• Nikki Ault

How to Use Digital Signage Starting With A Defined Objective

We have talked about every digital media signage system having seven key elements. Every system has all of them in some form to make a complete package.

Elements meaning, hardware, software, content management systems, content, etc. Usually one or more of these is “heavier” than another is, in any given system, but they are ALL there somewhere.

Just as important as understanding the key elements of digital signage, there are some pitfalls common to most, if not all, digital deployments. One of the biggest pitfalls when learning how to use digital signage is understanding your objectives and making sure that you are able to clearly define them, then making sure everyone else involved understands them as well.

In other words, why do you want this?

3 Steps to Define and Meet Your Objectives

· Define goals

· Determine what the system needs to look like to support your goal

· Establish a content plan (What information do you want to convey?)

You need to begin by defining the objectives of your business very clearly. What are the reasons you want to use digital signage? Were you prompted to use media signage for specific changes to your business? What are the results you are hoping for and do you have a way to measure those results already in mind?

For instance, do you want to engage your audience? How will you measure your success? Do you want to educate or reduce perceived wait time? By what means will you know your objectives have worked? Are there others in the company who need to contribute to the goals?

The product might be used and supported by a number of groups or departments within your company who may have goals that differ from your own. Operations, IT, merchandising, marketing and others may have their own requirements.

Be sure you establish a common goal at the beginning of your project. This will ensure a smooth deployment. By clearly defining all of your goals at the very beginning of your project, you will be developing a solution in advance. This will meet all of your objectives and allow you to design a solution to that objective from a creative perspective with the appropriate application.

Remember that there are some very simple means of measuring the success of your digital solution, as long as you are clear about your objectives. You can conduct interviews, monitor customer behavior or compare sales data. It is important to measure the effectiveness of your signage in order to know what is working and what’s not, so that you can optimize your solution in order to meet your needs.

If you don’t have a clear northstar for what your needs are and the type of message you want your signage to present, it will be difficult to determine the type of resources that will be needed to create and run the content.

Conduct Your Needs Analysis

Often, you need to determine what your content requirements will be before the resources to run that content can be determined. Where digital media signage platforms are concerned one size does not fit all.

This falls under “Needs Analysis”, when determining what your system needs to look like. Make sure that you understand what type of content you want to display (static images, RSS feeds, live TV, video). Determine how many displays it will run on, (if the content will be different on different screens) so that you are not disappointed when part of your content does not run correctly.

If you already have a specific price in mind, be sure to mention that price in the planning stages when you are defining goals and objectives, and discussing content. It will be useful to know at the beginning, if the system needs to be interactive: will you need to interface with external hardware?

Do you know what the network is going to look like? You may need to know if a network configuration you have access to (Internet, WAN or LAN) is going to support an application you intend to use.

Develop Your Digital Signage Content Plan

Finally, determine what information you want to communicate and what you want that information to achieve for you. A good content plan can mean the difference between a successful signage campaign and simply managing to meet some of your goals.

You want to be sure your content takes your business objectives, as well as your physical location and your audience, into consideration. It really is a critical design element of digital media signage to understand your audience.

How they shop and what they expect when they walk in to your establishment should be part of your content plan. You also want to consider typical length of visits, how often they visit, dwell time and especially demographics.

Your content plan should include the frequency in which it is updated and the type of content you use. You always want your message to be current and in line with your business signage objectives. Make sure that you match your content to you business objectives! Also be sure that you consider message relevancy.

It has to be relevant to the audience that will see it where the digital media board will be placed. Otherwise it may not be correctly interpreted and you may miss an important communication opportunity. Your content plan can be for brand messaging, with the goal of enhancing a customer’s opinion of your business. It can also be for the entertainment of your customers while they wait in line, to reduce the perceived wait time.

While technology is of course an important part of digital signage, your business objectives should always be the determining factor in the part that technology plays in your digital signage solution. Key aspects to keep in mind are flexibility and scalability, but be sure to have a plan first!

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