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Digital Signage:
IT's from Mars/Marketing's from Venus

Much has been written about the convergence of IT and Marketing. Year after year, digital media’s percentage of marketing and advertising budgets increases, and is now more than 50% of the total marketing budget in some industries. Mobile and social platforms increase marketing’s reliance on data and analytics skyrockets. IDC predicts that: “50% of new marketing hires will have technical backgrounds,” and Gartner projects “By 2017 the CMO will Spend More on IT Than the CIO.”

The Convergence of IT and Marketing

The CIO’s role is also evolving. The Internet of Everything, the proliferation of mobile devices,  and a more tech-savvy customer-base and workforce have changed IT’s role in the organization. The CIO’s servers, software and networks have moved from their traditional supporting role to an enabling mission critical strategic organizational asset. Legacy systems and compliance issues has the “I” in CIO at times representing Infrastructure, while preparing the future demands Innovation.



Bridging the Gap. Respecting Roles.

Digital Signage, however, cannot wait for Marketing and IT to sort out their evolving roles. Marketing may often see IT as obstructionists. IT may often see Marketing as demanding dreamers. However, done right, Digital Signage can serve as a prime example of how IT and Marketing can work together to further the goals of the overall organization: aligning business, marketing and technology objectives while respecting the demands and nuances of the two dynamically changing professions.

Marketing’s Role and Expectations

For the CMO, Digital Signage is all about delivering the right message to the right person at the right place and the right time. The marketing team is weighing image, awareness, branding and messaging, point-of-sale and point-of-wait, content creation, content management and the all important customer experience. To the CMO, IT is a means to that end.

And while IT infrastructure challenges are recognized by marketing, Content remains the top digital signage concern for the CMO. In fact, a recent survey of financial institution marketing executives found the CMO’s top 3 digital signage concerns were focused on content.


The CMO’s challenge with quality content versus the CIO’s concerns with Integration, Infrastructure and Security have lead to approaches in which IT would own the hardware and connectivity, and Marketing is owns Content. However, Digital Signage is a Place and People-based application. The physical size and location of displays can dramatically impact success.

CIOs and Security

CIOs must be obsessed with Security. However, as recent events show, security breeches create a PR and Marketing nightmare.

For digital signage, the speed and ease of access to the CMS is vital to keeping content fresh and local, but every extra door and device with access into the network creates another opportunity for intrusion. Further, with PCI Compliance becoming increasingly complicated, many retailers and financial institutions are seriously considering operating separate networks.

* From a marketing perspective, digital signage presents a very public-facing security  concern. Unauthorized access, whether physical or virtual, could result in the display of inappropriate content or false security messages that can carry brand-damaging and legal consequences.

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