Friday, September 4, 2009

Easy Steps to Increase Brand Awareness in Small to Midsize Businesses

In order to be successful every business must market their product or services. This can be accomplished though the use of an effective brand marketing awareness strategy. In simple terms, this is a strategy that helps businesses find the best advertising method for them. While most companies go the traditional route and advertise on television or the internet, for many small to mid size businesses these brand strategies are simply too expensive to take part in. That is why many are turning to digital signage.

What is Digital Signage?

Digital signage is a kind of electronic display that shows advertising and other information. As you might have guessed, they are not really signs but rather LCD, LED or plasma display screens that are often found in places like shopping malls, movie theaters or the grocery store. While digital signage is also found outside like normal billboards, the cost of advertising on huge outdoor screens is often too expensive for small and midsize businesses.

The primary reason that digital signage is such an effective brand marketing awareness strategy is simple: it helps businesses deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. These brand strategies have also proven to provide a superior return on investment when compared to traditional advertising.

Find your Audience

The key to any digital signage campaign is to identify your targeted audience as well as the places they frequent. This may be shopping malls, retail stores or even grocery stores. Once a company has made these determinations, they must then decide on a message. Every consumer can quote a number of their favorite slogans or jingles that they identify with a particular company, and it is this message that is essential to brand building. The message may take the form of a catchy slogan or simply a convincing argument as to why a consumer should avail himself of your services.


Though it is a relatively new marketing strategy, digital signage has proved to be one of the most effective brand strategies for small and mid size businesses. In fact, many companies who have chosen it as their primary brand building strategy have seen a substantial increase in sales that can be directly attributed to in-store messages. What this means is that shoppers that belong to their target audience saw their message, responded to it, and then decided to purchase their product. It also means that the company made sales that they would not have otherwise made without the help of digital signage. We know this because many people who watch digital signage messages admit to making unplanned purchases. That is one of the reasons why it has proven to be such an effective brand marketing awareness strategy for smaller businesses.

In conclusion, while digital signage may not turn your company into Pepsi Cola overnight, it has proven to be an effective brand building strategy for small and mid size businesses. It not only allows them to reach their target audience for a relatively modest sum, but it also gives the opportunity to speak to them while they are shopping.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Best Approach to Brand Awareness Problems

One of the challenges for any small to mid size business is how to increase brand awareness. While a thirty second spot during the Super Bowl is probably out of your price range, there are still a few inexpensive brand building strategies.

First things first-what exactly is brand awareness? As you might have already guessed from the simplicity of the term, brand awareness means making sure that the public knows who you are and what your company does.

But brand awareness is not something you can simply order over the phone or hope to receive under your Christmas tree-historically, it has taken decades and often a huge marketing budget for companies to create brand awareness. Honestly, do you think McDonald's became McDonald's simply be selling salty French fries? No, they became a worldwide phenomenon by creating a brand and an image that people have come to rely on.

So what is a new business to do?

Though television and internet advertising can be extremely expensive and difficult for any small or mid size business to afford, technology has given us other options. One of the hottest new advertising options is digital signage.

Sure, it may sound a bit strange, but digital signage has been called the brand building strategy of the future. What exactly is digital signage?

Digital signage is a brand marketing awareness strategy that consists of using electronic displays to show targeted information and advertisements. Digital signs may take the form of LCDs, LEDs or plasma displays. They are often found in public building like shopping malls, retail stores or movie theaters. They may even be found in the grocery store.

What you must know

Before you get involved in digital signage it is imperative that your company perform a good deal of product and market research. You may even want to compile a brand marketing awareness strategy that lets you know exactly what course of action you should take. If one of your brand strategies turns out to be digital signage then you will want to learn everything you can about this new marketing technique.


Even though it is an extremely new form of advertising, we do know that digital signage is both versatile and personal. It allows you to create specific messages and deliver them to your target market in the right place and at the right time. And studies show that that is one of the most effective brand strategies to help you build brand awareness and increase repeat sales.


