May 2012 Question of the Month

June 6, 2012

"What recommendations would you make to others in order to establish a successful digital signage operations team? (Please feel free to include information such as how many staff (internal and external) you believe are necessary to manage a digital signage network and what specific roles each team member should have, etc.)"

Answers:

Margot Myers, Platt Retail Institute

Having a supportive team makes any digital signage deployment go more smoothly and efficiently.

Gary Halpin, Agency 225

As with any and all networks we have worked on and developed, each one is so unique, it's hard to put an exact figure on this.  Also, we work mainl

Lyle Bunn, Bunn Co.

Stakeholder involvement under the direction of a project leader should include the end user, project “owner”, the information technology or Chief I

Lawrence Chang, Calgary Telus Convention Centre

We have 3 internal staff managing our digital signage network – comprised of one person from IT, one person from Sales, and one person from Marketi

Adrian Weidmann, StoreStream Metrics

When I co-authored ‘Lighting Up the Aisle, Principles and Practices for In-Store Digital Media’ in 2006 (!) with Laura Davis-Taylor we dedicated an

Loren Goldfarb, Everwell, MediVista Media

Every digital signage operations team should include at least one person with very strong software and hardware experience.

Patricia Mitrano, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

Like capital building project after the grand opening, maintaining the signage project after the install falls under the operations budget, which h

Margot Myers

Director, Education & Training
Platt Retail Institute

Having a supportive team makes any digital signage deployment go more smoothly and efficiently. The goal is to put the team together at the point when the organization is first thinking about adding digital signage to its marketing or communications mix. Most people want to be asked for their input upfront while decisions have not yet been made, rather than being asked to validate decisions someone else has already made.

Who should be on the team? That will vary from organization to organization. My advice would generally be “more is better” but only up to a reasonable and manageable point. What you want to do is include a representative from each part of the organization that will be substantively impacted by the network deployment. Will you be adding significant traffic to the company WAN? Then IT should be on the team. Will you be using digital signage to communicate with employees? Then be sure to include Human Resources. Are you going to be drilling holes in walls, running cable, installing satellite dishes on the roof, or moving store fixtures? Then, Facilities should be on the team. 

Once the network is deployed, the composition of the team probably will shift. At that point, you will have different concerns.These are just some of the questions you will have to consider before launching the network:

Strategy

  • What are the key messages you will communicate via digital signage?
  • Where does digital signage fit in the marketing mix?
  • Who has primary control over the message strategy?
  • How will you measure the effectiveness of the network? What metrics matter in your organization?

Content

  • Who will produce content, develop playlists, make decisions about targeting specific messages to specific parts of the network?
  • Who is clearing new content in terms of branding, legal, etc.?

Maintenance

  • Who will perform periodic maintenance on players, screens, etc.?
  • Who is monitoring performance to make sure screens aren’t dark and media players are running?

Staffing

  • How many people will it take to keep the network functioning optimally?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Who do they report to?

Again, the answers to these questions will be different for every organization. The important thing to remember is that someone has to have primary responsibility for the network, but it is that person’s mission to make sure to include the right people on his or her team to reduce obstacles and clear the way for success.

Gary Halpin

President
Agency 225

As with any and all networks we have worked on and developed, each one is so unique, it's hard to put an exact figure on this.  Also, we work mainly on in-store networks (Point-of-Sale TV) that are designed to generate sales lift and increase branding, so that is were my perspective is coming from.  

We aim to make it as easy as possible on an end-client, handling as much as possible for them -- creative, operations, scheduling, account services, maintenance, hosting servers, etc.  And while we don't do all of this in-house (we partner with tech companies to help), to our end-user, it is a seamless operation.   Our creative team consists of Creative Director, Art Director(s), Copy Writer(s), Production Manager and Graphic Artist(s)/Editor(s).  How many of these people put time into a network really depends on the scale and scope of work of that network.  Scheduling and Operations can typically be one person (Operations Manager), although some networks do require additional help.  Same with maintenance, which we partner with a tech company on.  We also have an account executive on each network, and sometimes more, depending on the size and amount of different inputs we receive from client (see below).

As for internal staff (for end-clients), we tend to work with an assigned person from marketing, who our AE would directly coordinate with to take their goals and objectives and put it into action on the screens inside their stores.  However, we have worked with many different departments individually as well.  For instance, in addition to someone from marketing, we have worked closely with advertising, PR, training and even Human Resources (what a great place to advertise jobs than right in the store).  We do always recommend that there is one person heading it up (and making final decisions) on what goes on their network.

Lyle Bunn

Strategy Architect
Bunn Co.

Stakeholder involvement under the direction of a project leader should include the end user, project “owner”, the information technology or Chief Information Office in cases where there will be the use of corporate intranet or integration with data or other system assets. Since “content” will be a primary consideration if the benefits of digital signage are to be fully realized, organizational elements including for example marketing, human resources, patron/facility personnel, line of business managers and agencies responsible for “content” on other marketing/communications devises such as TV, cable, billboard, print, internet and mobile should be involved. Given the ability of digital signage to drive “audience of one” engagement, those involved with internet, mobile and kiosk strategy and operations will be particularly interested in the digital signage initiative from the standpoint of “transmedia” leverage. The building of the Digital Signage plan, which guides the initiative, should be guided in authorship by the Project Leader. External resources, such as a consultant or suppliers, able to provide objective guidance can also help to assure involvement by applicable business units while minimizing staff time and resources while minimizing time, risk and investment on the project.

Lawrence Chang

IT Manager
Calgary Telus Convention Centre

We have 3 internal staff managing our digital signage network – comprised of one person from IT, one person from Sales, and one person from Marketing. Our Sales and Marketing duo are responsible for the content, branding, overall look/feel, while IT is involved from the technical (hardware/software/networking) standpoint. We manage a very small network of 20 displays. When establishing this team, be clear on your objectives, and understand what you’d like to accomplish with your signage. With that clear goal in mind, you can pool the right resources to form an effective team.  

Adrian Weidmann

Founder & Principal
StoreStream Metrics

When I co-authored ‘Lighting Up the Aisle, Principles and Practices for In-Store Digital Media’ in 2006 (!) with Laura Davis-Taylor we dedicated an entire section of our book to this subject. Entitled ‘Building Teams’ this section has 10 short vignettes that address this topic. The vignettes titles will provide great insight to our guidance based upon first-hand experience. They include; ‘We like the movie Groundhog Day…but not living it’, ‘Once you know your ‘Why’, then choose your ‘Who’, ‘It takes a Village’, ‘Every village needs a strong Mayor’, ‘Weed out the commercial salesmen’, ‘Define the ‘rules of engagement’, ‘Kick out the bad apples’, ‘Build consensus…but remember the customer’, ‘Innovation doesn’t come with a manual’ and lastly, ‘It’s not too late’. This guidance is as relevant today as it was 6 years ago! Some things simply remain the same.

Loren Goldfarb

COO
MediVista Media

Every digital signage operations team should include at least one person with very strong software and hardware experience. You need this internal expertise, in part, so that you can deal intelligently with suppliers and resolve issues that go beyond basic troubleshooting. If you plan to handle customer service in house, your service lead should be someone with experience in handling support for technical products or services. I would recommend role playing as part of the interview process; test this person's ability to handle the types of customer service calls you typically receive or expect to receive.  

Patricia Mitrano

Director of Visual Communications
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

Like capital building project after the grand opening, maintaining the signage project after the install falls under the operations budget, which has many competing interests. The operations team must have a champion that follows industry developments with strong communication skills who can translate the needs into benefits that the stakeholders will support.

Add new comment