Dynamic Signage as “Owned” Media in “Paid-Owned-Earned” Media Mix

The following is reprinted with permission from the Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA). For more information, go to http://www.digitalscreenmedia.org.

Enterprise media analyst, advisor and educator Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon) outlines the convergence of on-premises patron messaging with the “Paid-Owned-Earned” media model, describing how dynamic place-based signage owned by the retailer leverages “paid” messaging and activates “earned” media for customer engagement.

Merchants and brands see the retail store or restaurant as being “ground zero” of the path to purchase and seek to integrate this critical point of purchase into the “paid-owned-earned” model of media, messaging and engagement. Dynamic signage and other location-based media, messaging and engagement strategies are allowing providers of goods and services to maximize their messaging investment toward customer engagement, loyalty, conversion and revenue achievement at this primary consumer decision point.

Messaging on premises, including at the point of purchase is hallowed ground. Important insights are emerging as marketers wrestle with media strategy along the “communications continuum” that reaches the “audience of many” at one end of the scale toward engagement with an “audience of one” at the other.

“Paid” media is the mainstay of the “marketing industrial complex” as advertisers seek to generate point of purchase traffic, brand awareness and commerce.

Operating within the “communications continuum” many marketers are increasingly looking to their “owned” communications devices such as their website, mobile app and on-premises dynamic signage to achieve their re-visit, branding and merchandising goals. “Owned” media is activating loyalty and conversion while fueling earned media such as opt-in, referrals, positive word of mouth, “likes” and social media benefits.

By better linking “paid”, “owned” and “earned” media, marketers and communicators seek to gain greater value from their overall media investment toward “engagement” with better audience targeting of customers, patrons, staff and students.

Dynamic place-based medium has its place in the Communication Continuum as both “paid” and “owned” media, and as a contributor to “transmedia”, which enables the optimal development, testing and use of digital media across various communications devices (e.g., TV, print, internet, mobile, etc.). Numerous budgeting “buckets” within the framework of “paid”, “owned” and “earned” media are applicable to the use of the dynamic, digital place-based medium. For example:


  • Digital place-based networks are used as “paid” media to deliver compelling messages to highly targeted audiences in out-of-home locations. A directory of the 369+ Ad-based Digital Place-based networks will be released in October 2012.
  • Digital displays “owned” by retailers are used on premises to achieve branding, merchandising, up-sell and cross-sell while improving the location visit experience and motivating “earned” media.

70 percent of Americans shop multi-channel including in-store, online and mobile. Digital in-store media can bridge the “bricks” — the physical environment, “clicks” — online information and commerce, and “picks” — consumer selection and its influencers, also turning “presence” into engagement.

According to a Deloitte retail industry survey, 71 percent of retail executives say that shoppers want a meaningful experience with the sales associate as brand ambassador with strong product knowledge and the ability to upsell and cross-sell for greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Many retailers speak of the need to improve their advertising plans to shift media buying investment away from “renting eyeballs” and into owning audiences. Many retail executives, including those of Ralph Lauren and Bonnie Brooks, CEO of The Bay reinforce the priority of shifting to “brand demand” messaging from “brand awareness” involving more experiential and social media.

Every media must prove its value by “moving the needle” — by delivering clear and intended value. This typically includes generating action, improving the awareness of the brand and its attributes in generating brand aspiration, contributing to ambiance and pace through its use.

“We’ve used it — it works — let’s go!” In recognition that the medium works well when properly applied, end user executives are increasingly charging their staff and advertising agencies with integrating dynamic place-based media into their plans, campaigns and their services.

“Us too!” use is occurring at a rapid rate as a natural response to consumer expectations and because it’s use is visibly evident by competing organizations. While the “innovators” and “early adopters” are sharing very little information about the business benefits that they have been deriving, the evidence of their success with digital place-based is evidenced by its increased use.

“Owned” media in the “paid-owned-earned” marketing media mix provides high value and high leverage of marketing communications investment.