Thursday, February 28, 2013

Digital Signage “Need To Know:”: Explaining LED Sign Technology Simply and Effectively to Your Audience Directly.

-Scott Hofheins

Effectively explaining LED sign technology can be difficult. Many people have trouble with technology they use every day like smart phones or personal computers, let alone a full color outdoor LED sign system. Digital Signage is a new subject for many people, and the misinformation prevalent in the industry does not help matters. So how do you effectively explain virtual pixel technology, embedded vs. IPC systems, conformal coating, and other tech items without your audience’s eyes glossing over?

Speak the Language
Sternocleidomastoid. If you're a doctor, sports trainer, or paid attention in Human Biology chances are you know what this means. We can have a great conversation on human anatomy and the inner workings of the human body. But maybe you had a hard time staying awake in biology, with little interest in the details of how we function. I can then tell you it is a large neck muscle that helps you tilt, and turn your head. We can then move on.

It’s important to know who your talking to as soon as possible. If you’re talking to a tech, then talk tech. If your talking to a big picture guy, then talk big picture. It’s important to be strong in both respects, and be able to find the right middle ground for your audience.

Sum it Up
This is important when talking to anyone. Stick to understandable terms that matter to the audience, but still explain facts. Then sum it up with how that specific technology will affect the audience directly. If your audience was starting to gloss over, the summation will clear it up every time.

This is important for both tech guys, and big picture guys. The key is to focus on them specifically. The tech guy will be happy to know that high quality power supplies mean less troubleshooting and repair work. The big picture guy will appreciate that these power supplies mean consistent up-time with the sign, generating more visibility for the business (thus more money). It's the same technology, but benefits people in different ways. Keep your focus, sum it up and explain specific benefits to your audience directly. (I practice what I preach.)  

Back it Up
“Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick...” is one of my favorite quotes from Theodore Roosevelt. You need to back up your talk with real data. Even a big picture guy will usually make sure a tech looks at your stuff at some point. Be ready for this with your knowledge of the product (see Deacon's post) and by having good access to white papers, articles, case studies, etc...

Don’t do all the talking. As you explain certain items, stop and ask the audience: is this making sense to you? Don’t be afraid if the answer is no, be thankful you got that feedback before you wasted more time going the same direction. Listen to your audience and change your approach as needed.

By listening, you can also pick up on misinformation they may have received from another party. It’s unfortunate that we have so much of this in the industry, but it goes along with the territory and you have to account for it. If you're listening, you can address it directly, and make sure they have the correct information to make an truly informed decision.

The LED sign industry is still evolving at a rapid pace. It’s up to us as manufacturers and dealers to keep it going in the right direction with clear and understandable marketing and explanations of the technology that drives our products. I hope this post has been helpful, and I look forward to writing more on the subject. Remember who your talking to, summarize your explanations, backup your claims, and listen to your audience. If you do these things, to finishing the quote from Teddy Roosevelt, “ will go far.”


I hope this post has been informative and helpful. As usual, I welcome ALL constructive comments. Please feel free to comment and add anything I’ve missed, or additional tips you may have regarding this topic. Please visit for many other resources, white papers, and of course: Great looking LED Signs!

**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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