Just like in real-estate the key to digital signage is location, location, location. You have to know who your target market is and where they will be. Once you discover this you have to know exactly what to say to them. This is the all important brand building message that should stick in people's heads like a catchy pop song. This message may take the form of a witty slogan or simply a convincing argument, but it must be brief and it must be memorable.

In the end, a good brand marketing awareness strategy must aid you in locating your target audience and telling them what you think they need to know about your product or service.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Education's Best Communication Tool; Digital Signage Systems

I have served in the education field for 18 years, nine years as a building principal. Through my 18 years in education serving on numerous building committees and district strategic planning committees, I have identified the number one problem in education; lack of communication, both internal and external.

In the classroom, I have supported teachers use of smartboards as an educational tool. Outside of the classroom, I am supporting building principals and other educational institutes use of a digital signage display to increase and improve both internal and external communication. Communication is one area in which public education schools and other education institutions are likely to face further pressure to improve their performance.

The demand placed on public education schools today is outrageous. Get the standardized scores, increase positive behaviors, teach responsibility, assess, assess, assess...It's not unlikely to read how public school education is failing, but the reality is, public school education is performing now better than ever. However, the problem is people have no clue what is going on in the schools, and how well public school education is today.

My greatest public school education concern has a potential solution and I am excited to tell you that digital signage displays is the answer. Digital Signage systems are changing the mode of communication at education institutions. They are making life easier for both faculty and students, and also saving time and money.
Get rid of the wall trash filled with those flyer's and thumbtacks and keep an eye out for a sleek, flat-panel digital screen where that bulletin board used to be.

Digital signage presents a number of significant benefits for schools. It is a way of communicating information instantly across an entire campus setting, replacing existing noticeboards with dynamic, eye catching screens that can show everything from lunch menus to pupils' work and details of after-school clubs. I have found it easy to publish digital signage content for general announcements, daily news, lunch menu, and sporting events. Digital Signage is an ideal solution for classrooms, hallways, auditoriums, gymnasiums, libraries, assembly halls or anywhere educators rely on audio and/or visual systems to convey a message.

As a result of my never ending schedule and the simplicity of my digital signage system, I am able to assign volunteer parents with no special computer skills to maintain my information displayed on my digital signage system. What this means is that existing content can be scheduled and displayed immediately, without any delay.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Does Digital Signage Belittle the Consumer?

Silently targeting your Audience is a phrase that I have read over and over when researching the advantages of Digital Signage. Increase repeat buyers by 32% is a statistic that I have promoted. I have also mentioned how digital signage provides you with the best tool to, “narrowcast” to your researched targeted audience by placing your signage players in a researched targeted place that your researched targeted groups frequently visit.

Do we really want our consumers to act like sheep? Are we using are researched marketing strategies to belittle our consumers?

Do college campuses belittle their teenage students to make a quick buck by using digital signage as a medium to take their pocket change? Do their opinions matter or are we trying to brainwash them with brand awareness and niche products?

If you are only using your digital signage player to make a quick buck, you are cheating your business, school, and the consumers. Remember your researched targeted audiences are; powerful, creative, educated people, not sheep, and deserve to be treated with respect. Marketer's must realize the power of Digital Signage and also understand the power of respect and trust consumers and students deserve.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Digital Signage Advantages for Small Business

My blogging goal today is to share with you the many advantages associated with running a Digital Signage Display in your small business. By the end of the blog, I hope that you are envisioning your own business success and how you might utilize a Digital Signage display to improve upon your business success.

There are many names associated with Digital Signage; Digital Signage Networks, Out Of Home (OOH) Networks, Place-Based Advertising Networks, In-Store Networks, Narrowcasting Networks, Community Networks, Facility Networks, or just "TV-like" Networks -- Regardless of what they are called there is one thing most everyone agrees upon: Digital Signage provides an extremely effective and efficient method of communication and has a huge impact on individual behavior.

