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Billboard Technology

Billboard Technology

Yes, it exists, and this is how you can use it strategically

A few months back, we talked about Data and the Human Factor. Technology (and big data) is every company’s favorite playground. Or at least it should be. Dead and gone are the days where we rely on a media sales rep to rattle off impressions or market index identifiers to sell us on our traditional media opportunities. With the latest marketing tools and technology, we are able to truly optimize media opportunities that were previously considered catch-alls. For example, let’s take a look at how technology can drive your billboard and out-of-home placement and content decisions.

Catalyst is able to map out billboard locations for our clients with the use of current technology. These applications allow us to apply a heat map overlay and conduct proximity analysis to determine theoretical and player counts. With the touch of a button, we can bring data to life. No more driving by billboard locations, as this technology allows you to preview potential billboard sites from the comfort of your office desktop. Simply zoom in on the interactive map to see specific locations, or zoom out to see customer information for a larger area. By using theoretical value or player counts with billboard placement, our clients can target the right locations for their specific needs.

No longer are we spending time putting pins on a map to identify prime billboard locations. Technology now works with the knowledge of where your players are coming from, along with the value of your main markets. This helps you ensure that the impressions of each billboard will come from existing and potential customers.

Another important use for this type of marketing application? With interactive map visualization, you can input competitor data and zero in along specific sections of roadway to review competitor messaging as well. This is key to the planning process and helps you strategize your best messaging for each location.

However, whether your billboard features a brand message, a headlining act, or a promotional message, with a strategically placed billboard, your messaging is secondary. The most important thing is that your presence is there and in the right strategic location. With this type of research behind your billboard placement, your brand’s impression WILL reach your intended audience.

With the use of key tools, technology takes the data and makes it work for you. Another plus? For markets in high traffic areas, this software also assists with calculating drive times, rather than miles. This can be helpful for messaging, too. Make this software work for you … manage, filter, and chart your maps. Create an operational workspace using player data and market analysis. Import your known player data and export the magic that comes with smart technology.

Technology is also enhancing the billboard experience. We are seeing more and more billboards being converted to digital boards. Utilizing marketing technology to better understand when your customers are seeing these digital boards will ensure that you are best day-parting your content, allowing you to deliver the right messages with the optimal frequency for a single digital location. In addition to digital boards, we are starting to see beacon technology being built into billboards. This technology allows you to direct message or target mobile devices for your customers who have opted into your messaging services or provided their data through your property’s Wi-Fi, for example. The story that we are able to tell about our billboard network regarding messaging, impressions, traffic volume and patterns, as it relates to your customer data, allows you to support and enhance your buys with the rest of your media mix. For example, following a high-traffic time block on your billboard route that is heading into a residential area, you know it is a good time to make sure that your broadcast media is activated in that target area. This presents a great opportunity to push a geo-fencing campaign that reinforces the messages on your billboards in the area.

Through the use of marketing technology supported by a focused media or strategic planner, we can take a once static medium, like a billboard, and make it truly dynamic. There is something profoundly sentimental to me when I consider that marketing today can still very much benefit from the time-honored tradition of a roadside billboard. Yet, over a century later, we have continued to build upon its success with the use of modern technological advances. This isn’t our grandparents’ marketing strategy – but it is one that utilizes the best of both worlds.

Remembering that data is only good if you can do something with it, in this new year, I encourage you to take a look at some of the programs out there that help support and direct your business. Marketing technologies are allowing us to make our real-time data actionable with mediums that have long been ignored in the real-time data world. The opportunity for growth, when utilizing valuable software and systems, is as infinite as the World Wide Web … it’s endless.

Mark Astone

Mark Astone