|| Blog: Lyle Bunn
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Consumers love the convenience and speed of drive-thru at quick service restaurants (QSR) and so do the food service establishments that offer this safe, easy service option. Drive-thru can account for as much as 70% of location revenues and establishes the location as the “go to” place for future visits.
Whenever the term “digital signage” is used the term “analytics” is increasingly used in the same sentence or quickly follows. Organizations want their digital merchandising to both reflect and provide consumer insights, preferably simultaneously. Where forward-thinking retailers such as Wal-Mart have already embraced this approach successfully, QSR operators are now integrating analytics in their digital media use, and drive-thru success can improve.
With so much to be gained, QSRs are looking to business-enabling approaches that move customers through the order, payment and fulfillment processes as quickly as possible while getting the order correct and bringing the parton back as soon as, and as frequently as possible. Loyalty is enhanced when the drive-thru journey is a positive one.
Technologies will improve the cost/benefit equation in QSR drive-thru by significantly contributing to these critical success factors:
- Creating the optimal combination of minimizing order time while maximizing order value.
- Branding the establishment and its products
- Assuring the service experience is better than the competitors'.
To achieve these business-building goals, QSRs are digitizing the order process. This digital transition ot day-part menus can minimize effort and simplify menu board composition, while instilling loyalty, bringing the patron back quickly or motivating gift card or large order sales.
Download the complete report
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
The answer to confusion is always “no”. As product selection at the retail shelf is, by definition, a source of confusion for consumers, brands have a significant opportunity for point-of-purchase conversion through shelf level or service counter promotion.
When connecting the dots that represent the information and touch points on the ever-changing path to purchase, they ultimately converge at the shelf level. Even online ordering, the ever-increasing torture of physical space retailing with its “show-rooming”, is supported by shelf level media. The culture of shopping is moving forward as consumers seek information, inspiration, ever-changing stories that put the product in the context of their needs, wants, life and events.
In a session titled “The Future of Engagement” at the recent symposium hosted by the Digital Screenmedia Association, Jim Crawford, CEO of Chute Gerdeman and Ethan Whitehill, CEO of TwoWest provided insights about the retail experience. “Every store has a story,” Whitehill said. “How do you tell that story with technology? How do we enhance that story for the shopper?”
“Retail is mostly through brick-and-mortar stores, in large part because the in-store experience still provides utility, a sense of community and meaning” the panelists agreed. “Shopping happens because of the task, and the treat,” Whitehill said. “Brick and mortar delivers that better than any other experience.”
The two paramount marketing media questions that serve as the basis for action by the brand are a) Will consumers see the promotional message? And b) Will the message activate their action?
A resounding “yes” is the response to shelf level digital media. Dynamic media at the retail shelf reduces the “friction” at this most important of all points on the sometimes eclectic, always evolving path to purchase. Messaging that amplifies the brand identity and its promise at the point where the consumers hand moves products from a shelf to their cart, or places an order at a service counter deliver the prize that brands seek, including selection for trial or next use.
Many marketers, and consumers, believe that the consumer is at the center of the universe with buying power being a gravitational force that influences all brand and supply chain behavior. Emboldened by social media, consumers are happy to make brands feel the laurels or darts of their behavior.
Brand perception on the part of a consumer plays out at the store shelf. Appeal, distain or indifference motivate product selection, as the marriage of convenience between brand and retailer works to device and execute sufficiently capable branding and promotional communications.
The arsenal of point-of-purchase instruments is fairly limited, typically including package design, shelf positioning, attractive pricing or some nearby static signs that aim to earn attention.
The retail shelf has been coined as the First Moment of Truth by Dina Howell, which proposed that all elements of marketing and promotion should be defined from shelf level interaction and then including merchandising, promotion, advertising and branding campaigns.
