Tag Archives: Conferences

Chronicles of an LBS Wanderer – 3

11th Screen Location Based Services Badge

Location-based services (LBS) – like FoursquareGowalla, and Yelp – made a big splash last year as a fairly successful, yet niche, mobile tactic for brands aiming to reach consumers in the real-world. They are great platforms for rewarding loyalty, real-time consumer reviews & tips, and for those who like such a thing, keeping track of your friends/family. I’ve “played” Foursquare consistently for a year now and dabbled in the others – Gowalla, Yelp, LooptSCVNGR. There’s interesting potential with this sort of technology, particularly when integrated with placed-based signage. But as I’ve wandered over the last year, I’m left wondering if these technologies will stick and ultimately reach the average consumer. And more than that, what it will take for them to reach that point? Here are my chronicles.

This is a follow-up post to yesterday’s. This first paragraph is the same, but everything after that is new!

Although I’ve spent my last few days at SXSW, I wasn’t really at SXSW. Working the conference means that you operate in a bubble and even the big news rarely penetrates it. From what I hear, though, location and gamification are two of the most prevalent themes. This is important because SXSW is known as the launching pad for emerging trends and start-ups. I suspect Foursquare and SCVNGR – both emerging in their own right – will reap the benefits of being highly present at SXSW this year.

Right before the conference, Foursquare announced a partnership program with American Express aimed at recognizing loyalty at local businesses. Some Austin favorites – like Stubbs BBQ and Whole Foods – are participating in the pilot program that gives consumers $5 back when they spend $5 using their AmEx card. Interesting.

It’s big news for Foursquare, for sure. This is the type of association they need to make the average consumer aware and familiar with “Foursquare.” And it’s something like this – a partner with a major merchant – that gives them hope of actually affecting consumer behavior enough that it makes a lasting impact on their business.

But will it work?

Who knows. That remains to be the million dollar question. Quite literally.

I think, for both SCVNGR and Foursquare, these announcements provide more clarity of their place (and use) in the market. SCVNGR is becoming more and more the mobile game that brands and consumers can engage with in out in the real world. Foursquare is becoming more and more the mobile loyalty tool that brands can use to reward their most loyal customers.

This definition is a good thing. It lessens the I-want-to-do-everything-for-everyone syndrome that is easy to adopt, especially as a start-up company. (Although SCVNGR did announce a new venture, LevelUp, that combines group-based daily deals with loyalty.)

But the real question remains – will consumers care enough to engage through one/both/more of these mobile emerging technologies more than once?

The rise and proliferation of mobility, beyond mobile phones, will certainly help. I have been using my iPad 2 since I purchased it over the weekend. One thing that stuck out to me was the diverse audience in the lines. That just says to me that there is a growing appetite, by many more people, for more and different mobile devices. More and more people want to experiment and if the experience is good enough, they’ll adopt. So, the technology and the behavior that drives using technology in a specific way will continue to evolve, and for technologies like Foursquare and SCVNGR, this is half of the battle.

The other half of the battle is answering the value question. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean people are going to engage. Just because it’s more game-like doesn’t mean people are going to engage. Rewarding loyalty? I can see that driving engagement. But it has to be more wide spread than a single, typically more exclusive merchant than American Express. I couldn’t have participated in the promotion because I don’t carry an AmEx card. I, like many average consumers, am conscious of spending and one of the mantras driving my purchases is, “if you can’t pay cash, you shouldn’t buy it.” I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one who lets that mantra drive their purchase behavior. I’m also willing to bet that I’m in the overwhelming majority of average consumers who don’t carry an AmEx card. So, what does a promotion like this leave me with?




Nothing really.

It’s just another example of the value I got out of checking in while I was at SXSW. Nothing.

But, you know what? I keep doing it. Because I can. Because it’s a little fun for me. Because I have a tinge of hope of uncovering something new, even if it is a badge.

