There’s a scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” when a young George Bailey talks to Sam Wainwright about a plan to get rich off the next big technology—plastics.
When I talk to many integrators about digital signage, I get the feeling that they view it as the next big thing—an obscure treasure that would be within their grasp if only they could come up with some sort of a strategy for pursuing it. Maybe it’s just me.
However, digital signage isn’t obscure. The Digital Signage Expo, held Feb. 11-13 in Las Vegas, debuted in 2004, so the market has been large enough to warrant a trade show for a decade.
There will be 22 million digital signs in the world this year, according to Intel. The global digital signage market will grow to $4.5 billion in 2016, according to ABI Research.
If you want evidence that directly affects integrators, look at Westbury National. The Toronto-based firm says digital signage has been around long enough that a good strategy for 2014 is to have conversations with customers about replacing outdated solutions with more robust ones, says systems division sales manager Brock McGinnis.
That is not a strategy for “next big thing” product category. Digital signage is now just a “big thing,” and more integrators need sophisticated strategies for selling it. As a digital signage consultant, OpenEye Global often acts as a liaison between customers and integrators.
Managing partner Bryan Meszaros says integrators often miss the point by overemphasizing the technology. “They’re not selling the purpose. A lot of them struggle to talk beyond the [bells and whistles].”
It’s time for a better digital signage game plan. George Bailey, of course, missed his opportunity to get rich on the next big thing. Don’t let a lack of a digital signage strategy allow your company to miss out.
(Editor’s note: Please disregard that this column ignores the entire point of It’s a Wonderful Life, which is that George Bailey doesn’t need financial success to be “the richest man in town.”)