The sales component of any digital signage firm can make or break the whole organization. From my own personal experience, and from speaking with others in the industry, it would seem that there are quite a few digital signage newcomers that don't always recognize that. It's almost as if we have a "build it and they will come" mystique surrounding our industry, and that can be a dangerous thing for those firms who don't understand the significant sales challenges that must be overcome when deploying a network of digital signs into retail venues.I really do find that the sales process mystifies many would-be digital sign purveyors, especially those firms that want to install and maintain ad-supported instore TV networks but have no advertising sales experience. And while I hate discouraging anybody from trying out digital signage, I will say this: our customers have deployed over 100 significant networks over the course of our 5+ year history, and in every case the sales effort played a big role in determining the success of the network. On the flip side, while I can't claim that every failure was due to a deficiency on the part of the sales team, this did seem to be the case more often than not.
While digital signage installations are still somewhat novel, and they can certainly up the wow-factor of retail venues, it takes an ongoing sales effort to make those screens profitable and keep them loaded full of eye-catching content and advertisements. Even the best content can become stale if it's not kept up to date, eventually drawing only a zombie-like stare from employees and passing customers inoculated against its repetitive messages. And without viewership, of course, there is no audience to monetize.
With this in mind, there are essentially three phases to the digital signage sales process: consignment of the screens to the retail venue (whether that involves sale or lease of the screens themselves, or renting space from the retailer), pre-sales of ads before the network is installed, and ongoing ad sales for the installed network. Each of these is critical to the successful deployment and ongoing utilization of digital signage as a significant part of a retail point-of-purchase advertising program.
With yet another hurricane poised to smack into Florida, it's time for me to collect my team and go through our disaster preparedness plans. Again. But if you're in a less meteorologically active area than we are, feel free to check out the complete list of articles in the Role Call series:
- Building a Successful Digital Signage Team - Introduction
- Building a Successful Digital Signage Team - Technology and Operations
- Building a Successful Digital Signage Team - Creative Services and Merchandising
- Building a Successful Digital Signage Team - Business and Finance
- Building a Successful Digital Signage Team - Sales and Marketing (this is the current article you're reading)
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