Thursday, December 6, 2012

Is an EMC (LED Sign) an investment or a purchase?

-Deacon Wardlow
Money talks, but who’s listening? It’s difficult to decide where advertising dollars should go. Newspaper readership is at all time lows, people listen to satellite radio or their MP3 players, flyers are picked up by the wind more than by potential customers and the internet grows so rapidly it’s hard to tell if you can make any headway. Where is the money best placed for the greater return.

I was speaking with a friend of mine about Digital Signage Solutions for advertising within a business or organization. The conversation basically boiled down to, “Is it a purchase or is it an investment?” He was looking at Digital Signage as a purchase. A one-time cost to his business and I disagreed. A flat screen for the home may be considered a purchase; after all, what value does the TV add? The TV is a portal for entertainment, education and actually brings a lot of value to the household, in this case it can be seen as an investment in oneself (or one's family). Digital Signage (LED Sign, LCD, etc.) is an investment. The initial cost is one small component in the greater picture against the overall value it brings to an organization.

Digital Signage (DS) requires time and effort to work. Someone using DS doesn’t just put up their displays and a couple of messages and expect people to come breaking the doors down. DS is a communication to the community, to the competition, to your potential customer base. DS is DYNAMIC and should change, be fresh, offer a perspective and information which is new to the target viewer.

Like any good investment, the foundation has to be solid to show long-term performance. Buy low, sell high doesn’t work here. DS is one of the few areas where you often get what you pay for and you don’t want to “go cheap” on a solution for your business as it won’t pay out well for you in the end. There's a big difference between a "cheap" DS solution and a competitively priced one. Whatever you end up getting, the investment is made with some kind of return expected.

You get out what you put in. The better the content, the message and the look of your DS solution, the more the target viewer will be inclined to interact (whether that means stop in the store, email, twitter, facebook, or whatever your call to action is). The investment will net you a return. The return could be an ROI (Return On Investment) or perhaps your focus is ROO (Return On Objective, such as getting the community to interact more or take part in their town/city/school/church).

After arguing my side, I asked him, "Is Digital Signage a purchase?" He agreed with me and redifined his view of a purchase as a one-off item (or service/whatever) which, while it contains value to you and a few others, does not inherently gain you a return on anything other than the pleasure of ownership. An investment in DS will help you grow your organization and will be a key element in your success. Make sure your investment is a sound one and compare what’s out there. When you shake the apple tree for a comparison, you might be surprised to see a few lemons drop. I hope the blog helps you spot the lemons and avoid the frustrations.

*I invite you 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. 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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