Many recent industry reports have been published with similar results. Here are a few highlights from recently published reports:

300% sales increases when aided by a promotion(1)

29% of shoppers made an unplanned purchase based on what they saw on screens(1)

68% of shoppers said in-store messages help their purchase decisions(2)

44% of consumers said they would switch a product they previously intended to purchase(2)

40% of consumers said they took note or watched the entire ad (2)

Sources: (1) 2006, Nielsen Media Research; digital signage does influence consumer behavior, (2) 2006, Research by Arbitron & Scarsborough; Digital Sigange and consumers.

If you have any questions on how Digital Signage can improve your small business, send me your name and email addess at the bottom of the page and I will return your question within 24 hours.

In addition to questions, I would like to hear testimonials on how Digital Signage has improved your small to mid size business.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How to Increase Brand Awareness in Your Small to Mid Size Business

Pepsi has it! Nike has it! McDonalds has it! Polo has it! If you guessed a huge Marketing Budget, you are right. But that was not the question. The question was how can you immediately recognize the existence of each company's product or service? They have created there brand awareness, now it’s your turn small business owners.

What Does Brand Awareness Mean? Wikipedia defines brand awareness as a marketing concept that refers to a consumer knowing of a brand's existence. Think about it, immediately upon identify the Nike swoosh, you think of sporting goods. Creating brand awareness or brand recognition is one of the key steps in promoting a product and then keeping the customer for repeat sales.

Increase Your Brand Awareness
What if I tell you that I can increase your brand awareness by at least 47% with the purchase of a single product. In addition, generate a minimum of over 32% growth in repeat buyers by purchasing the same product. The product is a simple to use, inexpensive, web faced device called Digital Signage Display.

Based on your product research and sale cycle information, the digital signage display allows you to customize specific target messages at the right time, and just as important, the right place, to your specific target market.

How does Digital Signage Increase Brand Awareness
Do you know your target market? Do you know your competitive advantage? By displaying the right message at the right time, you are silently increasing your Brand Awareness of the product you wish to market. By exposing your targeted market to customized and consistent messaging, think Nike, your customers are intrinsically developing a recall and identification with your targeted product. The up-sell is huge to small business. Once your targeted customer identifies with a particular brand, the purchase decision is made, in your favor.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How To Effectively Promote Your Small to Mid Size Business

One of the issues that many small to mid size business owners have is their ability to promote their business. Most business owners understand the importance of:

However, most business owners don't have a true understanding of how to effectively promote their market or have an extensive marketing budget to help promote their business and the products or services that their business can provide.

The answer is much easier than you might have anticipated. The first rule to quality promotion is to understand the concept that good promotional activities are those that give knowledge, appreciation, and recognition to your clients as well as help to increase your business visibility.

Recently, The University of Indiana, in Bloomington, Ind. installed Digital Signage throughout their main campus to promote their school mission statement, promote and recognize student efforts, and increase their student's exposure to programs and services. "Digital media is not only modern and eye-catching to students, but it's less of a hassle than printed materials," said Aaron Sudduth, senior system administrator of IU's Auxiliary IT Services. "It's evident that the marketing departments have been able to reduce the cost of printing, and the real return has been on getting information to students and staff much faster."

The University of Indiana in Bloomington, as well as Ashland University in Ohio and other school agencies around the globe have figured out how to promote their business in addition to reducing marketing cost, increasing communication, and furthering their commitment to their students.

The one component not mentioned in the above paragraph is how businesses are using Digital signage to promote their business messages at researched best times. By delivering the right message at the right time, small to mid size businesses are to turn prospective customers and good customers into even better-spending customers. Digital Signage is a promotional monster that has proven it's worthiness by its ability to up sell, cross-sell, and effectively engage and influence customers. Businesses who are utilizing this digital display device have quickly learned how to promote their business using this silent salesperson , thus reducing their marketing budget and the costs associated with hiring expensive marketing agencies.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Marketing Mechanics. How to Reduce Your "Out of Control" Marketing Budget To Maximize Success.

As I stated in Marketing Mechanics tip #1, Once you have an idea on who you are marketing, you are now able to put a sensible Marketing Plan in place. Again, when it comes to your customers, please keep in mind the importance of a controlled target market. It is a no brainer that small business marketing and large business marketing are different. The majority of small business owners have little to no marketing budget. This doesn’t mean that you can’t niche market with the bigger companies; it just means you have to think a little more creatively. As a result of your niche market, you might gain by their huge marketing budget and zest to market all of their products.

