MediaCom automated connection through Signkick

Signkick Automates Connection to MediaCom Trading Desk

Signkick Automates connection with MediaCom

Signkick have announced the achievement of an exciting milestone in the path towards a more connected, open OOH era.

Powered by Signkick’s Trading Bridge software, a live, automated connection has been established between MediaCom’s trading desk and Signkick customers: powerhouse media owners Global Outdoor and Clear Channel UK as well as independents Admedia, City Outdoor, Limited Space and Wold Outdoor.

This connection is now facilitating fully automated transactions between the agency and all six media owners, bringing new possibilities and efficiencies to each business. Most importantly, however, this new way of trading is helping to entice new and increased budgets from advertisers into the OOH medium.

“We were over the moon to see new budgets coming in so quickly via Signkick Trading Bridge – long may it continue!” Phil Daniel, Admedia

MediaCom have been ​singing OOH’s praises​ in previous months and automating how they purchase the medium is clearly big on the agenda.

“We’re excited to be leading the charge towards open, connected and scalable automated trading that will lay the foundations for new and exciting developments in OOH.” Arran Javed, Mediacom Trading Desk,

“Connecting different systems together has been the sticking point for so many companies working towards automated trading of OOH. It’s great to finally have a way to do that fast and at scale. Our connection with Signkick has been integral to the speed and success of Mediacom Trading Desk’s UK launch.”

  • For top tier media owners Clear Channel and Global, Signkick Trading Bridge provides the final piece in the automated trading puzzle: a stable and scalable connection to MTD from their existing systems.
  • For smaller independents such as City Outdoor, Connectivity+, has fast-tracked their progress towards automated trading. As well as the live connection, Connectivity+ gives them a user-friendly online interface for managing automated bookings and placing manual ones.

For Signkick, this is just the first, albeit exciting, step towards a more connected OOH ecosystem that makes it easier and more efficient to purchase OOH advertising. Something that the industry has recognised time and time again as a key stepping stone to future growth.

“By connecting and facilitating automated trading between MediaCom’s trading desk and Clear Channel, Global, City Outdoor, Admedia, Limited Space and Wold Outdoor, we’ve taken an exciting step towards the Open OOH era. An era where transactions between each unique player in the OOH ecosystem are seamlessly automated and connected. This will help create a unified experience for buyers and a scalable product as OOH buying and selling becomes increasingly sophisticated.” Tobias van Amstel, Signkick.

To discuss connecting your inventory with MediaCom Trading Desk, get in touch with the Signkick team.

It’s time to talk about how we automate D/OOH at scale

It’s time to talk about automation at scale 

Automation and programmatic have cemented themselves as real buzzwords in D/OOH. Their mention usually incites fierce debate on who is doing what, how it is best achieved – or whether Online’s programmatic model should be followed by D/OOH at all.

In less than a week’s time media owners, agencies and adtech companies will delve into the details of this complicated subject in the final 2019 event in the Adtech OOH series on Wednesday 4 December, 2019.

After chairing a panel at the first event back in 2017, the team here at Signkick were keen to see the discussion brought to Amsterdam last year. Not only because it’s home to our research and development team, but because The Netherlands has shown to be an early-adopter of automation and programmatic D/OOH technology.

Individually, we know we hold some, but not all, of the answers to delivering programmatic and automated trading in D/OOH. The promise it holds for D/OOH will, probably, never be realised by one company or solution. Only when the end-to-end process is completely connected will we realise automation and programmatic trading’s full potential at scale.

Next week’s event will bring together leaders in this space from The Netherlands, UK and across Europe. So it’s an opportunity to be updated on our frenemies progress, and throw around some buzzwords as we forge next steps for the industry.

For our part in this conversation – and the greater goal of progressing automation – MediaCom’s Head of OOH trading or iDOOH, Arran Javed will be on stage to talk about the synergy we’ve created to help connect media owner’s with MediaCom’s trading desk. Together, we’ve established a friction-free buy-side connection for media owners to use to automate planning responses and trade automatically, at scale.

Signkick Trading Bridge is the force behind this. Using Signkick Trading Bridge, media owners – large and small – can create the same friction-free connection with any automated buyer they choose.

