A PhD with a PoV on this stuff

October 2, 2007 by Dave Haynes

Self-Service World has a piece about the recent In-Store Marketing Expo in Chicago, specifically a session put on by some 3M people called “Measuring and Continuously Improving Digital Sign Network ROI.”

One of the people who spoke, Brian Brooks, has duelling PHDs in cognitive psychology and neuroscience (which would immediately make me wonder how the heck he ended up with a bunch of digital signage knuckleheads), and he spent his time explaining how brains work and how science can be applied to our space.

The article reports how Brooks and 3M say they have developed a method “to engineer a physical environment to achieve the desired results” — applying stuff learned in labs to the real world, aka the retail sales floor.

Brooks showed a picture of a typical big box store and with numbers, showed the first four places the eyes would look. In this case, to a static sign on a table, then on to other static signage. The next picture showed the same scene, only this time a digital sign was added. Since the digital sign had a brown color on the page, the eye traveled to other places first and the digital sign last. But once the color on the digital sign was changed to yellow, the eye went to the sign first.

Now the cynic in me isn’t quite thunderstruck by the notion that people’s eyes are drawn more to a bright colour than something that’s brown … but I suspect (hope) there’s a little more to it than that.

What interested me about the piece was more anecdotal evidence from the front that signs have an impact where it really counts …

(Co-presenter Kelly) Canavan went on to present case studies of hotel and foodservice environments which benefited from the implementation of digital signage. In the first pilot, a hotel was looking to increase sales at its restaurants. Sales increased 15-35% per day when digital signage content was used to promote the restaurants.

In the second pilot, the objective was to drive foot traffic to a specific station in a corporate cafeteria. When that station and a particular product were featured on digital signs, 27.8% more consumers went to the desired station and sales of the featured product increased five times.

We’d all dearly love to have access to the actual test results, but the more this sort of evidence piles up, albeit with limited detail, the more powerful our collective selling proposition gets.

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