Installing digital signage solutions is not enough. In fact, you shouldn’t call it a “solution” unless you’re also selling digital signage content.
Distributor Almo Professional A/V has put its money where its mouth is when it comes to talking about how important it is for its dealers to offer customers content solutions in conjunction with digital signage hardware. It does so without ignoring that fact that content creation isn’t up most integration firms’ alley.
That’s why it launched Almo Content a while back, a content creation service that integration firms can lean on to seamlessly provide solutions for their own customers.
Jay Saret, Almo Pro A/V business development manager, is teaching “How to Profitably Sell Digital Signage Content” during Digital Signage Expo 2017. Spoiler alert: The secret is that you have to sell content, too.
State of Integrators’ Digital Signage Business
Just prior to DSE 2017 I talked to Almo Pro A/V Sam Taylor, executive VP, and Melody Craigmyle, VP of marketing, about the state of digital signage and why content is a unique (but necessary) challenge:
How would you characterize how Almo dealers’ digital signage business is going?
Taylor: The digital science business is stronger than ever. It continues to grow double digits year over year.
The content creation hasn’t been as great — being honest I don’t think it’s been adopted as well as it should have been. We do, however, have a lot of our integrators that are doing it now.
A lot of our integrators are still going out and installing the displays, the signal distribution, transmission, doing a whole job but just walking away from the content piece. -Sam Taylor, Almo Pro A/V
We have a booth at DSE that is dedicated just to our content. I think it’s an area that’s growing, but it’s an area that’s underutilized by our integrators. A lot of our integrators are still going out and installing the displays, the signal distribution, transmission, doing a whole job but just walking away from the content piece.
There are still a lot of people that are just leaving that up for the end user to figure out or somebody else. They’re not taking advantage of that.
Content creation has been a pet issue for CI. We argue that integrators are not just leaving money on the table by giving in to not offering content but they’re also pointing customers toward an alternative provider who does.
Taylor: I agree. I mean there are some. We’ve had some really big projects. We have some guys who get it. It’s almost like the connect services. There’s a subset of the pro AV that see the future and they’ve got that.
You and I have talked about this before. The guy that doesn’t provide the content, first of all, is leaving himself open to a competitor because the person that the end user ends up selecting for the content may be a hardware provider as well.
Three years from now when they go to renew or do a technology refresh I’m going to go with the guy who’s been working with them every month and every quarter to provide the content for their displays.
Not only are they missing the recurring revenue, they’re missing an opportunity to build a strong partnership with their end user and stay the trusted business advisor.
The problem, of course, is that it’s a different type of creativity that’s required for content creation, a different skill set. Right?
Taylor: Exactly. We make it easy for the folks [with Almo Content]. Again, really all they have to do is ask who’s providing the content.
In a lot of cases maybe the end user is going to use their ad agency which they’re going to overpay for. They’re going to use the CEO’s nephew which they’re not going to get a very good experience for that.
If they don’t have a place for content then we take care of it for the dealer. We work in partnership with a dealer. A dealer can sell it as their own content. We work in partnership with them with the end user to create a content creation strategy for them.
So digital signage content creation is a central focus for you at DSE 2017, right?
Craigmyle: That’s all we’re doing there. Our group is nothing but about content. We’re in the content pavilion. Jay [Saret] is going to be speaking about profitable content creation for integrators. We’re basically just driving home the message that we can do this.
Again it’s very simple. We’ve got several different types of offerings, everything from total custom to touch to mini-board templates that basically you could hook up with a tablet and update menu items on the fly. I mean it makes it so easy for them to be able to do it.
That’s really going to be our message. Bring us into the deal. Ask what they’re doing for content and let’s start the dialog.