The Digital Signage Insider

Digital Media Network Survey

Published on: 2005-02-28

I'm not sure how I missed this when it came out, but back in October of last year Reveries magazine did an interesting study on digital media networks (in which they include both digital signage networks and interactive kiosk networks).  While I can't speak for the methodology of the study, it looks to have been compiled from responses from about 150 people in marketing roles at various retail and marketing related companies.  By and large the results were straightforward: many recognized the obvious strengths of digital retailing techniques (flexible targeting of messages to shoppers, improved promotional effectiveness, ability to demonstrate products), however most recognized that major shortcomings (cost, sensory overload and shoppers' limited attention spans) needed to be addressed better than they are with today's networks.

More interesting than the summary graphs, though, were some of the free-response answers provided by folks whose opinions didn't line up exactly with the provided multiple-choice responses.  For example, when asked the question "Which brands are doing the best job with digital media networks at retail and why?," the names at the top of the list included retailer WalMart (with the most mentions by far), airlines JetBlue and American, and then a bunch of consumer brands like Nike, Adidas and Nokia.  WalMart gets the nod because of age and experience, most likely, while I'd guess that the incredible usefulness of check-in kiosks and status displays have made the airline applications popular. But the consumer brands are interesting, because it's unclear if the responses are talking about some actual physical displays that these brands have installed in the retail chains that stock their wares, or if they mean the content created by these brands to run on third-party digital media networks.  Unfortunately, the answers don't go into a great deal of detail, so we're left wondering what separates the good networks from the bad.  Of course, we can combine these answers with some from another free-response question,"What do you see as the primary creative challenges/opportunities?," to try and shed some light on that.   Answers here  included "developing messages that deliver a brand message while also triggering a sale," "making the brand experience relevant to the shopping environment," and "synchronizing the message to the other branding messages used."  So perhaps the networks deemed "good" by the interviewees were the ones that actually functioned as a complement to or extension of the existing POP and in-store marketing displays.

Of course, it's dangerous to try and extrapolate any meaningful conclusions from a handful of responses from such a small sample set, but it's interesting to see inside the minds of some (alleged) marketing people.  Reading through all of the responses, there is a clear delineation between the digital signage supporters, detractors, and the large swath of people who would be more excited about it if only there were more ROI data available.

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