The Fourth Screen

The number of public displays is forecast to grow by 44% in 2009 reports Chris Connery,Vice President of PC and Large Format Commercial Displays at DisplaySearch. But this increase to the 900,000 displays of 27” and larger already installed is the tip of the iceberg, since smaller displays are typically used for elevators, shelves, service counters and other uses. “Digital signage is accelerating rapidly, even in the midst of a recession in the larger economy” explains David Keene, Executive Editor of Digital Signage magazine, “because Money is shifting into more ‘TiVo-proof’ places where consumers commute, wait, shop and gather, prices for LCD displays and related technologies have declined.

Add to that, a demographic shift toward younger consumers with mobile technology devices, and you have the ingredients for the kind of technology boom not seen since the birth of the Internet.”

Beyond the “three-screen” world of televisions, computers and mobile devices, National Datacast, Inc. a subsidiary of PBS, sees digital signage as the “fourth screen”.

PQ Media, providers of media econometrics are bullish on digital out-of-Home. “Despite severe economic headwinds and declining traditional advertising spending, the U.S. digital out-of home (OOH) media industry grew 12.3% in 2008 to more than $2.4 billion
and is on pace to grow 9.1% in 2009, according to PQ Media research. Digital out-of-home accounts for almost 30% of the overall out-of-home advertising market, which grew 5.0% in 2008 to $8.31 billion. “Economic crisis are resulting in a seminal transition across the media landscape,” says Patrick Quinn, president & CEO of PQ Media. “This will likely be the first recession in which advertisers not only spend less, but also spend differently.”

We believe affordability is and will remain a determinant of adoption rates for digital signage systems. As systems proliferate, and when the economy improves, the cost for some of these hardware and software packages – internet based or not – will be close to free. The X factor will be content. That’s where we hang our hat.

Waiting Room Opportunities

We estimate that 8,000,000 businesses are prime candidates today for lobby signage. The application of dynamic sign technology will improve customer satisfaction, lift sales, and build credibility. Here is a partial list of markets that can be well-served with signs of this type:

  • Dental Office
  • Local hospitals
  • Health Spas
  • Pediatricians
  • CPA/Financial Planners
  • Lube & Tire Service Centers
  • Restaurants
  • Train Stations
  • Veterinarian Clinics
  • Doctor’s Offices
  • Medical Labs
  • Health Clubs
  • Beauty Salons
  • Community Centers
  • Assisted Living Centers
  • Post Offices
  • DMV
  • RX Pick-Up Sites
  • Banks

😉 Not necessarily in that order!

Tell Your Story – Part 5

This is a series all about marketing through good digital signage design. The first in this series related the importance of “story” or narrative. The second offered a perfect advertising message that wins sales. The third post covered the “song and dance” To Do list for your content. And the last two posts cover what not to do – Part 4 was What to Avoid in your content messaging. This post is What to Avoid in your content formats.

First, avoid using simply static images in a sequence, trying to mimic video. The technology is already far advanced beyond a PowerPoint show or series of jpg images. You don’t have to spend a lot to get high quality video content with educational impact. LobbyPOP Pros can offer a wide range of affordable video sequences.

Second, avoid Flash! This is not a platform-agnostic file type. If you are displaying on a commercial screen and later want to deploy through web and smart phones, you will find some serious roadblocks. You also limit the number of partners who can assist you in customizing and changing the content. In addition, flash images lack the emotional depth of video, and are easy to spot when comparing campaigns. Today’s technology has allowed marketers unprecedented flexibility, targetability and accountability in reaching and impacting their audiences. Digital networks are a perfect storm of advanced technology platforms.

Third, Don’t skip the music! Studies prove that consumers are more sensitive to and appreciative of a dynamic message that is delivered with an appropriate music bed.

Fourth, invest in knowledge of your target audience demographics. Unless you know what buying motivators exist for potential clients, and what colors, style, and “right brain vs. left brain” approach works for that industry, your message can backfire.

LobbyPOP Pros offer LobbyPOP content which encompasses the “hot buttons”  and critical messaging desired by nearly every industry, all developed through a research study commissioned by Sign Biz Inc. that cost over $100,000. LobbyPOP content is the only digital signage media in North America to be built on this exclusive research.

Next Post: Story of a CPA and a Digital Sign   

Tell Your Story – Part 4

Be sure to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 for the rest of this series on best marketing tips for digital signage content.

Here in Part 4, we present the second to last post on this subject, with “Things to Avoid” when crafting your digital signage content. This list reflects the extracted result of multiple research studies. Case studies published since 2005, and results studies presented privately to prospective advertisers have advanced the development of Digital Signage. The Platt Retail Institute ( and their partners in creating impact effectiveness reports are particularly to be applauded.

First, content basics – What to Avoid:

Telling people how you do your biz. Don’t explain the process. The natural inclination is to talk about your workaday goings-on, anecdotes, extraneous info, industry- specific facts. Avoid jargon!!

Prices or costs unless it works to your benefit or it’s part of your positioning.

Selling yourself short with qualifiers.

