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Is This It? Are Things Finally Turning?

By Mike Strand, StrandVision Digital Signage

Is it just me or is there renewed business energy and excitement this year? It seems that with the new year the business activity level has increased. The stock market has been trending up and the Fed has said that it'll be holding interest rates low until 2014. Housing, still anemic, is beginning to dig in its heels and jobs data appear to be improving.

It would have been easy for me to miss all of this good news if I didn't also see it in our Web, phone and, yes, business traffic. It feels like a switch was thrown in late 2011 that turned on the business marketing machine - which is gradually spinning up. Our renewals have been strong and we're getting lots of inquiries and new business. All of a sudden people seem to be planning ahead for better times - or at least acknowledging that it is time to move forward into this new business environment.

Perhaps the strongest indicator for me, given my history of selling first bar coding software and then digital signage through resellers, is the channel. Some of our resellers who have been dormant the last few years are waking up. They're bringing in projects, interesting projects, and working with us to develop proposals and assist with sales presentations.

We're also hearing from new resellers who want to explore digital signage technology for the first time to address specific opportunities. Some of these proposed projects are with their existing clients and some are for new prospects that have never done business with them in the past. Larger business marketing and employee communication projects are being developed for clients that appear to have budgets that are loosening up. Just the fact that companies are looking at digital signage technology indicates to me that they are optimistic and beginning to position themselves for growth and the never before seen future that we all are now a part of.

We're finding that these resellers are developing high value add projects – projects like GPS-enabled, transportation-based mobile digital signage applications, projects for hotels that drive digital signage through in-house cable system head ends and multi-site installations for worldwide companies and franchises. These reseller-driven projects tend to be accompanied by quite a bit of add-on equipment and networking sales and supported by significant systems development consulting.

I hope that you're seeing this same kind of business activity. Regardless, it's time to “seize the day” and look for opportunities to grow your business and I suggest that digital signage is one of the ways to do it in this new business marketing environment.

As I've explained in past articles, digital signage networks take advantage of the hardware, software and networking expertise that most resellers already have on board. It also fits into virtually any customer profile – it works for retail, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, non-profits, schools – you name it. It also works on both the marketing side – directed to customers and prospects, and to internal communication – with employees, students and staff.

Digital media player displays are popping up everywhere. The time to act is now. You don't want to visit a client only to be greeted by a digital sign in their lobby that was installed by another vendor. First, you've lost a sale and second, you've allowed a competitor to open the door with your client. I encourage you to become familiar with digital signage and how you can fit it into your offerings.

The electronic sign market is maturing, which means that it's easier for you to source digital signage services and components. But, don't wait too much longer. It's actually getting to the point that your customers need your help now, so let us help you get started.

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.