Andy McRae on Business Intelligence and Digital Billboard Programming

Andy McRae is General Manager at the digital signage software provider Dot2Dot Communications.  Last week McRae gave an OAAA sponsored talk on dynamic digital billboard programming.  McRae said companies are not incorporating enough business intelligence into digital sign programming. 
Andy in your talk last week you said that out of home companies are incorporating time of day, social media, news, weather and sports feeds into their digital sign programming but that they aren’t doing as much with business intelligence even though this may provide the biggest payoff.  What is business intelligence and how might it be used in digital billboard programming?
When I speak of Business Intelligence, I mean specifically the customer’s sales transaction data which can be mined to provide insights into the correlations that exist between products and the specific triggers that entice someone to make a purchase. This kind of analysis needs to be used to build an objective based advertising strategy. On one hand, I do believe that there are companies who make use of this kind of analysis regularly, but it is being applied at retail and the actual point of purchase as opposed to being additionally used as part of the content strategy for the outdoor campaign. 
 
Sounds simple enough, but there are some existing barriers to this really happening. Getting this data from an advertiser is certainly not easy, and there are not likely many outdoor companies or agencies who have the expertise to be able to first consume this data and secondly create a strategy based on it. What we may see are companies who are a hybrid of technical data capability, marketing expertise and strategic content development excellence make some headway on this. Carnyx Communications in Toronto is a perfect example of just such a company.
 
My overarching point on the webinar and why I think this is important is that advertisers are being bombarded by data and technology that provides mostly demographic data or location specific data. It is very useful, but only if you understand what exactly that will do to help you achieve your business objective. We must keep sight of the overall campaign objectives and the 3 required steps of first, educating your desired target customer that your product exists. Secondly, influencing their destination, whether actual or virtual so that they move to a position where they become an activation and of course, sealing the deal at the actual purchase decision point. It is critical that the message be relevant and consistent across the whole program. That is difficult to do if we are only looking at the data itself and not the expected impact on our desired business objective.  
 
A simple example might be that if we can look at people who buy soda and determine that the next most frequently purchased item on the same transaction is dog food, then it stand to reason that dog owners drink soda and we can communicate with them at dog parks about soda. It is obviously not that simple, but you get the idea.

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