In a September 21, 2005 article on page 1 of the Wall Street Journal titled, “In a Shift, Marketers Beef Up Spending Inside Stores”, Procter and Gamble Co. reflected its belief that “shoppers make up their mind about a product selection in about the time it takes to read this [sentence].” Dina Howell, as Director, First Moment of Truth (FMOT, pronounced EFF-mot), at Procter & Gamble, said “P&G wants to connect with consumers when and where they are most receptive to information about P&G Brands. We want to delight the consumer as well as simplify the shopping experience.” She said, “Working with retailers is pivotal to P&G success”, Ms. Howell added, “The store must be an extension of the brand and we must work in collaboration with retailers at that critical first moment of truth when a consumer makes the purchase decision”.
FMOT defines the point of product selection as the starting point for consumer goods marketing. In short, by appealing to consumer’s senses, values and emotions at the specific point of purchase, marketers can convert browsers to buyers and give their product the best chance of selection.
This “first moment of truth” as coined by P&G Acknowledges the decline in effectiveness of broadcast ad spending, the growing importance of retail media in the marketing mix, improved measurement capability and most importantly, the effectiveness of point-of-purchase and out-of-home ad display.
By inverting this marketing communications funnel, P&G has turned the questions to focus on achieving highest Return on Objectives. They ask, “In starting at the point of selection, how should we invest to achieve planned sales volumes and margins?” The basis of the planning and decision framework shifts to the achievement of effectiveness of “customer engagement” and relationship.
Retail marketing in this century harkens the important shift in 1694, when Galileo very successfully, and against established powers, that the sun was the center with planets and moons revolving around it, rather than the Earth being at the center.
In marketing, the brand has been central, but successful marketers accept that it is the consumer that is at the center, with brand options and the communications of each revolving around that buying power.
“The importance to growth of any brand is driven primarily by in-store visibility, consumer shop-ability and information that drives purchase decision,” says Jean-Pierre Lacroix, President, Shikatani Lacroix.
Russell Young, SVP, Interactive and Mobile Experiences at retail and dynamic media provider Stratacache says “Whether you call it the Point of Influence, or the Final Moment of Truth, there is no denying the importance of creating inspiration at the retail shelf level. Savvy brands and retailers realize this important point in the customer journey and continue to seek out innovative methods for driving conversion during these precious few seconds. The key to success in optimizing this shelf level engagement is to convey value in a subtle manner that feels natural in that specific environment.”
“Creating digital at-purchase moments is one of the most effective ways to influence purchase decision in-store, “notes Marcos Terenzio, Director, Digital Experience, Shikatani Lacroix.
The value of shelf-level dynamic signage, says Laura Davis-Taylor SVP, Director of Omnichannel Experience of The Integer Group, a member of the Publicis Omnicom Group of agencies, is “In being able to capture, connect and close in one fell swoop. The uniqueness of it can effectively capture attention unlike no other POP. It’s truly can’t miss. The attraction and content and call to action (CTA) can close them by answering their questions and lighting up their impulse propensity—sometimes in mere seconds”.
She adds, “It has worked well when ensuring that the way that the shopper encounters it is contextual to what they are trying to solve at the moment—in that particular store, in that category with that specific product”. By enabling consumer browsing, comparison, researching and selecting items in retail, it fits between Pre-Tail® when consumers research and choose a store or website, and Post-Tail® beyond the purchase moment and product use”.
Andy McRae, General Manager of Eot2Dot Communications, Inc. that provides the popular Scala content management platform and its additional capacities for third party advertising management, is a strong proponent for digital at and near-shelf media.
McRae says “We have long felt that shelf level media is possibly the most important step in the path to purchase. Being able to influence the purchase decision at the shelf allows retailers to maximize value. Using a combination of omnichannel capability, real time networked appliances and displays, and advanced analytics capable of changing content to fit the situation gives retailer ultimate control over the shopper’s experience”.
“Devices such as Electronic Shelf labels (ESLs) provide retailers with an easy way to change messaging, including pricing, based on any number of data inputs. Understanding the influences on a purchase decision is only half the equation. Having a system that allows changes to be made based on those influences, especially if it is automatic, completes the process” he notes.
“Dynamic pricing has long been the ultimate goal for most industries, but retail in particular” declares McRae, adding “The advent of inexpensive, low power Electronic Shelf Labels combined with the robust content management system, and advanced purchase analytics offered by Scala have finally brought this from a manual process based on guesses to a highly automated process guided by facts”.
