10 insights on customer engagement from the Digital Trends Showcase

Digital media providers collaborated to showcase a range of engagement scenarios during the Digital Trends Showcase (DTS) in Toronto, Oct. 7 and 8, for over 450 pre-registered brand, media and supply professionals.

The Adidas (golf) brand was used as the example brand and the walk-through layout reflected a 9-hole golf course including a “10th hole” Club House.

The team that brought it all together included display manufacturer LG, several solution providers, and my own project planning firm, Bunn.

Adidas-golf-clothes“No single firm can provide all elements of an engagement solution” said Mark Mantha president of MAN-MAC Consulting. “We were able, in this sixth annual DTS to illustrate that while suitable technologies are key, the real issue is in the application of digital media for brand building.”

While the focus was on “owned” media, the integration with “paid” and “earned” media reflecting marketing’s current media model was clear.

DTS reflected that digital place-based media has grown up. It is no longer just about the digital signage technology elements (though these are integral), but about increasing the return on marketing, retail design and communications investment for amplifying the brand, gaining desired actions, merchandising, promotion and engagement while improving the ambiance, vitality and appeal of a physical display or location.

The big lesson for marketing today is offered by a 15th century insight that changed the world. At that time, Galileo’s insight convinced the world that the perception of it’s place was wrong – just plain wrong. Fast-forward to our century, when many marketers continue to operate as if the world revolves around their brand, with a pre-Galileon steadfast, blinded lack of vision.

Forward thinking marketers, and consumers, realize that the consumer is at the center of the universe with buying power being a gravitational force that influences all brand and supply chain behavior. Consumers are emboldened by this buying power, the wooing of brands and social media activities, all of which gives consumers a feel of their hand on the handle end of the whip. They are happy to make brands experience that whips sting of self-serving, head-in-the-sand detachment or the rewards of their appreciating the relationship.

The “Club House” video wall integrated images from demonstrations, analytics and promotion.
The “Club House” video wall integrated images from demonstrations, analytics and promotion.

The “Club House” video wall integrated images from demonstrations, analytics and promotion.

“It is about using media along the path to purchase for branding, merchandising and to provide improved ambiance and vitality” noted Tobin Costante, National Technology Manager, Business Solutions Division, LG Electronics Canada Inc, adding “flat panel and mobile devices (both of which LG is a leader in providing), are not just for media presentation but should be considered devices for viewer engagement”.

Andy McRae, general manager, Dot2Dot Communications said “DTS 2014 gave brands and retailers the opportunity to actually experience customer engagement through the eyes of an Adidas golf customer. The hands-on demonstrations provided a continually deepening engagement experience using real products, imagery, interactivity through touch and gesture, gamification, mobile integration and social media delivered through a single, cohesive strategic plan. Measurement and analytics illustrated that the engagement experience is relevant to the situation.”

McRae added, “We are seeing more retailers and brands deploy solutions aimed at engaging their customers through the use of media and technology that brings the on-line and social media experience to the store. They are improving the shopping experience and will consequently increase sales.”

“Retail Marketers have such a challenge in having to work with individual vendors to put together experiences that delight and engage their customers. The installations shown at DTS enabled retailers to see first hand that providers can come together to provide solutions, and not just components,” said Amy Wilson of Scala.

Rick Xamin, national partner manager of display solutions at LG Electronics Canada Inc. said “Each of the stops was able to stretch the imagination of our guests by incorporating interactivity and the customer engagement experience. Previous DTS attendees stated that the new innovative format and experience was by far a much better display of collective solutions in providing a clearer understanding of how and what they could and should be looking to utilize in their environments.”

Dave Spence, vice-president, business development, Coxcom said, “competent, on-time installation and post-install service for the physical deployments is a critical success factor. Reliable installation of physical elements such as displays and other hardware, cabling and connectivity that are used to deliver content and the end-point application assures integration into the environment in a way that maximizes the engagement experience.”

10 key consumer engagement insights for digital signage

  1. Serving and delighting consumers on the path to purchase in addition to the point of purchase builds the brand through increased brand and product awareness and alignment, and by increased revenues and positive social media commentary.
  2. Just as “visual is our new language.” “Gestural is our emerging interface”. Gestural interaction increases the fun factor while alleviating the concern for interaction using touch screen, in particular in environments such as health care treatment or waiting areas, or retail pharmacy.
  3. The integration of a display screen with its “audience of many” and “audience of a few” capabilities, can easily integrate with mobile devices as information is downloaded or enhanced by “fling” from the mobile to a more readable display screen. Near Field Communications (NFC), beacons, proximity or light sensors are among the range of interface and triggering mechanisms that support consumer privacy where this is desired, while, by masking identities, can still provide useful marketing analytics about behaviors and trends.
  4. Flat panels are not just media presentation devices but must be considered an engagement device, by presenting a brand and its products in a way that illustrates their quality, inherent advantages, value and excitement. Visual messaging amplifies the brand.
  5. Interaction with products, especially when this is enhanced by the display of information can help shoppers with decision-making and support the success of retail sales associates.
  6. “Earned” profile through increased news and social media as well as viral marketing and word of mouth exposure can directly result from well executed “owned” on-premises or “paid” advertising media.
  7. Consumers want not only to understand the story that brands offer, but they want to be part of the brand story. Messaging that reflects their needs and wants, affirms and fuels their aspirations and is in the context of their life is the building block of successful marketing communications and relationships.
  8. The re-use of brand media assets assures brand fidelity, presentation continuity and minimizes costs and efforts.
  9. “Gamification” adds vitality and character to a brand while increasing the attractiveness of a location and helping to make it a preferred destination. Digital games such as trivia, augmenting reality and integrating physical activities add to the fun of brand engagement in the retail, attraction, pop-up display or workplace environment.
  10. Analytics and an engagement dashboard help drive campaign evaluation and investment decisions.

These capabilities are available today, as illustrated at DTS and firms are moving forward with their planning and use of each innovation. Retailers can use digital place-based media to minimize the effects of “show rooming” by motivating the on-location purchase.

Lyle Bunn
Lyle Bunn
Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator in the digital media industry, who has been focused on dynamic place-based media for the past 13 years of his 39-year career in information technologies and telecommunications. He has assisted over 300 firms in their planning, execution and optimization of location-based digital media and has helped to train over 10,000 professionals.

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