For top tier media owners, whose systems aren’t compatible with automated buyers, Signkick Trading Bridge takes care of translations and conversions while implementing business rules, so their trading never misses a beat.

For challenger brands, Connectivity+ is the way to first moves your inventory to an easy-to-use sales and booking platform, then connect. With the ability to manage automated bookings and place manual ones, you’ll retain full control over your inventory.

Connectivity and compatibility are words we hear our media owners struggling with everyday. Using Signkick Trading Bridge, we’re able to deliver a simpler, way to automate and connect media owners with their buyers. So they can get on with the rest of the conversation.

The full agenda can be found here and features speakers from Albert Heijn, Ocean NL, Global Outdoor and Facebook. While the room is almost at full capacity, tickets are still on sale here.

 

Why automating your RFP responses will save your OOH business time and money

Image of RFPs

Why automating your RFP responses will save you serious time and money

RFPs – Requests for Proposals – are an intrinsic part of doing business in any Out-of-Home market. The RFP or Request for Proposal signals the beginning of a potential new relationship between buyer and seller. Here in the UK, the buy side of that relationship is dominated by the five major Specialists: Talon, Posterscope, MediaCom, Kinetic and Rapport. All of whom are live (or close to it) with automated systems that help them plan targeted campaigns across multiple media owners using Route data. These campaign plans or RFPs are then sent to media owners and the race to respond begins.

But the reality is that for media owners, responding to RFPs is more a marathon than a sprint and those three letters spell opportunity and cost in equal measure. Pulling together a response is a hugely time consuming and expensive exercise for media owners. Briefs are interrogated, availability and prices checked and schedules tweaked. Traditionally, it can take weeks for a buyer, not to mention a client, to receive a completed response. Further still, as D/OOH sets its sights on omnichannel advertising budgets, media owners can expect briefs to become increasingly complex and be under greater pressure to deliver on speed, efficiency and cost. 

But responding to RFPs does not have to be so labour intensive for media owners. Whether you’re a top tier media owner or a challenger brand, it’s possible to respond to RFPs almost instantly with the precision and efficiency that will make your competition weak at the knees. Using automation.

The benefits of automating your response to RFPs

Media people are savvy. They’re always on the look out for a way to get an edge over their competition. There’s a golden opportunity in OOH right now where some media owners are embracing technology to their advantage, while others wait to see how it all lands. In some areas this is a sensible move, but when it comes to automating RFP responses, there are a multitude of benefits to be had, without the need to dive in at the deep end. 

Respond efficiently

It’s no secret that, for media owners, responding to RFPs is painful, time-consuming and expensive. Every unsuccessful RFP response is a big cost that must be recouped elsewhere. So, it’s pretty clear that one of the biggest benefits of automating this process will be to media owner’s bottom line. Smart software, purpose-built for Out-of-Home companies can relieve sales teams by translating a request, check live pricing and availability, applying the buyer’s specific business rules then sending back a proposal almost instantly. This not only saves time and money but also frees up your sales team to focus on closing, upselling and fostering client relationships.

Respond almost instantly

It’s likely that when it comes to sales, you know what you’re doing. So we don’t need to extol the benefits of striking while the iron is hot. By creating a live connection between your inventory and your top clients, it is possible to automate a near instant initial response to an RFP. Before your competitors have even had a chance to open the email. 

Respond to last minute RFPs

More and more brands are beginning to use DOOH in a more dynamic, context-relevant and dynamic ways. This means the days of long lead times are numbered and last minute RFPs will come in thick and fast. This isn’t a problem if your responses are automated. In fact, by consistently responding and delivering on RFPs with short lead times, you’ll be given more opportunities to fill those last minute spaces before you need to discount them.  

Respond 100% of the time

Once a live connection between your system and your buyer’s is established, it’s no more work for them to send you every RFP. Not just the ones they choose to send and filter you out of before you’ve even had a look in. Better yet, because your response is automated, you can respond to all briefs – no matter how big or small – rather than needing to prioritise those your team has the resources to deal with. 