Says McRae, “More and more often retailers are asking for intelligent data driven communications networks for their store environments. These systems must offer purchase analytics, real time content update capability, integration with point of sale systems, and comprehensive result measurement. The displays themselves now range from large spectacular outdoor and outside –store viewable video walls designed to attract people into the store, to the very small Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) aimed at influencing the actual purchase decision”. McRae speculates that “It is estimated that in the next 5 years, as much as 50% of purchases will be made on-line, or through mobile and social commerce so it is critical that any shelf level media have a mobile tie-in as a way of extending the shopping experience across multiple channels”.
“Shoppers are looking for retailers to connect with them, make it easier to search, plan and purchase. We have been working with brands to capture data from on-shelf interactive displays, using it to measure business results and improve marketing strategies” he said, adding “it’s all about strategy, scalability and relevancy. Our goal is always to make it easier for retailers to communicate and interact with today’s shoppers using the most advanced technology platforms.”
The Laurentien Bank has installed small screens horizontally under glass at the teller station. “This allows the client being served and signing paper such as deposits in front of the teller to see the digital screen messages with bank-related content, “ said Benoit Johnson, CEO of Montreal-based provider Viftele, which provides digital signage for the bank. “This screen allows the bank to have less small static signs at this specific space and the customers are presented with a hard to avoid message.”
“Empowering the consumer to have control and access to product information easily and conveniently is the key to their decision regarding what they buy. The value of shelf level digital media is that it is convenient and dynamic, and is a useful alternative to the mobile device though it can be used in conjunction with mobile to increase the brand reach” says Suzana Spratley, CEO of the digital engagement agency TechTAP.
Spratley adds, “It is all about the connected consumer having control over their choices in an easy and convenient way. By placing the choice for the consumer in a digital medium at shelf height, the brand will offer more than one key decision point; for example price as well as product features, benefits, ingredients, alternate uses, etc. Better choices bond consumers to brands and build advocates.” She emphasizes, “Brands must engage, inform and enhance the experience in a convenient and useful way”.
Displays are being used that maximize shelf space and do not displace any product frontage while being installed and operated.
A popular shelf dynamic display device is provided by Regency Digital. Vice president Abraham d’Ancona says, “The merchant is offered the opportunity to connect with the consumer. It reinforces the brand while maximizing shelf space and point-of-purchase consumer messaging that adds a sense of excitement, immediacy and urgency. In doing so,” adds d’Ancona, “it engages the patron to fulfill their needs and wants while also motivating product trial or an impulse buy. It is all about shopper conversion and product selection.”
The shelf video strip from Regency Digital includes multiple 2 x 4 inch video panels in a 1-inch deep housing that attaches easily to any retail shelf horizontally or vertically. Individual screens are able to play independently or in conjunction with each other and can be subdivided allowing for full color, high resolution video, animation, stills, QR codes or other engagement media. The device includes the display strip, a 2-inch cube media player that accommodates Wi-Fi or USB media loading, a mounting bracket and connection cables.
European retailers have already embraced shelf level dynamic media for more than two years, enabled by retail support agencies with retailer and brand relationships as well as experience with in-store merchandising /advertising or POP. “The most successful applications” says d’Ancona “has been where the shelf level video strip is the at-shelf element of a campaign that involved other promotion media. Products that have done especially well using shelf level video include new and aspirational products as well as market leading brands in consumables such as diapers, baby formula, chocolate, cosmetics, beverages, in particular when used in larger retail chains. Marketers who care about success in the retail store now have the tool that they need to generate more stock turns and gain market share over competitors at the retail shelf.”
“Getting the buyers attention has never been tougher, with so much messaging that it can just be noise to the buyer, that is why the video bar is so effective, it’s unique eye catching format at the point of decision engages the customer literally at his/her point of decision and delivers the motivation to buy” notes Mike White, CEO of Multi-media Solutions, which has provided digital signage for award winning retail applications such as duty free shops at the Shoppes at Ocean Drive at Miami International Airport.
