Can you sell digital signage as a sign-making or commercial print business?
Kapow Network’s Chris Rushton writes about why he’s poacher turned gamekeeper and says there’s no reason you can’t join in on the action.
As a person born into the print industry in the 1970’s, my life has been forged by the smell of the factory and the wonderment of the art of sign-making. My dad started his career as a left-handed compositor which he promised me wasn’t easy. Over the years he passed down his passion for the business to me which, at 77, he still turns his hand to today.
So, when I decided to start-up a digital signage network following a long career in the print industry I wondered if he’d approve. When I showed him our first demo screens with their mixture of rich content, he became really excited at the prospect and quickly started to see the swathe of opportunities. I shouldn’t have been so surprised at his reaction, thinking back, he’d always been an early adopter of new technology.
Yes, of course the technology is different to that used in sign-making or commercial print and no doubt some new skills are required but you may be surprised to know that you’ve already been doing it for years.
Doing what? I hear you ask. Adaptation, transformation, evolution or whatever you want to call it. Sign-makers and commercial print companies have dealt with the onslaught of new technology since the 1960’s. And it’s not just keeping up with developments in their own industries such as desk top publishing and computerisation or digital printing. It has also been about keeping up with the pace of change in the world of business to customer communications and how people digest their information.
Whilst this has no doubt been a huge challenge, it also offers early adopters and clever thinkers a massive opportunity. Many companies have diversified, adding new revenue streams or unique business models in order to become sticky with their customers.
Who doesn’t know a sign-maker that can now offer business cards and general print or a commercial printer that has bought a wide format press. Some have even forged new revenue streams from selling and printing promotional items, offering website design and email marketing. Clients need most, if not all of these things, so why not offer the lot?
Sign-makers and commercial print companies are well positioned to offer digital signage solutions. And it makes sense to start with your existing client base who already know you offer a good service, have creative flair and provide solutions to their ongoing marketing and communication challenges. There can be no doubt that many of your customers are already thinking about how they can implement digital signage into their business. You don’t have to go far to see many businesses putting digital signage into action. When executed well, it can bring a number of benefits to the customer and become an ongoing revenue stream for the provider.
Of course, you’ve still got to be good at the basics, and this doesn’t mean offering the lowest price. Great service and relationships are forged over time and built on trust. The techy digital signage companies simply don’t have that with your customers.
So, how do I get into it?
Isn’t it just about flogging screens?
I’ll lose existing print orders as a result, won’t I?
No doubt you have a lot of questions that need to be answered and the answers may surprise you. What we have discovered at Kapow Network is that it takes three key skills to deliver a professional digital signage service and there’s simply not many companies out there that are able to offer them all, which is of course great news for you.
You may already have one or possibly two of these skill sets existing in your company. It’s highly likely that some additional training will be required within your business and in the beginning you will need help from some trusted partners and some honest advice.
That's where we come in. We are more than happy to share advice and learnings from setting up Kapow Network, which could help you avoid some of the initial pitfalls that you can encounter when setting out on your digital signage journey.
Contact us at www.kapownetwork.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Rushton is Publisher at Kapow Network which launched in 2018 and currently runs a ‘Point Of Wait (POW)’ network of screens in South London.
Original post on LinkedIn:
Photo by Wojtek Witkowski on Unsplash