In the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan famously proposed that “the medium is the message” — that the platforms we use to send and receive information are actually more important than the information itself. However, that philosophy doesn’t hold up in the world of digital signage. Projects that focus on the technical aspects while treating content development as an afterthought aren’t likely to produce the desired results.
Implementing a digital signage solution certainly requires design proficiency and a high degree of expertise with the software, hardware and cabling components. Ultimately, however, signage is only as effective as the content it displays.
Too often, organizations fail to adequately plan for how they will keep their content fresh and relevant. Retail organizations often launch a campaign with original content referencing current promotions, but then simply fail to update it until long after the information has become stale. Out-of-date ads running in a never-ending loop will only serve to desensitize customers and cause them to completely tune out.
Other organizations go through very thorough planning and implementation processes but have no plan for their messaging. We’ve seen many examples where companies simply re-created their website on their digital displays or looped a bunch of PDFs or Word documents. That has almost no appeal to your audience.
A 2017 IBM study found that this sort of uninspired digital signage does very little to enhance the retail customer experience. The firm evaluated 507 brands in 25 countries to develop a “customer experience” index. On a scale of 0 to 100, the overall average was only 33. The study also found that 71 percent only offered generic marketing messages rather than customized or personalized messages.
Running stale content neutralizes one of the great capabilities of digital signage — the ability to edit and update content rapidly. This gives retailers the flexibility to change sale items, prices and promotions at will based on inventory, availability or customer data. For example, digital signage makes it simple to implement on-the-spot discounts on slow-moving items, as well as removing information or promotions on items that are out of stock.
Strategically placed signage can also engage customers by providing greeting messages at the store entrance along with information about upcoming events, daily specials, clearance items and more. Quick updates of imagery can help with messaging around holiday themes or other special events. High-quality imagery is a must, however. Low-resolution images that are pixelated and distorted will give your signage an amateurish look and leave customers with a bad impression.
Whether they lack content development expertise or are simply too focused on the technical, operational and management requirements, companies are simply not realizing the full potential of their digital signage solutions. Organizations should consider forming a content creation team that can work with other departments to produce up-to-date content that will have an impact on customers. They should also implement an enterprise-class content management system (CMS).
SageNet’s fully managed solution features a cloud-based CMS that simplifies the creation, design, scheduling, editing and publishing of content. Fresh content is pulled from the content management host and delivered to displays according to your schedule. The system enables dynamic scheduling of content based upon a variety of metrics, including sales targets, inventory and customer traffic. Let us show you how our cloud-based CMS can help ensure your customers are always getting fresh, high-impact information from your digital signage solution.