To increase control of your marketing budget and maximize your business success, apply these two easy to implement concepts;

Where’s the Beef! Make a list of all your expenses and check out areas where you could cut down and save money without sacrificing performance. Don’t work harder, or spend more, work smarter. Combine expenses as your business data results recommend. This can be done on a simple, self created spreadsheet or purchase an inexpensive software program. This will help you keep track of your expenses and allocate funds to meet them. The most important piece of tracking expenses is not the present, but the past. What did you budget from day to day, week to week, month to month? Are you on budget? Are you making decisions based on your measurable data? If not, you are guessing. Use your data to drive your decisions!

Memo to Customers, You’re Fired! The reason this is important is that only a small fraction of the population is likely to purchase any of your products or services. As you track your expenses, examine all of your accounts. There might be clients who are high maintenance using up your time and resources with little or zero profit. Focus on your customers that appreciate your business and are profitable. By taking the time to pitch your sales and marketing efforts to the correct niche market you will be more productive and not waste your efforts, money or time.

Marketing a small business doesn't have to be financially devastating. A little creativity and analysis of data will go a long way toward maximizing and increasing your business success.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Marketing Mechanics. What Is Your Competitive Advantage?

In my profession, I commonly use the quote, "With Knowledge Comes Understanding, With Understanding Comes Commitment!" This quote can be used for almost any line of business and daily activity.

Does everyone really know what your business has to offer? What is your competitive advantage and how will you make the market understand the unique value your small business has to offer?

Does your business provide faster results, easier procedures, personal attention or a better guarantee? How do I know? Give me knowledge! What share of the market do you expect to command, and why? What is the difference between your company's abilities and those of your competitors - why customers should do business with you rather than your competition.

Identify why prospects should do business with you instead of with a competitor selling a similar product or service. Ask yourself, "What does my company do best?" Or better yet, what can my company potentially do better than any other company? That is your competitive advantage.

With understanding comes commitment! Your competitive advantage can be responsible for fifty percent or more of your sales. Make sure you have one - and don't lose it. Keep checking on your competition and make any changes necessary to keep your competitive advantage.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Marketing Mechanics. Who are you Marketing?

RETHINK your marketing strategies! Does your business have a Marketing Plan? Do you have a Marketing budget? Are you over budget?

Rethinking from Marketing "Reaction" to "RETHINK" is easy and can be done with a paper and pencil.

Lets RETHINK are marketing plan. Who are you trying to reach? Write down the detailed characteristics of your ideal prospect. Be very specific. Once you clearly define the characteristics of your ideal prospect, you are able to then develop a powerful sales message appealing directly to their unique interests and needs. Prospective customers are more likely to respond when they feel you are talking directly to them about their individual needs.

There are endless examples of a small inexpensive advertising. Learn how to cost-effectively advertise and promote your business through such tried-and-true methods as direct mail, ads in local newspapers, Web sites, blogs, Digital Signage Displays, even by sponsoring a local little league team or recreation league team. The number of advertising and promotional ideas that exist are only limited by your own creativity.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Marketing Mechanics. Are you sabotaging your own marketing efforts?

Business entrepreneurs pay a lot of attention to the mechanics of marketing. They take workshops, read books, and hire consultants to find out the best ways to market their business. As a result of their education and previous marketing experiences, entrepreneurs marketing techniques are quite good. What I have noticed is that a lot of business owners lack the right kind of marketing attitude.

Are you sabotaging your own marketing efforts?

Here are The Eight Areas of the Power of Productive Marketing CHOICES!

