Digital signage has been around for some time now. The concept has been validated and now it’s just a matter of continuing to develop and perfect it.

Seamlessly incorporating data into digital signage messages has been on the rise for several years, too. As the ability to integrate data into signage has moved from a simple weather pull or RSS feed to more complex applications, the question has become: How do we better leverage Big Data?

As a marketer myself, there’s a big appeal to big data. It gives me the information I need to deliver the most relevant message to my targeted audience. Sounds like a great fit with digital signage, doesn’t it? But today, big data and digital signage look like a middle school dance: girls on the right side of the gym and boys on the left, with a big, empty space in the middle.

When are the two finally going to talk, let alone get together?

The problem with big data is that it’s big … so big that analysis and supercomputers are required to make any sense of it. A perfect example are the loyalty coupons I still get at the grocery store that have no relevance to the products I actually buy. Retailers have been using loyalty programs for years and gathering piles and piles of data that they don’t appear to be applying logically or creatively to the offers they make to customers.

Unfortunately, technology has moved ahead faster than the majority of retailers’ ability to do anything with the data it creates. “In meeting with a number of retail executives I’ve found that Big Data is getting a lot of interest, but most of these executives struggle with some common challenges – such as how to align big data with use cases, how to identify new types of (generally unstructured) data and how to harvest big data for improved decision making,” said Vantive Media CEO Chuck Schaeffer in a recent article.

That isn’t to say that all retailers are missing the mark. There are some good examples of how retailers are using big data. One of the best known is Target, which figured out who among its customers were expectant mothers by mining sales data on pregnancy-related purchases such as lotions and supplements, and then marketed other items like diapers and baby clothes to them.

When beacons became a thing, the whole concept of leveraging big data to drive more relevant digital signage seemed to be taking shape. The premise is simple:

  1. Know there is someone standing in front of a display.
  2. Understand who they are, their purchasing history, likes or dislikes (big data).
  3. Trigger a customized text or email message based on that knowledge to increase relevancy and conversion.

Imagine if Target-type creativity were applied to digital signage. In addition to sending messages to smartphones, beacons also can trigger digital signs. With them working together, you can deliver intelligent profile-based messaging to a shopper’s smartphone and to the digital signage that surrounds them. Taking into consideration past purchases or preferences allows for much more targeted messaging that can enhance the shopping experience. (Don’t go overboard, though; as we all know from targeted online ads, sometimes it can feel as if we’re being stalked by retailers.)

If you’re actively using big data, congratulations! You’re on the right track. Consider how you can leverage it to deliver more compelling digital signage messaging. If not, you’re missing out on a big marketing opportunity – one your competitors may well take advantage of. Before that happens, why not figure out how to help big data and digital signage talk to each other? It’s a conversation worth having.

See more ways beacons and digital signage are BFFs in the retail world. Download our white paper to learn how your customers’ experience can get a boost when beacons and digital signage work together.