer about this structure is core enabling knowledge to other digital media that are important to marketers.
- Digital Signage is good because it fits more easily than most media into attribution analytics models.
- Place-based media suppliers "act like owners." They can only succeed if they go about doing what will support their customer's success. In acting like the owner of their customer's company they bring value to both organizations. The industry produces good people and good companies.
- It's not in beta!
Mike DiFranza, who has been a model of enthusiasm and behavior to everyone involved in digital signage said good-bye to the digital place-based industry during Media Week. He recently resigned as CEO of the highly successful Captivate Networks and as chair of the Digital Place-based Advertising Association, of which he was a founding force (as it was initially named the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau or OVAB). His influence will be missed. Mike has presented often, each time reinforcing the need to have "eyes on the prize." He has exemplified the wisdom of business upon which all success is built — care deeply, listen carefully and speak clearly.
If offered the opportunity to wave a Hogwarts wand and have the dream world appear, Mike DiFranza would probably say of that world:
- Organizations use digital place-based media as paid media and digital signage as owned media to drive business outcomes and brand engagement.
- Content must be relevant to viewer needs and introduce new value to them.
- It works — flawlessly. No dark screens. No awkward transitions.
- Information presented is local and easily actionable.
- Incursion and privacy issues continue to be non-issues.
- Digital signage offers approaches that enable the value and commercial success of mobile screens.
- There is more inventory for advertisers to use.
Well done Mike! You have set the tone for your contemporaries and all who follow. Best wishes for success in all you do!
Digital Signage is positioned to be the instrument to knit creative and delivery execution for the chief marketing officer so that mobile devices can actually work effectively as use grows, programmatic buying is improved, privacy issues are settled and scalable value scenarios are actualized.
At this time of media hype and fog, sensible questions must be asked to make sensible decisions. Stratacache CEO Chris Riegel, in presenting at the Digital Signage Investors Conference, suggested the four key questions related to digital signage investment:
a) Is there a scalable market opportunity?
b) What is the business advantage and defensible market position?
c) Is there a "pivot point" at which value can be increased?
d) Are management capable and passionate?
These deserve consideration by all involved in digital signage networks and supply management. Digital signage must be on the table as an option and then trials and initial investment must be successful. Success is based on technology that works, objectives and impact metrics that are clear, and content that enables achievement of intended results.
Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon) is an independent advisor and educator who has served hundreds of networks and helped thousands of digital signage network operations, end-user and supply professionals to succeed. Lyle has published more than 250 articles and white papers on digital signage and was recently named as one of this year's most influential people in digital signage by DigitalSignageToday.com. He can be reached at Lyle@LyleBunn.com.
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