What Should Be in Your Game Plan?
Getting a digital signage practice started is a complex process. Here, though, are the basic steps:
1. Decide whether to go it alone or bring in a specialist. Channel pros who take soup-to-nuts responsibility for all aspects of a signage implementation reap the greatest financial reward, but must also climb the steepest learning curve. Outsourcing everything unfamiliar to an experienced third-party vendor takes a bite out of your profits but makes getting into signage significantly easier.
“The provider can essentially bill for the software license and take a cut of that on the back end, when really the vendor is the one doing most of the work to keep that system running and keep that software application going,” says Kilian. “It’s a gorgeous business model.”
Recruiting outsiders for some, but not all, of the tasks associated with signage solutions is an option too. Distributors, for example, can often step in to assist with specific duties.
“We have installation services available. We have a company that does content management as well,” notes Blazer.
2. Pick your suppliers. As is true in any IT market, whom you partner with in digital signage will have a huge impact on whether you thrive or struggle.
“The key word here is to find a partner rather than a vendor,” Brawn says. “A vendor will sell you things, whereas a partner will become involved in your business success with some of [his or her] own skin in the game.”
In particular, he continues, a good partner will help you in the all-important initial consulting phase of a signage engagement.
“Most digital signage applications fail due to inadequate business planning and [not] articulating specific objectives that must be met in order to reach the proper ROI,” Brawn says. Newcomers to signage in particular need a partner who knows how to guide customers through that process and is willing to invest the necessary time.
Blazer recommends taking a close look at who offers the best technical support, most reliable access to popular components, and richest spiffs when evaluating partners as well.
“There’s a lot of mount providers out there,” he observes. “I would probably work with the ones that are going to incentivize you.”