Future proof your business

It’s clear there are big gains to be had by automating your response to RFPs now. But the biggest gain is one that will be reaped in the future (and that future is probably closer than you think). In the UK, the five specialists buy around 85-90% of D/OOH media. Four out of five of those specialists are now live and trading through an automated planning and buying system. The pace of change and investment going into these systems tells us that it won’t be long before 100% of their transactions are automated. When that happens, it’s likely those still running on a manual RFP process, will be left in the cold.

How do I automate my RFP response process?

The first step to automating the RFP response process is to move your inventory from a spreadsheet to a live, online system. This system doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles, it just needs to be live. 

The second step is to create a live connection between your system and automated buyers. With very little standardisation happening in the world of OOH, this one is a little harder and it’s where software, purpose-built for OOH, can help. While with the right team it can be done in-house, given the time, resource and technical capabilities required to build and maintain this connection, most media owners choose to work with a technology partner. Finding a partner who can not only build this connection, but manage and maintain it as your automated business grows, is critical.  

At Signkick, we believe that automating your OOH business shouldn’t be overwhelming. Connectivity+ is designed to first arm independent media owners with a lightweight system for managing automated booking and placing manual ones. For top tier media owners who already have their own system, there’s Signkick Trading Bridge. Both then set you up with a friction-free connection between you and your buyer, managing all translations and changes in between, to allow information and bookings to flow instantly between you. 

If you’re interested in leaving the days of manual RFP responses behind, find out more about Signkick Trading Bridge and Connectivity+ here or get in touch to discuss how we can help.

 

Once interoperability is addressed OOH can become truly connected

How do we solve interoperability between D/OOH systems?

This article was originally published by DailyDOOH, here, on 12 June 2019.

Once interoperability is addressed OOH can become truly connected

How do we solve the connectivity conundrum in D/OOH?

You had only to look around the room at the latest AdTECH OOH event to understand how the industry is embracing the concept of automated and programmatic trading of D/OOH. What started as a small half-day workshop is now a global series with events in London, Amsterdam, New York and Sydney. Attendance from senior level members of both the buy and sell-side is testament to where automation sits on the industry’s agenda. 

Dig deeper still, particularly on the buy-side, and you’ll see how that agenda is already in motion. Sophisticated, proprietary automated planning systems are being developed. MediaCom’s Trading Desk, Talon’s Plato, Posterscope’s Ecos and Kinetic’s Aureus are all  data-driven systems designed to plan and buy in increasingly audience, rather than panel, centric and granular ways, albeit each one with a different approach. 

It is this more granular way of delivering D/OOH campaigns that is being heralded as the big hope for OOH’s growth. Adding real audience data to OOH’s already competitive brand-building arsenal, will make it an increasingly enticing option for brands jaded by Online’s ad-blocking and brand safety sagas. It may just coerce advertiser dollars away from other mediums and into D/OOH. 

But as an industry, we’ve hit a stumbling block in our progress. Interoperability, or incompatibility, between these systems. Despite the excellent efforts of the UK Out of Home Standards Committee with the adoption of the IAB standard OpenDirect, D/OOH systems are being developed in silos. These individualised SSP and DSP platforms speak different  languages, give things different names and even define their purchase by different parameters. 

The result is serious friction between the two platforms needed to complete a transaction. This friction makes it difficult to initiate a connection, and even more of a headache to maintain one, as each side develops and updates a system tailored to their agenda. The result is a transaction between buyers and sellers which is, at best, “psuedo-programmatic” in that somewhere along the line a human has to heavily intervene.

Before we can even think about taking money from the purse of other mediums we need to find a solution to this compatibility conundrum and ensure we have a connected landscape set up to deliver on the programmatic promise at scale. 

How do we ease the friction between OOH systems?

One way to fast-track your progress and solve interoperability between systems is to enlist the help of a technology partner. At Signkick, we’ve introduced Signkick Trading Bridge to do just that for media owners. Signkick Trading Bridge is the friction-free way for D/OOH media owners to connect and trade with automated buyers.

Once the media owner connection is in place, Signkick Trading Bridge manages all translations and conversions between you to respond to availability requests and allow buyers to plan and purchase your inventory via automated guaranteed. 

Working with Signkick Trading Bridge leaves you in complete control of the commercials with the ability to implement unique business rules for each of your buyers. Best of all, we’re pre-building connections with the major automated buyers, so all you have to worry about, is agreeing your terms of trade and connecting with us.

