Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why Digital Display systems fail: 'Creatives' and Content

-Deacon Wardlow

Digital Display systems have immense potential. People point to movies like ‘Minority Report’ and other distopian future films as examples of the potential nightmare of over-pervasive/intrusive advertising, but often fail to look at the benefits of well managed digital display systems. Advertising doesn’t need to be an annoyance; done well a 'creative' can amuse, entertain, educate and develop the brand all at the same time. Unfortunately, there are definite obstacles in the way of conveying your message effectively and these are a few of the many signs of a bad Digital Display system:

An advertising campaign can turn against you:
As Giselle Abramovich of Digiday.com points out on his tumblr account, advertising (print, digital, other) can seriously miss the mark. A bad ad can just as strongly enforce negative branding as much as it was meant to help grow/sell/educate a brand/product.

Get it right the first time:

Aside from spelling errors and misplaced pictures, make sure your content is properly uploaded and (if using templates) make sure the template is filled-in and previewed prior-to pushing it to your display. As you can see from the Fox News example (taken from a live feed), even “big businesses” slip up from time-to-time.

Does the message get to the point or miss it entirely?
I came across a great article on Entrepreur.com which very effectively explains some common mistakes people make with advertising. While getting eyes on the sign is important (using a witty quip/joke) you need to ensure the bigger point (drawing clients to your door) is not missed. Keep the focus on two things: what you’re selling and whom you’re selling to.

Keep track of what works and drop what doesn’t:
While most of us don’t have all the expensive toys/tools to check the success/failure of our advertising, there are some simple steps which can help you track the effectiveness of on-premise advertising. Your exterior LED message center can be used to track message effectiveness by dayparting messages. Dayparting means to push certain messages at certain times during the day. As Jim Meskauskas points out on imediaconnection.com, be sure the message has relevance to the time if you’re partitioning messages by dayparting.

In the morning, push out an ad for a timed special with a requirement the first 20 people to mention the ad get ‘X’ (discounts, a prize, etc.). This draws people in and allows you to track effectiveness of a certain campaign. Please keep in mind, your audience is mobile so you want to keep the message simple and straightforward and don’t have them TEXT/take a picture/or do anything which takes away from their attention to forward movement (walking/driving/cycling). That would be bad, very very bad.

Get the most from your medium:
Use the medium to the max. As some Japanese engineers have shown in Osaka, simple water can be presented in amazing ways to draw interest. A digital display (LED message center, LCD/Plasma/Smartphone/tablet/laptop/other) is limited only by your imagination. There are people doing amazing things with displays. Unleash the creativity, but be sure what’s presented achieves your goals.

Have fun, it’ll shine through:
Overall, engage your customers/clients/focus group in fun and entertaining ways when possible. Emotion is a HUGE driving force in advertising. Harness emotion where you can. Think of the overall impression you want to make with the digital signage and what goal you have in mind. See the system in your mind’s eye, go through how you want someone to view the system, what you want them to experience/feel and what you want to achieve; examples: more clients coming in the door, people calling that phone number, customers sending SMS texts to the display and interacting with your business using the display as the medium. What you can visualize can be actualized.

Keep your objective in mind:
Often too many people focus on the ROI (return on investment) and fail to focus on the ROO (return on objective). ROI gives you financial gain (a good thing) and ROO gives you a gain (i.e. educating your customer base as to why they should use you over the competition) which may not have a direct measurable monetary effect, but will get you farther towards building a relationship with your customer base. The trick is fitting it all into a spot which may only receive 5-10 seconds of attention.

Don't hesitate to reach out for advice if you're feeling stuck. There are loads of people (myself included) who are happy to point you to excellent resources if they can't help you directly. Don't be afraid to stumble a bit on the path to success, but avoid the big mistakes where possible!

*Always feel free to comment here and/or email me directly with requests at deacon@vantageled.com. Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (http://www.vantageled.com), 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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