Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Digital Signage Sales 101: Without a defined desire, there is no sale.

-Deacon Wardlow
Thanksgiving is upon us in the USA. A time to come together and look back at the year on what we have to be thankful for. Vantage LED has had a great year thanks to our partners, dealers, and team. We're thankful to be a part of your organization and for the opportunity to help however possible with your business' success and growth. How do we spread the message more effectively and how can we help organizations receive the benefit of a great Digital Signage solution?

In the children's book series, Doctor Dolittle encounters a "gazelle unicorn cross" with two heads (one of each end of its body). The Pushmi-pullyu (push me - pull you) is at odds with itself and requires either a push or a pull to go in a given direction. We're all "Pushmi-pullyus" to some extent. People often want to achieve something but need a little push or a pull to get it. The trick is figuring out when to push and when to pull.

Creating pull means creating desire. Creating desire requires not only knowing what people want, but how they decide what they want and working with that decision to get to a "yes." The great thing about Digital Signage (DS) is it immensely helps organizations with communication, outreach, brand recognition and awareness, all in a direct and efficient manner. Most people desire a DS solution for their organization, but see a lot of difficulties in overcoming the hurdles to getting one in place. Once the pull has been identified and outlined (what is the desire? how can the proposed DS solution help the organization achieve a return on their investment and/or objective), it's time for a push.

The push doesn't have to be a big one (after all, the client wants to get there and just needs a little assistance). The push can be as simple as outlining financing and leasing options (to show how the system can be more affordable over the long run as opposed to a lot of money up-front), perhaps giving incentives to get things moving (including custom content at the start so the system shines from day 1), and other times a little hand-holding and additional information so the decision makers the client will go back to get the full message of how the system will benefit their organization.

A DS solution is more than just another sale to chalk up and add to the books. Ideally, a great solution is something that is going to help the client's organization be even better than before. You're helping that organization get their message out to more people in a more direct manner. You're giving the organization a tool which can help grow their business or group and make it stronger and more tied-in to the community they're a part of. There's still a hill to climb to achieve a better economy, but we (the LED Sign and LCD system integrators, sales people, technicians, and developers) are finding new approaches for organizations to take and new ways to help them grow. Find the right pull by defining the desire and the right push will lead to a thankful client.

Please comment here or send questions or requests for information to Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (, please check it out when you have a moment. Note all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically noted.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why LED Signs: Use Outdoor Digital Signage to Give Thanks, Spread the Holiday Cheer, and Grow Your Organization.

-Scott Hofheins

The holidays are coming! Retailers, charity organizations, churches and small business owners look forward to this season for different reasons, but with one common goal: communicate to the public. The message can be the need for donations, Sunday services, or charity events. It can also be advertising your holiday specials, black Friday sales and Christmas gifts. LED sign owners are resting easy knowing that these targeted messages are playing 24/7 to help spread their cause, grow the organization, and/or increase sales.

LED signs have revolutionized the way we advertise to the public, and have made it even easier to focus your message in relation to specific times and seasons. A static sign lets everyone know you exist at that location. A changeable copy board will give you limited control of your message. But an LED sign gives you 365 days per year of customized messages and targeted advertising 24 hours a day. I posted about this last year, and included some tips on pre-planning your messages. This year, I would like to focus on why you should consider an LED sign for your organization in general.

Powerful and Easy
LED signs do not require manual letters to be changed outside in the weather. You can program the schedule from the comfort of your home (if your software is cloud based) or office. This means a boost in the quantity AND quality of the messages you put on the sign.

Your messages can be targeted to a range of groups and demographics, depending on a host of variables like the time of day, day of the week, holidays, and current events. Messages can be tailored for these groups in ways that would be much to difficult with traditional signage.

Messages can be changed instantly to suit your needs. When local or national events occur it takes just minutes for you to customize your messages to match. Charities can advertise immediately for local disaster relief, businesses can use media trends to highlight their own content.

Full Color - High Res
LED signs are now able to communicate your message in full color and at a much higher resolution than ever before. The LED’s are brighter, last longer, and manufacturers are increasing their warranties to match. Full color motion and graphics have replaced the old pixelated one color signs of the past and owners can display their existing branding to the LED sign with little effort.

The Return
LED signs have rightly become an investment, not just a business expense, with a return that typically pays for the sign very quickly. Many organizations are now investing a significant portion of their yearly advertising budget to invest in a sign that will provide advertising benefits for 5+ years. Unless they've purchased a sub-par product, it is extremely rare to see an organization that does not get a full return on the investment.

Your LED sign will make you stand out and help the public recognize your organization from the rest. As more traffic passes your sign and more people see your messages they will respond and remember you. This will help grow your business, expand your congregation, or increase donations and awareness for your cause.

If you don’t have an LED sign yet, I encourage you to consider the benefits I've mentioned here and that are exemplified so well during this holiday season. For those that already own LED signs, don’t forget to use it! Remember to keep it updated and relevant to the season. Use this time to expand your message to a wider audience by tailoring the content to align with the public’s thoughts. Family, Food, Good Will, Happiness, Giving and Receiving and Thankfulness.


I hope this post has been informative and helpful. As usual, I welcome ALL constructive comments. Please feel free to comment and add anything I’ve missed, or additional tips you may have regarding this topic. Please visit for many other resources, white papers, and of course: Great looking LED Signs!

