Prior to launching any business strategy, decision-makers across the organization must ask themselves tough questions to ensure that they are taking the best possible approach to the objectives that lie ahead. According to Armagard, the same dynamic applies to a digital signage project, where many brands still struggle to optimize their hardware, software and content to maximize returns on investment. To help these leaders in their efforts, here are five questions that must be posed and answered for the smoothest and most effective launch possible.  

1. What are our strengths and weaknesses? At the core of every winning game plan lies an honest and thorough evaluation of the status quo. Since many brands' digital signage strategies have been in existence for years, it's critically important that business leaders take the time to assess the best and worst parts of their deployments. Some companies may excel at content development but lack the networking capabilities to properly distribute these messages across venues. Breaking down strengths and weaknesses is the only way for leaders to create a targeted strategy for improvement.  

"Every sector has distinct consumer demands and expectations for signage."

2. Is our strategy aligned with our industry? Every sector has distinct consumer demands and expectations, and digital signage is only worth deploying if brand strategists coordinate their efforts with these unique industry parameters. For instance, a fast casual restaurant will launch a signage platform with very different scheduling and content requirements than an institution of higher education, as Spencer Graham noted in an article for College Planning and Management.

"The answers depend upon informed discussion of what model would work best for your institution, as well as how peer institutions have fared in their own decisions," explained Graham. "A solid team of people who understand the vision, mission and demands of the digital signage network must be trusted to make sometimes difficult decisions."

3. Does our software have the right features? Even with a strong, detailed strategy ready for launch, a brand won't be able to maximize the impact of a campaign unless its digital signage software is capable of performing all the tasks necessary for success. As a recent blog article from The Financial Brand pointed out, there are a few areas of focus that leaders must address when selecting their signage software, namely localization, segmentation, scheduling and the ease of use for content management systems.

Of course, these features will only fulfill their value potential if they are all operable through self-service access points. Brands cannot waste time tweaking their signage strategies via communications with third-party providers, and the best software solutions will offer intuitive dashboards to control every element of the deployment. 

Signage strategists are tasked with identifying shortcomings and improving upon weak points to yield results. Signage strategists are tasked with identifying shortcomings and improving upon weak points to yield results.

4. Are we prepared  with effective content? The images, video and written information displayed onscreen are arguably the most important parts of a signage strategy overall, as these are the elements that will ultimately impact the opinions and behaviors of viewers. Unfortunately, many brands focus too heavily on the technological components of their campaign and overlook the content that plays such a key role in the overarching strategy. Decision-makers should agree on an effective and sustainable method of content development and distribution to ensure the success of their deployment. 

5. Can we measure campaign impact? While digital signage platforms may not be known for their precise analytics functions, brand leaders must think outside the box in order to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts. In this case, the best way to assess the effectiveness of a deployment is to track changes in the amount of in-store purchases, as well as monitor discussions taking place on social media. Incorporating an interactive element into a signage strategy is also a great way to develop a more accurate set of metrics and understand true ROI.