10 September 2013

Digital Out Of Home Media is All About Engagement

This past week the Digital Screenmedia Association held a symposium which captured the big trends in -- well, a kind of media that goes by several names.  Digital Out Of Home, or DOOH.  Digital Place-based Media.  Digital POP.  If there’s no consensus on what to call it, you know it’s a dynamic part of the media universe.  Watch this space!  (Literally and figuratively.)

What is Digital Out of Home?

Just to give it a little more definition, DOOH includes electronic billboards, stadiums, in-store video, and place-based networks reaching into doctors’ offices, gas station pumps, public transit, ATM machines, bars, malls and many other nooks and crannies of daily life.  Penetration is especially high in Europe and some Asian cities, and increasing in North America.

Now THIS is consumer engagement!
These screens are popping up everywhere because the technology behind them is getting cheaper to build and install.  Moreover, people are on the move so much that marketers are looking for new ways to engage them.  Still, there’s a sense that marketers under-utilize digital out of home.

That may change when some of the following trends start to materialize.

Engagement is the future of digital screens

Throughout the two days, engagement was a constant theme.  Technology permits not only a million screens, but ways for consumers to use those screens to get more information, get entertained or get some useful information.  Many of you know about R/GA’s interactive billboards for Nike.  In the future it might look like this scene from Minority Report, which Tom Fishburne delightfully sent up with one of his cartoons.  We’ll know the technology jumped the shark when Jaws 19 comes out.

Mobile is the tool

Here and now, Mobile will propel consumer engagement with DOOH.  It’s been clear to me for some time that Mobile isn’t a way for brands to reach consumers, it’s a way for consumers to reach brandsIf they think you'll help them shop, save, win, laugh or learn, you’re in.  DOOH gives brands another opportunity to earn consumers’ invitations to their mobile devices. 

DOOH Engagement:  What’s Next?

QR codes are teaching the behavior of holding up your phone to a scannable image, but there are new, easier ways for the consumer to invite you in.  What’s next?

In Chicago, elevate Digital is deploying truly interactive displays in and around the Loop that encourage participation via social media, connecting with consumers via their own experiences.  In New York, Perch Interactive designs point-of-purchase displays that encourage interaction with a product -- and deliver information about it in the ten seconds that a shopper handles it.  Numerous companies, like Ocutag, GroundCntrl and ShopOne, are developing new ways for CPG marketers to connect with shoppers in the grocery and mass retail channels.

In-store is Out-of-Home

DOOH also happens in the retail environment.  Jennifer Nye, retail channel manager for Kohler, pointed out that “the store isn’t dead; it’s where customer loyalty can be built.”  To be sure, she added, “It’s not just a matter of putting up screens.”  There must be a strategy.  

Lindsay Wadelton, the Flagship Customer Experience Manager at AT&T’s new store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, described a store where they don’t dramatize the product, but the experiences the product delivers.  Digital, interactive signage makes it possible.

Hello, Mr. Yakamoto, welcome back to The Gap

We may be a long way from Minority Report, but DOOH is showing us the way there.  Especially in an era of consumer privacy concerns and enhanced government snooping, the key for marketers will be to earn consumers' invitations into their lives.

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