Venue Vision Media Solutions
Venue Vision Media Solutions is a successful provider of turn-key, large format, high resolution signage and communication solutions. This Mississauga-based company has managed to make a mark on a saturated industry by deftly carving a niche through its database integration solutions. This month, The Canadian Business Journal speaks with President Dave Kinnear about choosing that niche, the company successes, and Venue Vision’s plans for the future.
Centrally managed, targeted digital information systems are a natural extension of today’s technologies for many businesses. Venue Vision focuses on five major sectors: automotive, corporate, education, municipal recreation, and professional sports. There are numerous solutions within each of these that vary—but all provide essential customer services. For example, Time Highway is an online real-time appointment booking program for a number of retail clients, and Venue Vision is the Canadian distributor of the product.
Automotive sector solutions
It is within the automotive sector, however, that Venue Vision has really managed to leverage its market share. “Our focus today is mainly automotive,” says Kinnear. “We provide our solutions to dealerships and all original equipment manufacturers across Canada and very recently we started working on the U.S. and have a few clients there now.”
The focus on automotive was a natural decision for Kinnear, who is an accountant and a licensed mechanic by trade, and who spent the larger part of his career working in management in the automotive industry. It was there where he intuitively realized that there was a definite place in the automotive market. “We saw the challenges that dealerships face day-in and day-out communicating with their customers and that’s where we developed our suite of products that work with their dealer management systems, so being able to look in there, and turn it into data that is customer facing or data that can be leveraged to improve customer relations,” says Kinnear.
Venue Vision provides turn-key solutions, providing system installation, content, as well as ongoing support of that content and the network. For example, within the automotive sector each manufacturer (Toyota, Honda, etc.) will generally have a monthly advertising campaign. “Our responsibility is when those campaigns are launched,” says Kinnear, “we will get the creative and format them for our display systems. They approve the content when it is ready and it goes up on to the display systems.”
The importance of integration
Venue Vision’s main focus is not on advertising display, but on database integration. This can be repair order automation, where a system displays to customers when their car will be ready and they can follow its progress every step of the way. “We are able to notify the customer by email. We use email and text messaging to keep customers informed. You can see how these kinds of communications can significantly improve customer communication. Customers can go to the website and enter their license plate number and get the status of their repair,” notes Kinnear, pointing out the resulting reduction in calls to the dealership. “If we can reduce call volumes, then we can service them better.”
Another integrated solution involves inventory integration and is a system of constantly updating a dealership’s available inventory done in conjunction with one-eighty, a product which can provide a photograph of the car and 50 different fields of information. The idea of all of Venue Vision’s various solutions is, quite simply, to streamline the customer service process through automation. “The whole objective is very simple: the less effort it is to put up a set of compelling content, the better off we are,” says Kinnear. “The key to what we do is automation.”
Supply chain success
Further supporting the success of Venue Vision is its extraordinary relationships with its suppliers, and Kinnear is quick to note the value of the supply chain. Venue Vision has had a longstanding relationship with Samsung, Venue Vision’s primary supplier since 2004. It also maintains a critical relationship with IT Exchange, a company which provides Venue Vision with all of its Lenovo PCs. These relationships along the supply chain have been “really instrumental in helping us move forward,” says Kinnear.
Surviving the downturn
It is no secret that the automotive industry was particularly hard hit during the recent economic downturn. Surprisingly, however, Venue Vision was able to turn that into a positive time for growth. “I’m sure that some might have thought that the vertical we have chosen during those uncertain times might not have been as insightful as one would hope,” says Kinnear lightheadedly, “but certainly it was an opportunity for us to build and, quite frankly, when we’re not buying as many new cars, our old cars need additional repairs and that puts additional pressure on the service department, hence a market for our communication tools, which assist customer service. When the opportunity does arrive to purchase a new vehicle the customer is much more likely to buy from that dealership.” The management at Venue Vision’s respective clients must understand the point he makes, because Venue Vision has had a successful few years and has its eye on the future.
Venue Vision has aggressive plans for growth and expansion, particularly in regard to integration solutions. There are numerous prospects on the table and Kinnear feels excited for the coming time. It has plans to further expand its other areas of business as well, such as retail and education projects, and it is doing some work in a council chamber next month. Regardless of the sector, Venue Vision is committed to providing communication solutions. “The focus of our business is helping our customers communicate better with their customers,” says Kinnear. “That’s really our objective.”