D’Ancona notes that the Regency Digital video strip is being used on a constant basis in two of the leading retailer supermarkets and drug stores, and that brands tend to use the shelf level video strip on an ongoing basis after an initial trial.
Jose Avalos, Director, Visual Retail, Retail Solutions Division for Intel Corporation in the Embedded & Communications Group concludes “Digital Signage as an ingredient can be transformational to numerous product categories like Interactive Whiteboards for education, Digital jukeboxes for hospitality and transparent displays for supermarkets, among others. In the retail sector it is understood that 68% of all purchases are unplanned and 70% of brand choices are made at the shelf. The advent of Intelligent Shelving with integrated advertising and information content can fulfill a much more active role where it understands shopper needs, understands the product or products it is showcasing, and uses enhanced capabilities to participate more fully in the selling process. And it can do this in a way that is highly personalized, including the use of personalized pricing and promotions”. He adds “For manufacturers, an intelligent shelf can create data-led sales and marketing opportunities and help them better understand who is buying their products, and who is not. It can also maximize profit for the retailer by optimizing pricing dynamically, and enable manufacturers and retailers to reward shopper loyalty, all at the shelf edge”.
The consumer is at the center of the universe and that most essential of marketing success points, the moment of truth, is the retail shelf. Brand campaigns, retailer policy and the supply of shelf level display must align. As they do, the shopper will deliver benefits to all.
Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon) is an analyst, advisor and educator in North America’s digital out-of-home industry. He has been recognized with six industry awards, helped hundreds of organizations to take advantage of dynamic signage, has published almost 300 articles, whitepapers and guidebooks, and has helped to train more than 10,000 media and supply professionals.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Digital out of home messaging brings tremendous economies and agility to branding and promotional marketing. Messages can be created quickly often using graphic, animation and text elements that are used elsewhere in campaigns. And unique messages can be created to suit the target audience, display location, time of day and reflecting the context in which the message would be viewed, such as major holidays, events, weather conditions and world events.
But this ease of message creation places a burden of clarity on the marketer or communicator.
The simple question is “are we clear?”.
The message must achieve intended results, and the minimal amount of information required to achieve this always makes for the best digital out of home use.
The medium can, and should be used to achieve multiple goals simultaneously.
As a minimum, the message should include the identity of the product or service being offered, its core value proposition (i.e. benefit) and a call to action, which might include a telephone number, web address or invitation to engage with product/service/event information through TXT, download or mobile commerce.
When the intention is to increase brand awareness and recall, the primary message elements would include brand identity, tagline, value proposition and other information that allows a viewer to align with and aspire to the brand.
A promotional or merchandising message would seek to achieve viewer response with the promise of value that matters to the viewer. Examples include attractive pricing, selection, ease in getting the value, the benefits of improved life and fun.
Message benefits are maximized when the message is visually appealing and easy to read.
Our brains are hardwired to notice motion, and so the visual appeal should include animation that will attract the eye even unconsciously. Viewers will pay attention and “ingest” messages that they believe are relevant to their wants or needs, and they will unconsciously ignore messages that are not.
Content creation traps that must be avoided include:
- A lack of visual that easily represents the product or service
- Too much information, beyond what is required to achieve the outcome
- Text that is to small to read from the intended viewing distance
- Use of background and text coloration that make the content challenging to ingest.
- An unsuitable length of message relative to the viewing experience. Two short causes viewer frustration (and de-brands), while messages that are too long minimize the opportunity to make best use of display capability.
Generating engagement on the path to purchase can be achieved with simple messaging when the answer to the question “are we clear?” is “yes!”
Lyle Bunn is an analyst, advisor and educator in North America’s digital place-based media sector who has assisted hundreds of organizations to gain advantage from the medium, and who has helped to train thousands of professionals.
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Digital signage hangs on one single word - "benefit" and it is content, the media presented on digital signage that delivers this benefit once the technology infrastructure is in place. The quality of content and the merit of investing in this has been an ongoing frustration for network operators. Perhaps this is in part because impact analysis is not commonly conducted and no easier mechanism exists for assessing content quality. What follows is a framework for evaluating content quality toward improving specific and overall benefits through imporved content.
