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A digital on-ramp

Mon 1 Mar 2010
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Retailers and brands alike are looking for ways to create ‘stickiness’ with their consumers. The days of your competitors being a nice, definable list of the usual suspects are long gone. Brands (I include retailers as brands as well) need to consider all the various product and trade channel alternatives that consumers have nowadays. National brands with their large advertising budgets are creating energy for a category of products, but does it translate to buying their product, or do consumers then ‘shop’ the category and make an alternative brand purchase?

National brands relying on just TV advertising, to my way of thinking, are ‘preaching the gospel’ but another brand might be ‘passing the collection plate’. That is why stickiness is so important for a brand; stickiness that stays with a consumer from the sofa all the way to the shelf.

In my capacity as President of the Digital Signage Association and President of a leading digital signage supplier, I continue to encourage users of this powerful communication medium to think beyond the screen. How can this medium do more than simply communicate a message? It has to be more than just a moving image replacing a static print sign. That is when I ask people to think of digital signage as an ‘on-ramp’ that invites the consumer onto today’s digital ‘consumer highway’. This is especially valuable for high-ticket items that don’t fall into the impulse category of purchases. Let me take you on a consumer journey in an attempt to illustrate my point.

You are a thirty-something male and intrigued with the idea of buying a gaming console. Other than knowing that there are several brands (PlayStation, Xbox and Wii), you are not sure what is right for you or if you should even be buying one. You might ask yourself: is it a waste of money? How will my wife and 8-year-old daughter like it? Can I get the family involved? During your next visit to your favorite consumer electronics store, you are struck by the cool ads for games on the store’s digital signage displays.

You give particular notice to a spot showing the latest exercise game. The spot invites you with an SMS to enter a sweepstake for a free Wii. Given that you are not rushed and have an interest in the category, you take out your phone and in less than a minute you’ve entered the draw with a confirmation email that asks if you’d like to get more information on the Wii and the Wii-compatible games. You tap ‘confirm’ (that is called a ‘double opt in’) and you are now part of the Nintendo community and its marketing database.

Nintendo and all other major brands know the value of marketing to individuals who have expressly given their permission to do so. Permission-based marketing is very popular because the conversion rates are significantly higher than just scattergun approaches to getting their message out. In the above scenario you left with ‘Nintendo in your pocket’. How powerful is that?

That is just one of many ways in which digital signage can change the game for retailers and brands. Smart retailers are designing their cross-channel merchandising strategies to leverage the in-store experience, so that shoppers think about their brand outside of the brick-and-mortar retail store. Shopping happens everywhere now: on the web, on the phone… everywhere. So when consumers are viewing your clients’ digital signage networks, use the amazing power of digital signage to invite them to put their brand, or their advertiser’s brand, in their pocket.

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