Guest Column | October 23, 2013

Who's Educating Your Customers About Digital Signage?

By Tom Jones, Technology Solution Engineer, Ingram Micro

According to research from Global Industry Analysts (GIA), worldwide digital signage sales are projected to reach nearly $14 billion by 2017. And, out of the predicted $1.4 billion U.S. digital signage market, nearly $700 million will be attributed to the SMB market, according to a report from Digital signage is a hot and growing market that enables your customers to engage their clients in a whole new way.

Consider a couple of common scenarios you may have encountered recently without even giving it much thought:

  1. You pass by an end cap at a retail store, and it automatically triggers a multimedia message about the product being displayed on the end cap.
  2. You’re sitting in a restaurant and while waiting for your food/beverage you notice the display next to the TV on the wall highlighting a drink special or some other upcoming promotion.

How well does this type of media work to get us to buy more products and services? Very well, according to a recent Arbitron study, one in three consumers stated  they made an unplanned purchase after seeing a product advertised on a Digital Sign, and the research, including information presented at the Digital Signage Business Conference, shows that Digital Signs receive up to 10 times more eye contact than traditional static signage. Your retail and hospitality customers are turning to digital signage solutions to engage customers, increase their brand awareness, and ultimately to increase wallet share among their clients.

The big question is: What are you doing to help them achieve that goal? If you’ve been putting off selling digital signage solutions, now is a good time to take action. Based on my years’ of experience working with resellers in the professional audio/video space (ProAV), I’ve learned a few tips about what works and what you should avoid when selling digital signage.

  • Consultative Selling Beats Tech Talk. Even though the digital display is the face of a digital signage solution, the last thing you want to do when discussing digital signage with customers is to spend a lot of time on screen size, resolution, frames per second, or progressive scan vs. interlaced video. Instead, focus on the business needs of the decision makers for this purchase, who are often business owners, marketing managers, and/or CFOs. The most important use of your time and theirs is to discuss the value of digital signage to their business. And, even though the ultimate end goal for every business is more sales, be mindful of the different ways customers want to achieve that goal. For example, some businesses place a high value on brand recognition whereas others may find more value in using digital signs to present planograms or other special messages to their employees. Once you understand their goals and challenges, you can better discuss and recommend the appropriate digital signage solution.
  • Look for Digital Signage Sales Precursors. Similar to the customers you’ve sold POS systems to, there are telltale signs that present themselves before the sales conversation starts. For example, one sign is a prospect that does a lot of paper advertising, such as posters in the storefront window, signs on aisle end caps, flyers, and mailers — especially if these items are updated on a regular basis. Digital signs can replace some of these paper media, plus they’re easier to update, and they can increase client engagement through dynamic media, sound, and interactive touch displays in some circumstances. Another indicator to look for that lets you know a client is ready to discuss digital signage is when you notice they’re using CRT TVs in their bar. With a modest investment in a digital signage solution, they can replace the boob tube with side-by-side displays — one that presents TV stations in high definition and another one that highlights the menu, daily specials, and other products or services.
  • Don’t Pass Up Recurring Revenue Opportunities. One final piece of advice to keep in mind is that selling hardware makes up a small part of the overall digital signage revenue potential. Where you can really turn this into a lucrative opportunity is selling and managing digital content. For example, unlike TV commercials that run for 30 seconds, an effective digital signage message may only run for 3 to 5 seconds. Helping your customers create and customize their content for this media is one way to earn additional revenue. Additionally, once customers see the value of their content, there may be an opportunity for you to help them manage the data updates, schedule when their media will be published to their displays, and gathering statistics on their digital marketing campaigns — all for a monthly fee.  

There’s no questioning the fact that many of your customers are prime candidates for digital signage solutions. If you’re not educating them about the benefits of digital signage, you can be certain that your competitors soon will be.


Tom Jones is the lead Technical Solutions Engineer (TSE) for ProAV & Digital Signage at Ingram Micro. His goal is to provide expert industry insight to the SMB, VAR, and Enterprise customer space and help them successfully bridge their existing business competencies to incorporate digital signage.