Friday’s 4-1-1, Introspection Style

I’m now on my way back home after an intense couple of days at CETW.  Conferences are hard, especially if you have day jobs, which almost everyone does.  Unfortunately, time doesn’t stand still when you’re in the four walls of that convention center.  The machine keeps going.

The conference was good.  These guys put on a quality show and they’ve been good to me (as has the DSE!).  I met more real smart people this time who have been in the industry for a long time – Lyle Bunn, Bradley Walker, David Drain, Ken Goldberg (finally), Dusty Lutz and Bob Martin (the latter were both on my session panel) to name a few.  These guys are true industry leaders and they have a wealth of experience and knowledge from which to learn.  Saw my pal, Dave H. from Preset, couldn’t ever hook up with my pal, David W. from Preset, and missed my pal, Paul from Preset.  Pat – where are you, man?  From a relationship standpoint, it was another fantastic experience.  There’s nothing like face-to-face interaction, despite the power of Twitter.

I felt like I struck a nice balance between attending sessions and spending time with the exhibitors on the showroom floor.  For the first time, I feel like I was able to be productive with the exhibitors, thanks to my OOH model.  For someone like me, who gets overwhelmed with so many players and so many different components (to bring a network to life), simple models like this help me break information down to the point I can actually do something with it.  Getting back to what I said last week about providing value, it was important for me to do more with my posts from this conference than I’ve previously done.  So, the model enabled me to get down to the real nut of what those exhibitors offer and start highlighting some of them in a new series called “Supplier Spotlight.”  Also, the way I’ve recapped the sessions has always felt a little off for me.  More than anything, it’s been an exercise in recording and posting.  But now I’ve added a short section at the end of each recap that synthesizes a couple of key points that I took away from the session.  I’ve already started receiving some good feedback on that addition, which means we’re on the right track.

But then, there was my panel, “Strategy First:  Incorporating Digital/Interactive OOH into Your Campaign Strategy.”  In my opinion, it was an #epicfail.  So, today’s 4-1-1 is all about reflecting on the session, and recognizing what I believe to be the downfalls, and on the flipside, the opportunities that we can take away from it.

1.  What I wanted to talk about and what this audience wanted to hear were 2 totally different things – there are many digital signage network operators (meaning, those who run an entire network of screens) at this show who are looking for tips, advice, guidance, and a sound “strategy” (I feel like this is becoming a lame word now) on how to fill their screens with good content and advertisements (the two are married.)  They don’t want to hear my talking about how everything’s a screen.  They want to hear about their screen and how to make it better so they can make money.  Thank goodness I had Bob Martin on the panel from RMG because he provided great information to this audience.  Everyone else on the panel, and our thoughts, muddied the water more than anything.

2.  The panel’s diversity was a barrier and did not work well for this discussion – as I said, Bob provided the most relevant POV for this particular audience.  I don’t know that I would recommend having so many panelists (total of 4) for any session because time flies and we all have a lot to say.  So, cutting the actual size of the panel down would have helped, but more than anything, if we were to bring different POVs from different agencies again, I think the session needs to be framed as something that is “new” and “experiential” and not geared to digital signage networks.  It’s more about the “cool” things you can do outside of the home.  If that were that were the expectation of our session, I feel like we would have delivered much more value.

3.  I have a clearly different view of OOH/DOOH/IOOH than the majority of the “industry” – I am not a digital signage guy.  Networks and operators and IT make my head want to explode. I’m an experience guy.  I’m focused on engaging consumers, literally outside of the home, through technology in a way that drives connections and meaningful experiences with the brand.  I don’t believe you need actual “screens” to do this because technology has enabled everything around us to become a screen.  I can do a better job of separating the two – DOOH, as in “digital signage” and “networks” and IOOH, as in “experiences away from those specific ‘screens.’”  I tend to mix the two here and it’s an important distinction to make.

4.  DOOH as in “digital signage” and “networks” is a powerful advertising and communications channel – these physical screens can be installed at critical locations along the consumer’s purchase journey.  Coupled with the right content, these networks truly do touch people where they are, when they need it.  On location alone, they can most efficiently target consumers like no other channel, even mobile.  Right now, mobile requires a level of “active” participation to truly target in the right place and the right time.  Just by being there, DOOH/digital signage can passively target efficiently and effectively (that’s a fun sentence!)

“Uh-huh” – I believe in the power of these channels, both “DOOH/digital signage” and the new “OOH.”  I believe both will succeed.  Digital signage networks can make a brand’s advertisements work less for a larger return.  But everything around us will be interactive sooner or later, so we have to prepare for that, too.  It’s important to recognize that the OOH canvas is vast, virtually untapped, and before we know it, will be completely interactive.  We won’t need actual screens to form an OOH network.  Buildings and sidewalks and tables will be a network.  More importantly, as is the case now, consumers will be a network.  These two elements will have a profound impact on the DOOH industry.  I think physical screens can still be an important part of the ecosystem, they just have to become smarter.  They need to work together with all of the other touch points, including consumers with each other, to be that much more meaningful.  This is daunting.  The people who figure this out first will win, and I think we’re still a few years away from crowning the winner.

“Duh” – the right type of agencies and people within those agencies, namely account and media planners, need to be at this conference, talking to these smart, super-experienced people.  If they can’t come to the physical conference right now, they should have access to the content.  This is an easy challenge to solve with today’s technology.  In my opinion, it will be a more difficult proposition to actually get the word out to these particular agency members than it will be to work through the logistics of distributing the content.  Perhaps an invite-only session/roundtable geared specifically for them?  If we crack that nut, I believe opportunities will flow.

Anyway, I have to thank Lawrence and team, again, for their hospitality and kindness.  It’s always great to be around all of these people.  For those of you who weren’t able to be here, I hope these posts helped.  Love to hear your thoughts on any of these, as you have them.  Have a great weekend!

One thought on “Friday’s 4-1-1, Introspection Style

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 11th Screen » Friday’s 4-1-1, Introspection Style --

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