Fewer than 25 percent of respondents to a recent study of marketers, agencies and media companies said their organizations were “digitally savvy,” while more than 90 percent reported they plan to increase what they spend on their digital marketing efforts. That’s an intriguing disparity and probably indicates a general recognition that the old methods of marketing must change to accommodate the potential digital media offer and at the same time an acknowledgment that new skills, tools and approaches must be acquired and adopted.

According to the study, “Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010,” a joint effort by the Association of National Advertisers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and management consulting firm Booz, Allen, Hamilton, 51 percent of respondents identified limited experience with digital media as a significant as trouble spots on the horizon.

As Bob Liodice, president and CEO or the Association of National Advertisers put it: “The impact of new media is changing the way marketers interact, target and distribute their marketing message. As the marketplace shifts to a digital interactive environment, marketing organizations, agencies and media companies need to transform existing marketing agendas and capabilities to succeed.”

While marketers retool for the new demands of the digital interactive, the natural tendency would be to focus entirely on the darling of the new media stage -the Internet. However, they shouldn’t ignore other, new important members of the cast, including interactive digital signage.

To that end, marketers looking to retool for interactive digital signage should consider these five points:

Repurpose expertise: Many of the creative skills, such as video editing and creation of graphics and animation, as well as strategic planning skills, like message development and demographic identification and targeting may already exist internally or as services from trusted vendors. Often, those skills can be redirected to exploit new opportunities presented in an interactive digital signage setting.
Acquire new skill sets: Building interactive digital signage presentations may be new to you or your company, but the skills needed to do so have been around for at least 20 years. If your organization can’t afford to take the time to learn these new skills, there is a sizable community of service providers who have been developing branching, interactive presentations for at least 20 years.
Re-orient thinking about metrics: Interactive digital signage offers marketers instant access to consumer preferences and interests. Polling consumer interaction can provide valuable insight about which messages work, which don’t and where to go next. Taking account of those statistics not only can help with tactical tweaking of an existing interactive digital signage presentation, it can also provide valuable audience metrics that can be used to build future strategic plans.
Exploit opportunity for customer dialog: The thing that makes interactive digital signage interesting is the fact that it’s interactive. Depending on the application, it may be entirely appropriate to collect user information and establish an ongoing dialog that extends beyond the first point of customer contact at the store. For example, one gardening center that’s employed interactive digital signage collects user information that ultimately gets used to remind customers about fertilizer applications and other regular lawn and garden maintenance via mail as seasons and requirements change.
Recognize and remember consumer behavior: The fact interactive digital signage is interactive means it’s easier to keep track of consumer interest and respond with the right messages as needed.
Interactive digital signage presents marketers with many opportunities to advance their goals. But before they can be effective integrating interactive digital signage into their marketing mix, these professionals must absorb new skills and recognize the opportunities digital communications presents.

David Little is a digital signage enthusiast with 20 years of experience helping professionals use technology to more effectively communicate their unique marketing messages. He is the director of marketing for Keywest Technology in Lenexa, KS, a software development company specializing in systems for digital signage creation, scheduling, management and playback. For further digital signage insight from Keywest Technology, download our Six Basic Digital Signage Applications white paper; subscribe to our digital signage RSS feed that gives a diverse perspective on digital signage from experts around the world; and sign up for our Keywest Update news brief.