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I spent most of Monday at the DS Investors Conference and most of Wednesday at the DPAA 2011 Digital Media Summit.

What was notable at both events was that almost every speaker talked about leveraging the connection between DOOH screens and their mobile audience, multi-channel strategies and leveraging mobile and social media technologies.

What was different this week was that this buzz was not limited to the “interactive tent” – it was center stage. What used to be a lonely platform for way-too-early entrepreneurs and evangelists like me, is now well and truly an accepted part of our agenda.

I’m not convinced that every speaker at the conferences was “eating their own dog food” but I can’t gripe – obviously we still have some way to go, but at least the entire industry is talking about it.

There are various stages in the maturation of a digital market, and in my opinion, we’ve reached the end of the beginning.

Borrowed from an earlier Gartner paper, what I touched on in The DOOH Slope of Enlightenment suggests that digital markets move through various stages staring with a “Peak of Inflated Expectations” where the market experiences a fool’s gold rush and invariably early adopters pay the price for being early. The market then moves through a downward trend where it adjusts to a “Trough of Disillusionment” and finally it reaches a point where companies actually release products that exceed users’ expectations. At that point, the market can start to move up the “Slope of Enlightenment.”

As the web evolved from digital brochureware, so too are DOOH screens finally being forced to be more than slideware. Some are and many more will be more connected, more engaging and, as a result, more valuable.

Judging not only from the majority of speakers’ inclusion of all things mobile and social, but also the stream of Tweets from users at both events and even the inclusion of a Twitter screen at the DPAA event – I would say we are at the end of the beginning of DOOH. We are standing at the beginning of the Slope of Enlightenment.

Do you agree?


Hey, I’m Greg Stellato, a Sales Planner at LocaModa and this is my first company blog post.  In addition to sales planning I also speak with brands and agencies most of the day, handle some of our social media and irritate the engineers with my lack of headphones.   I grew up in the digital world and everything in it comes second nature to me.  I hope you enjoy the post.

Razorfish, one of the largest digital advertising agencies in the world held their 10th annual client summit last week.  Roughly two-thirds of the attendees were Razorfish clients from 100 brands and eight countries.  For the majority of its history, the summit has been a client-and-employee only event but Razorfish has opened the summit for a third year to trusted partners like LocaModa and I was fortunate enough to attend.  I had many great discussions over the three days and I met several senior level people from Razorfish, brands and even spent time with Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.

The digital and analog worlds are crashing together, and it means that entirely new experiences are available to marketers that can be applied to previously analog channels.  Digital no longer means you are tethered to a keyboard or mouse. Bob Lord, Global Chief Executive Officer said it best, “clients can’t be the only ones integrating across silos – their agencies need to do so for them as well”.

The theme of the summit was ‘Evolve’ and Razorfish placed their trust in eight partners to help advance the collective understanding of what the future of digital looks like.  Attendees in the Marketing Lab used a spray paint remote to create digital graffiti, played games with gesture-recognition technology, saw the latest in set top boxes, experienced in-depth interactive commercials and engaged with place-based social media. The atmosphere was energetic and inspiring.

My key takeaways are:

Generate a conversation your customers care about

Meet people where they are

How to monetize social media is the wrong question

If you do nothing (with social media), you will become irrelevant

Don’t scream sale when the customer isn’t interested. – Brian Dunn, Chief Executive Officer, Best Buy

Use platforms what they’re meant for

QR Code 2, Business Cards 50+

The majority of my takeaways confirm my beliefs in what we’re doing and why I find it imperative to educate brands and agencies on the entire digital landscape.  I have to advocate for Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook before I describe what it is LocaModa does.  The one downfall of growing up with social media and being around it everyday is that I need to step back and remind myself that most of the brands and agencies I speak with don’t have a strong understanding of each but when I tell a story (another key topic at the event, story telling) of how their brand can appeal to their customers where they are and be part of a conversation their customers care about while speaking to them in a language they understand, then it takes a whole new meaning.


The DailyDOOH has done an excellent job of covering and summarizing this week’s DS Investor Conference so I won’t repeat their points. Here are some other takeaways:

1. There were (according to the Speaker and Attendee List), 64 attendees and 32 Speakers. Of those, less than 10% were investors, and at least half of them were speakers. Obviously there are many active and or new investors hovering around DOOH (LocaModa’s VCs, Dace are just one example) but I wonder how many people came to the conference hoping to network with investors rather than competitors?

2. Related to my point above, I’d guess at least 50% of the attendees were the “old boys club.” On the positive side, this is an excellent opportunity to connect with business partners and colleagues. But are we talking to ourselves more than reaching a wider community of new blood?

