• Nikki Ault

Digital Signage: What Is Falling Between The Cracks?

It is easy, with the end result in mind, to overlook things with any project. If you are like me, this quarantine time has been spent indulging in overwhelming home improvement projects that start with the end result in mind.

And if you are also like me, you have let some things fall between the cracks or have overlooked things your project required. Oops!

It can be the same scenario with a digital signage project. The end result is all you see, and as you dive in on the project, you realize there are quite a few things you overlooked.

Well we are here to help you avoid this scenario for your digital signage system. From concept to installation to content to support, it is critical that you consider the most missed items.

The Purpose. Why are you using digital signage? What problem are you trying to solve? What message are you trying to get across to your audience? Who is your audience?

You must answer these very important questions before you get the shiny ball syndrome. Don't look at someone else's project and think you need that. Understand what the purpose of your signage is and then create a system or find the hardware and software that accomplishes those goals.

Are you trying to entertain, engage, provide information, be social, increase sales, encourage positive company culture, brand awareness, highlight key performance indicators, welcome guests, etc. Literally the list could go on and on. You just have to decide what the goal is that you want to reach with your signage.

This primary reason is often missed, and is a major contributing factor to an unsuccessful digital signage project.

The Cost. Remember how I just mentioned that shiny ball syndrome? This is often what is overlooked when you see a finished project. You want "that" project for your company, but don't realize the cost associated, whether for the betterment or downfall of your budget.

You also have to understand what "hidden" costs could be involved. What exactly does your upfront costs include? What about shipping and installation? What about support or ongoing content assistance? Are you paying for your content management system (CMS) or software on a yearly, monthly, or one time fee basis?

The cost of digital signage has come down immensely over the years. You can get a very functional, affordable system or you can swing for the fences and get all the bells and whistles. Just don't overlook your budget by letting your eyes do the shopping.

The Stakeholders. Many times a decision maker agrees to a digital signage system before realizing how many stakeholders need to be included in the process.

Who is often overlooked but play a part?

Information Technology (IT) Dept: Not only may they play a part in support once your digital signage is up and running, but they may have security and networking issues that need worked out during installation.

Human Resources: A lot of times important messages come from HR via email. By including HR as part of your solution, these unopened emails can actually be conveyed through your digital signage. HR may also have to have final approval about what can or can't be used content wise.

Maintenance/Construction Plans/New Builds: Surprisingly this is the absolute best time to add a digital signage system. Because installation includes electricity, cabling, and connectivity, figuring out all of this during construction is best.

You can hide wires, check out aesthetics with windows and glares, and follow the path your audience will take in your location. All changes can be made without creating further messes and additional costs.

Marketing Department: This group may or may not get overlooked but they should absolutely be involved. Digital signage is a part of an omni-channel approach to marketing and is just one piece but can make all the difference in a successful marketing plan. Whether it be just for brand continuity alone.

This leads us to the next consideration, content.

The Content. You've got a great looking system, but now what do you put on it? Start with going back to your purpose, what is the outcome you are expecting to achieve with the system, then reverse engineer how you will obtain that. What information needs to be shared? What images, videos, quotes, facts, etc. will keep your audience intrigued and moving in the right direction?

Your CMS will help you with this too. Many options offer templates along with apps and widgets that help you share the information you really want out there. From news and sports tickers, current weather conditions, company logos, videos about things going on in the company, featured specials, menu changes, real time updates, etc. The options literally are endless when it comes to content.

Content options are endless which can contribute to the underestimated amount of time a digital signage system can eat up.

The Time. When planned for correctly, a digital signage system is a time saver. But if you haven't planned accordingly, it can be a major time suck. It takes time not only for the needs assessment to take place, but the order and installation to occur, and then content creation, and support if need be.

Deciding if you are doing your own content or if you will hire that part out will help determine how much time will be spent. Content creation is more about the planning and implementing than actually creating.

Make sure in your planning you create a timeframe for updates to take place. Are you changing content weekly, monthly, quarterly? How often is your audience seeing it? Are you going to scale it? Stale content is the worst and is quickly ignored, make sure you keep it fresh!

It's easy to get initial installation and content strategy going, but make sure you have a content plan moving forward.

Signage Scalability. The best thing about a digital signage system is that it is completely scalable. If your business is scalable, so is your signage. First of all, there are many content management systems that are cloud-based which means never having to constantly purchase the newer updates or systems.

Also, whether expanding to multiple locations, creating a larger more robust system for a growing company, and even hitting many endpoints like touchscreens, video walls, kiosks, etc. make digital signage the flexible option for signage.

DIY vs. Choosing An Integrator. This is absolutely the number one pitfall of a digital signage system. To create a successful digital signage project and have all the cards (aka hardware, software, content, support) fall into place it will save you time, money, and stress to use an integrator versus doing it yourself.

A digital signage integrator is your subject matter expert and knows the ins and outs of a working digital signage solution. They've experienced all the blunders of scheduling and installation, they have partnerships with vendors for the best pricing, and they have relationships with your CMS companies to provide you with the support needed.

Integrators, like Coffman Media, have a focus on your message. They usually have years of digital signage good, bad, and every thing in between that will help you avoid the things you might encounter if you were to do it yourself.

To steer clear of forgetting very necessary things as you decide on a digital signage system that will work for you, contact sales@coffmanmedia.com. We offer a free Needs Assessment that tailors a solution that is specific to you.

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