Guest Post: The Future of Marketing : Digital-out-of-Home

Intrigue-Logo---VerticalMike Hajmasy
Intrigue Media

As William Leiss and others discuss in their book, Social Communication in Advertising: Consumption in the Mediated Marketplace, television commercials once played a dominating role in the world of advertising. Following the Second World War, television became a primary way to reach a mass audience at home, alongside traditional mediums such as print and radio. Today, however, in lieu of digital technologies such as cell phones, laptops and tablets, marketers must adapt how they interact with potential consumers.

The purpose of this brief article is to discuss Digital-out-of-Home (DooH) marketing and how it is reshaping the way advertising operates. After highlighting some of the advantages of DooH marketing based on the research and opinions of other industry professionals, it should be clear that advertising is headed in a particular direction that is rendering these traditional mediums obsolete.

To begin, let us consider what ‘out-of-home marketing’ is and how it differs from television commercials, print advertisements and the like. Simply put, out-of-home advertising describes a marketing strategy that targets consumers when they are outside of their homes. The goal, then, is to reach people while they are on the move or at specific out-of-home locations. Advertisements may appear in a variety of locations including subways, washrooms, bus terminals, gas stations, and so on.

Digital-out-of-Home advertisements, in particular, are transmitted via some form of digital screen. These screens are typically interlinked so that the same content can appear in multiple locations simultaneously. Campbell Cromar sums it up nicely on, saying, “In the simplest sense, a DooH network is a group of large screen TVs installed in places where potential customers are.” Let’s consider some of the benefits of this format over traditional mediums.

In his article for Adweek, Michael Applebaum cites DooH’s powerful ability to reach the consumer. With television, radio, or print ads, the consumer can very easily avoid what they are seeing, and their reach is generally domestic. DooH advertisements, however, are “…in your face and you can’t turn [them] off.” Consider, for example, advertisements on small screens situated above urinals; they are virtually impossible to ignore. Because digital screens can be situated almost anywhere, DooH advertisements have far fewer boundaries than their broadcast and print predecessors.

Applebaum suggests that “at a time when the cultural conversation is dominated by the latest mobile device and social media crazes, there’s a reason why marketers keep coming back to this tried and true method: it works.” Applebaum believes that instant, on-the-go messages are best because they are inline with how many people operate on a daily basis. Consumers no longer want to watch a long, draw-out commercial on TV; they want a quick, engaging message that they can receive on-the-fly.

In addition to its keen ability to reach a broad, mobile audience, DooH marketing has emerged as an affordable option that produces results. Since digital technology is continuously evolving, what was once very expensive is now relatively cheap. The cost of a flat screen television, for instance, is significantly lower than it was even five years ago. As a result, companies can purchase these screens in bulk, set up a network of content, and install screens in a variety of unique locations. This cost-effective method, in combination with a potential return rate of $2.80 per $1 spent makes the appeal of DooH marketing obvious (Applebaum and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America).

A final, noteworthy benefit of DooH marketing is its ability to provide potential consumers with the interactive engagement that contemporary digital technology demands. Over the course of its rapid evolution, DooH marketing has been seen taking a ‘hands on’ approach in the form of an open loop, touch screen display. Nike’s most successful football campaign to date implemented such tactics, using digital interactive kiosks to engage with consumers by having them vote for their favourite player. Rather than pushing information onto the audience in the way that TV commercials and print ads inherently do, Digital-out-of-Home advertisements like these have the consumer pull information as they actively engage with content.

Once upon a time, television, radio, and print advertisements that reached an audience at home were reliable and effective methods of marketing. Today, however, as digital technology continues to become a growing part of the on-the-go lifestyle, marketers have had to modify how they engage with potential consumers. This brief article has discussed Digital-out-of-Home (DooH) marketing and how it is reshaping the modern marketing/advertising landscape. Taking advantage of the ubiquity of cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers, DooH marketing reaches a wider audience in more diverse locations, produces results on a budget, and provides consumers with the interactivity they have grown so accustomed to. DooH is the future of marketing, and the future is looking bright.

For more articles on best practice marketing, communication, and business philosophy, click here.