So whether you are a top-tier media owner just looking for compatibility, or a challenger brand starting from scratch, Signkick Trading Bridge can help you get ahead. Discover more about Signkick Trading Bridge here  or watch the video.

AdTECH OOH Amsterdam event 2018

Why we’re looking forward to conference season

For the D/OOH world, May is a particularly busy month for conferences and events. But as we hurtle towards some of the biggest events of the year, we’re more excited than usual. Here’s why.

AdTECH OOH Amsterdam event 2018

There’s a lot happening at Signkick

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve always known we were onto a good thing. But as the D/OOH landscape continues to evolve we’re better placed than ever to help media owners navigate the challenges and chase the opportunities.

As confidence in Online advertising waivers and technical break-throughs continue in D/OOH, there is opportunity aplenty for media owners. New revenue streams are waiting to be tapped, potential in digital OOH ready to be unlocked and new-found efficiencies to boost that bottom line. But for many media owners, technicalities are standing in the way.

At Signkick, we think of ourselves as a technology partner for media owners. So it’s our job to help you overcome those challenges. We’ve been working hard on this and we can’t wait to tell you all about what we’ve been up to.

There are some world-class events to attend

Tobias, Andy and Anna will be attending, and exhibiting at, FEPE’s annual congress 1–3 May. This year’s congress is in Dubai, and we’re looking forward to the different nationalities this location attracts and finding out about the challenges they face. Come see us at Stand 9 in the exhibition area!

Shortly after, we’ll head to Daily DOOH’s London Digital Signage Week. First up is the European OOH Media Summit. The following day it’s great to see the demand for a slightly more technical conversation met through the AdTech OOH conference series. This event (formerly known as European Automation and Programmatic Technical Workshop) has really cemented itself on the calendar (Wed 15 May) with sister events now in New York (Wed 16 October) and Amsterdam (Wed 4 December) later in the year.

By the 20 – 22 May we’ll hop across the pond to attend and exhibit at the OAAA/Geopath National Convention held in Las Vegas. While we visit the US on a regular basis, nothing beats being in the same hotel for a few days with our partners, customers and of course potential customers! Having a base to work from means it’s easy to find us (we’re stand 113 in the exhibition area) and we’re always keen to hear from you.

Signkick team catching up with Outfront Media at FEPE

Our partners will be there too

As a technology partner, we’re purely for D/OOH media owners. However, we work hard to develop great buy-side relationships (and pre-build connections with them) to fast-track the process for our media owners. Attending events where everyone is in one place means we can personally introduce you to these demand partners (if you don’t already know them!). That way you can get on with the commercial discussion then we’ll be here to help you make it all work when the time is right.

Finally, it’s just the best chance to catch up

There’s no doubt that conference talks and workshops offer great opportunities to learn. But for us, the greatest value these events hold is the chance to meet new friends and catch up with old ones. Whether that’s a meeting planned in advance, a conversation sparked in the exhibition area or an incidental chat at the bar. Conference season offers plenty of opportunities to talk face-to-face.

The challenges facing OOH media owners are complex. To help, we need to really understand what you’re trying to achieve. And that conversation is always best had in person (preferably with a beer in hand). So if you’re attending any of these events, or are based in one of these cities, get in touch and let’s set a time to meet. We’ll buy the beer!

Robot Automation in OOH

Robots won’t replace Out-of-Home sales teams – but they will make them better

For many, automation, algorithms and AI conjure images of a future where humans are dispensed with and robotic beings rule the world.

But when we set Hollywood, headlines and the predictions of the third most popular folk comedy duo Flight of the Conchords aside, we see automation for what it really is. A powerful tool that can transform the way we work for the better. Automation fast-forwards the passage of time to complete monotonous or repetitive tasks with no risk of human error. In the workplace, this frees teams to focus on more important tasks requiring human perception and skill.

Robot Automation in OOH

Out-of-Home is no stranger to the automation conversation. The rise and rise of digital (now accounting for 50% of UK OOH and 28% in the US) has brought about an explosion of software companies – including us! – offering opportunities to automate exchanges between buyer and media owner.

