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Archive for March, 2011

There’s an excellent blog post at GigaOm about Enchantment and Utility.

Some products/services focus on utility, others focus on wow – but the combination is where a business can maximize its value. This is why many great clubs come and go (they enchant for a while but don’t offer a sustainable utility for their members. MySpace anyone?)

So maybe we can state:

Sustainability = Enchantment + Utility

This could be a rally cry for everyone in the digital signage value chain.

In other words, “Content Is King” is only one side of the equation – the Enchantment side. Focusing only on Content does not deliver a sustainable business. Connectivity (to other screens and audiences via mobile and social networks) is arguably the other side of the equation. (Perhaps where Content Is King, Connectivity is the Kingdom?) But as before, focusing only on connectivity is not enough to sustain a business.

Digital signage MUST provide Enchantment AND Utility. i.e.

Content + Connectivity = Sustainability.


I keep seeing DOOH articles that refer to Mobile and Social as if they are interchangeable. There are good reasons why Apple isn’t Facebook and visa-versa.

Mobile is often a great communications channel for a social layer, but it is not the only one, and frequently not the best one.

When talking about “mobile” companies servicing the DOOH market – e.g. they specialize in mobile marketing, smart phone apps, blue tooth proximity marketing, mobile games etc., it is not a given that they can also deliver or address requirements for social engagement.

A social layer for DOOH that requires the distribution and curation of multiple real-time (or otherwise) social streams to hyper localized screens is not something that mobile marketing platforms have been designed to address.

This is particularly true at scale, where the tools to direct real-time social media to hundreds or thousands of screens, each with it’s own rules, filters, cms systems etc require an enterprise-grade robust solution that better be the focus of the company providing it.

Likewise, a mobile marketing platform will include features that might be over-kill for a DOOH application.

The DOOH market has its own unique challenges, and it is therefore even more critically important that DOOH practitioners understand the very different capabilities of mobile and social platforms and the DNA of companies offering either.

As always, you need the right tools for the right job.


Roll up, roll up, roll up.

Do you have a lifeless DOOH network?

Worry not! Doctor DOOH’s Amazing Interactive Elixir will fix it.

Dull, boring content?

No more! With Doctor DOOH’s Amazing Interactive Elixir, it will come alive instantly.

No revenue, No customers, No sex appeal?

History! With Doctor DOOH’s Amazing Interactive Elixir, all your DOOH problems are over.

If there are any people out there who believe there’s one bottle of DOOH medicine that can cure all their ills, they probably deserve the consequences of their naïvety.

When any technology is sold that way (or allowed to be bought that way), the result will often be that it’s no better than snake oil.

That obviously impacts all honest practitioners and can hold an entire market back.

In terms of interactivity, I’m constantly asked about such-and-such’s technology as if all mobile, social or interactive applications are interchangeable.

But there isn’t one flavor of interactivity that’s a cure all.

Some “Interactive” applications are not even interactive! Some can be lean back with the interactivity occurring via social networks, phones or other DOOH screens.

Sellers of interactive solutions need to be clear about the use cases their solutions address as well as the ones they don’t.

If a solution addresses customer engagement by connecting phones to screens (e.g. text-to-screen applications, smart phone remote controllers, etc) – clarify that such a solution will not work for networks or venues with short dwell times and/or short content slots and loops. A network with a short dwell time (e.g. a gas pump network) might only have content slots of 15 seconds and that’s not enough time for interaction at the DOOH screen. BUT that screen can have a PASSIVE place-based social media application where the interactivity (e.g. via Twitter, or a poll, or Foursquare) can happen on other channels and the RESULTS can then be displayed on the DOOH screen.

If an interactive solution requires a specific smart phone application, explain that the results will be dependent on the audience having the right handset to download the app together with enough time to respond to the call to action and be motivated to do so. That might not be a good fit for a retail store or gas station, but might be ok for a bar or a stadium.

One last thing – generally speaking, customers reasonably expect measurement as a result of interactivity. Again, if the use case being addressed, has either a short dwell time or is executed as passive or active place-based social media, the DOOH screen shouldn’t be expected to be measurable beyond what is currently measured – but interactive data could be present on other channels such as web and mobile.

I have described the various flavors of place-based social media together with their respective use-cases and channels in a free white paper available here.


Meet Gus. He’s the owner of Toscanini’s in Cambridge, MA. This week, Gus became the proud owner of a Silver Apex Award in the Food and Beverage category, as mentioned here previously.

Today the LocaModa screen at Tosci’s (as it’s known locally) has 3,128 Foursquare check-ins from 1,077 people. Starbucks, a few minutes from Tosci (also on Mass Ave in Cambridge) has 1,570 Foursquare check-ins from 580 people. We consistently enable an increase of 30-60% more check-ins on LocaModa screens. That means something to Gus, because his screen effectively communicates with his customers in his cafe and beyond (we also have twitter feeds tagged #Tosci and photos that are emailed to tosci@wiffiti.com and text messages sent using @Tosci to our short code. All in all, an engaging customer experience that reduces wait time and fosters loyalty.

Hold that picture.

At this year’s DSE, I gave a talk with the long-winded title “The 10 Biggest Problems and Solutions for DOOH Networks Flirting with Social Media and Mobile Applications.” You can find my presentation here. In that talk, I mentioned Gus, and the problem that many place-based ad networks are so focused on their network and/or advertisers’ value propositions that they sometimes forget to focus on the venue challenges.

Let’s assume that a cafe like Gus’s has 200 visitors per day, each spending $5 i.e. $30,000 per month. It’s easy to see that even if advertising revenue via a place-based ad network screen is shared with the cafe, it’s highly unlikely to be a material percentage of the cafe’s revenue. We can show that even if we make some bold assumptions about potential ad revenue based on 200 people x a generous 15 impressions each and a $5 CPM = $450 per month to be shared between the network and venue.

The moral of the story for place-based ad networks? Love thy venue first. The cafe owner isn’t interested in the advertising piece of the equation, he or she is interesting in his customers. Reduce perceived wait time, improve the customer experience, increase loyalty (and related programs), extend marketing reach and engage the customers. Once a venue’s customers are engaged with the screen, then you can start to monetize that experience for advertisers.


LocaModa returned home from this year’s DSE with some glass:

Gold Content Award for our work on Twitter Flow for our partners Zoom Media and Marketing.

Silver Apex Award, Public Spaces for our work on Vans BeHere.

Silver Apex Award, Food and Beverage for our work with Toscanini’s Full screen Foursquare.

Bronze Content Award, Interactive Advertising/Promotions, for our work on Vans BeHere.

We’d like the thank the fine folks at the academy DSE for selecting our technology. None of these awards would have been possible without the excellent work of our partners and the team in Cambridge.

For those interested in red carpet fashion, my suit was Armani, Mr Nast was wearing Nat Nast, Mr King was wearing his favorite Dior gown and changed into Chanel for his song. Mr Stellato was wearing Gucci.