As digital infuses every medium, one of the oldest advertising mediums around — out-of-home — is getting a digital makeover. Forrester Researcher Cory Madigan recently attended a MediaPost summit on this topic. Here’s Cory’s take on the event:

On April 11th, MediaPost hosted a Digital Out-Of-Home Summit in New York. The event was primarily attended by digital out-of-home (DOOH) vendors, and the content was geared toward that audience, focusing on what the DOOH industry can do to help media planners and buyers shift spend to that channel. The opportunity is clear: As the medium closest to offline purchase, marketers can use DOOH to complete a marketing loop that involves TV, mobile, social, and out-of-home media. Tricia Nichols, global lead of consumer engagement and media strategy for Gap brands, noted that the interactivity of DOOH screens lends itself to in-store experiences, going beyond offers and into social loyalty. But with what seems like an obvious way to spend ad dollars, young DOOH media is having a hard time selling itself to media buyers and advertisers. How can the industry rise to the challenges it faces?

  • Media planners: Break out of your silos. Rather than plan with a customer-centric approach, media planners focus only on their channel with little collaboration across other media. Because many advertisers are already unsure how to integrate DOOH into broader campaigns and programs, opportunities to marry place-based media and mobile programs, for example, go by the wayside. Agencies and marketers need to plan media according to the customer life cycle, and DOOH will be more likely to add value and find the relevance it seeks by marrying the targeting and geolocation capabilities this medium offers with content made for its place in the customer life cycle.
  • Advertisers: Play to DOOH's strengths. DOOH is more than just an adopted TV spot or static ad on a digital screen. And yet, the creative for out-of-home is often limited to just that — poorly adopted content that doesn't take advantage of the unique opportunities DOOH can offer, namely interactivity and engagement based on relevant context. Check out the Mercedes-Benz “Key To Viano” Berlin train station installment that allowed commuters to use their own car's key fob to unlock a Mercedes Viano and see what came out. A few lucky winners got a VIP ride in the vehicle as well.
  • Out-of-home industry: Collaborate to develop metrics. The DOOH industry needs to unite behind a single (and ideally accredited) set of metrics. In a marketing world where CMOs demand return on and proof of investment, DOOH lags behind when it comes to measurability. There is almost no real-time data, which, for a channel that brags of its flexibility and responsiveness, is a glaring flaw. Nielsen has led the charge on creating DOOH measurement, but the method has serious limitations, not least of which is an incomparability with other media like TV or online.

For more insight on the future of this burgeoning industry, check out the report, "Digital Remakes Out-Of-Home Advertising” (client access required).

Marketers, how are you using DOOH as part of your marketing mix? In what ways has the channel benefited or challenged you? Let us know here or in the Forrester Community For CMO & Marketing Leadership Professionals.