**All posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Digital Signage Need to Know: Isn't "The Cloud" the Same as Wireless Connectivity?

Isn't "The Cloud" the same as "Wireless" connectivity?

Let's lay this interesting misconception out and discuss how the two concepts are related (or not). A definition fresh from the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, of the World Wide Web opens the topic:

Definition of WORLD WIDE WEB-
: a part of the Internet accessed through a graphical user interface and containing documents often connected by hyperlinks, also called the Web

And the definition of INTERNET-
:  an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world

The Web is a part of the Internet.  There are other parts of the Internet and the most well known are:

FTP and Gopher Sites
Communication Programs
Chat Rooms
Social Networking

Definition of THE CLOUD-
: anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet

So, The Cloud, as it were, is really a process, or a service.

Think of it in terms of the early days of personal computing (which extended up until a few years ago). You are a wheat farmer in Kansas and you use a service that predicts the weather, estimates the cost of the wheat at market, provides technical assistance and allows you to talk to other wheat farmers on-line. You pay $50 per month for this service and they send your CDs out whenever they update the software- let's call this service Wheat-Max.

The nice people at Wheat-Max just upgraded their software so the introduction screen is prettier and the cost per bushel estimator for International shipments is running real time. They sent out the new update to your farm last week and your wife dropped the CD on your desk this afternoon.

Now, you have your desktop fired up and insert the upgrade disc into the DVD/CD reader on your computer hoping everything runs smoothly from a technical perspective, while keeping an eye on that approaching thunderstorm (would hate to lose power 1/2 way through the upgrade) and not wanting to miss your dinner. Twenty minutes later an error code is displayed to your screen that says "insufficient RAM: process aborted". 

Hasn't this happened to you? Well maybe not the Wheat-Max upgrade, but my point is why do we manage our software this way? Why didn't Wheat-Max just upgrade their software on-line, then after dinner you could sign on and just use the software?

The same concept holds true for LED sign software. How many LED sign companies open up their newly arrived LED sign project, remove the LED cabinets, set it up in their shop and look for the CD to make it all work!  Whoopsie- they did not ship the CDs with the LED display!

Let's not play that game. Let the LED manufacturer do the work. You, the LED sign company, have enough to worry about finding new customers and sealing the deal. You don't need the headaches of trying to run a data processing center too.

So, the Internet is the network of computers, the World Wide Web is part of the Internet, and The Cloud is just a cool name for accessing and using the software on some other company's computer so you don't have to have your dinner missed updating the program with yet another revision.

But the question was: Isn't "The Cloud" the Same as Wireless Connectivity? Clearly it is not the same. Wireless connectivity allows a user to communicate to an LED display (for example) remotely but the controlling software may be on their PC. With Cloud control the software is resident on the computer of the LED manufacturer. To make it even less clear- when using the cloud software to control your LED display it communicates remotely (wireless). You just don't have to fool around maintaining the software because it's on a remote computer online.

It works... its great... get into THE CLOUD!

These comments belong to me, Mike Prongue, and do not reflect the views, opinions, hopes or dreams of anyone else, anywhere else and this includes Vantage LED. I appreciate your constructive opinion which may be sent to me at 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Digital Signage Need to Know: What's the best solution for a Digital Signage system?

-Deacon Wardlow
Back in the day, I worked with different businesses looking to break the barriers to entry for international markets. Many of the companies were looking to enter the Asian markets from the USA & Canada while Asian-based businesses were looking to entry into the North American markets. The successful businesses made concessions for culture, environment, and market demands. Here are a few examples (and how they apply to Digital Sigange):

Have you heard the one...
A German walks into a fast-food burger chain in NYC. The lunch line is incredibly long and it takes about 15 minutes to get to order. Finally, he steps up to the counter and asks for a large beer.

The people behind him start laughing and say, "You came here for a beer? Are you crazy?"

The German turns around and looks at them with surprise, "You mean you're here for the food!?!"

Fast food corporations are great markers for cultural integration. Dunkin Donuts (known under the alias of Mister Donut in Japan, a competing brand DD bought out), offers soups and tofu donuts in Asia. McDonalds has vegetarian-based menus in India and shrimp burgers in Asia. Coca Cola offers a carrot-flavored soda for the Japanese market (Vegita Beta). Nestle's KitKat comes in potato flavor in Asia (Japan alone has over 80 flavors of KitKat available). These companies have learned a hard lesson, there is no single solution or product which fits all situations, it's necessary to be flexible with the product to meet varying demands.

How flexible is the manufacturer you work with for Digital Signage (DS)? I recommend checking on how "future proofed" a company is (especially if that manufacturer works with new technology). When a product is released tomorrow, will it be able to be supported 8 years down the road when some of the components are no longer available (i.e. driver control chips, specialized components or proprietary technologies)? How quickly & easily can a manufacturer customize the software and/or hardware to meet site and client-specific needs?

The Best Solution
There is no "one size fits all" solution with Digital Signage. The best solution for DS is the one that solves your customer's problem. Customization to meet client need is as important as that carrot-flavored soda in Japan. You might not want it, but your client will go with the company who can provide the special solution they're requesting. Take the taste-test challenge with whomever you're working with and see how custom they're able to go before they say, "No."

Please comment here or send questions or requests for information to Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (, please check it out when you have a moment. Note all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically noted.