But those are hardly sustainable.

For now, though, I keep wandering and wondering.


Chronicles of an LBS Wanderer – 2

11th Screen Location Based Services Badge

Location-based services (LBS) – like FoursquareGowalla, and Yelp – made a big splash last year as a fairly successful, yet niche, mobile tactic for brands aiming to reach consumers in the real-world. They are great platforms for rewarding loyalty, real-time consumer reviews & tips, and for those who like such a thing, keeping track of your friends/family. I’ve “played” Foursquare consistently for a year now and dabbled in the others – Gowalla, Yelp, LooptSCVNGR. There’s interesting potential with this sort of technology, particularly when integrated with placed-based signage. But as I’ve wandered over the last year, I’m left wondering if these technologies will stick and ultimately reach the average consumer. And more than that, what it will take for them to reach that point? Here are my chronicles.

What will drive mass adoption of location-based mobile technologies? Is it all about the game?

Although I’ve spent my last few days at SXSW, I wasn’t really at SXSW. Working the conference means that you operate in a bubble and even the big news rarely penetrates it. From what I hear, though, location and gamification are two of the most prevalent themes. This is important because SXSW is known as the launching pad for emerging trends and start-ups. I suspect Foursquare and SCVNGR – both emerging in their own right – will reap the benefits of being highly present at SXSW this year.

SCVNGR’s CEO, Seth Priebatsch, gave the keynote a few nights ago where he announced a new “game layer” on an already-interesting game platform. I wasn’t there, but it seemed like he gave a good overview of what’s wrong with the current location-based platforms (not enough people using them, tied to specific location, sparse rewards) and looked forward to what can make these types of technologies engaging and sticky. His answer, from all accounts, is tied to making the experience – er, life – more game-like. He didn’t unveil any specific features to SCVNGR that will enhance the experience, but he talked about a few concepts. Most interestingly, he talked about the concept of the “game layer.”

“The last decade was the decade of social — it took connections between friends, family, and coworkers and put them online. It’s called Facebook. The social layer traffics in connections.” Conversely, Priebatsch says that the Game layer traffics in influence — “It will influence where we go, what we do, and how we do it.”

I find this interesting on many fronts. Two, in particular, are:

1. The social layer is inherently influential. Word-of-mouth – offline & online – influences those around us, what they like, how they connect, and ultimately what they buy. I don’t see how making it a game changes the influence dynamic.
2. He, like many others I talk to in the world, think in terms of behaviors, not technology. Technology is a means to an end. It is becoming powerful enough to enable certain behaviors, but it’s certainly not the lead. Does the digital signage industry think in terms of behaviors or technology?

The one concept that he talked about that I don’t think I agree with much at all – he outlined how many of the principles we associate with games — levels, rules, rewards, motivated players, etc. — are exemplified by our school system. The problem, he says, is that school has an engagement issue: people are bored. I don’t think gamifying the school system is the answer. I think better teachers are the answers. Anyway….

All of this is rhetoric right now. SCVNGR, just like Foursquare, has had a nice little entry into the world. Certain groups of people have latched on. Some brands have, too.

But the question remains – what will drive mass adoption? And for the long-term?

Is it really adding another layer to life, this game layer?

Friday’s 4-1-1, What a Social Media Road Trip Can Teach Us Style

Chevy SXSW Road Trip Tracker

I starting writing this post a couple of days ago while we were in the middle of the road trip. It has since ended, all of the road trippers made it to Austin safely, and they’re still talking about it. I planned the first Chevy Road Trip last year, too, and this is one of the most rewarding initiatives I’ve ever worked on. I’m proud to share this work and my learnings.

