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.
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.
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.