The ability to display motion, animation in content that is suited to the audience, time of day and location of presentation make the medium inherently powerful. Too often the fuller advantages that can be gained from the medium are not realized as basic messaging is considered adequate to achieve suitable viewer impact.
Content can achieve four areas of impact simultaneously as illustrated in the graphic below.
Influence reflects the tangible outcomes of value such as product or service purchaseor enquiry, registration for events or programs, visits to websites of mobile engagement that is triggered.
Branding outcomes are measured through brand awareness or propensity for future purchase and product/service reference.
Ambience is measured in terms of the degree to which the content reflects for add to the environment in which the display is located. The reduction in perceived wait time is a further indicator.
Energy reflects on the level of vitality, excitement or calm resulting from presentation of the content at that location.
Content impacts on audiences in each of these four ways and may affect different viewer demographics differently, so distinguishing the target viewer demographic is a key element of content composition planning.
This 4-benefit framework provides an easy way to assess the quality of content.
Weighting can be assigned to each of these four areas of intended outcome. For example, an area of high importance, such as influence, might be assigned a score of 40 possible points, while an ares of lesser importance such as energy might be assigned a score of just 10 possible points wht branding and ambiance at 20 points each.
Then, score each of these four areas subjectively upon viewing the content, or more objectively based on impact data or viewer survey results. Strengths and shortcomings will become clearer, and a usable language with which to communitcate areas of improvement is available.
Some questions which might be asked during content scoring include:
a) Is what is being communicated consistent with intended outcomes?
b) Are the font size, style, color contrast to background and the pace of appearance or animation suitable for viewers to easliy consume or ingest the text?
c) Is there too much text for the viewer to read in the expected timeframe, in particular when they are in the process of making a decision based on the information presented (i.e. menu of product or service options)?
d) Are graphics and images appealing, eye-catching and a positive reinforcement of the value proposition?
e) Does the color palette used for the content reflect the brand accurately?
f) Are images of products the best that they can be to reflect the product the consumer will receive?
g) Are the text and images related to and aligned with each other?
h) Is there a specific or clearly implied call to action?
i)If there are multiple options for product/service selection, is the recommended option emphasized?
j) Are there graphics or icons in use that may not be easily understood or interpreted by the viewer?
k) Does each message appear for a suitable duration?
Answering these questions to score the content in each of the four areas identifies where areas of improvement are required. It also offers an overall score for the individual spot.
For example, if influence achieves a score of 20 out of 40, branding gets a 10 out of a possible 20, ambience gets 10 out of 20 and energy gets 5 out of 10. The total score for the spot is 45 out of 90 or 50%.
The level of an acceptable score can be established in conversation with the network operator, location provider, the message owner and content producer with whom acceptable or target levels can also be established. Content spots that do not achieve a high score are very good candidates for improvement.
It also makes sense to score the overall play loop while assessing individual content spots. A similar scoring structure around criteria such as play loop versus typical viewer dwell time, transitions, compliance with an overall style guide and suitablity of a multi-zone layout.
Some questions to ask during this scoring include:
a) How does the overall length of the play loop correlate to typical viewer dwell time? This should be a one to one ratio so the viewer can see all messages in the loop. Messages that are not seen cannot be expected to produce outcome and most viewers would find it acceptable to see messages two or perhaps three times.
b) Are transitions between individual content spots smooth and appealing to the eye, while maximizing message presentation time?
c) Do all of the content spots generally use the same color palette or is the viewer challenged to accept and interpret a range of composition styles and color choices?
d) Does the use of multiple zones on the display layout support or hamper the achievement of desired benefits?
Scoring of the overall playlist will provide indicators where adjustments could achieve greater benefits in this area.