My last few days have been spent on a huge activation for one of our clients (Chevrolet) at SXSW. Correction – my last few months. But over the last few days, the activation that I’ve been leading (The Chevy SXSW Road Trip Challenge) has been in full force. We identified some of the top digerati, entrepreneurs, and filmmakers from 9 cities in North America, provided all of them with Chevy vehicles, and asked them to document their journey all the way down to Austin. We’ve developed 11 challenges for them to complete, and over the last few days, we have literally been unfolding them in real-time. The road trippers learn more and more as they’re going and it’s making for some great content and most of all, great experiences.

I am continuously amazed at the power of people and technology. And even more specifically, technology that enables connections – like social media platforms. A couple of weeks ago at DSE, in Shelly Palmer’s keynote, he said the biggest change in technology today is the speed and scale that it enables connections and amplifies voices. It’s so true. I have experienced this first-hand over this road trip.

Every time I do something – small and large scale – I try as hard as I can to be aware of and absorb what is happening in the weeds and all around. I call on many things from past experiences and even still, I learn something new in every circumstance. And learning is only so good when you don’t use it to teach others. So, here are some of those learnings from this road trip. I hope you find, at least some of it, helpful and/or insightful.

1. The brand is not in control – regardless of how much you literally prescribe a journey, it is harder and harder to predict exactly how much of it will go according to plan. You can set up the best, most defined parameters and structure it in a way that has the most potential to yield positive results, but in the end, you are not in control. The people are. The best thing you can do is to be there, be open, and be willing to offer encouragement and/or help.

2. Flexibility, if not THE key, is a critical key to success – you can always bank on curveballs when people are involved and you turn the experience over to them. If you don’t have a plan B, C, D, E and F, you’ll quite likely be scrambling to solve problems that present themselves regularly. Foresight is certainly important, but if you’re not willing to be flexible, you shouldn’t participate in social media. The key, really, is to be responsible in your flexibility.

3. Over communicate, over communicate, over communicate – there is no such thing as enough proactive communication, especially for something like this that is so intense and occurs in a specified timeframe. Everyone involved behind the scenes – the community managers and the brand team – have many things on their plates to deal with. To assume someone knows something or will take care of something is death. I’m sure you’ve heard it before – communicate early and often.  It’s a simple concept, but difficult to practice.

4. Interpretation is pesky thing – how members in the community interpret various components of an initiative like this is going to be different than how you, as the organizer/manager, interpret them. Our road trip centered around 11 challenges that each team had to complete over their 3 days on the road. While we wrote those challenges to be loose and open to interpretation, we found out very early on that how we expected the teams to interpret those challenges was completely different from how they actually interpreted them. In this instance, it was a good thing. It made the content more unique and diverse. But the real important thing here is – you must be crystal clear in your communication with the community if you don’t want anything to be misinterpreted. Even then, it’s bound to happen.

“Uh-huh” – we worked with a non-profit called Adopt-a-Classroom and scheduled stops for each of the teams along their way. It was, by far, the most inspiring thing to watch how the teams embraced the classrooms and the impact that those classrooms had on the teams. The teams were asked to raise $200 for their classrooms and every single one of them took it as a collective call-to-action and got their own communities involved and raised much more than they were asked. One team even raised $5,000+. This was a good cause. It’s one of those  causes where just a little can make a huge impact. Social media – and the connections that it enables, the speed and scale – is a powerful doin’-good machine.

“Duh” – I’ve heard many people ask, “what is the brand getting out of this?” And from my perspective, the answer is simple – get people to experience the cars and people behind the initiative and then tell their communities about it. Good and bad. This is a learning process and what better way to learn than have 40+ people essentially living in the cars for 3 days. The road trippers have been open and honest and in order to provide value and get better, that’s what the brand needs.

It’s all quite simple, really. It’s just a matter of doing.

Here’s a cool site to check out everything road trip-related and a video to boot. As always, thanks for reading! If you have any questions about this or anything else, I’d love to hear from you!

