Agency, CUs Find Digital Signs Are Costly but Effective
A recent report suggests that branch visits may still be an underleveraged asset.
According to Digital Signage in Retail Financial Services, a report by retail marketing agency John Ryan, while the majority of retail bank and credit union sales originate in the branch, less than 2% of visits resulted in a purchase.
In addition, nearly three-fourths of respondents viewed digital signage as essential or important to in-branch marketing over the next three years and some 93% agreed that banks' adoption of digital signage will continue to increase.
While the chief motivation for piloting digital signage has been to increase revenue, nearly half of respondents surveyed had no formal system in place to measure pilot program results. As a result, more than one-third had no plans to extend their pilot program further, citing frustration about high capital costs and the inability to prove ROI.
“Based on the survey data and hundreds of interviews, we believe banking executives are frustrated with digital signage pilots because not enough research was done prior to piloting such systems,” said study author Nancy Radermecher. “Financial institutions need to adopt a more deliberate approach to launching a digital signage network that must be driven first and foremost by their business strategy.”
Since 2007, Navy Federal Credit Union has partnered with Empire Media Group and digital signage solutions provider Scala to grow its centrally controlled digital signage system.
According to Susan Voss, Navy Federal’s assistant vice president of marketing/advertising, the strategic move to incorporate digital signage into its marketing mix has helped in delivering more targeted messages.
“It provides an additional delivery channel to promote our products and services to our membership. The medium is dynamic. We can add or remove content according to our schedule and it provides an informative experience to members visiting our branches,” said Voss.
According to Tom Nix, vice president of Americas at Scala, digital signage is essentially a communication medium similar to email or television but with unique characteristics.
“With television you schedule time to watch whereas digital signage you encounter as your move about your day so it has to quickly catch your attention and provide value,” said Nix. “It gives you an opportunity to be more relevant so your member can walk in and rather than just watch CNN they can see local information.”
He added that it helps create an opportunity for the credit union to better serve the community with more relevant messaging.
The Vienna, Va.-based credit union has expanded its digital signage to some 170 branches worldwide. Each branch houses multiple hi-def flatscreens that run special Navy Federal promotions, announcements and Associated Press content.
“We run approximately 30 minutes of unique content that loops continuously throughout the business day,” said Voss. “The primary focus of our content is promotional, but our playlist is not 30 minutes of non-stop ads. To enhance the experience, we integrate content from the Associated Press that covers the day’s news, from politics, sports and business to celebrity birthdays. Best of all, we can update this content almost as fast we as can update our website.”
In addition to being able to change content quickly regardless of screen location, Navy Federal can create highly targeted geographic- or branch-specific content and run those promotions at designated branches while continuing to run the general promotions in others. For example, the credit union can prominently promote a new car loan on digital signage screens in branches located nearby major car dealers. According to Voss, the move to incorporate digital signage into its marketing strategy has also helped reduce costs.
“We can present multiple messages within a single ad,” said Voss. “For instance, with a credit card promotion, we can present four or five benefits through quick transitions versus a poster where we’re more restricted. The system gives us the flexibility to showcase as many promotions as we see fit without cluttering the limited space in branches.”
Navy Federal plans to expand its digital signage system to some 200 branches by the end of 2012.
“Not unlike other financial institutions, we’re constantly shifting gears with new promotions and offers. Interest rates change often, too. As such, priorities can change quickly, and we have the ability to respond in real time. We can add, remove, update and target content worldwide in a matter of minutes.”