Thursday, October 25, 2012

Negative Electronic Message Center Buying Experience

"Somewhere, over the..."
“Since the object of sign boards was to attract the public, they were often of an elaborate character. Not only were the signs themselves large and sometimes of great artistic merit (especially in the 16th and 17th centuries, when they reached their greatest vogue) but the posts or metal supports protruding from the houses over the street, from which the signs were swung, were often elaborately worked, and many beautiful examples of wrought-iron supports survive both in England and continental Europe.” 1

There is very compelling history related to the use of outdoor signage and few would argue the importance of signs to identify a business, give directions, or to provide other timely communication. Whether the sign is a terracotta signboard from ancient Rome, or a state-of-the art outdoor LED electronic billboard, every sign has a lifespan.

Great expectations accompany the birth of a sign. The small business, like an expectant parent, invests both money and time before the Electronic Message Center (EMC) project arrives. They’ve spoken with several sign companies, reviewed many project bids, perhaps secured financing, obtained permits and other permissions and do not take the arrival of their new flashy “electronic baby” lightly.

It is a large investment that they have made, and they have waited patiently during the manufacturing gestation period. When the “freight company stork” delivers the EMC project to the sign company for installation, congratulatory cigars are broken out for all!

The sign company has high expectations too. They have fought hard to win the contract, perhaps weathered price concessions, spent much time designing the total sign project, obtained the permits… and their list goes on, perhaps longer than the end-user’s list.

The Electronic Message Center (EMC) is finally installed and turned on- “WOW- pretty lights!”

At the moment when their new EMC gets powered up for the first time, the “gold at the end of the rainbow” has been found. But just as fast as the beautiful rainbow vanishes, so do the dreams of improved sales and company branding as service issues begin with a problem EMC.

A negative buyer experience is a commercial tragedy for the end-user, the sign company, the community and the industry.


1) End-users and sign companies have expectations that are legitimate and should be easily met with quality EMC product that is readily available.

2) An EMC that is not reliable does more damage to the brand image of the end-user and the sign company than never installing the sign. Which LED Sign Manufacturer?

3) The cost for servicing a low-quality EMC can greatly exceed any profit realized in the transaction for the reseller, even with a great profit margin project. Cost of Service

4) Time is important- wasting time servicing and dealing with customer complaints cost time, and time is real money.

5) Every EMC project is a direct reflection on the industry. Each new EMC is seen by thousands of passing motorists not only once it’s powered-up, but also during the installation!  A reliable EMC with gorgeous content can drive additional sales, but a poor EMC project presentation can make an end-user think twice or stick with conventional signage.

6) The old adage “There’s never enough time to do it right, but there’s always time to do it over” causes pain for some sign companies. Their supply chain has repeatedly disappointed them with poor-quality product and service, but the promise of a cheap EMC has provided the hope that the next project will be that one “winning project”. With the wrong supplier, it never happens.

Buy smart from a domestic supplier that has a proven track record of performance and who can provide references. Always insist that your product conforms to the National Electrical Code requirements and is certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.

Do your homework and do not allow a fantasy promise of a “free lunch” on EMC pricing to cause long-term pain and disappointment with the end-user customer. There is a finite number of customers, embrace and satisfy each one of them, no exceptions. When you do this, you will also be protecting the reputation of the industry.

1-  Wikipedia reference: “signage”.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment