The MOST Important Thing to Ask Before Choosing a CMS

Posted on: March 15, 2021
By: Dina Townsend

Question mark

Content is king “Content is king.” If I had a dime for every time I have heard that I would be retired in a log home in the mountains taking in the long views. While there are many drivers and many solutions within digital signage, the most pivotal question to ask when choosing a content management platform is “what is my content strategy?”.
The surest way to navigate the murky waters of digital signage is to have a clear understanding of what story you want to tell and what kind of content you intend to use to tell it. I think most of my peers would agree that while content strategy is the most important leading consideration to any good digital signage network, it is also often the last detail considered. In many cases, it is even minimized. The results of this can include ineffectual campaigns, stale deployments, and a lot of wasted opportunity.
Some follow up questions include “what might my deployment look like in two to five years?” and “might there be other ways to leverage the solution I choose to address initiatives that I may encounter down the road?”.
Understanding your content strategy will dictate what type of technology you will need from a storage, network, and bandwidth perspective. It will also inform the importance of formats that a given platform can support, the type of screen technology best suited to your content strategy, and the most efficient way to distribute that content to a variety of endpoints.
Budget should be a guideline, but not the primary driver for decisions. It should always be a consideration, but too many end users wade into digital signage focused on budget and it’s role in establishing a return on investment. The budget should align more with your total cost of ownership over the life of a system and the achievement of your objectives. Bear in mind that there are several ongoing operational costs to an effective digital signage system that must be part of your total cost of ownership considerations in order for you to achieve a return on your investment. Those two acronyms -ROI and TCO- go hand in hand.
Budget
I have often said that no great deployment begins with “Can I get a quote”. From the end user’s perspective, it should begin with “Are you the right vendor to enable my vision?”. Once that is established you can negotiate as needed with the right provider for you.
If you spend time searching for digital signage long enough, you are likely to have heard the statistic that most people have an attention span less than that of a goldfish -which is about 6 seconds. Additionally the saturation of digital media in our everyday lives has led to a type of burnout and has led people to walk around with air pods blaring and eyes looking down at their phone.

Collage of screens To capture the eyeballs that advertisers and MarCom teams are looking for, deployments are becoming bigger and more complex in order to be more eye catching. In this spirit, multi display signage and custom LED’s are becoming more and more mainstream. As someone recently said to me, “we don’t do rectangle screens anymore, everything we do is unexpected”. While the unexpected is eye catching it can also present a challenge to your backend content management platform. Therefore, an aptitude for multi-display environments is critical in considering a digital signage partner. Let’s string those thoughts together: audiences are tuning out traditional digital signage, the market is responding with more multi display signage in more eye-catching arrangements, which can create a challenge for content playback.
5 year plan This is one of the many reasons why defining your content strategy initially and looking two to five years down the road at what your deployment might evolve into, is critical in helping you achieve that return on investment that everyone covets but for which few truly plan.
We have just scratched the surface on this discussion here in this blog and so I invite you to get in touch with us to talk about your specific project. We love ideation and we will use our vast experience to help answer the questions that will lead you down the right path.

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