Fear and opportunity are two sides of the same coin. Jumping out of an airplane can be terrifying or it can open up a whole new world of adventure. In many ways, the on-premise sign industry is standing at the plane’s door with a parachute on our backs and the wind in our face. Do we jump?
That parachute may come in the form of a video player—and the great unknown is the world of dynamic digital signage. Recently, ISA’s Digital Imaging Subcommittee conducted a survey to explore ways that digital imaging processes are transforming our businesses. One theme stood out prominently: We all realize that dynamic digital is growing; 73 percent of respondents predict it will grow in the next 12 months. Respondents felt that dynamic digital would have a greater impact than anything else we asked about, including new digital printing technologies, sustainability, and mobile advertising.
Those same respondents said that it is having (37 percent), will have (26 percent), or already has had (22 percent) an effect on digital print applications.
We have two choices: We can see this as an outside threat that can do harm to our businesses, or we can approach it as another opportunity in which we can display our expertise.
Yes, there is a steep learning curve. Understanding the technology will take an investment in both time and resources, but the numbers prove it’s an investment worth making.
Play To Your Strengths
One of the biggest barriers to adoption is fear of the technology. Many may not feel they can compete. Dynamic digital’s strength is in its ability to convey a message—an area we already have expertise in. This is just another avenue for delivering that message.
Without content, dynamic digital is just static noise. What we offer is a comprehensive sign strategy that incorporates dynamic digital signage into the plan. A business may upsell customers using dynamic digital at the point-of-sale, but without a sign at the entrance, they’ll never get customers in the door. The two can—and should—work together as part of an overall strategy.
If we incorporate dynamic digital into our services, we have an additional opportunity to provide a full range of signage service to our customers. Perhaps at this point, all that means is that we’re versed in the topic and can conduct a knowledgeable conversation with our customers about it. But that won’t be enough for long.
Fill Knowledge Gaps
Just as a first-time skydiver often jumps in tandem with an expert, a newcomer to the dynamic digital world can partner with someone more experienced to handle some of the technical aspects. That may be a vendor or an audio/visual provider in the local area.
In many ways, this type of collaboration is exactly what ISA is doing. We are exploring ways to better integrate this new technology into the overall mission of ISA. We’ve also joined with the Digital Signage Federation and will be offering a full track of educational offerings at the upcoming International Sign Expo 2012 March 21-24 in Orlando.
It’s Not Going Away
Numbers show the current dynamic digital market is strong—and projected to grow. Most experts anticipate a compound annual growth rate in excess of 20 percent for the future.
The reasons are simple: traditional forms of reaching consumers are not working. About half of all Americans use a digital video recorder to watch television; of those, 75 percent fast-forward through the commercials. We all know what’s happened to newspapers. Marketers are trying to reach consumers anywhere they can find them. Studies also tell us that dynamic digital is one of the most powerful forms of advertising, getting the attention and keeping it longer—and directly driving sales.
It’s not just advertising and promotional opportunities. It’s anticipated that one out of every two Americans will have a smartphone by Christmas of this year. Smartphones bring navigation to a whole new level. How long will it be before every wayfinding system includes an app to navigate the mall or the office building, or when printed wayfinding signs include a QR code that provides more information via the phone?