“It’s just a world of possibilities out there” — the future of digital signage is bright
Zuzana Yalcin joined Digital Signage Today via Zoom to discuss digital signage and its intersection with marketing, technology and values, offering a holistic view. This perspective is informed by her work at easescreen, where in less than a year her dedication and grasp of the industry has led to her promotion as head of marketing.
Turning our attention to diversity, equity and inclusion, Digital Signage Today asked how the industry is doing in these areas. Yalcin cautioned that she felt she could not speak for all areas or groups, but offered her impressions as a Caucasian woman in global digital signage and marketing.
“What I can say as a woman is that I’m still seeing a kind of labor division in the ad digital signage industry. What I mean by that is, yes, women are entering those industries. But we have to look at what role are they actually having in the company? Are they sitting in the back office? Are they someone’s assistant? Are they the marketing manager who gets reduced to making things pretty, like putting a nice bow on a PowerPoint?
“While those are really important jobs, I think we have to ask ourselves just why it is” that women predominate in those roles, Yalcin said. “And then the men are the ones having the technical debates, etc. So I would just love to see more women be involved in product development, in technical discourse in even executive decisions regarding sales numbers, sales strategies, all those kinds of things. And I have to say that for I’m really grateful for my company that they allow me to participate in the conversation — and it’s not really that they ‘allow’ me, they just think it’s a natural thing? And that’s what I want to see more of in the industry.
“I think that’s a really easy step to take because you just have to look at the people you already have. And ask them, ‘what would you like to be involved in? What kind of rooms would you like to sit in? What kind of discussions would you like to be a part of?'”
Digital Signage Today asked if this would fit with digital signage expert Stephen Dorsey’s quote from our interview where he said, “Achieving equality is not about taking anything away from anyone, it’s about sharing with everyone in an inclusive way.”
“Fear is a very deep-rooted emotion and it’s often hard to deal with even if we’re conscious about it,” Yalcin replied. “So that’s definitely true. And I think what we need are more success stories, stories which show that inclusion was, in the end, better for everybody. And it made existing people’s jobs easier, and helped the entire company, and everybody benefited from that — not just the one person that ended up being included.”
Turning to an area of expanding coverage, we asked if Yalcin has any advice on which emerging markets to watch.
“The emerging market that I have most experience with is Latin America,” Yalcin said. “I think that’s a really, really expanding market. A new initiative being launched is DSLATAM (Digital Signage Latin America), which is specifically focused on bringing high quality digital signage to Latin America.
“I think one of the main issues in emerging markets is that emerging markets are often very fragmented, with a lot of local small solutions competing with price over quality. So, as a high quality digital signage solution coming in from from abroad, it’s kind of hard to compete with that, because even if you reduce your prices by 50%, it’s still a little bit pricier,” Yalcin said.
What’s the solution? “It’s awareness and it’s, I think, initiatives like this one (DSLATAM) that come from the market and sell from the country itself, inviting solutions in,” Yalcin said, adding that one specific national market with exciting growth and developments is in Mexico.
Collaboration, not isolation
We asked if there were any special risks or opportunities in digital signage that people should pay attention to in the coming year.
“The risk that I see is isolation,” Yalcin replied. “Isolating from the industry, from other manufacturers, even from competitors. I have had rich conversations with colleagues from competing digital signage solutions and they have really enriched both of our work. And the industry as a whole is moving more towards ecosystems, towards integrations — talking with each other, instead of everybody just doing their own thing. So, to miss out on that is really detrimental.
“And the other thing is isolating from a technical point of view. So, it’s really about bringing together customers with developers… (and) bringing together different departments within one digital signage company to talk with each other. So a lot of talking, a lot of conducting, a lot of looking over where your individual responsibility ends — it’s the biggest risk, and also also the biggest opportunity.”
Turning to a point raised by many Digital Signage Today interviews, we asked how digital signage can lean into the human touch, and Yalcin mentioned customer focus and feedback.
“I think it goes back to my point about isolation, to step out of your Eiffel Tower and really talk to people and expand the horizon,” Yalcin said. “And, of course, there is fear involved because of limited feedback. And it is the same thing for me in marketing. I can think that my writing is the greatest piece of art, but if nobody out there agrees, I didn’t really do a good marketing job. Or if I just wrote the exact same thing that someone else wrote.
“So, I think it’s about stepping over this fear and getting honest, open interaction — and get to know people and how they really use technology, and what are they actually doing with it, and what are they looking to do with it? Versus, ‘what was my idea of how it was supposed to be used?’ It can confirm my theory, or it means I need to adjust the product because it’s not performing in the way I thought, or I need to adjust the communication about it — but it’s one of those things three things.”
We asked if Yalcin had any closing thoughts. “What makes me most optimistic or what makes me swell?” she said. “It’s just a world of possibilities out there. Because digital signage is really coming in at full swing at the moment. Even locally, I just saw yesterday someone replacing their old analog billboards with LED walls, like it’s happening right now. So, there’s always going to be new questions to ask yourself, new things to consider. That’s what makes me happy as a person.”
(2023, January 20). Daniel Brown – Editor, Networld Media Group. Retrieved from https://www.digitalsignagetoday.com/articles/its-just-a-world-of-possibilities-out-there-the-future-of-digital-signage-is-bright/