The CONTENT of Dynamic Place-based Media - The Rise of the 'Content is King' Monarchy, Part VI: Critical Success Factors - The Online Magazine for the Sign Trade.
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The CONTENT of Dynamic Place-based Media - The Rise of the 'Content is King' Monarchy, Part VI: Critical Success Factors

We wrap up this series with Part VI of Content is King reviewing Critical Success Factors.

By Lyle Bunn

Critical Success Factors

Clarke Systems Architectural Signage Systems Wayfinding ADA

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  • Critical Success Factors
    Clear Communications Objectives
    The wide range of benefits that can be achieved through dynamic place-based media allows communicators and marketers to enjoy numerous points of value. In maximizing the Return on Investment (ROI) and achieving the best Return on Objectives (ROO), content production should consider the primary, secondary and tertiary objectives.

    Specific ROI can be measured through viewer response and awareness analytics. Interview and observation can be used to determine the return being realized from dynamic media on less measurable objectives. The initial creation and development, and subsequent refinement of content should continuously focus on clearly defined objectives and the way in which this achievement might be measured.

    The business and communications benefits that can be achieved by dynamic media are included in a separate paper available at titled "The "Why" of Digital Signage.

    Technology System for Content Effectiveness
    The content aspect of Digital Signage reaches across the spectrum from the simple to more complex in many characteristics. As the medium matures, and its practices related to "content" become more critical and advanced, some areas of practice are becoming increasingly important at the levels of individual content "spots," the playloop and the interface between the technology and management system. Some of these include;

    • High quality media presentations
      to assure that the visual images are as appealing and compelling as possible. This is in part achieved by using media in its richest possible, "native" form through the digital media supply chain. This maximizes the options in the type and formats of media that can be used while reducing the cost, time and degradation of media that is inherent in media reformatting and transcoding.
    • "Local" input and permission-ed control
      of a predefined area(s) of the display or the playloop can enable individual departments or display locations to schedule and present information relevant to achieving their very local goals through local communications, promotions and branding. Given the importance of "relevance" to content success, the flexibility of "local input" with higher level content control maximizes network value.
    • Ease of content (including advertising) campaign placement.
      Defining parameters such as the date, time, location and other display criteria for content playout allows media to be presented to best achieve the intended results. Minimizing steps in the process while maximizing flexibility helps assure the highest return on investment.
    • Content "layering"
      can be used to "localize" content to improve revenue achievement. Compiling and rendering media spots in multiple content "layers" is a very efficient way of managing campaigns while having graphics, text, pricing and other elements be "localized." The ability of the infrastructure to compile a content spot with real time inputs from databases such as inventory, pricing, weather, etc. provides improved achievement of content goals and can substantially reduce content related costs.
    • Ease of message targeting
      by display location, target audience demographic, time and specific circumstances through ease of use allows for cost-effective operations and maximizing the benefits that digital signage can provide as a communications instrument. Ease of message targeting as well as content scheduling can contribute significantly to system success.
    • Interface with data inputs and system integration
      with other enterprise applications and systems such as point-of-sale, inventory, security, loss prevention, traffic monitoring, etc. can optimize the value of the dynamic media system and maximize the investment in other enterprise systems.
    • Triggering of content
      based on inputs such as viewer proximity, examination of a product, anonymous viewer measurement and demographic capture can assure the most suitable media is presented to achieve the results.

    Operating Efficiencies
    Operating efficiencies are gained through a structured approach in which communications objectives are defined, followed by a definition of the "content" that will achieve these objectives, followed by the design and deployment of the technology system required to manage and present the content.

    The primary role of the technology infrastructure of a dynamic media display or network is to present the required media needed to achieve communications goals at minimal cost.

    The way in which this ecosystem of integrated technologies content management, distribution, playout, presentation and analytics handle "content" is key to the return on investment (ROI), high functionality, ease of use and lowest costs of ownership and ongoing operations that the network operator and users can enjoy. It is common that through the use of the system, the demands of content management and presentation on the technology are increased. The problems of inadequate functionality are negated by carefully planning content approaches toward suitable hardware and software selection and deployment. A similar process is used related to the upgrade of the technology infrastructure to optimize content opportunities and operations.

    Clarke Systems Architectural Signage Systems Wayfinding ADA

    The 4 to 9 year term of use that is expected from most dynamic media installations includes initial capital costs (which can often be financed and amortization), followed by ongoing operating costs.

    While technology prices have been declining and performance increasing (i.e. the declining price/performance equation), operating costs which are human resource intensive have been increasing for design, network installation, hot line support, repair, training and content and playlist administration. These trends are expected to continue.

    In the interest of minimizing operating costs related to content and maximizing the effectiveness of the media that can be presented in order to achieve business goals, the use of functionally rich, robust technology infrastructure provides best value.

    Infrastructure that impedes the use of content, requires reformatting or significant efforts to plan and manage playout deters from system success. Minimal operating costs and greater content effectiveness are realized when the technology infrastructure, including the critically important Content Management System, includes as the following key features.

    Outlook and conclusion
    "The Future Isn't What it Used to be" could aptly apply to the area of dynamic media content. Advances in standards of practice, best practice and innovations are advancing as communicators and marketers seek to gain best advantage from this very powerful medium.

    It is a testament to the power of dynamic place-based, out of home media that it has established an excellent record of communications outcome, even as the expectations of "content" performance have been relatively low. While the domain of excellent has been the exercise of moderately few content providers, and limited information has actually been published in this important area, it is clear that the monarchy where "Content is King" is moving forward.

    The expectation of Content performance should be both clear and high; creative processes should be used to develop spots, which through their standard will merit viewer attention; and lastly, content spots should seek to gain measureable outcomes.

    About the author
    Lyle Bunn was recognized with an Honorary Doctorate for "his significant contributions to education and the development of the Dynamic Place-based Media industry" by The Digital Signage Expert Group in January 2011. Lyle is one of North America's most highly regarded independent consultant, advisor, commentator and educators to end users, integrators, suppliers, operators and investors of Digital Signage, Digital Place-based and Enterprise Media.

    Lyle Bunn is broadly recognized as a leading figure in the high growth Dynamic Media industry. Lyle was the only individual named to the Digital Signage Forum's 2005 Digital Signage Top Ten List, among such corporations as Thomson, 3M, Clear Channel, Focus Media and others.

    Through his advisory and education services, he has contributed to the development of hundreds of networks in retail, consumer services, hospitality and corporate environments for consumer, patron, staff and student communications.

    His eBook titled the "Digital Signage Planning Guide," was released in its 5th edition in June 2010 and is used around the world.

    The "SPEED" Digital Signage Training Program, which was launched in late 2008, has been presented to over 2000 end users, advertising, integrator and supply professionals to accelerate projects and supply capability. In addition to private corporate programs, SPEED is provided at major industry events such as Digital Signage Expo.

    He Chairs or presents at every major North American digital signage event. He is also among the first to carry Digital Signage, Digital Out-of-home and Enterprise Media perspectives into the broadcasting, consumer electronics, audio-visual industries and Silicon Valley technology sector with presentations at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Consumer Electronics Show (CES), InfoComm and others.

    Lyle serves as Academy Faculty of InfoComm International, on the Digital Signage Expo Advisory Board Industry Consultant's Council and on the Board of Advisors of Customer Engagement Technology World (formerly KioskCom/Self Serve Expo - Digital Signage Show).

    He serves on the judging panels of the DIGI, POPAI and the NEC Best of InfoComm awards.

    Your comments on this whitepaper are welcomed at:

    For more information visit

    Read on, go to: Part 1, Part II, Part III and Part IVand Part V

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