A new type of librarian is powering global content marketing campaigns. No, they are not people dwelling in basements guarding grey filing cabinets. I am talking about a new wave of digital asset management (DAM) software providers. Actually, it is more like a flood than a wave with more than 250 solutions available on the market now. So why do we need DAM and how do you choose the right product?
In a world where content marketing has gone mainstream, many brands and agencies are recognising that they have a massive problem with managing their many marketing assets. Jez Dutton, digital director at Redwood, explains: “The digital landscape has become incredibly fragmented with formats, platforms and channels, so we’re naturally faced with thousands of potential deliverables. Add rounds of client feedback and layers of sign-off and it can become a real headache to manage.”
However, navigating the increasingly swamped DAM landscape can be extremely daunting and confusing. You could be looking at anything from simple file transfer protocols to full-blown enterprise suites and publishing systems. Here are my top four tips to become a DAM expert:
1. Define purpose and scope
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is where most organisations fail before they have even crossed the starting line. The first step should be to clearly define what problem you want to solve and what the priorities are. There is not an off-the-shelf product that will solve everything, so you need to be clear what matters most to your business.
2. Put user experience first
A DAM software that nobody uses is a waste of time and money, so put the users first. This could be your client, marketing team or editorial staff. Ensure that the solution easily integrates with your CMS, filing system and communication workflow.
3. Measure your ROI
This is not necessarily a straightforward accounting exercise, but you need to be clear on how your organisation benefits from the new system. This could be, and most often is, resource efficiency, improved client communication and feedback or decommissioning of outdated software. It is important that you report the benefits back to the business, so everybody is clear about the advantages of using the system and paying for it.
4. Assign an internal advocate
This is the last hurdle that can take out even the best intentioned DAM projects. I have not come across a successful DAM system that did not have a dedicated manager or owner. A better word is probably advocate. You need an assigned person in your organisation to communicate and enforce the rules and, more importantly, advocate the benefits of the system. Without it you will most likely end up with a bigger mess than before.
“Too many marketing departments and agencies are not thinking about asset management, because they operate in a culture that is entirely focused on short-term delivery,” says Ryan Skinner, senior analyst at Forrester Research. Make sure you are not one of them.