Digital Signage Basics: Objectives, Budgets & ROI

By Frank Kenna

While we are working on the development of our third generation of digital signage (DS) and workplace communications products, I often get reminded that many – maybe most? – companies are just considering their first foray into digital communications.  With that in mind, here is a review of some basic concepts.

Most managers start thinking about digital communications as they are literally surrounded by whiteboards with company stats written on them, Excel spreadsheets taped on the break room walls and envelopes for the monthly company newsletter about to be mailed out.  They think, “There’s got to be a better way,” and they’re right.  And all that ‘stuff’ is the right place to start, i.e., content.

Although hardware often takes center stage when companies are considering a DS implementation, it’s wise to remember what’s driving the project, that is, the need to quickly and efficiently communicate all the content that currently exists as spreadsheets, videos, documents and other data.

Starting with a list of communication objectives is the first step.  This can be defined by looking at those already-existing docs.  For example, if the break room wall is covered in outdated production-reporting spreadsheets, then an obvious company objective is to get fresh production information in front of employees so that they can improve performance.  So one objective would be getting the spreadsheets metrics in front of all employees in a fast and frictionless way.

Another example.  The company bulletin board has a bunch of memos tacked to it from customers praising certain employees.  The problem is some are from six months ago.  So another objective would be to easily get customer feedback in front of employees, and be able to schedule it stay up for one week and then automatically disappear.

Last example.  The company CEO puts out a quarterly video, distributed by email, that all employees are supposed to view.  The problem is that the emails have a 20% open rate – at best.  The objective here would be to make sure the DS system can distribute and smoothly run the quarterly videos.

These are three typical examples that we find our customers want.  You may have many more, but the point is to go through your communication pain points and develop a list of corresponding DS objectives.

The last step is to monetize those objectives.  To do that, take each objective and determine how much better you could address the issue in the next 12 months, and what that would mean to your bottom line.  For the first example above, how much more profit would your company make if all your production employees could see real-time reports, 24/7, on production performance?  Would productivity increase?  How much?  Do this calculation with each objective, and you’ll start to see how much financial leverage you can get from a DS investment; it’s usually pretty impressive, sometimes hard to believe.  And in the process you’ll also develop a defendable budget.

Good luck – and if you’re in the planning stages of sourcing workplace DS be sure to check us out.  Our nationwide representative network means we have someone near you, ready to help with the above steps.

Frank Kenna III
August 20, 2013

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