Thursday, May 31, 2012

How much does an LED Sign or Digital Signage cost?

- Deacon Wardlow

Many people ask how much a Digital Signage solution (LED Sign, interior or exterior LCD/Plasma/etc.) costs. While they mean well, many points are overlooked or not addressed up-front. The sweet smell of a low price is replaced by the lasting bitter taste of a system which underperforms and potentially costs both the dealer and the end user money and reputation. Let’s take a quick look at the basics of what you need to know when looking at the “cost” of a digital signage system.

What does the end-user want from the system? Are they looking for a direct ROI (Return On Investment) or ROO (Return On Objective) or perhaps a blend of both? You need to know where you want to end up before you start the process.

Where is the system being placed? Is there appropriate power? Can communication be setup quickly or are there special site requirements (i.e. an outdoor LED Message Center requiring a hard-wired connection where there are currently no feeds available which will require trenching, a remote connection or wireless integration)?

Content Creation/Management:
Who is creating and managing the content? A Digital Signage solution (LED message Center, interior, etc.) is only as good as the content running on it. Digital signage which remains the same day-in and day-out for weeks on end will quickly lose any appeal for customers and badly created/managed content can negatively brand the business. Over-repetition of “THIS MONTH ONLY!” specials, poor color contrast choices (i.e. blue text on a red background which not only hurts the eyes but is difficult to read), and other poor content creation/management judgement can do more harm than good. Remember, customers are not sitting at that screen for a long time. You have (at most) 5-10 seconds to make an impression. Make it BIG, make it fast and keep it simple.

The Equipment:
These are professional commercial-grade systems. You can’t just go to a store and pick something off the shelf and expect it to perform for you. Just as businesses buy commercial-grade computers (servers) meant to run systems 24/7/365, your Digital Signage solution needs to be commercial grade. While there are many manufacturers who offer a cost-conscious model to meet end-user demand remember the caveat, you get what you pay for.

A ‘source’ vs a ‘RESOURCE’:
Make sure the source you purchase your digital signage from is also a resource (not just someone selling you a system, but actively working with you to ensure you have the right system to meet the site need, end-user requirements and has everything it will require to function properly before and AFTER the sale). While there are many people/businesses out there who will sell you a system to meet your basic needs, where will they be when/if there’s a problem? Will they be there to walk you through issues on setup/installation and if the system fails?

Overall, there are a lot of components to be aware of when figuring the cost of a system. To be truly successful, you need a partnership between the resource/manufacturer, the integrator/dealer and the end-user. Great achievements are rarely made by a single individual, there’s usually a team of people behind that achievement. When pricing a system, don’t go it alone. Work with an experienced dealer/manufacturer so when you get the price, neither you nor the end-user are surprised by the real costs down the road.

*Always feel free to comment here and/or email me directly with requests at Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (, please check it out when you have a moment. Advertisements/promotion for your business and inappropriate comments will be deleted.. Thank you!

**Note all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.

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