3. I agree with RMG’s CEO, Gary McGuire that the web guys are coming. I’ve bet on such, and that’s reflected in our blog being called The Web Outside (by the way, we’re changing our branding soon to bring it all under the LocaModa brand, but I digress). But how many DOOH CEOs think their exit could be to a web company?

4. I was delighted to hear David Drain from the Digital Screenmedia Association announce the integration of Mobile into their mission. Mobile and Social were definitely some of the buzz words during the two days, and were mentioned by pretty much every speaker. I particularly enjoyed the passionate debate on our own mobile panel, but we all know that Mobile/Social is still misunderstood by a majority of networks.

5. I welcomed hearing Jill Nickerson, VP Horizon Media and Connie Garrido, CEO Posterscope USA at the event. These events have not attracted too many major media or creative agencies. We are still perceived as being too niche or too tech-centric. We have to simplify our benefits to our customers.

6. The real time participation via Twitter and near real time participation via blogs was VERY good to see. David Weinfeld, Principal of The Preset Group, a long time fan of all things connected, was “tuned in” via Twitter and blogged about it here. Adrian Cotterill, when he chaired on the second day, posed a question that came in via Twitter. The combined number of followers of just a few of the people tweeting meant that several thousand people were receiving highlights in realtime from the conference. It’s a fact that most events today will be connected to audiences beyond their four walls. Adrian gave us a nice plug for our Wiffiti screen (we’re also changing our branding soon on Wiffiti to bring it under the LocaModa brand, but I digress again) tagged for the event. With more and more conferences reaching wider audiences outside than in (think about the excellent TED conferences) isn’t it about time our conferences did a better job of being connected? Papers should be available to everyone not just attendees (I always place my presentations and papers on slideshare). Promote free WiFi and ensure the main screens work properly (one of the two screens wasn’t working at a DOOH conf!)

Always room for improvement, but this was a successful event. I enjoyed it, and found it a good environment to network and be informed. A round of applause to the Strategy Institute, Stuart Armstrong and Adrian Cotterill for hosting over the two days.


At A Crossroads On The DOOH Slope Of Enlightenment

In my post about the DOOH Slope Of Enlightenment, I deliberately did not include the above picture, hoping to show it at next week’s DS Investor Conference. But my panel is opting for a Q&A style session, so I have some nice slides to use elsewhere – so here ya go…

I’d like to get feedback on where you think DOOH is on the Hype Cycle of Emerging Technology. I believe DOOH is at a crossroads, so I placed my marker near the end of the Shakeout Phase.

During the Fool’s Gold and Shakeout periods it looks like we’re all on the same track, but of course we are not. Many companies are heading southeast without knowledge of the northeast track. I think there are some critical strategies for DOOH companies to employ to get on the right track and I’m sure to be speaking to that point at the DS Investors conference. Hope to see you there.


In collecting my thoughts for the upcoming Digital Signage Investor Conference next month in NY where I’m talking on a panel, I revisited one of the slides I presented at Screen Media Expo Europe last April in London (that deck is on Slideshare here).

What Gartner calls The Hype Cycle of Emerging Technology maps market expectations against time. When technology is in its infancy, the market tends towards a “Peak of Inflated Expectations” as the market experiences a fool’s gold rush and invariably early adopters pay the price for being early. The market adjusts downwards towards a “Trough of Disillusionment” at which stage companies can actually release products that now exceed users’ expectations. At that point, the market can start to move up the “Slope of Enlightenment.”

From its earliest narrowcast beginnings, the Digital Out of Home market maps very predictably to the hype cycle. I hope we can say we have seen the Peak of Inflated Expectations and are currently at or near the bottom of the Trough of Disillusionment.

Of course not all companies moving through these cycles will reach the Slope of Enlightenment. The trajectory of the Internet, as it evolved into the web was a perfect example of the Hype Cycle of Emerging Technology. Early incumbents like AOL, Prodigy and Compuserve weren’t threatened by young whippersnappers like Amazon and Google. Pundits where happy to write those crazy startups off when the bubble burst, but we know how that story played out.

And like the web, many DOOH companies won’t make it to the Slope of Enlightenment. Some DOOH companies have bet on the wrong architecture or business model, have been too early, or too late, and the Darwinian way is for fitter companies to displace them. The fitter companies survive by betting on the right technologies at the right time, the deep pockets of their investors, or street smarts.

Here’s my bet (and it is literally my bet, as an investor and entrepreneur in DOOH).

DOOH platform companies will fail if they don’t minimally enable connected users, cross channel media (easily and with less friction) and real time measurability (i.e. it’s the web, not broadcast). The gold isn’t in commoditized content management systems, hardware, or cap-ex laden networks. The DOOH gold is in the real time connection to audiences (of ad networks) or customers (of marketing networks).

In other words, like the web, companies that address the opportunity of “connectedness” will have the best chance of succeeding.