For some Out-of-Home sales teams, this is sounding an alarm. But far from coming for their jobs, automation offers the toolkit they’ll need to tackle new challenges and chase opportunities in the modern world of Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) – of which there are many. Read on to see where the opportunities lie.

Automation will help sales teams process complex, granular DOOH bookings

The way DOOH is bought and sold is changing. Advertisers are demanding more targeted, data-driven and efficient placement of campaigns. In response, specialists, buyers and media owners are working double-time to offer granular, flexible bookings that hit the advertiser’s mark.

This shift towards granular buying has the potential to increase the number of line items your sales team will process by 8000%. That’s before we get into the many availability checks that precede said booking. Add day parts, automated guaranteed and flexible bookings into the equation and the number of potential lines to process becomes, well, infinite.

In this scenario, automation is not just advantageous, it’s necessary. Out-of-Home media sales teams are a vital resource with unique and valuable skill sets critical to the success of your business. But ask them to process that number of bookings manually and you’ll watch those skills drown in a sea of paperwork.

Automation maximises DOOH occupancy

Traditionally, the way DOOH is bought and sold leaves room for waste. And where there is waste, there is opportunity. Automation allows sales teams to offer flexible, granular booking periods that cater to the diverse range of advertiser needs and budgets. Individual spaces now have greater value than when they’re sold as part of a generic pack. This makes for a far more compelling sales proposition for your team!

For big brands, this means national campaigns with granular targeting. For smaller advertisers, they can now target specific local sites within periods that fit their budget. With the ability to better mix large and small campaigns your sales team can increase overall occupancy and bring in more revenue.

Automation increases speed and efficiency

Within every sales team, there are repetitive tasks that need to be completed regularly. This is prime territory for Out-of-Home automation as it can complete these tasks more quickly, efficiently and with no human error. 

Connecting your Out-of-Home inventory with buyers and automating availability checks and reservations ensures they’re processed instantly. This means striking while the iron is hot – even outside of working hours. Letting your team get on with nurturing relationships, hitting targets and closing deals!

What’s next for Out-of-Home?

These are just some of the things you can achieve right now through automation. Automating now will pave the way for further developments as the technology and systems progress. From optimisation to programmatic buying, automation is the first step.

Sound interesting?

If automation sounds like a tool your sales team could use, explore more here or get in touch. As a technology partner for Out-of-Home media owners, we’re here to help.

While your predictions may be wrong, Flight of the Conchords, you’re still our favourite folk comedy duo.

Primesight's new Inlink offering reaches far and wide

Consolidation of OOH can simplify. But so can tech

This week’s news that our friends Primesight and Outdoor Plus have been bought by Global Media and Entertainment to form Global Outdoor comes after much talk of consolidation of OOH. This, of course, follows Ocean Outdoor’s acquisition of Forest earlier in the year.

The advantages are clear. Consolidation of OOH media owners gives them more ammunition in the fight against other mediums for the advertiser’s purse. While for agencies, fewer owners – with larger individual inventory – makes for a far simpler and more enticing buying proposition.

Consolidation also helps in the quest for truly automated trading. The OOH ecosystem is a highly diverse and intensely fragmented one. Each media owner and agency is pushing their own automation solutions, while new platforms pop up on both the demand and sell sides offering different ways to solve the problem.

Consolidation of OOH means buyers can access Primesight's far reaching inventory and Outdoor Plus' premium site Cheyne Walk

Image via Outdoor Plus

The result is a myriad of different platforms that do not seamlessly integrate or connect. They all speak different technological languages, call things different names (you say panel, I say frame) and this is even before they change and evolve according to their own priorities.

In the end, the connections are possible but in a fragmented market, those connections are hugely time consuming and expensive to set-up and maintain.

So, industry-wide consolidation is one way of simplifying the market. In this week’s example, buyers can now make one simple connection with Global Outdoor and take advantage of Primesight’s broad range of inventory across the country, while leveraging Outdoor Plus’ premium London based sites.

But there is also a way to reap the many of the benefits of consolidation, without the need to sign your commercials into the hands of someone else.

