Digital Advertising Captures Customer Data With New Interactive Technology by toriola1

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Digital Advertising Captures Customer Data With New Interactive Technology By Bruce Orr

With giant retailers like WalMart and others investing heavily in point of purchase digital advertising, we can safely say that digital signs have really arrived as a merchandising and product promotion tool. The strengths of digital advertising are well known. One of the commonly cited weaknesses is the lack of any effective means to measure not only the traffic walking by a digital sign, but also a customer’s response and level of engagement with the sign. As interactive digital advertising begins to supplant traditional digital signs, new opportunities are emerging for measuring audience volume and response. Gauging Customer Response People of a certain age will likely remember being stopped in a shopping mall by someone with a clipboard looking for participants in a survey about shopping habits. If you recall these moments, you likely also remember being somewhat annoyed or brushing the person off with a polite “too busy” as you pointed to your watch. Retailers knew then, as they know now, that intruding on shoppers in this way detracts from their shopping experience and can build resentment over the long term. In lieu of live questioning, some retailers now ask shoppers to participate in online surveys, with links usually provided at the bottom of store receipts. Shoppers are enticed with chances to win gift cards or other prizes. The downfall there, of course, is participation. Just like the clipboard-toting mall surveyor, online surveys are easy for shoppers to ignore. Into this environment comes digital advertising. Before the addition of interactivity, evidence of the impact digital signs had on shopper behavior was pretty much anecdotal – a certain video loop played at a certain time and, coincidentally or not, sales for the advertised item went up. Interactive or hybrid digital signs, on the other hand, are tailor-made for tracking customer data. They can tell retailers whether or not customers are responding to the signs and, if they are, what triggered their response.

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How Digital Advertising Tracks Customer Behavior To demonstrate how digital advertising systems can track customer data, let’s look at three methods of interactivity: • Indirect interaction. This interaction is not initiated by the customer. It usually involves some kind of motion sensor that triggers content to change when a customer stops near the sign and, in theory, takes a closer look. The digital advertising system can capture data about what was playing when the customer stopped so the retailer knows what kind of content is most effective. • Touch screen. This interaction is initiated by the customer and, as such, is more powerful as a research tool. The customer is attracted to a digital sign and given options to touch the screen for sales and promotional information, to print a coupon, to check product availability and so on. The software that runs the digital advertising system can track what was playing when the customer touched the screen and which selections the customer made to see which options engaged the customer most. Tracking time of day against this data paints a picture of what kind of shoppers are in the store at various day parts, so advertising can be better targeted to them. • Next generation. This option involves the use of cell phones and PDAs. Cell phones are part of the so-called “next gen” in digital advertising. A call to action is displayed on the signs, prompting viewers to text in to receive a coupon or enter a contest. As described in a 2006 article on the Media in Canada Website, this method is akin to tracking the click-through rate on a Website ad because it tells the retailer exactly how many responses there were for each call to action. With interactive technologies capturing the kind of data that advertisers and marketers want to see, digital advertising – already gaining popularity as a marketing tool - is poised to become an even stronger presence in today’s retail landscape. For more information on Digital Advertising and Digital Merchandising Products visit http://www.ek3.com/digital-merchandising-products.htm

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3 Tips For Making Digital Signage More Effective By Ryan J Bell

A chief concern among businesses which are considering the use of digital signage is that such a network will be ineffective. Indeed, much of what we're witnessing in the industry suggests that many businesses don't understand the potency of the technology nor how to harness it. This is likely due to digital signage being a new and innovative technology. Though many advertisers are experiencing success, standards of usage haven't been firmly established. For example, newspaper or television advertising follows proven models of successful. The strategies that are deployed in those media are based upon what has proven effective in the past. Digital signage is new and therefore lacks a benchmark approach. That being said, traditional advertising yields helpful clues regarding what works. Why The Customer Matters As advertising has evolved, so too has the consumer's receptivity to marketing. No longer is the typical consumer content to be bombarded with a litany of marketing messages. Today, they focus on what is relevant to them and quickly discard - or ignore - the rest. Whether you're deploying a digital signage network in a movie theater, casino, shopping mall, or a small chain of kiosks, the messages you broadcast across the system must address the concerns of the customer in a compelling manner. The experience must be engaging for the customer. Below, you'll find 3 tips for making your digital signage efforts more effective by focusing on the customer. Tip #1: Encourage Participation It's easy said than done. But, it is possible to create a broadcast that encourages your audience to interact with your message. This can be as simple as leading them through a tree of choices. Or, you can design a complex series of messages that builds your audience's expectations about your products while allowing them to creatively select their own path through your inventory. There are many ways to encourage participation. You need to identify your customer's concerns and then engage them. Tip #2: Use The Data The digital signage networks that are available today can yield valuable data regarding customer choices. This is one of the reasons why encouraging their participation is critical. When customers interact with your displays and proactively make selections, they do so based upon their interests and the effectiveness of your message and presentation. By reviewing customers' choices, you can identify parts of your message that are ineffective. That provides the opportunity to modify or eliminate them. Tip #3: Make The Experience Personal Whether the experience that a customer has while interacting with a digital screen will be positive or negative is largely dependent upon how personal that experience is. For example, assume that a customer is looking through an inventory of shoes. Each selection will further identify that customer's concerns. This can provide a framework around which you can tailor your message to address specific

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concerns based upon gender, age, vocation and other factors. Each selection builds upon the element of personalization. And the more personal your digital signage broadcast is, the more engaged the customer will feel. Making Digital Signage Effective Most fundamental principles of marketing address an audience's interests, concerns and passions. Digital signage is no different. To leverage its effectiveness, you need to engage your customers with messages that are compelling to them. By reviewing the data that your network yields, you can create an experience for your customer that feels personal and encourages them to interact. Four Winds Interactive is a leading provider of digital signage networks and software, check us out online at http://www.fourwindsinteractive.com

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