How To Sell a 55″ Touchscreen for $90,000

touch screen

How much is a 55″ touchscreen? If you take a look around online you’ll find everything from single and dual touch screens starting at about $2,000 and going to high end multi-touch units like those from MultiTaction at $20,000. Add a great mount, a PC or media player and installation and you might get up to $25,000 for the set-up if you sell the cream of the crop.

Based on my experience in the space, I’d wager that the average 55″ screen with a PC, mount and install is sold today for around $8,000.

Given this, what would you say if I told you the last 55″ touchscreen I sold as an integrator went for $90,000?

I’m assuming the word “how” comes to mind.

The answer is content.

An installed touchscreen paired with a PC is a commodity that can be shopped online. A customized multi-touch experience with unique, custom content cannot.

It seems that most integrators know that content creation is a great potential revenue stream. Commercial Integrator did a Sweet 16 bracket this spring called New Revenue Madness where they pitted several technologies and business services against each other, letting readers vote on what they thought had the most potential to generate revenue. What won? It wasn’t Collaboration or Unified Communications or Drones or Managed Services or Digital Signage or even the IoT. It was Content Creation. They even created a call to arms for integrators based on the results.

I made the same call to arms here on rAVe Pubs way back in 2013 in a piece called “The One Stop Shop.” Almost three years later, we are still having the same conversation.

So the question is, if the consensus is content creation is a great source of revenue, then why aren’t more integration companies offering it as a service?

The truth is, there are some barriers to entry that range from not knowing how to start the conversation to not having the key creative and technical personnel to not having the proper hardware and software systems in place. Given that, I thought I’d give a few insights into how integrators may start to make content creation a part of their business.

Step One: The Conversation

If your approach to selling AV is to first engage the IT department, then you will definitely need to reverse field if you want to start selling content creation.

I’ve asked the question “Why are we talking to IT guys” in the past concerning AV in general, suggesting that we should be approaching marketing departments as well when discussing communication and presentation systems. This point is even more salient when dealing with content creation. If you want to sell content, you are selling a story, and you need to engage the company’s storytellers. Of course you’ll need to work side by side with the technical team for planning and implementation of hardware, Wi-Fi or internet service, etc., but marketing is the place to start if you want to sell content.

I worked at a company that did a ton of work for a major shoe brand and that work was won in the marketing department first.

Step Two: The People

Odds are you are going to need to grow your staff a little if you really want to make a run at content creation as a strategic part of your business. David Haynes of Sixteen:Nine even suggests that integrators should “make it a true business unit.” I agree with that notion. You will need sales people who understand how to sell content creation to marketing departments, programmers that are versed in HTML 5, JavaScript, etc., as well as creative directors and graphic designers. In other words, you’ll need some new blood. This is probably the most difficult and most essential part of the equation.

Step Three: The Tools

Now if you start to put together the team and then pitch and win a content creation job, you’d be remiss to not have the proper tools in place.

Needless to say, iMovie and an iPad aren’t going to get the job done.

You’re going to need video editing software, 2D or 3D drawing programs, some rendering PCs or Macs, some high resolution reference monitors and most likely will need some quality camera equipment and audio recording equipment as well.

The Partnering Alternative

If this all sounds like too much, partnering with a content creation firm is always an option. You may be able to make a small cost-plus margin by passing on a third party’s services as an accessory to your hardware. The main problem with this though is that if your only role is providing the hardware, you are really entering into a contract where the cart is driving the horse. The content and the clients goals should really drive the conversation. The hardware becomes the delivery method.

In many large projects, the digital content conversation happens early with the client, and hardware providers are then brought in at the end by the content creation company to bid the parts and labor. If you really want to get top the top of this food chain, you need to be offering the content creation services as well.

So, if you want to sell a 55″ touchscreen for $90,000, you need to start creating content.

Was this helpful or do you think I’m off base? I’d love to hear about your journey with content creation in the comments below.