If The Battle’s About Optics, The DSA Just Shot A Foot Off

November 25, 2013 by Dave Haynes


The bills have to get covered and paid. Got it. But I am really not sure an organization that exists for the betterment and advancement of an industry should be carpet-bombing its email list with a pitch that’s all about ad revenue. Particularly an organization that already has a pretty substantial perception challenge.

The Digital Screenmedia Association sent me and probably 1,000s more an email blast this morning saying  the 2014 Media Kit was ready as a FREE DOWNLOAD!

The kit focuses on (I quote):

So here’s the problem, and one of the big reasons the rival Digital Signage Federation even exists: The separation between Networld the trade magazine publisher and Networld the management services provider for the DSA trade association is perceived as being thin or non-existent.

If your expressed purpose is this:

The purpose of the Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA) is to advance the growth and excellence of the global digital signage, interactive kiosk and mobile community through advocacy, education and networking.

Why are you sending me advertising media kits and endless emails humping pay-to-play webinars and “stories” with headlines like: Microcom 428TMplus – Top Choice for Printing Labels ?

There IS a defined separation of the DSA and Networld. But the DSA website already looks and feels very much like the very for-profit Digital Signage Today run by Networld, and the DSA site has several ad positions, sponsored editorial positions and and even a shopping cart.

DS Today is unabashedly about advertising and sponsored editorial. The DSA site shouldn’t feel and behave like a spin-off. If you want to get people to take you seriously as a member organization that exists to better the industry as a whole, I’d suggest an email blast selling ad avails is a pretty clumsy way to do it.

Shortly after Paul Flanigan signed on as the new Executive Director of the DSA we chatted about the perception challenge. It’s my strong guess this media kit and approach was locked and loaded loooong before he inherited the special DSA briefcase and launch codes.

While I don’t think the rival DSF has the formula totally down – and has its own overt commercial tie to the DSE trade show to work through – it doesn’t have ads or a media kit that I can see.

I don’t know that either organization is even ahead by a nose in the relevance race, but the DSA doing this sort of thing isn’t a winning strategy.

As I said to Flanigan, make the DSA relevant in the day to day operating life of this ecosystem. There’s no shortage of places to put ads.

And yes, this blog has advertising. If you think that’s why I wrote this, you haven’t been around this blog for long.


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