First, let me provide a little context. This blog was written to help you get your interactive hardware and software budget approved. Interactivity is a fairly new concept to most businesses, and if you don't know how to tie objectives to results with our products — chances are you're not going to get the funds. You should to take a long hard look at your concept before you pitch it. I would be doing you a huge disservice if I didn't at least point this out.
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So, you've finally figured it out. You know you need to get interactivity into your business strategy. It makes so much sense, especially if you want to stay relevant with today's generation that loves touch technology. So what now? You fly up the stairs to pitch it to your boss, of course!
Stop. Don't do that.
Do you think Elon Musk's employees blast through his office door every time they have a revolutionary new feature for his Hyperloop?
Ten minutes later you will be trudging out of your boss's office dragging what's left of your idea behind you in a garbage bag. I'm sorry to say that even if it is a brilliant idea, your company won't be throwing gobs of money at it. You have to sell it.
Some of the very best sales people don't have "sales" in their title, yet they're selling great ideas internally and moving mountains organizationally. But how? They've figured out how to get management to say "yes."
Figure out what your concept accomplishes
All great interactive solutions address a problem or insufficiency, so figure out what yours does. Management thinks in terms of results; they have to. They're big picture thinkers and must be actively seeking to resolve larger issues. Help them solve those issues by connecting the dots. Instead of saying, "I have this great idea that is going to make things really good," position your proposal to say "I have this great idea that will fix the following problems." Now you've just made the idea relevant to your manager's world.
But what if you can't think of a problem? Just make one up ... Kidding.
Speaking in absolutes, for something to be good, the opposite would have to be bad. Does your concept build awareness about your products in a new, exciting way? If so, are you effectively building awareness with clients today? Are they bored and disinterested? That is the problem.
It needs to bring about a desired result. Yes, touchscreens are awesome, everyone has them, and they have become the standard. But if that is the reason you want to incorporate touchscreens into your business strategy, you'll have more luck betting on black. Don't use interactive technology as a blatant ploy to look hip and cool. Make sure your touch displays are vehicles for connecting objectives to results.
Results are the way management gauges success, and if that success scale is not identified, they have nothing to grade against. Providing those measurable results ahead of time is going to build confidence with your manager that you're thinking about the right things.
The more it costs, the more "important" it has to be
Almost weekly we'll talk with a prospective client who wants to put an interactive video wall in their lobby. Listen, unless you are a major brand presence with a multimillion dollar experience budget, stars are going to have to align for that investment to make sense to management. So before you try to tie anything tangible to your concept, ask yourself some serious questions:
"How impactful is this idea on the business objective or problem I'm trying to tie it to?"
"How important or severe is the business objective or problem?"
"Are there any other departments with initiatives that this idea can benefit?"
"How big is your concept's audience?"
With all that said, the most important thing I could ever recommend as a consultant is that you stay true to your customer. Too often I see a great idea beat into a shade of what it originally was in order to please the manager who needs to greenlight it. Don't do that. You will be digging yourself into a hole that you'll have to crawl out of eventually.
Jessica Webster is the Art Director for Horizon Display, an interactive solutions company which focuses on creating dynamic experiences that align with customers’ business objectives. She is responsible for working with Horizon’s interactive strategy team to engineer graphical representations of clients’ concepts.