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Smaller Banks and Credit Unions Offer Digital Signage Opportunities

Allows them to leverage limited marketing dollars…

Digital signage is becoming more popular within banks. Many of the larger financial institutions have expensive digital signage networks that are often supported by dedicated in-house and agency staff that provide technical and content support. These heavy investment and staff commitment levels present a challenge for smaller banks and credit unions that don't have huge marketing staffs or budgets. The need to respond to technology advancements and market expectations makes all financial institutions prime candidates for the types of digital signage systems that are typically offered by the local reseller community.

Given the growing popularity of financial institution digital signage, combined with the electronic expectations of customers in the banking industry, convincing smaller banks and credit unions that they need digital signage shouldn't be difficult (assuming they don't already have it); however, explaining to them how it can be a cost-effective addition to their marketing mix can be (even if they do already have it).

On the technical side, for the small bank and credit union market, a digital signage system should be inexpensive to install, require minimal licensing, networking and hardware costs. It should also be easy to maintain and come with an easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS) that can be updated by in-house or external marketing personnel without requiring contracts with content management companies. Finally, a digital signage system with an Internet cloud approach that offers pre-configured digital signage player appliances or allows the use of existing Windows or Mac equipment is the most efficient as it doesn't tie up scarce IT resources or push you or your customer into unfamiliar territory.

Leveraging Marketing Investments

The selling challenge is to introduce prospects to a digital signage solution that enables them to introduce a new communication vehicle in their branches that takes advantage of their existing business marketing investments and collateral. It helps to explain to them how digital signage can actually lower costs by, for instance, cutting down on the cost of printing, distributing, placing and removing posters and other lobby materials while giving the additional benefit of immediate content changes to all branches (including the drive up lanes which are not environmentally friendly for posters).

Electronic signage also enables them to guarantee consistent marketing messages across the branch network and to schedule digital signage content to facilitate close coordination with their broader marketing programs.

Whether it's developed in-house or by an outside agency, when it comes to content, we've found that much of the existing marketing materials can be used with digital signage systems with little alteration or redesign. By using an attractive and flexible digital signage page template the financial institution can easily incorporate other marketing materials along with news, weather and community involvement into the signage. Virtually all of the popular graphics files can be converted to a useable format for digital signage. Even external Web site content, videos and PowerPoint presentations can be integrated into digital signage systems. So, it comes down to a question of how to effectively leverage existing materials keeping in mind the demand of the display locations and the television format.

Since digital signage is generally deployed within branches or at drive-ups while customers wait, it offers a greater opportunity to cross sell lesser known products, such as insurance products, mortgages and CDs to existing customers.

Innovative Applications

One promotional location that's often overlooked is the bank's or credit union's ATM locations. ATMs attract existing customers as well as visitors who are not yet customers but may be in the market for an alternative bank or credit union. ATM locations are great places to put informational digital signage to introduce potential customers to the organization and to promote attractive products, such as low-cost checking, mortgages. auto loans and CD promotions that could entice them through the door. We recommend separate digital signs apart from the ATM itself since well-placed signage can be directed to waiting drive-up customers, as well as customers using the ATM.

Another marketing opportunity comes about by tying in digital signage with social media marketing programs. It's a given that banks are at least experimenting with social media if they don't already have full-fledged social media marketing programs. The online nature of many digital signage systems makes it a natural for integration with social media; banks can automate links between their social media activities and promotions. They can also use the digital signage to promote their social media presence and communicate real-time social customer interaction with customers waiting at the teller line. Employing Quick Response (QR) codes on the digital signage can give viewers a direct link to the bank or credit union's Web and social media presence.

So, don't ignore your local banks and credit unions (whether big or small). They present a tremendous opportunity for digital signage sales even if they already have signage. You can give them a competitive tool to compete with their rivals at a fraction of the cost. There's almost certainly a chance to improve their in-branch customer experience while reducing their costs and administrative burden and increasing their integration with their other marketing programs.

Mike Strand is founder and CEO of StrandVision LLC, an Internet-based subscription digital signage service that is distributed through resellers. Previously, Mike founded StrandWare, a leading bar code software and AIDC company. Prospective resellers may contact Mike at mjstrand@StrandVision.com.