Perhaps the biggest misconception surrounding the use of digital signage systems is that it has been simplified as a solution that can be purchased, installed, and utilized out-of-the-box. Businesses read about the benefits of implementing digital signage and believe that all it takes is a simple transaction—the purchase of hardware—to bring digital strategies to life.
But like all system integrators, A/V professionals, and IT service providers know, things are rarely that straightforward. There’s much more that goes into implementation than purchasing and installing hardware. System integrators and those looking to resell digital signage systems need to understand and present the entire ecosystem in order to adequately push digital signage as a value proposition for each client.
Your value proposition as it pertains to digital signage is where you’ll see high profit margins of 80% and more. This is what will make you stand out in a crowded marketplace. Without a compelling value proposition, your are disposable – a commodity. With a clearly defined value proposition, you are indispensable. Selling digital signage based on value means selling what you know, your expertise, your specialized skill, not selling a box. It’s about what you know, not what you’re selling.
A differentiated value proposition transcends functional product or service descriptions to express the results your clients can expect to achieve. When crafting your value proposition, consider the following:
Below we’ve included guidelines on how to create value proposition when selling digital signage:
The most basic digital signage systems include a media player, a screen with HDMI output, and content management software. While these elements are necessary to make digital signage functional, the hardware alone does nothing to support the messaging and marketing goals of each user—or produce much profit for resellers. When the adoption of technology is limited to a single purchase of equipment, the ROI is weak on both sides.
Fortunately, hardware sales aren’t the only option available to system integrators hoping to help their clients achieve their marketing goals while still turning a profit. This is where value-added services come into the picture—and where the real value of digital signage lives.
Hardware sales alone aren’t enough to drive substantial revenue for system integrators, but those who re-imagine digital signage systems as a value proposition can increase their profit margins by selling value-added services on top of basic digital signage infrastructure. Consider how IT service providers and A/V integrators can use their expertise to drive value for their clients across each stage of deployment:
– Initial project consultation: Integrators can begin by providing guidance on various deployment strategies tailored to each business user. Consider using data collection tools here to ensure that the goals of signage integration are clear and that everybody is on the same page.
– Network design: From reviewing financials to determining technical needs, building a primary digital signage network should be led by the system integrators who have the expertise to do the job correctly. This is where those performing DIY digital signage installations often stumble.
– Product selection: What are the client’s goals? Are they looking to deploy screens at strategic points-of-sale/decision to drive revenue? Do they want to implement video walls? Integrators can help end users select the type of signage that best meets their needs, as well as providing input on the network requirements and technical limitations of each setup.
– Installation: Naturally, installation is a key driver of revenue for integrators. Most clients crave a seamless installation experience and will be willing to let professionals do the job.
– Software implementation: Software coding and configuration can also be a billable service. That includes everything from basic software setup to integrating 3rd party applications such as internal databases for reporting, scheduling software for event listings, social media channels, news feeds, or local weather applications. The goal here isn’t to develop content for clients per se, but to take an active role in managing the software to support their overall messaging strategy. Offer them an easy way to embed any unique messaging applications or software tools that will help them achieve their goals. Taking on such an active, ongoing role opens up opportunities for recurring revenue.
– Infrastructure management: After deployment, integrators can offer clients ongoing network support and troubleshooting management as another way to drive revenue over time. This comprises ongoing management of the digital signage media players, the commercial-grade screens etc. Taking on this role can be as simple as being the middleman between the client and the vendor (the vendors is doing all the maintenance work), or as complex as actually working on the infrastructure. Such continued support improves the ROI of digital signage collaborations, but also fosters ongoing partnerships with clients and provides them with a guarantee that the vendor will stand behind their products.
– End stage consultations: System integrators can use their industry experience to provide guidance both before and after the project is completed. Strategies here depend on the organization, but should always include assigning a digital signage champion within the organization to act as a single point of contact for signage issues.
Through these services, the integrator/client relationship extends beyond purchasing and becomes a value-driven partnership. The communication goals of the client are easier to achieve, and a stronger ROI is produced on both sides. These types of services are an essential part of the value of digital signage systems.
Value-added services also offer an excellent way to differentiate from the competition. Selling these services proves to clients that integrators are more interested in helping them get the most value out of their projects rather than just making a sale. This makes integrators more attractive to potential businesses who want straightforward and problem-free installations.
Services also provide a method for competing against digital signage vendors who compete only on price. They might have the cheapest equipment on the market, but the value of the expertise and insight offered by quality digital signage vendors is worth more than any short-term cost savings.
Despite the benefits of these services for both provider and user, most clients still view digital signage systems as a one-time investment in hardware. But in reality, services over time is where the majority of most digital signage budgets end up going. That is also why companies who purchase digital signage from cheap vendors and perform DIY installations often fail to achieve their goals—and end up uninstalling it several years down the line. The insight of industry experts and digital integrators is a vital part of digital signage as a value proposition.
But this is the problem—clients interested in digital signage systems don’t understand the critical role that integrators play, and are hesitant to purchase additional services on top of their initial investment. That is why education is so important in supporting digital signage adoption for both integrators and the public as a whole. There needs to be a shift from viewing it as a “product” to seeing it as an ongoing collaboration between industry experts to achieve communication goals. The value of digital signage isn’t the technology itself—it’s the insight of those operating it.
Data by Grand View Research predicts that the digital signage market will more than double in value over the next decade, with more and more businesses leveraging its benefits for business growth. And of course, value-added services are a substantial portion of this increase.
Looking ahead, system integrators must begin pushing a more comprehensive approach to digital signage adoption. While end users may view it only as a one-time investment, the hardware must be complemented by high-value services if either party hopes to achieve a healthy ROI. To help users understand this, integrators must reframe how the benefits of digital signage systems are sold and start selling it as a value proposition rather than a product.
As an industry, vendors must help customers recognize that short-term cost savings are not a substitution for long-term project success—and that the best value for their investment is found by taking an ongoing approach to building their digital signage solutions.