Friday’s 4-1-1, Recapping DSE Style

Digital Signage Expo Show Floor

A week removed from DSE and I’m head deep into preparing for SXSW (we support one of our clients – Chevrolet – for their SXSW Super Sponsorship). Next week, the activation that I’m leading kicks off as 10 teams from North America roadtrip down to Austin and document their journeys. The timing of DSE & SXSW presents many challenges for me, but it’s all about balance, right?

I’ve had time to reflect on my three days at DSE and now, I’m finding the time to document it. So, here you go, today’s Friday 4-1-1 is dedicated to my takeaways.

1. Non-digital signage player keynotes are goodShelly Palmer – someone who has nothing to do with digital signage – gave the keynote address. He spoke about how technology has changed our way of life (speed and scale) and loosely tied it to the digital signage industry. I thought it was refreshing, and even more, I thought it was important for the audience to hear someone a) removed from the industry and b) in tune with how consumers consume media and connect with each other through technology. He made a lot of great points and I really hope the majority of that audience walked out of the room as jazzed as I did. He was good. He doesn’t have a stake in the industry, per se, but certainly has a worthwhile perspective, given his knowledge and expertise. The nut of his presentation – technology is meaningless unless it changes the way we behave. I think it’s a great filter for everyone in the digital signage industry – does your solution change the way people behave? If not, what can you do to the solution to make it so?

2. The digital signage industry is not cutting edge in daily practice – This is definitely a general statement, but one of the questions that Shelly Palmer asked in his keynote was “how many of the audience has their information feeds set up through something like Google Reader?” And, at best, 10% of the audience raised their hands. I just find it ironic that an industry thought of as an emerging one does not apply some of the fundamental practices of the digital world. For those of you who don’t have feeds set up, Google Reader is a simple and effective tool. Go there, copy and paste your favorite URL’s and start getting all of that content in one single place. More than it being an aggregator for all of my favorite sites, I use it as a monitoring tool for trends and issues. For anyone who is creating a product that consumers will ultimately consume, it’s essential that you understand how they’re using like products and/or what they’re saying about them and/or who’s saying it. Google Reader is a great way to start understanding all of that information.

3. The “Content is King” talk is cheap – I can’t tell you how many times I heard “content is king” from different people. To everyone’s credit this year, I didn’t hear a peep of that last year. So, there is wide-spread recognition in the industry that content is important. But what’s new? Content is the thing. It always will be. For all of the talk about content, I didn’t see much of it from anyone on the showroom floor. Again, I’m left scratching my head. Nothing – in and out of this industry – is about technology. Technology is a means to an end and it can certainly change the way that we behave. But there is nothing more important than content. Never will be. So, can we all stop it with this phrase? It’s buzzed to the point of being laughable.

4. Relationships trump everything – I mean, if anything is the “king,” it’s relationships. Without relationships, nothing is sustainable. I am so thankful for all of the relationships I’ve been able to form in this industry. It’s filled with great people. To me, the best thing about DSE was connecting and re-connecting with those I know and met for the first time. Way better than any session and/or anything I saw on the showroom floor. If you want to focus on one thing at a conference like this, you can’t go wrong with focusing on the people. All else pales in comparison.

“Uh-huh” – The show organizers are great. Thank you, again, to Gerri. I will forever be grateful to you. Angelo and Chris – thank-you as well. And to those sweet, stand-your-ground hosts of the blogger lounge – you rock.

“Duh”My golf game needs a little bit of help. I didn’t do bad for not playing in 2 years. But, if they do it again next year, and my team accepts me back, I’ll play a couple of practice rounds before-hand.

All in all, it was a great show. I saw lots of improvements over last year. They’re really trying to put the focus on content and interactivity and pull new people in to this. They’ve done a great job with their approach to education throughout the year, and you could feel it at the show. There’s a fairly long road to go, but they’ve got great minds trying to push this into something that is attractive and valuable for everyone outside of the industry.

Thanks, as always, for reading. Happy weekend!


Are Consumers Blind to Place-Based Digital Signage?

