I just delivered my newest keynote here in Orlando at the ALMO Pro E4 AV Tour — being held in conjunction with the ISA’s International Sign Expo (the association for the sign people who’ve primarily made printed signs, banners and billboard for years) and I saw nothing but opportunity for the AV integrator world.
Well, they (the static sign people) all want to get into the digital signage market. And, while nearly 40 percent of them own their own prating equipment, a great majority of them regularly outsource all their manufacturing and have been, for year, in the business of providing intellectual property in effective and successful sign design and implementation. Thus, they’re ok with the concept of being experts at the selling and content design while outsourcing the actual mechanical sign work.
So, this means we (the AV market) have a huge opportunity. One that you should take advantage of. Here’s why and how:
1. The ISA (International Sign Association) is an association full traditional sign companies – you know those companies that make posters, billboard signs, building signs, logo signs, etc? Well, there are thousands of members all over the country all wanting help to get into the digital signage market. Sure, some of them will try to do it on their own – but the majority of them want to partner with a company (like an AV company) to outsource the hardware and integration to while they do the content. And, you should be OK with this as you can take the remote management and service side of things. A perfect partnership.
2. The signage market is growing — both sides. Even static signage is up. The digital signage market is nearly a $10 Billion market now (way bigger than the entire EducationAV market) and is growing at double digit rates. So, the easiest way for you to grow is via a partnership with ISA — whose members also want to grow.
3. They know content — the ISA members may primarily be doing static content, but they have decades of signage wow-factor behind them — they know how to make signs pop and impressive. Let them do the content — learn from their processes and consider even bringing them into your own digital signage projects to become your creative arm. It’s a win-win.
4. Consider joining the ISA yourself. Again, it’s an association who’s charter is to: support, promote and improve the sign industry through government advocacy, education and training programs, technical resources, stakeholder outreach and industry networking events. Our members are manufacturers, users and suppliers of on-premise signs and other visual communications systems. It’s a who’s-who of signage — you will learn from them!
5. Consider a bi-directional partnership — Don’t make this a one-way street. They have clients who are doing static signage that want dynamic digital signage. You have clients who want digital signage but you’re not in the business of creative (even though I feel you should be, eventually). So, partner and trade leads, projects and co-engineer and integrate!