Blog: Lyle Bunn 
Lyle Bunn (bio)
Strategy Architect
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:

  1. Creating the optimal combination of minimizing order time while maximizing order value.
  2. Branding the establishment and its products
  3. 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.

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Posted by: Admin AT 11:34 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 01 July 2014

Engagement is the coin of the realm for marketing and communication. For shopper, patron, traveler, staff or students, it is a strategic, tactical and operational imperative. The alternative is hit-and-miss or opportunistic, luck-of-the-draw marketing. Engagement means that:

  • Targeted audiences of people with buying or decision-making authority or significant influence are noticing the message.
  • They are entering or are on the path to purchase or decision-making.
  •  Awareness, alignment with and their amplification of the brand or its message is increasing.
  • Actions are being taken that will improve their knowledge of the offering(s), such as inquiry, visit to a website, mobile downloads or commerce, and the expression of their support through social or viral marketing.

Location- based display messaging is ideally suited to generating or enhancing engagement because messages are typically presented at times and locations best suited to achieving this engagement.

This benefit is realized when the right message is presented to the right audience at the right time at the right place. In audience, time and place being already in place, the key is in the messaging.

Messaging success starts with profiling audience needs and wants, and then aligning the message to satisfy these. Message composition will assure that these resonate with the viewer, while the call to action puts the person on the path to having the benefits. It is all engagement, toward achieving those marketing and communications goals.

Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator who has assisted hundreds and organizations and thousands of professionals to benefit from dynamic place-based media.

Posted by: Admin AT 12:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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:

  1. The brand must be more than their product
  2. The experience of the use of the product/service must inspire the brand and affinity with it.
  3. In building worthy experiences, you must know the life pattern, influence upon and wants of the targeted consumer.
  4. "Participation" is intrinsic and fundamental to experience.
  5. Experience must solve a problem or make it easier.
  6. Making people happier increases brand loyalty.
  7. Involve others (and all) stakeholders and possible contributors.
  8. Prove it out. Experience analytics must be applied.
  9. Focus on the experience factors that matter in the buying decision. For example, a baby stroller buying decision is made on social media influence.
  10. 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.

Posted by: Admin AT 05:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Thursday, 15 August 2013

Most of the trends in digital signage are positive, pointing to the ongoing success and value of this dynamic place-based media. Others point to failure and the challenges inherent in the growing industry. Seven trends in particular characterize the sector at this time:

  •     Growth and installed base;
  •     Focus on value;
  •     Failure of networks;
  •     ROI and ROO;
  •     Integration into the media model;
  •     Supply chain; and
  •     Content and transmedia.

Growth and installed base: With an estimated 20 million displays currently operational in North America and growing at 2 million a year, dynamic messaging is increasing revenues, branding and viewer engagement, and reducing communications costs. The 400-plus ad-based networks, more than 1,000 large brand and corporate networks, and hundreds of thousands of smaller deployments offer an excellent base of example application and expansion potential. A key trend in supply is the focus on existing deployments that could benefit from technology, operational or content upgrades.

Focus on value: The "honeymoon" in digital signage ends about a year after initial deployment or use (sometimes faster). As the expectation of value increases, it is fortunate that improvements in viewer targeting and dayparting are an inherent capability of digital signage. The extent of investment made is causing many end-user organizations to seek higher return on investment through operating cost reduction, improved content strategy and increased third-party payments.

Failure of networks: While decision periods for video walls and installations of 1-5 screens are short, the launch period for new networks and expansion continues to be long. Key contributing factors include poor content, display outage (which may be as symptomatic as causal), revenue under-performance and lack of analytics (i.e. justification). While network dis-continuation is uncommon even when cost/benefit is unsatisfactory, such cases have, and will continue to, shock the sector and reduce the shine that the media enjoys. Underperformance as reflected by lack of expansion investment, suitable ROI, ad rates and uptake, and higher than acceptable operating costs, reflect the malaise of networks.

ROI and ROO: While distinguishing value in terms of return on objectives for less tangible value has been commonly used, this puts network managers and their suppliers on a slippery slope. ROO can be measured as it contributes to return on investment. The trend of using ROO for investment validation makes digital signage vulnerable to greater investment scrutiny while diminishing its capacity of forever improving benefits through optimization. Any deployment that fails to have tangible measures of value ready for presentation is on its way to "walking the plank." Lack of measurable value results inevitably in inadequate funding for content refresh and operations support, which result in the irrelevance of the network and the inclination to "pull the plug."

Integration into the media model: Multichannel and omnichannel communications, which take advantage of the best features of many devices, is the clear direction among marketers and communicators. Some operators of digital signage have embraced this approach and enjoy being part of campaigns and initiatives. By driving viewers to websites and mobile interaction, digital signage is effectively transitioning from an "audience of many" message display to "audience of one" engagement. This trend will continue as new approaches to mobile activation emerge.

Supply chain: The field of suppliers of digital signage continues to grow rapidly, with static sign and digital graphics providers becoming a mega-force in the same way that audiovisual/information technology integrators have mobilized and expanded the sector. Static sign providers inherently understand communications and messaging, have existing customers, are inherently entrepreneurial and competitive, and require little training to learn how to develop digital signage content. At the same time, hardware providers are producing better product bundles, software providers are becoming smarter or are being rapidly marginalized, and the most capable suppliers are transitioning into high value-added areas and areas of broader service. Shakeout will leave the sector stronger as revenues are less dispersed and margins can better support ongoing growth.

Content and transmedia: Once the technology is in place, it is the messaging that delivers the results. Better message strategy and composition equals better results. This hard-fought battle under the banner "content is king" is being won. The key trend is toward getting it right. The Digital Signage Today survey published recently published reflected a significant change in content sourcing. Where 56 percent of respondents previously created all content in-house, the most recent survey reflects that only 21 percent will create content exclusively in-house. Other data points to the trend that content matters and getting it right is a top priority. The transmedia trend of leveraging (re-purposing) media used in other communications formats is strong and will continue.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon) is a well-known analyst, advisor and educator in North America's digital signage industry. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Posted by: Lyle Bunn AT 10:21 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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