The industry seems to love making light of the DPAA – err do you mean the Doberman Pincher Alliance of America or do you mean the Draught Proofing Advisory Association?, Ed but I believe that lightheartedness can be seriously counterproductive.I think that in its current form and direction, the DPAA represents a potential danger to the survival of the DOOH industry in general. They are not a joke, they are in fact in my opinion, a problem that needs to be addressed.
They represent only a small fraction (approximately 16 networks) of the actual DOOH providers and an even smaller fraction of advertising-acceptable screens-available in the US yet they position themselves as speaking for the industry as a whole.
Their structure fosters a division within the industry of ‘haves and have not'” with an annual fee of USD 30k to USD 50k it effectively shuts out those that cannot afford it and those that think it is far too expensive an entry fee to a ‘club’ that endlessly does free tests off of the backs of its membership.
I believe that the DPAA is a place where there is a concentration of people that actually believe the best thing for the DOOH industry is for it to consolidate down to 20 or so networks which, from an advertising / marketing and industry perspective is probably the worst thing imaginable.
Let’s recap the downsides of such a (smaller number of networks) scenario: –
- what if you have a very large buy that 20 providers simply cannot handle, do you walk away or do you retain that capability to service these large buys
- who gets to decide which 20 providers are allowed to live
- there are more than 20 venue types so who gets to decide which venue types are unworthy
- the whole beauty of DOOH is that, in combination with several providers; DOOH can provide meaningful campaigns at the local level. DOOH can provide national support-but only where you want it, DOOH plans come in at far lower CPM’s than TV, DOOH delivers to clients high levels of target message frequency which TV cannot do, DOOH has hundreds of providers each with their own flair and personality and approach to the medium
There is a real danger with what I believe are the DPAA members’ real motives that DOOH is ‘flattened’ into a commodity product instead of the value product that it is today.
My business is effectively a marketing agency and as such we deal with clients on a different level, clients want MORE messaging options, not fewer and clients want better DOOH plans, not plans based on, at best 6 or 7 % of the actual screen inventories out there.
The DPAA also seemingly refuses to view mobile or digital outdoor as DOOH. I suggest that they look at the term ‘Digital Out of Home’ in a bit more detail – mobile compliments and enhances DOOH screen campaigns via the addition of interactivity and digital outdoor enhances DOOH campaigns via the addition of ‘quick reminder messaging.
The claim that the name change from OVAB to DPAA was at the agencies request is frankly ridiculous. All the agencies I, and many others deal with, refer to the medium as Out of Home and Digital Out of Home.
DOOH has a hard enough time now selling in this crazy environment. This type of myopic association does not help reverse that issue and it is now time for the DOOH industry to come together properly as one coherent/easily purchasable mass messaging system for all the agencies and brands out there.
As Benjamin Franklin said “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately” and I would suggest that any association needs to be managed properly by DOOH providers and for the sole benefit of DOOH providers. That would mean…
- There would be no large fees (maybe USD 300 – USD 500)
- No aggregators to poach on the membership to join their ‘rep firm’
- No market research folks trying to sell the membership
- No media folks unless there is some form of a counter-balancing client marketing advisory board
Unfortunately I don’t believe that the new DPAA President will make any difference (or more precisely have any power to make any difference) to the organisation so maybe what we actually need is a new industry association?
Again in the words of Benjamin Franklin “God helps those who help themselves”