11th Screen | The Interactive Out-of-Home Blog

The more I reflect on my time at DSE last week, the more rich I feel it was. And the funny thing about it is, I didn’t spend my time racing around seeing everything under the sun. I focused on a couple of activities and spent the rest of the time meeting & talking to people. There are some incredible minds in the digital signage industry. That much is for sure.

One of the richer times I had and that I wrote about last week was my dinner with Dave and Pat from Preset. It was really an interesting discussion – I was able to hear from them more than surface thoughts on important concepts that this industry wrestles with. In a lot of ways, it was kinda like a master class for me. You ever have those times when you find yourself in a situation where you’re like, holy crap, there’s some serious knowledge here? Well, that was me then.

One of the things we talked about was this idea of screen blindness. It’s an idea that I’ve thought about for awhile now. The question is – is the average consumer blind to outdoor screens? (And I’m not talking about Times Square or the strip in Vegas. I’m talking about standard outdoor screens like in elevators or in lobbies or at the gas station.) They’re everywhere now, so when someone encounters a screen, how much do they pay attention to it? Or better yet, how much do they even notice it?

I would say (and I did that night) that the answer is a) yes, generally consumers are blind to the screens, b) they don’t pay much attention to them and better yet c) they notice them less and less.

The reason? Mainly content and lack of interaction. Over time.

I think these digital screens have been around long enough with bad content that the average consumer perceives them as delivering little value. There are, of course, exceptions to this statement, but overall, most of these screens seem to be filled with advertisements, boring/useless content loops and/or some sort of broadcast news. They’re push-only devices delivering content that is completely un-engaging, un-inspiring, and most of all, something any one of us could experience on our own personal mobile devices.

And it’s been this way for years. Literally.

So, why pay attention to them?

I think this is a serious question that everyone who is trying to reach and engage consumers outside of the home, through these digital screens, must answer.

I don’t think the answer is because it reaches them at the right place and the right time. That, to me, is a given, and sure there’s value in that – reaching someone when they’re closer to the point of sale. Giving them a pertinent message while they’re in a waiting in a doctor’s office. But I think people been reached in the right place at the right time in so many un-effective ways, over time, that they see less and less value with these screens and are becoming blind to them.

Next time you’re in the presence with someone, outside of the home, in the vicinity of a digital screen, watch them. Do they watch what’s on the screen? If so, are they watching because they’re engaged? Or are they watching because it’s a distraction and something to pass the time?

Place-based digital signs, in order to be truly effective and valued, cannot be viewed as simply good at distracting people.

They have to do more. They have to deliver good, relevant content and more and more, in order to re-see them, to associate them with value, they have to engage consumers in some way.

So, that’s what I think. What do YOU think? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Supplier Spotlight – NanoLumens

I usually don’t get excited about any sort of digital signage hardware, but that changed when I stopped by the NanoLumens booth at DSE. Upon first glance, it was just another huge screen, displaying high-definition video & images. Cool, but nothing too special (at least for me – I mean, I kind of expect big displays out of digital signage, especially at a tradeshow).

How I was wrong.

The size isn’t really what makes this solution special, although it is one of its selling points (more on that in a bit). What really makes it special is its weight and flexibility. That’s right – flexibility. That big screen bends.

I immediately thought of Esquire’s e-ink cover in 2008 on steroids. But although the Esquire cover was novel, it was completely underwhelming. This NanoLumens display is anything but. It’s quite awesome, actually. It really puts into perspective what’s possible, on this scale, in terms of flexibility.

The sign is a mosaic of LED-powered squares and it’s those squares (7”x3.5”) that give it the pliability it needs to fit on convex and concave surfaces. The fact that it conforms to these surfaces and actually looks like it’s part of the environment is a huge benefit, in my opinion. The more something looks like it was meant to be there, the more attention it will get. And the screen is such that if you want to put it on a boring flat surface, it can easily fit there, too.

