Friday, September 21, 2007

Content Worst-Practice #2

2. Your digital content changes out less frequently than your print

Two of the most frequently cited benefits of digital signage are the ease and low-cost of message change-out, but don’t tell that to a number of banks, who change their print materials more frequently than they do their digital content.

This actually occurs pretty frequently in cases where there is either a sub-scale network or stalled pilot program (Citi here in New York, ABN Amro in Chicago, or US Bank and Fifth Third in Cincinnati come to mind) and frankly it’s understandable. Given limited time and capital, resources should always be concentrated on the programs reaching the largest audience, ie. existing print. However, in a number of scale bank digital signage networks, print is still changed out more frequently than digital content….in a word, inexplicable.

Take Wachovia’s 30 branches here in New York, which are equipped with digital screens located above tellers and in the windows, along with some fantastic, large-scale print campaign fixtures (disclosure: Wachovia is my bank, and they’re fantastic from a service perspective). In the last six months, I can remember the print campaigns changing at least four times (high-rate money market account, $100 bonus checking offer, student checking, and co-op equity line). During that same period, I think the digital content has changed once. Let’s explore the economics, based the following assumptions:

  • 3 print merchandising fixtures per branch
  • 2 campaign graphics per fixture (2-sided) @ $ 50 per graphic
  • $ 20 shipping and $15 installation per campaign, per branch
  • $ 20,000 agency and print production fees per campaign

Using these figures, and assuming the Wachovia NY branches receive unique material (believable, given that the offers are different here than elsewhere in the network), the cost to produce and install every print campaign is $ 30,050, or $ 120,200 for the four campaigns I saw over the past six months. Let’s assume, generously, that Wachovia spent $20k for the 2 new spots they produced for their digital signs during the same period (likely overstated given the low production value).

If you believe those figures, in an environment where all branches have both print and digital campaign capabilities, Wachovia is allocating its branch marketing budget 85/15 in favor of print materials, spending 6x the dollars on print, and changing campaigns 4x as frequently. If you believe the statistics on media effectiveness, which skew heavily in favor of digital…what gives?

(Final note: my personal opinion is that large-scale print graphics are more effective than digital when it comes to windows-based messaging, but it still doesn’t justify the change-out frequency skew)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree, part of the beauty of digital signage is that updates are cheap and quick. If one doesn't take advantage of those aspects then why use DS at all?

As a content provider and creator of thousands upon thousands of spots, I'd like to see the spots in question. I expect I could get a pretty good idea of how much was spent if I knew the market in which they were created and the director they used.

ripfence @ aol.com (remove spaces)

marketingmaven said...

This is another example of missing the point.

What good is unlimited shelf space if the shelf is only half full?

It reminds me of the days when large software companies were selling the idea of corporate information portals and reporting dashboards. The idea was solid, but the projects failed for lack of content.

Banks have to have a vision for digital signage to support. I think of digital signage projects like cab rides. You have to know where you're going before you get in the cab, or you'll waste a lot of time and money.

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