Consolidation of OOH means buyers can access Primesight's far reaching inventory

Image via Primesight

By employing a technology partner, you can do away with the complexity of making multiple unique connections. Once you’ve agreed on the commercials, you can deploy software that not only creates seamless connectivity with your buyer but acts as a pass-through, translating requests on your behalf, and delivering them to your existing systems. Better yet, not only does the software handle these existing requests, but it also manages future changes in the way your buyers make them.

It takes a lot of resources to create and handle these connections. Consolidation of OOH is one way we can, as an industry, simplify to connect and automate. But technology is another and has the added bonus of making your life easier and your business more attractive. So, if you’d rather hang onto commercial control, software that eliminates complexity in your connections, future-proof your business and prevents a headache is nearly here. Get in touch or watch this space for details.

Signkick cofounders including Andy Hamblin

Andy Hamblin named part of Signkick founding team

Originally founded by Tobias van Amstel, Sebastiaan Schinkel and Sebastiaan Heijne out of a London flat, Signkick began with a clear mission: to make out-of-home media easier to buy.

Since then, Signkick has grown and evolved to better serve this mission and become a key player in D/OOH software. Helping media owners such as Primesight and JC Decaux Belgium become more automated and connected.

Today, we are pleased to acknowledge an important part of this evolution: the contribution of our chief commercial officer, Andy Hamblin, who is today to join the original three as a co-founder of Signkick.

Signkick cofounders including Andy Hamblin

Signkick founding team (from left) Tobias van Amstel, Andy Hamblin and Sebastian Schinkel. Photo by Prisca Visser

His involvement began in 2014 with an email from a friend, who connected Andy’s wealth of media experience with Tobias.

Having worked in the media business for over 15 years, for companies such as JC Decaux and Posterscope, Andy has been instrumental in the inception of the software business. He brings an understanding of the challenges facing the OOH industry and has helped shape Signkick’s offering to best serve media owners.

“We are thrilled to recognise Andy as a co-founder. It’s safe to say we wouldn’t be where we are today without his contribution. It’s an exciting step forward as we continue to grow.” Tobias van Amstel.

Find out more about Signkick’s management team here.

Mt Vesuvius Sorrento

FEPE posed the questions; software holds the answers

As we settle back into post-FEPE life at our desks, we’ve been reflecting on the many questions raised at this year’s annual congress in Sorrento.

It seems the end goal is clear. As an industry, we need to make OOH easier to plan and buy in order to keep up with the rise and rise of online and mobile advertising.

But how we actually go about reaching that end goal and making a complex medium such as D/OOH automated and simple to buy was not really answered, and remains foggy at best.

FEPE Sorrento

We founded Signkick with a clear mission: to help media owners make their inventory easy for advertisers to buy, and easy for them to sell. We’re not just here to sell you our software (although in all honesty that’s what we’d like to do!),  we’re here, with a wealth of experience in both camps, to help translate technology to the media world.

For many OOH media owners, entering the world of automation looks scary and expensive. Technology has a track record of fragmenting audiences and fractionalising revenue in other advertising channels. But as PJ Soloman’s Mark Boidman rightly pointed out, “Technology is not a friend to any classic media channel, except for OOH

In Mediatel’s insightful article Dominic Mills explains that “OOH is a totally unique medium, immune to the negative impacts of tech on advertising – fraud, viewability, ad blocking – but derives positive benefits from digitisation in terms of inventory growth, multiplied (as opposed to fractionalised) revenue opportunities, better data than before, better targeting and so on. At the same time, unrelated to tech but thanks to growing urbanisation, audiences are increasing.” So as he says “What’s not to like?”

So we get the need to embrace technology and jump on into the automation race. But how do you actually do that? Well, we see two clear options.

Option 1: Invest the time and resources to build your own automation technology

Given the time, expertise and budgets required to do this successfully, this is really only an option for the big players, and many are already making strides towards it.

Option 2: Take FEPE’s advice and collaborate – with an existing software provider

This approach can work for anyone but is a particularly good approach for smaller media owners. Partnering with a software company to transition to automated trading is like recruiting a fully trained, tech team who have spent the time developing and testing your new automation software.

But like recruiting a new team member, it’s imperative to ensure they are the right fit and have your business’s best interests at heart. As the recruiter, you need to have a clear handle on the skills you already possess and the problems you are looking to solve through tech and why. If you’re not sure, starting a conversation with a software provider early can help pose these questions, bringing challenges and opportunities to the surface.

