Guest Post: Michael Tutton, Crown Content
I was brought once into a big digital signage project to provide content for a $250,000 display set-up, two hours before it was all set to go live.
Sounds crazy, right?
In the months leading up to that launch, the installers didn’t push for answers on content. From their technical perspective, content was not a priority.
Predictably, the project was a bust. The screens were viewed as a failure, and the technology was written off as ineffective.
But the screens weren’t the problem. The absence of a strategy and plan were the problem. The outcome would not have been the same had there been a better holistic strategy in place.
From the end user’s point of view, the path from ideation to success with digital signage is long and crazy-complicated. Critical decisions have to be made about strategy, software, players, screens, mounts, network, internet, security, content development and workflow – all while trying to focus on their core business. Thankfully, there are many excellent integrators and network operators providing support for most of those steps.
But all too often, we see a well executed installation fail because the content isn’t helping to achieve the end user’s goals.
Your client’s goals should be your only concern.
If your focus is primarily meeting sales targets for digital signage software, hardware or services, the moment the sale is done your probably moving onto the next opportunity. But moving on, without making sure the client is set up for success, is exactly where the missed opportunity can be found.
Just because content or strategy isn’t your expertise, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help your client solve the problem. If the content isn’t serving the clients needs, then they won’t expand their network, buy more software, players, screens, mounts and routers. Quite simply, solving your client’s problems solves your’s, too.
The key is partnerships. If you’re responsible for shepherding someone into digital signage, you need to make sure you have partners that will allow you to properly service and support their efforts once the system is in place. It’s not good business practice to advise a client to put up a screen, install a player, and buy software, without a strategy that will lead to success. Too many end users are being led up the path, only to be abandoned just before the summit.
Most end users can’t distinguish between a Samsung, NEC, LG or Planar screen – to them it’s all just digital signage. So when they invest in something that doesn’t serve their needs, their view is that digital signage has failed them. The industry has left many people feeling that way. The end result being, when a good supplier shows up at their door, the common refrain is: “We’ve tried digital signage before and it wasn’t effective.”
This is what we all need to remember: Every time we put a screen in place and our clients are not properly supported with a content strategy and first-rate content, it reflects poorly and has a negative impact on the entire digital signage industry.
So turn to your existing clients instead of trying to endlessly build up new ones. Make a point of revisiting existing clients; review and discuss their key objectives and their content.
If there’s any issue that you don’t have the skills to fix, find a partner that can help resolve it. That’s your opportunity. Quit looking for new clients and look back to where you’ve been. Be a better partner to those clients who’ve come to you in the past and help them succeed now.
Michael Tutton is the host of the 16:9 Projects Podcast. He is Managing Director of Crown Content. He spent the past decade creating and managing Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation’s digital signage operations