Smart Signage

This is a guest post by Hollie Azzopardi from Stolen Quotes.

Last Friday, we attended AIMIA’s Smart Signage Event ? a forum exploring modern-day signage usage, including the use of interactive displays to enhance a brand, and the future of signage as technology progresses.

If you’re thinking signage of the future is all about QR Codes, you are mistaken. Smart signage is much more complex than scanning a sign and pulling up information. Think Minority Report. There are now tracking tools that can track your emotion, age and gender, simply through skeletal and emotional recognition. Scary? Yes. Exciting? Yes.

There are already examples of businesses taking advantage of the technologies available in the signage space.

US donut chain Dunkin’ Donuts introduced an interactive menu that can be updated in-store by the manager via iPad. Menus are able to be adjusted according to what specials the manager wants to promote that day, are synced with the social media activity occurring live and can even recommend a drink according to the outside temperature at the time. This interactive signage was also successful in eliminating the businesses reliability on cardboard and paper menus, ultimately saving them money in wastage costs as menus became dated.

Another interesting concept was vending machines using smile-detection software to encourage people walking by to approach the machine ? the bigger your smile, the greater your chance to win a free ice cream.

While options are almost limitless when it comes to how your brand or company could incorporate smart signage into your marketing strategy, there are a number of things that should first be considered:

- Do you have the right people on board to implement a successful smart signage piece? Consider that it is perhaps not the role of the marketing team ? is it the IT team’s job? Should consumer psychology be considered? Smart signage is more than just marketing. It requires appropriate data, testing and a balance of the consumer connection and technology at play.

- How will ROI be measured? Do you expect the signage to increase sales, or is it a publicity stunt? What are you offering the consumer other than an experience ? free product? Discounted product? Vouchers? Nothing?

- As Executive Producer of Boffswana, Robert Stock, said ? just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Consider the sign’s purpose and cost. If it is not likely to produce the results you or your client is after, reconsider. There will always still be a place for simple signage. Unless you’re thinking about creating an interactive dancing bear sign ? apparently those are a hit!

Contributor:

Hollie Azzopardi, Account Manager at Stolen Quotes.

Is your small business ‘Investor-Ready’?

I am inspired by the energy, passion and commitment of business owners.

I meet many who are looking to take their business to the next level.

They want more, but they are not quite sure how to get there.

Many are seeking investors in the belief it will help them get there, or at least chart the course to make navigation easier.

Before you decide you need an investor, ask yourself the following questions:

- Is the business ‘investor-ready’?

- Does it have enough customers, revenue or forward sales orders to determine a fair value?

- Are there more things you can or should do before you approach an investor?

- Do you really want an investor in the business? If so, why and for what purpose?

- Are you flexible enough to adapt to a new ownership and reporting structure?

- Are you ready to ‘give up your baby’ in favour of growing it?

- Does the business actually require investment, or is there something else it needs more?

- What do your require from the investor? Cash? Networks? Expertise? All of the above?

- Do you have a clear plan as to how the investor’s money will be applied and what returns it is likely to produce?

- Have you optimised the business revenues, marketing, processes, etc. to maximise the sale price?

- Are you the right person to take the business to the next level, or would it need an experienced manager so you can focus on what you do best?

- Will securing investment deliver your expected outcome of lifestyle, money, time, etc.?

This list of questions is not comprehensive, but hopefully will assist you in deciding if now is the right time to think about investors.

Contributor:

Michael Field, Director at Michael Field Pty Ltd.