Sept. 2, 2016
By Brian Elles, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Mood Media
As digital signage has become a more cost-effective and accessible solution, businesses of all sizes are looking to leverage the dynamic platform and maximize its potential.
Yet, to their own detriment, many brands mistakenly approach the platform with a warped perception of what types of content their customers crave and what really works in an effort to generate a return on their investment. To create greater demand and generate maximum value from digital signage, businesses need to implement effective content strategies that fully capitalize on the potential of the medium. It's not enough to simply have content with a strong call to action — many other variables come into play.
Without an underlying strategy, digital content is often no more impactful than a blank screen. However, when leveraged properly, digital signage can serve as a dynamic brand extension, meeting a primary objective to create greater customer demand while helping to inform, entertain and ultimately grow a loyal customer base.
While it seems fairly obvious, many brands run past the fundamentals when developing their digital signage strategy. Marketers must first clearly define the objective and understand the importance of content in a much broader view and context. Digital signage is more than a replacement of static promotional signage, and it must be viewed as an entirely different medium.
Content is more than king
With digital signage, content is more than king. Content is the castle the king resides in, the land the castle is built upon, the world in which the kingdom flourishes and the narrative of the king's tale. In short, content is the key to crafting the personality behind your brand. If you don't know what your content strategy will be and, specifically, what value the content will add to your overall customer experience, take a step back to determine this important factor before deploying digital signage at your location.
To help clients grasp the importance of developing engaging content, ask them to think like TV producers to create their own private TV network. Just as producers must understand what target audiences want in order to drive ratings, brands must also be aware of the preferences of their audiences. Having this knowledge will not only help drive sales but will also help attract and retain key customers.
Here are four guidelines to consider when developing an influential digital signage content strategy:
- Audience — Before drafting digital signage content, brands must first identify their audiences, as doing so ensures that messaging will resonate with target customers. Business owners need to ask themselves, "Who is it we are trying to reach, what do we know about them and what are they interested in?"
Answering these questions will allow brands to create an audience profile that provides insight into the motivations and needs of key clientele. Additionally, crafting content that focuses on maximizing customer engagement enhances the in-store experience and builds stronger brand allegiances.
- Placement and programming — Content should complement the physical placement and application of its respective digital signage solution. For instance, a screen placed in a location with a two-minute wait time should not display a 10-minute segment of content.
Conversely, customers experiencing longer wait times will quickly grow annoyed with content that repeats every two minutes. Taking into account the location of screens will help customers feel more understood and valued. Remember this: Context-sensitive messages are most likely to get noticed, so always carefully consider the format, relevance and presentation of digital content.
- Balance — We see too many brands that use digital signage to sell, sell, sell. That's a worthy and fruitful objective, but too much promotional content can negatively impact customer engagement. If all you saw on TV were commercials, how long would it be before you'd tune out or change the channel? (Remember, think like a TV producer!)
Incorporating informative local news and weather is a great way to draw attention to your content. Showing branded content that highlights your involvement in the community can also drive deeper interest and loyalty to your brand. Showcasing product promotions, limited-time offers or sales messaging can still be utilized, but to get the most success from your digital signage, it's important to ensure that your branded content has a local feel that your customers can relate to. You'll create a stronger customer experience and greater demand when you have a strong balance of content that keeps your audience engaged.
- Going above and beyond the expected — Brands can elevate their digital signage network by turning it into an engaging consumer experience. Whether that is through the creation of physical touch points such as an interactive display, or a more abstract touch point such as an opportunity to showcase content, digital signage allows businesses to engage and interact with consumers on a personal level, thus providing unanticipated value. Brands should strive to stay ahead of technological trends to deliver the most relevant innovations to their consumers, helping their brand stand out from competitors by delivering the unexpected.
The allure of a new technology or product can easily overshadow the need for an agile strategy. In order to leverage digital signage effectively and thoughtfully, it needs to be utilized like any other marketing tool — with an objective-based content program designed to help brands meet their goals. By lending a little time and attention upfront to the development of a smart digital signage content strategy, brands can create a solid foundation for delivering strong messaging that creates greater demand, while achieving an even broader range of objectives.
Brian Elles is senior product marketing manager for Mood Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.