By Corey Moss

Let’s begin here, with a recent statement made by a Samsung executive (prior to the Digital Signage Expo):

“In the past, digital signage in various industry verticals was often more focused on futurism and the ‘wow factor’ rather than fully developed deployment strategies,” said Mark Quiroz, Vice President for the Digital Signage Product Group. “That’s no longer the case. Businesses are using professional displays with very specific objectives in mind — placing screens strategically and using a wide range of tools to maximize relevance and transform experiences.” 

I highlighted this statement in Futurism and the Wow Factor in Digital Signage Debunked – It’s About “Fully Developed Deployment Strategies” According to a Samsung Executive, and in the story I went on to say
that I actually targeted in discussion with numerous companies at DSE about selling with the ‘wow factor’ rather than fully developed deployment strategies. The results of my conversations was indeed eye opening, as they admit that there is way too much selling on the wow and not enough on strategy, benefits and the leading edge for the end user.

In terms of fully developed deployment strategies – in short, a number of companies are giving the industry a thumbs down. As I also said in the article, I have long tried to debunk the ‘wow factor’ as a selling point, and futurism is excellent add-on commentary here as well.

Futurism: a point of view that finds meaning or fulfillment in the future rather than in the past or present. *

We talk about being in the moment, as it’s impossible to be in the future – which is fully unpredictable. And if that’s the case, then why take a futuristic approach in the first place. We can however, along with present, sell on past experiences as well. The end user, being familiar with present technologies are also of course perceptive of those of the recent past. Actually, if you think about it, there are technologies from 10-15 years ago present in meeting rooms, classrooms and more. They can certainly also help to define a present strategic approach.

At a trade show, if you walk into a booth and hear a pitch that includes “this is the future of (x) technology” don’t hesitate to challenge the statement – ask how, why, when, what, etc. An end user should do the same with such a sales approach. Many times we refer to these future prospects at trade shows as potential vaporware, and the end user should be thinking the exact same thing.

In Sales 101, it’s specified that a salesperson when sitting down with a potential customer inquire about pain points. Pain points involve both the past and the present in terms of what kinds of real challenges the end user faces, and to be bothered with wow and future prospects is counter to this important discovery phase.

Going back to Mark Quiroz’ statement: “Businesses are using professional displays with very specific objectives in mind — placing screens strategically and using a wide range of tools to maximize relevance and transform experiences.” 

The AV industry has put great stock in the experience, ultimately defining an end result. Digital transformation has been defined as the novel use of digital technology to solve traditional problems. These digital solutions enable inherently new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhance and support traditional methods (Wikipedia). Transforming experiences mirrors this in terms of enabling positive outcomes through innovation, creativity, and strategic problem solving. This is by no means about enhancement, it’s all about building on the leading edge. Maximizing relevance.

I recently had a discussion on social media about the wow factor, as it was pointed out that this positioning in sales was even more important than a well detailed statement of work. Customers must be wowed by what they will be getting was the gist of this statement, that the wow factor should be the sales approach. I have time and again, while attending trade shows, been met with the wow factor approach, and most times I’m ready to walk away at that point. I also walk away from the technology futures approach.

I was recently witness to an online demo of a new technology concept. I felt a little of that wow approach going on, but I was not being oversold on it – myself being in sales for almost 20 years brings breakdown and analysis on such approaches. There was discussion of benefits, strategy and even pain points – a good start. But I’m not the one to truly impress, that’s for the ultimate target – the end user, and that’s where they’d have their work cut out for them. The same goes of course for any manufacturer, along with the integrator.

If you’re in sales, read Mark Quiroz’s statement – then read it again. You don’t necessarily have to be in the digital signage business, but you should take away the fact that the wow approach just does not suffice in commercial – the customer wants it to work, satisfy all of their needs, and help to provide that leading edge in their market.

Sell strategically in the now – do the proper needs analysis, provide a clear and concise statement of work.

And save the wow for the kitchen.

* Definition on Merriam Webster.

Note: Header image – Google search definition.

With over 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent AV Media. Corey writes for the publication and hosts/produces podcasts – The AV Life, Convergent Tech Talk, Convergent Week and The AV Tech Trade. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers. Find him talking about a whole lot of things, tech and otherwise. On LinkedIn