What We Really Need Are Solutions


By Paul Flanigan
Digital Screenmedia Association

We need to get this together

Last week I had the opportunity to speak in Seattle at the Future Stores conference. It was an event focused around understanding the consumer through an analytic microscope. I spoke about the Connected Consumer, bringing the worlds of mobile and digital signage together to create better experiences. (I’ll be hosting a webinar in September about this. You can learn more here.)

I was also given the opportunity to host a roundtable discussion about digital signage. Four brands sat with me, all of them national brands. We talked about the in-store experience. I started by asking two questions. Following the questions are the answers.

Question: What does digital signage mean to you?

“Users, content that supports products and brands, helping the customer in the journey.”
“An environment of the right place at the right time, you know what you’re in for.”
“Enabling the sales associate, and promoting products.”

Question: What is the biggest challenge you have with building a digital signage network?

“The seamless offline to online journey.”
“Resources and IT.”
“The customer. How do we put worth to our network?”
“Customer value.”

Two things struck me about their answers: 1) Each answer was, in effect, a challenge to the industry to help them solve a problem; 2) Not once was technology mentioned as a challenge.

And there’s the problem. The conference was really insightful. I learned way more than I shared. But we are still talking about products. We are still talking about what products do.

We’re not talking about solutions, about putting the entire thing together for a client who doesn’t see products but sees a need for results that can only come from a solution.

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One of the brands at my table, a 10 billion dollar company, said this to me, “All I want is a screen. I don’t want a network. I just want it to work with mobile.”

I know. Easier said than done. But he presents the perfect opportunity: Instead of thinking about what products he needs for a network, think about what he needs for his customer. Then work back from there. Screen? That’s easy. Wi-Fi connection? No problem.

Those do not constitute a solution. The customer experience is the solution.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Digital Screenmedia Association and originally appeared here.

Photo Credit: Scott Swigart