March 28, 2016

You’re Doing It Wrong: Common Content Mistakes

Last week I had the honor of speaking at the Digital Signage Expo. The focus of my presentation was on content, and the mistakes we see network providers making when it comes to communicating through this medium. Technology takes center stage at DSE, which is why we felt that it’s important to take a step back from the technology, and understand the implications of focusing on the message. Technology plays a big role in digital signage, but the customer doesn’t care about the hardware you install, or the media player that powers the experience. Without the right content, your efforts will fall short. As content providers, we have had to step in and fix some of the biggest mistakes network operators can make. Here is what you’re doing wrong…and how to course correct.


Not Thinking Like a Customer:

Remembering to think like a customer can be very difficult which is interesting because we are all consumers. We all have our own perspectives and experiences to draw from. Tap those experiences and ask the simplest question: What would I expect to see or experience? There is no question that we use digital signage to drive our own objectives, but to not align our goals with customer needs will result in a disconnect.
Thinking like a customer can be simple…

  1. Go where your consumer is.
  2. Find out what your consumer is talking about.
  3. Find out what they want.

Static Content:

Congratulations. You’ve just invested thousands of dollars in the best displays and media players. Now it’s time to replicate the print signage you had right before the investment. Right? Wrong. Using static content on a digital display is like investing in the electric toothbrush and not turning it on. Engaging content creates customer engagement, which leads to action. Take a crawl, walk, run strategy if you are new to digital signage. Motion graphics is an easy way to enhance your network if you are upgrading from static content. However, dream bigger with your content. The technology exists to progressively profile and personalize the experience.

Overcomplicated Messaging:

Static messaging not your problem? Perhaps you’ve taken it a step too far with a complicated message. An elaborate content calendar and planning process does not need to translate into an elaborate message. There is a negative cost to the complexity.Your message needs to be seen and absorbed in environments that are much different than your average living room.

  1. Identify the intent of the message.
  2. Focus on the call to action.
  3. Make it easy to digest.

No Call to Action:

A “Call to Action” is just what the words suggest. Its purpose is to get the viewer to take action. Your beautiful motion graphics and interactive content is meaningless if you don’t suggest a step to take. A simple call to action is what transitions a viewer into a customer.

Elements in creating a strong call to action:

  1. Make the call to action short and clear.
  2. Use urgent language.
  3. Make it stand out.
  4. Use clear and compelling messaging.

Outdated Content:

With the existence of scheduling content management systems, data feeds, and high speed internet readily available, there is no excuse for outdated content. A big reason our clients switch from static posters to digital displays are to remain compliant. If you are unable to dedicate the time to ensuring content is fresh, work with a reputable content provider to set you in the right direction. More and more of our clients are relying on feeds to drive their content. These feed can be in the form of their online weekly ads, social media posts, weather triggers, traffic reports, real-time news, or live inventory.
With the right level of planning up front, you can almost set it and forget it.

Local Updating:

If you have multiple locations set up with digital displays and you are having each location update the information locally, you are missing out.
The industry is investing in some pretty robust software that allows a single marketing manager to control entire networks. We work with our clients to control promotional material on a location by location basis. Not only does networking your screen create efficiencies and compliance, but provides you with a better means of distributing content.
Not all locations are created equal. Leverage sales data and compare this with the scheduled content. You’ll start to build a correlation between sales lift and scheduled content. This practice of continuous optimization will refine you network, and produce a definitive return on investment or opportunity.

Not Leveraging Technology:

To operate as if each technology lives in a silo is a huge mistake. The integration of POS, mobile, social media, or even just display evolution changes the experience entirely. Content cannot always be preplanned and is becoming more and more algorithmically based. Displayed content is less becoming a factor of a schedule, and more a result of the specific engagement. Create new levels of engagement, and utilize interactive capabilities. Tap into your knowledge of the customer whether it be proximity, shopping behavior, outside elements, and drive a better experience. Customers expect a level of personalization and customized experience. The technology exists, so use it. The mistakes don’t end there. Please feel free to share your experiences and suggestions. Connect with Freshwater Digital.

Jonathan Dodge, EVP Business Development

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