Review of DOOH panel at 2009 Cincinnati Digital Hub Non-Conference

@bcollinssignman: digital signage can be adapted to context a... on Twitpic

Bill Collins

Last week I organized a panel discussion on digital signage or “digital Out of Home” (DOOH) at the Cincinnati based Digital Hub Non-Conference.  This conference was a regional showcase of all things digital with some national keynote speakers.  At last year’s event, I was shocked that a digital conference could have no digital signage discussions so I got involved and got on the programming schedule for digital signage.  The problem is that I was too chicken to do the whole topic on my own. Its the whole fear of public speaking. So I thought… hmmmm  who else can I draft into this?  A panel discussion would be much easier for me to stomach.

I know many people in our industry from our many years of experience, and first turned to some of the partners we have in the business such as Samsung.  Samsung suggested we use Dayton based Stratacache since this event was a regional showcase, and I have been aware of Stratacache for years, even though we had not yet worked with their tools.  Turns out the director of marketing there, Louie Hollmeyer was a classmate of mine in elementary and high school.  I hadn’t seen him since.  (He looks the same as when he was eighteen years old!)  Done!  Then I turned to respected national speaker and research analyst for the kiosk and digital signage industry, Mr. Bill Collins.  He turned me on to Mike Collette of Healthy Advice Networks.  Their firm operates about 7000 screens in their network of patient education content that is placed in waiting rooms around the continent.  He would bring a great perspective on how to manage or operate a large network.   Done!   My connections connected me to new and relevant prospects for the panel.   This was working out quite well.

Now, the reason they call this a Non-Conference is that while the keynotes are held in the main ballroom of the local Hyatt Regency hotel, the breakout sessions are held in local pubs and artsy venues.  The attendees walk the 3-4 blocks to the venue that is hosting the session you are interested in attending.  Our session was held in the Lodge Bar on 7th street in Cincinnati.  The decor is very log cabin ‘ish with deer heads mounted to the wall along side of fishing paraphernalia and similar sporting trinkets.  Certainly interesting when your session attendees are drinking a Gin and Tonic during your talk!  The problem with the Non Conference idea is that the day of the event, there was a large rain storm that started right at the time our session started.   So our attendance was low at first, and the room filled up more as the wet and dripping new media types “poured in”.

Samsung had provided two LCD panels for our use at the event (Thanks Guys!) and our firm, Electronic Art provided the stands and media players.  Stratacache brought a sample reel of Digital signage content and so did Healthy Advice Networks.  Bill Collins brought a great PowerPoint deck with some good visual examples of signage installations and his take on definitions and metrics.   Some folks noted that the content from Stratacache had localized data in it that was set to Nebraska (and we are in Cincinnati),  but they need to understand the lack of internet connectivity and amount of setup needed for this short 45 minute session.   I think everyone understood the scenario being shown.  (The Twitterati can be so picky!)  There were discussions about the reasons to use commercial grade hardware and the reasons why, the slow adoption of signage by retailers in the past and how this has been changing.  We also discussed how traditional agencies have been slow to understand the medium and how interactive agencies (like Electronic Art) have been providing a lot of the content and consulting.  And we talked about the benefits such as localization, day parts, and how the content can be specific to the viewer.

In all, the event was a success.  We could have gone on for another hour but sadly these were short sessions.  We knew that going in which is why we titled the session “Digital Signage 101: – Networks, Components, Media and its impact on traditional media.”.    I heard a lot of people ask for more of this content next year.  We hope to be able to provide a longer session and incorporate more signage into the event overall for way finding and sponsor promotion.

The keynote speeches of the event are available online as PodCasts at http://cms.screamingbob.com/content/null-dhi09/podcasts. To see some of the Twitter posts on the overall conference, look up the tag #dhi09 on Twitter.  And here are some photos from our session at the Lodge Bar.

Louie Hollmeyer of Stratacache #dhi09 on TwitpicJohn Cyzrka of Samsung talking about uVending solution # dhi09 on TwitpicSetting up for #dhi09. That's @kioskguy behind the samsung sc... on Twitpic

EA Launches New Social Network Sweepstakes Service

We wanted to let you know that Electronic Art has launched a first of its kind social networking sweepstakes service named Twit2Win.  The service allows brands to target the growing audience on social networks with sweepstakes to promote their brand and grow their presence with the social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and many other platforms.  A new sweepstakes is started weekly to provide a continual reason for the loyal followers to return to the site and enter the branded sweepstakes and win free prizes.  It is an opportunity to expose your brand by allowing the entrants to share the sweepstakes within their own social circle of friends.  This can grow exponentially!

