One of the techniques that we utilize (and I'm sure we're not the only ones) when making a sales pitch or trying to establish a relationship with a new client is to identify an "internal champion" within that organization who can help match our talents and ideas to their own internal mechanisms. In the past, our champions were often people in technology and IT, as the digital retailing systems that we sell were first and foremost perceived as technology projects, and our roots in the Linux environment made us very tech-friendly. Of course, once our products were sold, these same people (and their staff) would be responsible in part for their physical deployment and maintenance, so the relationship made sense. Over time, though, we have found that while our relationship with a customer's IT staff is still vital to a successful deployment, more and more early projects are coming from advertising and merchandising staff eager to test out the sales and marketing potential of digital signage displays and touchscreen kiosk systems.
me, this shift is a healthy one, and suggests that our market is
maturing to the point where our solutions are becoming accepted as
viable alternatives (and complements) to traditional marketing
techniques. However, it also introduces a new challenge, as we
must now coordinate the internal efforts of two departments that are
often at odds, IT and marketing.
Enter the professional AV
integrator. In many cases, especially with smaller store chains
and specialty retailers, the first person a marketing executive will
turn to when trying to establish the feasibility of a project is the AV
integrator who has installed the company's other electronic
equipment. These people have experience with technology and
logistics, two of the critical skill sets required for a successful
digital signage network deployment (along with store merchandising and
content creation/application, in my opinion). As demand for electronic signs and in-store TV networks has increased, so has the need for experienced and qualified pro AV specialists.
highlight that need (and provide assistance to AV specialists who have
not yet worked on a digital signage project), industry magazine ProAV has done a lengthy feature on the market this month, an electronic version of which can be found here.
Featuring quotes and statistics provided by Bill Collins (of aka.tv
fame), CoolSign's Lou Giacalone, and yes, even myself, the article is a
collection of market statistics, successful deployment profiles, and
anecdotes about sales, marketing, and calculating digital signage network ROI.
think it makes a good primer not just for AV integrators, but for
anybody interested in getting involved in the digital signage
industry. Plus, there are some interesting numbers on real-world
benefits of sign networks in banks, movie theaters and even taxi cabs,
some of which I hadn't come across anywhere else.