Easily is the operative word. Another key benefit to this screen is its light weight. They had this 100+” screen in their booth on a swivel mount and the ease in which they turned the screen – a true reflection of its weight – was remarkable. It was effortless. The real-world benefit of this can’t be overlooked. Imagine hanging one of these huge screens on any surface, high above the ground vs. a standard 100+” screen – not having done this, I can only image that the strain and equipment to actually do that would easily be cut in half by this NanoLumens display.

See how thin it is, too? (that’s taken from the side)

And Its design – those small squares – also allow it to be customized to any size and shape. Circle, square, triangle – doesn’t matter. They can do it.

If all that weren’t enough, here’s some more (taken off their website). The displays are:

  • Robust and durable – they’re sealed and fanless, waterproof and dustproof;
  • And energy-conscious – drawing about the same power as a coffee-maker.

And they couldn’t have nicer guys on the front lines, telling people about this product. Great product + good people = success.

This is truly NOT a one-size-fits-all sign, in every possible aspect.

Friday’s 4-1-1, What We Can Learn From Golf Style

11th Screen | The Interactive Out-of-Home Blog

I had the pleasure of playing golf with some great guys early this week, my kick-off to DSE. I played with Dave Haynes, Bill Trainor and Andy Bruce (first time meeting Bill and Andy – great guys). All told, there were about 40 people (all in the industry) at the outing, and it ended up being an overall great time. Golf, almost anytime is enjoyable for me, regardless of how I play, and Monday was no exception. It’s such a great game and although I find it extremely frustrating most of the times, it can be equally rewarding. Just like work. There are many parallels. So, today’s Friday 4-1-1 is dedicated to those parallels.

1. Focus – golf is a game of focus. And the times where you’re actually doing what you’re out there to do – hit the ball – it requires an incredibly intense focus. Unfortunately, focus alone does not a great golfer make. There are many other facets of the game that you have to succeed at to be successful on the course, which is a lot like work. Focus is key to actually narrowing your mind & thoughts to the task at hand. Its intention is to cut out distractions. If and when you focus, you can then turn your attention to the finer points of the craft. Like…

2. Tempo – golf is a game of tempo. I generally don’t have good tempo on the course because I want to hit the snot out of the ball. The beautiful thing about golf, though, is that you don’t have to swing hard to hit a great shot. If you’re swinging with good tempo, the club will do the work for you and you’ll typically end up with a pretty good shot. And then if you can replicate that tempo enough to become consistent, you’ll turn into a pretty good golfer (at least good enough to hold your own at an event like this.) Same thing at work – you don’t have to try to crush every single problem/situation with the biggest, baddest idea or solution. Often times, the easiest, least strenuous solutions are the best. And when you start to understand good solutions over bad, it’s easier to get into a groove. And then, you can work to establish some consistency with your approach and how you actually address problems/situations…and then, well, you’ll get to be pretty good with whatever it is you do. But you’ll also need…

3. Patience – golf is a game of patience. It’s a long game. Whether you’ve hit a good shot or a bad shot, you know that there’s another one right around the corner. You can’t get too high or too low, regardless of what happens during your round. You’ve got to be patient. This is a hard one. Because patience is only part of the formula – the other part is…

4. Persistence – golf if a game of persistence. Unless you want to give up and walk off the course. But for those who want to get better, you have to just keep plugging along. And it’s as simple as that. I’m big on persistence.

“Uh-huh” – Golf is one of those things, like many of those at work, where you can see marked improvement with deliberate practice. If you work on specific aspects of your swing, or of your stance, or of your mentality, and you’re deliberate about it, you will see improvement. It’s the same with work – if there are specific aspects of your work, be it the way you communicate with people, the way you react to situations, the way you deliver a presentation – whatever it is, if you are deliberate in your practice, you will see improvement.