Just like potential recruits, tech companies have different strengths, and most won’t do everything as a one-stop-shop. If they say they can, it’s probably time to ask a few more questions. We believe that collaboration should be the modus operandi of software companies as well as media companies. So talk to providers that answer different parts of the jigsaw: creative execution, delivery, client management, online sales, automated transactions, programmatic trading. Many, like Signkick, operate their software on a modular basis, meaning you can start small and find a combination that answers your most pressing needs first, then evolves and grows as your needs do too.

With experienced media folk at the helm at Signkick, we’ve been around the OOH business long enough to know that tech isn’t the golden ticket. To thrive in the coming years, media owners will still need exceptional sales teams, a good product and a definable audience. But by collaborating with a tech partner now, not only do media owners have an opportunity to use automation to become more efficient, open up new markets and operate automated transactions, but to establish a collaboration that will give them a leg up on technology advancements into the future.

FEPE OOH Conference Tom Goddard

Collaborate and Automate: FEPE International’s 59th Annual Congress

The Sorrento sun was shining on the OOH industry as the 59th annual FEPE International Congress kicked off last week. With over 400 delegates from 40 countries, it was a truly international affair, with updates on a thriving OOH industry in Latin American, China, the USA, Japan and closer to home in Europe and the UK. As we settled in to discuss how we might, as an industry, “frame our future” some common threads quickly appeared.

Tom Goddard, FEPE President and Ocean Outdoor Chairman set the tone, calling on the industry to collaborate in order to frame a prosperous future for OOH. Annie Rickard, former President of Posterscope, commanded the audience reiterating that “now’s the time to put collaboration ahead of the competition.”

Collaborate and Automate

Rickard went on to the hot topic of automation and ‘the P word’ stating we must “automate to survive” and that automation was “an important topic worthy of discussion at this conference”.

And it certainly was discussed. Many speakers echoed this call to the industry to automate and make OOH easier to buy, including Nick Parker, Global COO, Kinetic “in a year’s time the industry must have a better way of working. And that must include automation”

PJ Soloman’s Mark Boidman rightly pointed out that “just as investment money goes where the returns are best, so buyers will put their money where it is easy to buy. If you can buy video, mobile or publishers so easily, why take the extra hassle of buying OOH?”

By the end of the first day of FEPE, it was abundantly clear that the industry needs to pull together to make OOH as easy for advertisers to buy as mobile or online.

Meeting with Fepe delegates at the Signkick Stand

But how do we collaborate?

Sitting firmly on the side of media owners, and hearing the reservations they have in the race to automate, we wonder whether there is a way to collaborate that doesn’t mean the must amalgamate.

It’s a well-known fact that using technology within a business helps to simplify processes to increase efficiency, automates menial tasks to allow for growth and innovation and helps standardise procedures to create collaborative, connected teams.

So what if this same approach could be applied to an entire industry?

Using an off the shelf technology or software solution means you can stay independent, and retain full control over the way your inventory is sold. But it also means you operate a universally user-friendly platform that connects seamlessly with other platforms as well as to other companies with the OOH industry and beyond.

Science and Technology Journalist Gemma Milne was a bit of a wildcard for many at this year’s FEPE conference. However, she made an interesting point about the high expectations coming generations of buyers hold for the usability of technology “If it works well, we’ll become evangelists, if it doesn’t, we won’t hesitate to go elsewhere.”

This reflects the sentiment of the OAAA/Geopath conference held in Austin in May, where Nancy Fletcher, OAAA President also made a call for industry collaboration saying that “collaboration and partnerships will expedite the challenges the industry is facing and make them less costly in the long run.”

At Signkick, we believe the imperative set by FEPE is clear. We must make strides toward automation. But rather than each developing individual systems in silos, we must find a way to collaborate as an industry. Technology isn’t necessarily the golden ticket, but there is an opportunity to use it to deliver different elements of the automation jigsaw and navigate an industry-wide route to automation that is collaborative and seamlessly connected. Only once we achieve this will we be able to take back from the pots of other advertising mediums, and in the words of Annie Rickard focus on “making our medium famous again.”

Signkick team at FEPE Sorrento