We all like to do things right the first time, especially because it costs real dollars when something isn’t done correctly. Digital signage is no different. If your implementation for your customer is not successful you may not lose money right then, but you may have lost tens of thousands of dollars in potential work from network growth down the road. That’s because digital signage when done right can be the gift that keeps on giving. What makes losing this potential business even worse is that it should have been profitable future business in which you have already invested. We’re not talking about those pitiful margins of 5%-8% you get on some of those traditional AV bid jobs – we’re talking about a healthy 15%-30% on product in a normal digital signage implementation.
In all candor the success of a digital signage implementation relies just as much on the customer as it does on you the integrator. But let’s focus on things you as an integrator can control.
What Strategic Questions Must be Asked?
The first, most important question is, “What is the business goal?” If your client cannot clearly articulate their goal you are starting off on the wrong foot. It is time to either help them define their goal or possibly walk away from a problematic business relationship. Another really important question is, “Does someone have skin in the game?” When no one is fully invested in the success of a customer’s digital signage network this is a recipe for failure. “Is there a content strategy?” Don’t expect the customer to know this right off the bat, but you should ask them and work with them to create one. Finally it is vital to understand or help set their expectations. There is nothing worse than selling them a Ford Fusion when they expected a Ferrari. There are many other questions to be asked, but the questions above apply to every job, every time.
Have you helped your client create a business plan?
We all know failing to plan is planning to fail. So if you want to have a profitable digital signage deployment with your customer you should make sure they have a business plan. This includes considering all of the elements of the digital signage ecosystem: Hardware, Software, Connectivity, Content, Operations, Design, and Business. If you or your client leaves any of these elements out of the planning process, (YES there should be a planning process), the chances of failure have dramatically increased. For a more in depth look at creating a digital signage business plan, check out industry expert Lyle Bunn’s SPEED program.
What gets measured gets done. It is extremely important that you help your end user define metrics by which to measure success for their network. Because when it comes time for them to renew their funding for their digital signage network if they can’t point to why their network was successful then likely it will not continue to grow. Obviously theses metrics look very different depending on whether they are for a network focused on ROO (return on objective) or for a network focused on ROI (return on investment). You should include these metrics you plan to keep in your own business plan!
So here’s to successful deployments and growing networks! I hope you have taken these points to heart and incorporate them in your next deployment. One thing is for sure. There is still a lot of maturing for our industry to do! There are many opportunities for success, but regretfully there are just as many opportunities for failure.
Author Robert White will co-present“Doing Digital Signage Right The First Time as an Integrator,” at Digital Signage Expo 2016 on Wednesday, March 16 from 9:00-10:100m at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information on this or any educational program offered at DSE 2016 or to learn more about digital signage go to www.dse2016.com.
Robert White, a Design Engineer for Unified AV, focuses on where audiovisual and IT meet. An industry veteran of 10 plus years, White specializes in digital signage solutions, having been to the highest level of training for many of the top enterprise level digital signage packages available, and he oversees all of Unified AV’s largest digital signage deployments both domestic and international. White contributes back to the industry by leading the Digital Signage Special Interest Group within the USAV Group, and has had the opportunity to be a panel speaker at InfoComm on the Digital Signage Application Showcase Stage. He is CTS (Certified Technology Specialist) certified an ANSI accredited certification. He has also served on DSE’s educational committees, recommending topics and reviewing proposals for the annual DSE conference.