Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The G2DMiR: bad acronym, good report

As I mentioned in a quickie post last week, the UK chapter of POPAI, in cooperation with the Imperative Group, released a report on the use of digital signage and other forms of digital media at retail. I just had the chance to read the document (formally titled Guide to Digital Media in Retail, though they seem to favor the unpronounceable G2DMiR moniker), and thought I make a few comments to anybody who has been on the fence about spending $200 (free for POPAI UK members) on yet another research report.

First of all, at only 26 pages it's a quick read, which is not a bad thing at all. Having read more than my fair share of reports over the last few years, my estimate is that about 75% of the stuff in there is often hype. The G2DMiR is largely hype-free and statistic-rich. Instead of taking the position of infallible research company, they also took the very nice step (in my opinion) of soliciting case studies and anecdotes from numerous industry experts (at companies including Dunnhumby, Retail Week, Spar, and The Co-operative Group), which gives them an extra degree of accountability (or, they're all a bunch of liars, though I suppose that's not too likely ;)

So, for example, I could tell you that "I've heard that some retailers see a 20% in sales of advertised products, with a 3-5% lift on the whole category". But it wouldn't be very verifiable, and in fact I'd probably forget where I first heard the statistic so you'd be out of luck trying to follow up on it yourself. Or, you could read that very stat in the report, as written by Susan Beetlestone at the Co-operative Group, who manages Europe's largest digital screen network. Need to cite something to an investor or advertiser? You now have a company name and responsible party.

So should you buy it? I'd say that depends on what your business is, and how far along you are. If you are focused on the retail vertical and are concerned about things like sales uplift and retail case studies, or if you want some details on what the UK's top companies think about loop length, playback frequency and using audio in your content, it's easily worth the money. If, on the other hand, you're just starting out in the market, or if you're focusing on an industry other than retail, you might be better off saving a few dollars and picking up a more comprehensive guide to the digital signage industry.

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