Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Be S.M.A.R.T. with your choices: Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-driven ways to ensure your investment with Digital Signage is a good one.

-Deacon Wardlow

I’m an avid hiker, mountain climber, outdoorsmen and it all started at a young age. The first time I solo climbed a mountain was nerve-wracking. I had climbed hundreds of times before, but never on my own (and by climbing, I’m referring to a solo “hike” not actual rock ascension). The sensation was exhilarating, being out on my own with the beauty all around me. The experience could easily have been a nightmare. Without a map, compass and the right experience in place I could have been frightened and gotten lost or seriously in trouble.

To make the right decisions, you’ve got to have all the information in place and know where you’re going. You’ve got to have SMART goals to achieve your desired end result.. SMART goals are - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-driven. By making the right choices from the start, you can save yourself (and possibly many others) frustrations, headaches and time (money). Here's a brief bit on how to start (and finish) SMART:

Be specific about what your objective is with the Digital LED Signage System. Do you want to reach out to the community? Share information about a group/business? Create business opportunities? Draw people into the store? Share specials and pricing to the public to incentivise them to stop in? Perhaps all or a few different selections from these options? The more specific the objective, the better fit you’ll get with a solution.

How will success with the system be measured? Will a call to action (i.e. SPECIAL RENTAL PRICES ON COFFEE CUPS, unlimited refill with 2 hour cup rental for $2.50/2 hours!) be made and sales tracked against the special (which is only on the system)? Perhaps SMS (texting) integration? Events listed only on the LED Sign with a tracking of attendance? The better the measurement of success, the more the client can utilize the board and fine-tune the content to meet their needs.

Depending on the system selected, can the end-user get what they want out of the system? In an area flooded with single-color LED Signage, a small FULL COLOR system may achieve the end-goal/objective of standing out from the crowd. If the client is an auto-dealer and wants to put up big pictures of their newest vehicles, a 2’ x 4’ display likely is not going to achieve their objective.

While a 150% return on their investment may not be realistic, what is? Can a business expect to see a 10-20% growth in business because of the LED Sign purchase? NO! They can expect a 10% (or greater) return by USING the LED Sign they purchase. Simply purchasing the sign isn’t enough, content has to be constantly and consistently refreshed/changed to keep people’s eyes on the prize.

Quality takes time. There’s an old graphic showing a triangle with three sides. Written on each side is a single word: Quality, Price, Time. Under the triangle is the phrase, you can only have two (low price, high quality; but longer build time. Low price, fast turnaround; but low quality, etcetera). These days an average build time will be 5-8 weeks. If you’re looking for a custom solution or a large-scale system with a lot of bells and whistles, you should expect the system to take a little more time to build. If someone promises you they can build a high-quality system in a short turnaround (i.e. 2 weeks) you should immediately be concerned as to how that’s possible. Think of the triangle. If they’re delivering a low-cost system with a fast turnaround, you’re not getting that third side in the deal...

Be SMART when making your selection for a quality manufacturer/partner with Digital Signage. The wrong choice could cost you a lot more than money. Making the SMART choice now, will benefit both you and the end-user over the lifetime of their investment.

*I invite you 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. 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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