“Duh” – Although two of my best shots were the first and the last shot I hit, there were many more that were not good. Doing something good once or twice or even for short periods of time is not the goal. The goal is to sustain a high level of performance over a long period of time. All of those in-between moments are much more important than 2 singular ones, even if they are important singular ones.

All it takes in golf is one good shot to keep you coming back. The sense of pride and accomplishment you feel is self-motivating. I think you could apply that to anything you do in life or work that you want to do a good job at – when you do it, it keeps you coming back for more.

Happy weekend, everyone. Thanks, again, for reading!

My Debut on Cohen on Content

11th Screen | The Interactive Out-of-Home Blog

I had a chance to meet Phil Cohen at DSE and sat down with him for one of his Cohen on Content interviews. Here is mine.

I don’t think I did a great job of explaining the convergence of “out-of-home” and content with my current agency. Since I work for a PR firm – although I think it’s the most progressive, digitally-saavy PR firm in the world – we don’t deal with traditional “digital” out-of-home and certainly not with networks. But where I’ve found incredible opportunity, particularly with the proliferation of mobile devices, is being able to turn on the things around us (cars, posters, etc.), that we use in events that we concept and support. We take a very grassroots approach to interactive out-of-home.

And the story that I was going to tell was how we basically turned a car (a thing in the real-world) into a virtual scrapbook that allowed everyone who came into contact with it to not only consume content, but create and add their own content to it. In today’s social world, brands don’t need to create all of the content themselves. Consumers are creating content themselves and sharing with their networks. This is a treasure trove of content that brands can tap into.

For anyone putting together a content and/or engagement strategy, regardless of channel/screen, consider social content. It is powerful, effective, and for the most part, free.

Aside from that, I just wish someone would have told me to look at the camera more.

DSE Session 2 – Using Interactive Technology to Lift Sales & Drive Revenue

11th Screen | The Interactive Out-of-Home Blog

Robert Ventresca (NCR), Jordan Scott Baltimore (Oyster Digital Media Corp.)

Robert’s up 1st – What is interactive technology?  Interactive covers wide range of techs used in the world today.

For today’s discussion, they’re going to focus on in-store.

Blurring of terminology is increasing rapidly.

What’s driving adoption of interactive?

  • Multi-channel synchronization. Wow, what a word.
  • Automating routine activities (this is very much a utility use/benefit – hmmm).
  • Empower customers and employees – this is the only thing they’ve talked about that even resembles/eludes to experience.
  • Enhance the consumer experience – there you go (just wasn’t on the slide)

17-month Wharton study of 500 retail stores – 4 key drives of customer satisfaction:

  1. Availability of product information
  2. Source of information helpful
  3. Customer perception of product availability
  4. Checkout line waits

Interactivity = self-service. He’s caveating that statement. Understand. Interesting that he’s coming at it from a utility-first POV. Can just tell in his approach.

Key components of interactive projects:

  • Infrastructure (hardware, installation)
  • Software
  • Content

“Content is king” – everyone has said this today. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it. He’s making the point that all 3 – infrastructure, software & content – are king. Can we just say the king is dead now?

This is a very systematic approach to “interactive.”

Jordan now – challenge the 3 king/content king thing. “The customer is the king.” – Amen, brother, amen.

These are the guys behind the Samsung Experience. They approached it as – If I was a customer in this experience, what would I really be blown away by? They also wanted to support the brand ambassadors (sales reps), too. Not replace them.

He’s saying all the things that align with my thinking – not talking to the consumers, it’s talking with the consumers. It’s not a 1-way communication, it’s a 2-way communication. It can and should be measured.

Just talking, talking, talking – show us the pictures, or a video, show me this baby, Jordan!

Interactive technology should complement and enhance traditional engagement.

How can we use interactive technology to get consumers involved? How can you make a consumer make a better decision at the point of sale? Good questions.

Start with the consumers. That simple.

Oyter’s Retail Experience Platform: Relevant, Interactive, Intelligent, Integrated.

