August 16, 2017 4:29 pm

Digital Signage Decision-making: Four Must-ask Questions

While it’s obvious that most people today spend a considerable amount of time in front of a screen, did you know that amounts to an average of eight hours per day? This is spread out across TVs, computers, tablets, smartphones, and digital signage of course. The ubiquity of digital signage today applies to every industry. Before making a purchasing decision or determining how to advertise on these systems though, there are a few key considerations.

There are multiple uses for a digital signage system, from advertising and promoting products, sharing news, or simply showcasing goods and services more easily and with greater appeal. These uses mean that it’s no longer just a simple choice selecting the right screen size. Digital signage solutions have a broad range of options, so it’s important to thoroughly explore what these consist of to determine the best fit for your application and organization.

The type of organization or business you belong to and the message you need to convey to your audiences ultimately drives the type of signage solution you need. For example, if you run AV for a college or a school, you’re messaging targets students, faculty, and parents; however, managing AV for a shopping mall or sports arena targets consumers and fans. Here are three questions you need to answer before signing that PO.

Who will the signs be targeting and what do they need to know?

You might be focusing on different audiences within the same company, yet some signage systems are designed to inform just one, yet others may seek an entirely different demographic within the same company. While it can make perfect sense to have signs reaching various markets—you need a crystal-clear understanding of exactly the audience (or audiences) you are reaching with the different displays. Demographics must be mapped out well in advance of installation. Each demographic needs a different plan for using signage.

Chances are you already have an idea for what you will be using digital signage for, but you might not be aware of all the ways that you can use it. The best way to decide the optimal uses is to consider how it will improve customer and employee experiences. Once you know your target audience, make sure you understand your pain points. There are various means of accomplishing this from surveys of clients or employees to simply observing the audience and their needs.

What are you hoping to accomplish with the digital signage?

While you know that displaying information beneficial to employees or customer is one purpose, that’s different from knowing what you want to accomplish. What are your ideal results? Are you hoping to entice customers to purchase something through a demonstration? Are you looking to display information vital for employees to complete their tasks for the day? What is the end goal beyond displaying information?

One way to understand this is to walk through all the different types of information you might be sharing on screens and why you feel the need to share it in the first place. This will lead you to ensure the content is matched to the audience and the experience you are trying to create.

Once you establish the purpose for the signage, you can look at options for the different types of signs used in various spaces to help meet your needs and move closer to a decision. Do you need interactive wayfinding and directories? Donor boards? Menu boards? Queuing systems? Or are your needs best suited for boards that display messages, images, and signs? People have become so used to interacting with public touchscreens and their mobile devices, so will the information be presented in a way that involves audience interaction? The better experience that you can provide to your audience, the more receptive they will be.

Where are the signs going to be displayed?

Location is key. Where you’re thinking about installing signage is just as important as the demographics. If you have a lot of shared spaces, there are several areas that a digital sign can be deployed. In an office, e-paper signs might seem like the best solution because they are mobile, but utilizing digital signs in an office environment is ideal because it offers up all kinds of options from decorative to productive.

It’s also important to know if the signs will be used indoors or outdoors. With outdoor signage, there are different challenges with development and maintenance. Fortunately, the advent of direct-view LED technology has markedly improved the outdoor prospects since they use less heat, are easier to maintain, have a longer lifecycle, and can be more easily customized.

Who is in charge of messages and management?

Another key factor in choosing the best signage solution for your needs applies to who is running the signs. If they will be managed in-house, the IT department might need to be trained on the ins and outs of the specific signs and how they work. They also need a clear understanding of the most effective utilization. This includes how often the messages need to be changed, the different types of messages displayed, the reasons for them, and what they are trying to accomplish. It’s not enough for an IT team to simply repair a malfunctioning display; they need to have an idea of how to access the analytics to see what’s working and what’s not.

There is also the option of engaging your full-service integration partner to not only develop and deploy the signage, but also to maintain and implement it on an ongoing basis. Regardless of who runs the signs, the messaging shown needs to come from you one way or another. This can be done by an in-house marketing team or an outside content creation team. A digital signage campaign needs to be maintained with a calendar, and fresh, eye-catching content that is engaging should be rotated often.

The key to messaging and digital signage is for you to know the value while understanding all the questions that you need to answer before committing to any one solution. Once these questions are answered, then a realistic budget can be set and we can all set to work accomplishing your goals.

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