1. Rethinking from Marketing "Reaction" to RETHINK
2. Rethinking from Marketing "Problems" to OPPORTUNITIES
3. Rethinking from Marketing "Out of Control" to CONTROL
4. Rethinking from Marketing "No Choice" to CHOICE
5. Rethinking from Marketing "Controlling" to RELATIONSHIP
6. Rethinking from Marketing "Wants" to NEEDS
7. Rethinking from Marketing "External" to INTERNAL
8. Rethinking from Marketing "Outcome" to PROCESS

Do you have any Marketing Choices that you would like to add to my list? Just post me a comment and I will add it to my Power of 8.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Digital Signage Reduces Customer Wait Time

It can be less expensive to lower the perceived wait time than to actually decrease wait times.

Nobody likes to wait. Reduction in wait time can lead to improvements in many types of services. Ideas for change that can reduce the time that customers have to wait are especially useful. This applies not only to the time to perform a service for the customer, but also to the time it takes the customer to use or maintain a product.

If you have customers that wait prior to being serviced you're a prime candidate for a Digital Signage. Due to increased advances in the the Digital Signage software, displays are easy to operate and include all the tools required to make your customers wait more pleasant.

In a banking industry study it was found that customers waiting for a teller perceived a wait time decrease of 17% when a digital signage display was running. How much of a perceived wait time decrease could your business use?

Improve your customer satisfaction with a Digital Signage System!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Use A Digital Signage Display TO Get Rid Of The Wall Trash To Increase Profits

The Power of Digital Signage and digital displays. I have been a regular visitor to the gym for the last 20 years. In my 20 years, I have seen gyms grow and prosper and I have seen gyms close. What separates the good ones from the bad ones? Well, I'm writing to tell you that it's not the power of the weights, it's the facilities, the communication, and finally the advertisement.

The gym I belong to is fabulous. It has a large workout room, with separate accommodations for exercise and cycling. It has a daycare built in. It also has a great changing facilities that meets everyone need. With all of these great features, there was still one item missing. Missing customers! No one knew how great the gym was because not everyone knew what the gym offered.

The power of digital signage changed all of that! With overall sales lagging, and a reduction of exercise programs forthcoming, the owners knew they needed a change, but wasn't sure what that change was.

After one presentation, they found their answer, Digital Signage. They concluded at the end of the meeting, that our existing customer were not aware of all of the programs that they had to offer. They were selling their own business short. With the implementation of a Digital Signage display, more stay at home moms were able to attend the gym because they discovered the convenience of the day care program. Personal Trainers income and clients increased because customers now knew how to reach them and more importantly, what they had to offer. Repeat customers were signing up, because they now knew of the specials that were being offered. And finally, as a result of digital advertising, the gym equipment became better, because their sale of supplemental products and gym related attire or clothing line increased, thus creating an income that wasn't there before, all as a result of increasing communication and improving advertising.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Digital Signage Simplicity

In my last blog, I mentioned my reservation in buying a Digital Signage Display compared to just running a power point. In doing the price comparison research, it became obvious that purchasing the Digital Signage Software would be the best and most profitable solution.

As a building principal, I use the computer to track data, create power points, write newsletters, and update the school web page, but I have no idea how to write software, nor do I consider myself a "Geek Squad" wannabe. Do I need to involve or hire a technology guru to make updates or to run my Digital Signage displays?

The answer was simple, "NO!"

Thanks to evolving delivery technology, the Digital Signage system was just as easy to maneuver as anything else that I was already doing. The Simple-to-use web interface gave me the control of the schedule of my screen. I was able to readily create slides and insert pictures. The Digital Signage software make it simple to add, remove and edit content, and stream real-time broadcasting for immediate content delivery. It was like the creators of the digital signage software were in my head designing the programs for its simplicity for people like me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One Question About Digital Signage Software Before I Make The Purchase

I am so intrigued and excited by the potential this digital player called Digital Signage has in my field of education. However I am a very conservative person by nature so my first question before purchasing the Digital Signage Software was, "Why not just run an internal Power Point or DVD, it's appears to be a lot cheaper than buying the Digital Signage Software required?"

My question about Digital Signage Software was answered and then some:

1) It may appear cheaper on the surface, but by the time you pay someone to time all
those slides in and out and then pay for a computer that is going to be used strictly
for the slides, you will be losing money.

2) In most cases the Power Point and monitor need to be shut down in order to make a
change. Not so with the Digital Signage software.