This is a good session for this audience to hear. I just wish it were more compelling. Photos. Videos. Something that has a wow factor. Just wasn’t there.

Nut – Interactivity is good. It’s effective. Think about implementing it. Start with the consumer, not the technology.

Word of the session – Multi-channel synchronization.

DSE Session 1 – Best Practices in Digital OOH Planning & Presentations

11th Screen | The Interactive Out-of-Home Blog

The panel is the reason I came to this session – Rob Gorrie (Adcentricity), Dan Levi (Zoom Media), Jill Nickerson (Horizon Media), Andrew Miller (Kinetic Group Americas)

(Jeremy Lockhorn (Razorfish) – was not here – kinda a bummer – would have been great to hear from him.)

This session is a mock-RFP session where agencies put out an RFP to networks and then the networks pitch to the agencies. So, this will be interesting to see how they all approach and talk about “Digital” OOH, particularly as it relates to actually bidding/winning some business.

There’s no set-up to what we’re going to here in this session. They just jumped right in. Think a little bit of set-up would help properly frame for the group. At least give us some information from the fictitious RFP.

So, the networks are supposed to pitch to the agencies. Here we go.

Rob’s up first – They start w/ defining objectives (against the funnel), who they’re trying to reach.

They then go into research & data – understand who and how. Try to get insights out of them. Then, look at potential venues based on the target/insights. Then, look at the target markets. Merge those together and you can see the opportunities you have in each market.

OK, this is getting real detailed. Good stuff, but way detailed and Rob is still talking. 25 minutes in and no one else on the panel has said anything. How are they going to get to anyone else?

One thing he notes in his preso and what they think about – mobile and social. So, this is good – they hear the original request for “DOOH” and they’re thinking about other channels, too.

Logical flow, they’re smart about the way they think about things – goal/objective definition & research first.

Now, Mandi Dyner is up from Outcast Network. She gets right into talking about gas station networks (this is what they do but, ugh). Captive audience. Content customization. (Who in the world watches those gas station TV’s? I mean, really? What a thing to lead with.)

Didn’t hear much research here.

Now, Dan from Zoom. Introduces us to the company first. Then, he mentions Neilsen (just like all the others), how their network is measured. Recap of the RFP’s objectives, audience.

Then, their concepts – he makes sure to talk about mobile and social, pretty good emphasis on social.

They use MRI as their primary planning tool.

They focus a lot on creating custom relevant content for each venue/location “network.” They proposed a text-in donation aspect to the content. Then, they proposed showing social content, highly localized – trash-talking Tweets from sports fans and a SM aggregator.

15 minutes to go and the pitches are still going on. When/what/how are we going to hear from the agencies? Will be interesting….

Taking into account the actual pitch, the presentation, and the thinking – Zoom wins on the creative ideas/experiences and Adcentricity wins on research-approached effective solutions.

But here goes the agencies – they’re asking questions to each of the pitchers. It’s a little awkward for the audience – at least it seems that way to me – because the agencies are asking questions of specific people on the panel, they’re all sitting up at a table with each other, and they’re just talking to each other. It’s all directed to the front. Kinda shutting out the audience.

Here’s the thing – there’s a lot of talk about “mass awareness.” This is exactly what I talked about in this post – digital signage is a great mass awareness channel. But what about mass engagement?

Adcentricity got kudos from the agency panel by starting out with so much research.

Nut – interesting approach to a session. Like the idea. Think it could have been structured more effectively – like framing it up front for the audience. At the end, the agencies moved away from asking pointed questions from the networks, they just told the audience what they liked/wished they would have gotten from each of the networks. That was good.

Another nut – measurement is key. The media planners always get involved and they want measurement numbers. Be prepared.

Quote of the session – “If you don’t have compelling content, people aren’t going to look at the screens.” – Andrew Miller (Kinetic Group Americas) Will they anyway? Is there screen blindness?