Example: We have just four employees. We’ve been in business only three years. We’ve just started. There’s no need to bring our insecurities into the formula. Don’t highlight the things you don’t/can’t do.

Next Post, Part 5: What to Avoid in Content Formats

Tell Your Story – Part 3

A Little Song and Dance…

If you have not been reading the recent posts, this three-part series provide inspiration wrapped around proven marketing concepts. Part 1 featured the importance of your own “story.” Part 2 gave the most successful ad campaign of all time built around “story.

The “story” is the heart of content that you would feature in your digital signage display. It is important to engage the viewer in a narrative, not simply a set of photos on the screen. The characteristics of electronic digital signage allow for stories to be told in ways that digital print signage cannot. With evocative images, music, and high-definition video, the viewer is captured… even if they have only a few moments to hear your story…

Signhugger Blog

Image is (c) Signhugger, all rights reserved. See

A Little Song & Dance Goes a Long Way…

We get this a lot. Maybe you can identify.

One of us from Sign Biz is at a family party or meeting with people we want to work with. And it never fails — just as we pop a yummy dessert tray cookie in our mouth, some innocent soul says, “So, what do you do? What’s Sign Biz?” All of a sudden we’re on the spot. We’ve only got a minute or so (tops!) to introduce Sign Biz and get them interested in the concept. [Some relatives still think we install signs, not businesses!]

Even if your business concept is more familiar, chances are you get put in the same spot. You often have to give an impromptu one-minute presentation that says who you are, what you do, and why anyone should bother. [Think Chamber of Commerce introductions]. Many kinds of presentations are useful, but before you invest in a dynamic sign system, be sure you encompass the “7 second rule” into your planning. You want to encapsulate the colors, images, text, voice-over and music throughout your content delivery that reflects who you are. In seven seconds, the viewer will decide if your presentation is worth watching. Here are Four Questions to Help You Create the Most Effective Digital Signage Content:

1. What do you want them to remember most? They won’t remember everything — so choose carefully! Maybe you’re the leading manufacturer of your product. Or the first to have designed it. Or the only one in the tri-state area.

Example: Sign Biz is the leading sign business developer in the world.

2. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) This is a phrase or sentence that describes your biz in a nutshell. This is your USP.

Example: LobbyPOP offers full service brand development signage and consulting- from a visual communications expert perspective.

3. What would add credibility to you? Have you been in business five years? Do you sell signs to Levi’s? Were you recently featured in a trade magazine?

Example: Sign Biz is a true pioneer of the computer-aided sign industry, with roots dating back to 1982.

4. What benefits can you offer this person? If you know what the need of the person is, tie that into your description. What can you do for them? 

Next Post, Part 4: What to avoid in your digital sign content…

Tell Your Story – Part 1

People like stories.

They like to read stories and they like to hear stories. Stories enable us to visualize things that are incredibly difficult to grasp otherwise. Good marketing stories paint a picture. They make us want to learn more.

Thus, if we want to get people intrigued about our services, if we want them to be able to tell others about what we do, if we want to carve out a niche for ourselves, we need to create a series of great marketing stories.

Signhugger Series "Once Upon A Sign"

Signhugger Blog Series "Once Upon A Sign" (C) All Rights Reserved

Excellent marketing stories don’t scream, “I WANT TO IMPRESS YOU!” They don’t scream, “BUY MY SERVICES NOW!” Rather, good stories give the reader or listener the warm feeling of being taken on an interesting trip. And if the story is well constructed, at the end of the journey, we’re going to be impressed. We’re going to be interested. We’re going to want to take the next step in the sales process.

And that’s why the most successful brand marketers tell stories, and why the most successful video sign content has a narrative…

Part 2, next: Most Successful Story Ever


What is Retail Marketing? Part 1

Annoyingly, ad agency account reps and brand marketers are trying to explain environmental communications to their clients – something that sign professionals, frankly, do so much better. When it comes to the three pillars of visual communications – Legibility, Conspicuity, and Readability – sign design professionals have this down to a, well, science.

Retail Marketing is the bridge, or application, between the brand marketer’s multi-million dollar advertising campaigns and the actual purchase of a product.   It is the last chance a brand marketer has to get their message across to the consumer before a purchase decision is made. This is what we call “the last three feet of marketing.”

Retail Marketing is more effective than any other advertising, when you look at “spend” vs. ROI. What does Retail Marketing include? Here is our list:

  • Point of Purchase Signage: Under foot, at the Cash Zone, in the windows and on display. POPAI’s studies, undertaken from 1994 through this year, have consistently demonstrated significant sales increases for products supported by Retail Marketing across industries and geography.
  • Video (Dynamic Digital) Signage:  It is the only mass advertising medium that can convey the same overall strategic message in differing languages to varying audiences in the same village, city or region and be deployed almost instantly. Over one-third of Americans have viewed retail videos, and one in three has made an unplanned purchase because of it.  
  • Vehicle Wraps: One of the most cost-effective forms of advertising today. If that product and phone number draw 50,000 pairs of eyes, you can bet that the brand marketing is successful. 

Next post: Why you should call a sign professional to help execute Retail Marketing.