Do I need a DAM (Digital Asset Management system)?
Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems have come to prominence because customers have changed their behaviour over the last 10 years. People live on their smartphone, absorb a lot of media, and mix their browsing and shopping habits across online and offline. This applies to both B2C and B2B and it’s why content marketing has exploded. Businesses need to generate a 24/7 supply of rich media to engage customers and deliver a great omnichannel experience.
Things can also change fast so everyone needs to be on the same page to avoid a marketing disaster. Let’s imagine you are a motor racing team and you suddenly lose one of your sponsors. Overnight all the branding everywhere has to be updated to ensure brand compliance: logos, visuals, collateral, templates. Consider the challenge this represents without the help of a centralised DAM.
What does it do?
A DAM (Digital Asset Management System) is a place where you can easily organise your content and reduce the time to find assets. You can distribute content across people, channels, and markets safely, and also avoid regulatory or compliance issues. You can also add expiration to assets so when you share files (say, with media outlets) you avoid them publishing outdated assets.
Whilst any visual content can be stored in a modern DAM, content generally falls into one of three categories:
- Brand & Design Assets (Logos, Icons, templates etc)
- Campaign Assets (GTM content, marketing/sales collateral, partner network)
- Product Assets (Product visuals, enriched and distributed across other channels and end points)
How's your DAM maturity?
- DAM Immature – This is where different users and departments have their own preference on how files are stored and distributed. Storage is spread across personal computers, Dropbox, external hard drives, shared folder intranets or extranets and, for sharing those pesky large-size files, tools like WeTransfer are used. There are other tell-tale signs, like your creative teams having to resize images for every request, sending and re-sending the same logos, with manual email checking whenever new marketing material is released.
- DAM Mature – You may have a perfectly acceptable DAM system in place, with all your taxonomies and asset management processes well defined. In some cases though there can be network problems if it’s not a cloud-based (SaaS) system that’s optimised for easy access, sharing and adoption. Modern DAM systems are designed for global deployment in cloud-based scalable, easy to access environments that are fast and make sharing faster and more manageable.
Having a DAM as your central, single source of truth where all your enrichment and governance resides will ensure that the right content is presented and available to the right consumer or audience, at the right time. This means that teams across the business can use it.
- Sales – engage prospects and customers with your best brand content
- Creatives – run efficient creative processes from brief to delivery of assets
- Marketers – move at speed and scale across all audience channels
- Partners and Contributors – collaborate effectively giving direct access to content and assets with clear user roles & rights
What to look for in an ideal DAM
- A user interface that’s ideally been designed by designers for ease of use
- A future-proof system on a 100% SaaS platform that offers daily updates and improvements, seamless release of new features and functionality (without painful upgrades)
- A manageable system that is easy to configure
- Cutting edge micro-service design, built for scale and performance
- Leveraging the latest in monitoring and reporting
You should also look for customisable and plug & play integrations to leading martech and CMS platforms. If you use popular platforms like Hootsuite, Adobe, Android, iOS, WordPress, Sitecore or Magento – you should expect the DAM to have built-in connectors for these systems, or to at least connect to them through APIs.
Having a flexible, configurable DAM will give you an intuitive asset taxonomy that is customised to your unique situation. This makes filtering assets simple, straightforward, and understandable for everyone.
If you have a channel business, your brand guidelines, messaging, and product positioning can be easily accessed by partners, so all stakeholders are current and consistent in the way they communicate your brand story. Your marketing team can simply send them a link to collections of assets tailored to the recipient instead of giving them access to an entire database of assets. This saves a lot of search time and speeds up the delivery of assets.
Implementing a DAM
Implementing a DAM system is not really a technical challenge – it’s much more about configuring things in a way you want your assets to work. If you need some help, an experienced digital agency can work with you to assess where you are now, what you want to achieve, and the best way to get there.
Finally, consider the user experience for the people who will use the system day to day across your internal teams, global colleagues and external partners. User adoption will ultimately define the success or failure of any DAM, so pick one that is designed with designers and marketing users in mind.
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