Although sharing by the consumer is totally up to them, this is not something you can expect to “control”.  If your sweeps prize or your brand message is interesting, they will share it.  Some marketers have a hard time with giving up control, but with social media, that is exactly what you have to do.

Wrangling up cool tweetstakes prizes

So, how might your company use this service? Some brands have a global reach and their products or services are universal. Giving away one or several of your products is a great way to promote your brand and also gain lead generation from the entrants to the sweepstakes.  Other companies may not have a product to give away such as a non-profit or charity, but they can still participate by providing highly sought after consumer goods such as Ipods, HDTV’s, vacations or other similar items.  For a small fee, Twit2Win brands the main web site for the duration of the sweepstakes with the sponsor’s logos and imagery and provides many link back services to the sponsor’s web sites or presence on Twitter, Facebook, etc..  We can help your brand grow its social media presence or simply help provide the lead generation services you desire. There are many other services available and the innovative team at Electronic Art can consult with your team to craft a targeted campaign. If your brand or agency would like to participate, contact us for details.  We are making it really low cost initially to show you how great this can be for your brand.

In the short time since our launch in mid January 2009 we have really grown our following of people who read the micro-blog postings each day.  The prizes have included ipods, Obama Hope posters during the inauguration week, and a family membership to a museum.  That museum saw a 45% increase in the people who now follow their blog postings during that sweepstakes.  Interestingly, it also grew dramatically in the weeks following the sweepstakes as people continued to share. They now have a larger audience of people reading their blogs and visiting their web site daily.

Twit2Win continues to grow and offer additional services across more platforms.  Twit2Win advertises and draws traffic from Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other grass roots marketing methods.  Our blogging professionals promote the sweepstakes on Twitter and multiple other social networking sites such as Facebook, Friend Finder and other sites to drive traffic and generate sweepstakes entries. The growth in a short amount of time shows the popularity of the sweepstakes in this unique channel. We expect our growth to be huge in 2009 as each of these platforms continue to add new users.

Things people are saying

On Twitter, people send “Tweets” or posts to their personal network about things they are thinking about or that they find interesting.  Here are a few posts about the Twit2Win service on Twitter:

joeyTWOwheels@twit2win should be recognized as a good way to build followers.1:11 PM Jan 31st from web

anexemines@kmesiab , ppl getting clever w/ twitter sweepstake ideas: http://twit2win.com/9:44 PM Jan 28th from TweetDeck

twitter-logo150x42So follow us on Twitter at:  http://twitter.com/Twit2Win and watch for our tweets on cool Tweetstakes from great brands that “get” social media.  Reward your customers, authenticate your brand and gain new socially aware advocates!

Links to articles on Twitter and Social Media

New to Twitter and social media, here are some articles to help.

New Twitter Alert Service

Found a new Twitter alert tool that monitors Twitter posts for keywords you are interested in.  So for example, I may want to see twitter posts about Kiosks, Digital Signage, or our company name, our client’s names or brands, etc.   What a great little tool for monitoring buzz and those little blog posts we call Tweets.  Nice tool guys!  http://www.twilert.com/    Follow their founder at:  http://twitter.com/danleach   seems like a good guy.

New to Twitter?  Think of it as a very short blog posting tool.  You can post to it via the web, phone, email, sms, etc.   It’s a fun way to keep up with your friends, co-workers, family, etc. and see what’s going on in their lives.  For example, I follow Lance Armstrong which is fun, and Guy Kawasaki(who posts a lot!!) as well as many other people that I actually know personally.  Sometimes the posts are about business, sometimes about what they are currently doing, or thinking, or noticing in the world around them.  Some posts are pure silliness, but often there is much to learn or think about.  This social networking tool can also broadcast your posts to your blog, Facebook, and many other social networking sites.  I have a BlackBerry app that allows me to post on the fly.  And www.TwitPic.comallows you to post pics that you want to Twitter about.  By the way, when you post a message to Twitter, that is what is known as a “Tweet”.   Some people Tweet way too much, and others only Tweet when they have something important to say.  You choose who you want to “Follow” and can block those you don’t want to see your posts.   We are even considering using a private Twitter account as an Internal communications tool inside of Electronic Art, as an alternative to email to keep our inboxes cleaner.

Do you Tweet?  If so, comment with your Twitter page and let us know how to find you!