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Going Green With Digital Signage Makes Dollars And Sense


It has been shown that digital signage can reduce the environmental impact of your marketing and communications efforts, which of itself can be meaningful in multiple ways when considering greener alternatives. This is all well and good, but digital signage can also be a smarter approach to communications, which makes good business sense, too.

In past writings, I've mentioned several studies (download whitepaper) that enumerated the benefits to the environment of choosing to communicate via digital signage rather than with traditional printed signs. In this blog, let’s explore a few of the cost benefits organizations can realize by going green with digital signage.

Money talks

As we learned in grade school, Benjamin Franklin popularized the notion that has become an idiom of our day, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Many people apply this principle only to the initial cost of something they buy, but for businesses, in general, it is particularly helpful to look at the cost from a different perspective—total cost of ownership.

For this reason, a business manager should consider that it is often much less expensive, in the long run, to replace printed signs with greener alternatives. Matter of fact, depending upon the type and quantity of printed signs being replaced, it is likely for a digital signage system to pay for itself in less than two years based on a prospective-cost comparison.

This has certainly been true for Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Altoona, Iowa, who transitioned from conventionally printed and translucent backlit signs to digital signage over the last five years, saving the facility millions of dollars in printing costs.

When asked about the cost comparison between digital signage and their former print habit, Ryan Dunn, Media & TV Manager at Prairie Meadows, commented, “With the savings we realized using digital signage, we paid for our 25 channels within the first two years. We also save close to six figures a year by not having to print those backlit signs.”

Of course, prospective-cost comparisons are calculated with anticipated cost. But when we are considering the total cost of ownership of the imperfect and variable communication plans of marketing, we also need to consider the unavoidable unknown costs—like printing mistakes, price changes, last minute venue event changes, and the list goes on and on. This is one area digital signage excels like no other medium because it eliminates the cost penalty to correct the message and the majority of the time penalty from making a communication change.

“Once we have the initial cost of putting in digital signage, they pay for themselves because we don’t have to worry about constantly printing, worrying about mistakes or changes,” said Dunn.

In this instance, the sheer quantity of signs needed to tell patrons about frequently-changing entertainment acts, menu items, and special offers, along with the expense of the backlit signage medium, made selecting digital signs a financially wise decision.

Message per meter

Closely related to the cost benefit of digital signage vs. printed signs is something I'm dubbing "message per meter." Digital signage networks have an innate ability to playback media files in a playlist—one after another—in an endless sequence, just as a TV channel plays back a ceaseless lineup of entertainment, commercials, news, and other content.

That ability means a theoretically unending sequence of timely messages can be played back on a digital signage network. It's almost silly to conjure up how printed signs would do something similar—wallpaper the entire venue? Clearly, when it comes to the number of messages communicated per meter (or whatever unit of measurement you desire) of space, digital signage wins hands down thanks to the element of time.

From the perspective of being green, winning the "messages-per-meter" crown makes digital signage a far more environmentally friendly alternative. From a business perspective, the ability to play back the sequence means more goods and services can be promoted per unit of wall space, which should positively affect sales.

Improved workforce productivity

Whether it's printed or digital signage, there is a pretty well-established workflow for creating a given message. The former requires transport of people and actual end product at several points in the process. From the moment paper stock arrives at a printer till the time someone in an organization—or an outside contractor—actually hangs the finished printed sign, the transport never ceases, nor does the carbon footprint associated with that process.

On the other hand, the digital signage workflow is far more efficient. There is literally zero transport of physical media and people required between the point of origination of a digital signage graphic and where it's displayed. Cutting out all of "the middlemen" needed from concept to delivery in a print workflow makes digital signs an attractive alternative from a productivity point of view, and reducing the transport of people and materials makes digital signs the more thrifty choice.

Prairie Meadows experienced an efficiency revolution after they transitioned from analog print to digital signage. Dunn further commented, “Our digital signage makes financial sense because we don’t have to have our graphic designers on property designing for print and designing for electronic media. They [the graphics department] are all designing for one [system], which greatly reduces duplications and the necessity to re-create for each system.”

Add to the efficiency equation the ability of some digital signage software applications to extract specific information from existing databases and facilities management software to automatically create digital signage pages, and the positive impact digital signage can have on the productivity of an organization becomes even clearer.

With benefits like these, it's clear going green with digital signage is a sound business strategy that you can bank on.

About the author

David Little has over 17 years of experience helping professionals use digital signage technology to communicate more effectively. For further digital signage insight from Little, visit the Keywest Technology website and download his white papers and case studies. Connect with Little on LinkedIn.

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