MediaPost Digital OOH Forum: Medium Has A Long Way To Go

April 11, 2012 by Dave Haynes

The unfortunate thing about watching the streaming video from today’s MediaPost Digital Out Of Home Forum in New York is that what the agencies are saying now is not a hell of a lot more encouraging than it would have been at the 2009 version of this event.

I have been passively watching through the morning (Garry McGuire of RMG is soooo good at selling his pots and pans) but paid much closer attention to the panel on: Where Does Digital Out-of-Home Belong in the Media Plan?

Here’s some paraphrased quotes:

Digital OOH definitely viewed as a loss leader.

Probably the least measurable medium.

There are big challenges on selling it in.

You have to talk people into the expense of creative.

It takes a lot of salesmanship.

Selling it is like selling a guerrilla tactic.

Buying is based on lowest common denominator thinking, i.e. I need a business environment and office lobbies and elevators have business people. That’s about as sophisticated as it gets right now.

Digital OOH stuck in a weird space between media that’s bough based on faith about its efficacy (i.e. TV) and hyper-measured mediums like digital.

We’re seeing isolated success, in pockets.

Media buying of Digital OOH sometimes reflects just filling out a buy, getting a task done.

There’s no common currency on measurement or creative.

The biggest problem is clients still make the mistake of running TV spots.

Jeez. Sound familiar?

Granted these are the thoughts of three agency people from three different WPP companies, but they all know the space and see how things happen.  There’s no question the medium has made a lot of strides, but it’s also really clear – once again – that there is a long way to go.

Thanks MediaPost for streaming …

  1. Tony Smith says:

    We have had to deal with many of those statements and to be honest it’s to be expected, though they have been dwindling. Digital signage has made progress being a more structured industry but is in need for operating standards and marketing measurements or else it will not leave that infant stage.

    And, while I feel that the industry as a whole has made substantial growth over the years, it’s the mind-set that seems to be the slowest to change. I find that oftentimes it is difficult for the clients to give identity to this medium. I receive questions that resemble something like, “Do we treat this like print signage and just announce our sales or like a commercial that runs between Lost and The Big Bang Theory?”

    That goes with the “The biggest problem is clients still make the mistake of running TV spots.” observation. The challenge is educating clients with digital signage potential and capabilities. I wouldn’t say it’s quite like explaining the Internet to someone that has never experienced it but there sure are some similarities.

    The good thing, as you mentioned Dave, is that compared to previous experiences things are getting better and improving vastly.

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