3) Power Points look like, well..Power Points. Images are often s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d or
distorted and people generally tune out much faster seeing the, "Same Slide."

4) You don't get Accuweather Information slides to keep the content engaging.
(By the way,I have learned that content is the most important feature in Digital

5) With Power Point, you don't have the moving backgrounds that get the attention of
your featured audience, as the Digital Signage Software is designed to keep the
attention of your audience.

One Question down...a few more to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Digital Signage Advertising

In my last post, I mentioned how Digital Signage surrounds us in our everyday lives without us even knowing it. I mentioned the baseball game that I attended a few nights ago, and the number of digital displays that were being broadcast throughout the stadium. What I didn't mention was the Digital Signing Advertising that was taken place. The next time you are at a ballgame, or the mall, maybe even the dentist office, look around at all of the methods of advertisement that exist. From magazines to posters to card board figures, advertising is everywhere.

I had to laugh when I thought of how much free advertisement was being broadcast throughout the ballpark on the Digital Signage displays. Whenever the Digital Displays on the scoreboard captured individuals or groups of people dancing or having fun, whatever they were wearing or the slogans on their clothing was advertised...FOR FREE. Think about all of the Nike wear or Major League Baseball shirts or hats that were being advertised for the whopping cost of $0. Now that's a bargain!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Digital Signage At The Ballpark

One of my favorite summertime activities is attending a Cleveland Indians baseball game at Progressive Field. There I have a few hot dogs, some peanuts, a couple cold drinks, and teach my daughter the game of baseball.

Last night at the game, sadly another Tribe loss, something else came to my attention, "Digital Signage" is everywhere. Whether people know what this new medium is called or even understand the intricacies involved in its power, people are seeing the by-product of digital signage in their everyday lives. Everywhere I looked, there was Digital Signage. The Jumbotron on the huge scoreboard had players up-to-date stats, their hobbies, and other interesting personal facts. Trivia questions from the 1980's were being thrown at us between every inning, small children and even adults were shown dancing to stadium played music as they saw their faces on the large screen...even the Quicken Loans Arena across the street was using a huge Outdoor Digital Sign to promote upcoming concerts, including my daughters favorites, The Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.

How To Increase Profit Using Digital Signage

Everyone, including me in the education field is looking for ways to generate new monies, fund projects, make improvements, improve sales, and increase stakeholder satisfaction.

The effectiveness of Digital Signage has helped spur tremendous growth in many sectors, especially in the area of increasing profits. A recent study conducted by InfoTrends, found the following statistics with regards to Digital Signage Displays:
  • Effectiveness on brand awareness: +47.7%

  • Increase of the average purchase amount: +29.5%

  • Upswing in overall sales volumes: +31.8%

  • Growth in repeat buyers: +32.8%
  • Increase in-store traffic: +32.8%

The data demonstrates how effective Digital Signage can be in increasing profits, but what it doesn't measure is the increase in customer loyalty and the ability to up-sell and cross-sell existing customers.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Digital Signage Market

The Digital Signage Market is exploding!

The digital signage market is exploding and will more than double in size over the next few years, according to a new report from ABI Research.

With a current market of over $800 million dollars, digital signage has proven its effectiveness as a marketing channel. It is also one of the fastest growing marketing channels, with a projected market for digital signage worth $3.5 billion by year 2011. According to a recent study published by ABI ResearchTotal, revenue from the digital signage market in the United States – including hardware, software, installation, and maintenance — is expected to grow by about 33% in 2009.

A recent report on digital signage sales shows that signage advertisers are selling anywhere from one display per site to as many as 50 displays per site. The also reported an average sale of four digital displays per site.

China has taken full advantage of the opportunities that the marketing channel Digital Signage presents. They currently lead the world in the number of digital signage displays displayed.

As a result of the economic slowdown in the United States and other markets that impact retailer and advertising spending on new initiatives will look different over the next 12-24 months. As a result of the Digital Signage explosive potential, retailers and advertisers are using this marketing channel to reach the consumer in ways never seen and used before.