Broadsign and Clear Channel: digital partners in out-of-home
Broadsign is a global company providing software for outdoor advertising, or “out-of-home,” networks. “We work with almost all of the world's largest out-of-home networks and not just on the digital side, but also paper-based out-of-home networks,” says Maarten Dollevoet, Chief Revenue Officer at Broadsign. “Clients use the Broadsign platform for anything from ad serving to network operations, and also to manage and optimise their sales workflows - as well as connecting to new channels like programmatic buying.” Broadsign is one of the only platforms with such a wide spectrum of offerings, but it also allows companies to do more with less. “One of the key benefits of working with Broadsign is that we focus a lot on automation and optimisation, allowing customers to devote more time to their high-value activities rather than more routine and repetitive tasks.”
The out-of-home industry has experienced considerable growth on the digital side, with market leader Broadsign being ideally placed to influence trends. One is digitisation, the evolution from posters and printed billboards to digital signs. “With the move to digital, advertisers are able to leverage its inherent flexibility to react in real time to content changes, audience movement, as well as the ability to use data for improved audience targeting and to dynamically change screen content,” says Dollevoet. “Content is King, but context is everything. While we aren’t close to the Tom Cruise-style, Minority Report-type of targeting, we can deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.” One example was a recent campaign for takeout food, where the content automatically displayed a ‘pick-up’ message when the sun was shining, versus promoting the ‘home delivery’ option when it was raining.
Another important trend is the rise of programmatic transactions, where advertising is bought and sold in real time via automated bidding systems, much like it is today for online and mobile ads. “We see programmatic not only as a way to automate the buying process, but also an opportunity to connect with non-traditional out-of-home advertisers who may benefit from more omnichannel media campaigns.”
When Clear Channel International was looking for a best-in-class content management system to support its digital transformation, it chose Broadsign and its offering. “The relationship has really flourished and has become a strong partnership. After the CMS, the team at Clear Channel wanted to leverage more of the platform to help them scale other parts of their business. It added Broadsign Direct, a tool to help them scale their sales organisation so salespeople were able to respond to customer requests and RFPs quicker, and sell more of their network at a premium. So what started out as an initial relationship on the CMS side has become a true partnership for the rest of the business.”
While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had an undoubted impact on out-of-home advertising, changes in the online advertising space have revealed fresh opportunities. “With the impact of what's happening in the online world with privacy concerns and the disappearance of the cookie, we actually believe the momentum for out-of-home is stronger than ever.” Such trends lead Dollevoet to believe the future is bright for the industry. “COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of programmatic too. If we look at our systems, we see a V-shaped recovery of programmatic because advertisers who have smaller budgets are looking for more flexibility, and the ability to turn budgets on and off more granularly or in a more targeted manner.”
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”