No matter where you are today, there are digital screens broadcasting information almost everywhere. From walking around a campus, or taking in a show, to waiting for a doctor’s appointment; digital signage has become a commonplace communication solution for almost every industry. But how many of these digital signage solutions are getting the most out of the marketing opportunity they present?

When you look at the screens in your organization, are you satisfied that they’re having a tangible impact on your objectives? Are they improving communications, and enhancing awareness of promotions, events, or fundraisers?

If not, a digital signage reboot may be in order. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to remove everything and start over. If your screens and their connected media player computers are running, then you’re in good shape. If your operating workflows are efficient, and you’re not saying to yourself “this would be so much easier if my software would do this…”, then you’re okay there too. So, what’s left to reboot? Your content and communication strategy!

What’s Your Strategy?

One of the first things you can do is evaluate your strategy. Why do you have digital signage? Do you have specific communication objectives and measurables? What are their purpose?

As a first step for all digital signage projects, whether new or a reboot, it’s paramount to always start with identifying the business objectives, and ensuring there is consensus among the senior leadership. Once defined, all future content and operating decisions should support these objectives. This may seem obvious, but so often, digital signage is installed with no real plan or purpose. And then when it comes to time for review, the results, or lack thereof, speak for themselves.

Content and Screen Placement

The content on your screens should go hand-in-hand with your digital signage strategy. Are your objectives to keep people informed about news, weather and entertainment gossip? Probably not. Take advantage of the opportunity when someone is in your facility to provide them with information that will engage, inform, and motivate specific behaviors, which will enable you to achieve your strategic objectives.

The locations of your screens are just as important as the content that’s displayed. Consider where people sit, stand, wait, and walk by. All too often, screens are placed where there’s an open wall. This might seem practical, but does that wall provide the best sight lines to capture people’s attention?
Your content plan should not be a ‘one size fits all’ solution, and screen placement must be factored into this. Take, for example, a screen in a waiting room, or a lobby area with seating. This should have more content, and could benefit from longer content spots, because people dwell for lengthier periods of time. Compare this with a screen in a walkway, or one that’s adjacent to elevators. People are only able to give a small amount of their time to look at it as they pass by. As a result, this content must be eye–catching, and to the point to be effective. If not, your messages will go unreceived.

New Technologies

We all like things that are new and shiny, and with every passing year, digital signage offers lots of new technologies to get excited about. Consider adding touchscreen kiosks, video walls, or even interactive video walls to your facilities. If these solutions fit in with your strategy, then consider exploring ways in which they can help to improve your communication objectives.
You may be thinking that video walls and touchscreens have been around for a while, so what makes them exciting today? The answer is simple: the price. With every passing year, the technology enabling these solutions gets better and costs less; innovative companies are emerging with efficient and streamlined approaches, that make implementing these solutions an affordable and viable option.

Is it time to start over?

Unfortunately, the answer might be yes. Technology changes quickly and there may be more effective and affordable ways to carry out your strategy and business objectives. If you’ve been using the same digital signage hardware and software for the past four or five years, now may be a good time to consider starting over. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to rip everything off the walls and start from scratch. A good company will advise on your options to repurpose what you already have, where it makes sense to do so. They should also help to identify objectives, design the right system, develop the right content, and recommend a migration plan that works within your budget and requirements.

By Edward Menashy