Lyle Bunn has been recognized with many digital signage industry honors while advising more than 300 organizations to gain best benefit from digital signage and helping to train more than 10,000 user, brand and supply professionals.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
On the heels of Media Week, delegates gathered at a very successful Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) event in New York, November 6-7, 2013. The mind can go numb easily on omni-channel, 360 degree marketing, transmedia, big data, convergence, etc. etc. etc., but these concepts and the language that expresses them are central to future marketing and communications. Location-based/aware technologies, including kiosks, digital signage and mobile increasingly serve brand and consumer engagement goals.
CETW is attractive as an event because it gathers several hundred diverse exhibitors that span the engagement spectrum, along with an even more diverse group of end user and agency presenters who put the big picture of digital screenmedia disciplines into focus. The Digital Screenmedia Association content awards and various networking receptions offer the opportunity for in-depth discussions and introductions. The result is a potent mix of currently applicable approaches and a forward-looking view of viable technology-enabled options. The focus is on the application of contextually relevant, location aware, enabling customer messaging, interaction and engagement communications.
Laura Davis-Taylor, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Shopwork, BBDO noted, "The code on "experience" has not been cracked, but there are some principles that we know are important". These top 10 principles (to paraphrase Laura's presentation points) include:
- The brand must be more than their product
- The experience of the use of the product/service must inspire the brand and affinity with it.
- In building worthy experiences, you must know the life pattern, influence upon and wants of the targeted consumer.
- "Participation" is intrinsic and fundamental to experience.
- Experience must solve a problem or make it easier.
- Making people happier increases brand loyalty.
- Involve others (and all) stakeholders and possible contributors.
- Prove it out. Experience analytics must be applied.
- Focus on the experience factors that matter in the buying decision. For example, a baby stroller buying decision is made on social media influence.
- Make it a moment that matters - or don't waste your time.
"Content: is the atomic partical of engagement", declared Rebecca Lieb, Media Analyst with the Altimeter Group and author of Content Marketing - Think Like a Publisher - How to Use Content to Market Online and In Social Media. She used many examples to illustrate how customer engagement truly exists at the convergence of paid, owned and earned media.
"Without multi-channel planning and execution", she declared messaging can be fragmented and branding inconsistent. Marketing efforts are often redundant and departments end up competing for budget, while a lower level of customer engagement is actually realized. Media cacophony serves nobody's goals. Planning at the convergence of paid-owned-earned offers the opportunity for owned and earned media to inform the paid media strategy, while assuring the integrity of brand attributes and closer to real-time messaging optimization".
In describing participant engagement during the 60,000-delegate South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, Scott Wilcox, Executive Director SXSW, admitted, "Everybody is trying to figure out how to engage customers. The "backchannel" in earned media is what can ultimately drive and become the main engagement content." He reflected on the technology challenges of providing adequate engagement technology infrastructure where, for example "Wi-Fi is expected to be available, and where as many as 7,000 people attending a conference session or concert could place extraordinary demands on Wi-Fi and connectivity. "Let us realize", he said, while the iPhone was released in 2007, by 2009 we were seeing the massive demands that iPhone and mobile apps place on those seeking to engage consumer on mobile".
The active presence of exhibitors offering mobile solutions was a welcomed addition to CETW. Urban Airship, Vibe and Mogiquity each distinguished themselves in presenting comprehensive mobile engagement offerings. Look into these providers.
"Analytics" were part of every discussion because they are the key to gaining budget/investment and to optimizing results. While data is the foundation of growing levels of value that include statistics, information, knowledge and wisdom, the breakdown in data value is occurring at the information level. "More often", said Jeff Dickey, Managing Director of OmniChannel Marketing Project, "analytics are used as a predictive tool, but the true value of data from multiple inputs is in being able to adjust actions in real time based on the insights that aggregate data (i.e. information) can provide."
Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) is a very different event since it focuses fully on the issues impacting consumer interaction with messages and brand attributes. A lot of water will go under the technology-enabled bridge over the next year, so put CETW in New York, November 2014 on your calendar and plan to be part of these conversations.
Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon) is a analyst, advisor and educator in North America's digital and enterprise media sector. In August 2013 he was recently named as one of the "11 Most Influential People in Digial Signage" and in October 2013 was recognized as one of the "Innovators and Influencers" of the static sign industry.