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The Truth About DAM: How Using Digital Asset Management Right Can Solve Your Marketing Woes

The Truth About DAM

The difficulty of storing and managing digital assets is a pain that many companies are feeling right now and as a result, digital asset management (DAM) systems are a hot technology. But there’s a lot of confusion about what a DAM is and who can benefit from one. While a DAM can be used across the entire company, the department that should be able to prosper the most from a DAM is marketing.

While a DAM can simply work as a repository that allows access to the digital assets as needed, that is only the basic functionality of a DAM. The marketing team is in a key position to use a DAM for what it is intended: not only to store and manage assets but also to share and collaborate with those assets. Here are three common marketing challenges that a DAM can help companies solve:

New Media Never Stops

Marketers today must deliver collateral to print, web, and social media , as well as consider how assets should look on numerous devices — and they’re expected to do all of this simultaneously. Marketers find themselves managing multiple projects, channels and campaigns in parallel.

Because marketers are often working across multiple channels and with multiple teams, it’s difficult to keep track of assets which might be reusable. If you’re a seasoned marketer and you’re reading this, we’ll bet you’ve probably created an infographic at some point which you only used once and then forgot about.

With a platform that is easy to use and open to all team members, reusing content becomes extremely efficient. Managing multiple campaigns in parallel becomes much easier to track, and instead of designers scrambling to create new assets day after day for similar projects, they can spend more time crafting high-quality messaging that can be reused often and will work across a variety of channels.

No Single Source of Truth

When your content lives in silos it creates an enormous risk, even for major brands and companies. Type a quick search for any number of brands’ logos, and you’ll find a multitude of results. Oftentimes, even after a company has officially updated its assets, you’ll find recent blogs or campaigns that are still using old assets. If people within the company aren’t even clear on which logo to use, what impact will this have on potential customers?

This most often happens due to marketing teams using outdated techniques and not utilizing an effective DAM. Even something as significant as a brand’s logo will have no clear origin and no clear single resource where stakeholders can easily find updated materials. Finding relevant content is difficult or impossible when it’s stored in various locations.

With a reliable and effective DAM in place, marketers can point to a single source of knowledge for all team members involved in a campaign. Stakeholders can take a look themselves to see what content is available and whether there is something they can reuse for a project. Using a DAM will also ensure that the most up to date assets are being used across departments, avoiding embarrassing or confusing conflicts in messaging.

Stuck in the Bottleneck

We’ve all been there: it’s late in the day when the marketing department is told to drop everything and work on a presentation for the CEO. Projects are put on hold as the team comes together, designing graphics, pooling research and writing smart copy on short notice. But as the presentation is worked on, more and more people are added to more and more email threads, where multiple versions of files are disseminated. Suddenly, someone remembers Legal needs to sign off. Before you know it, the presentation is stuck in email purgatory.

In the digital age marketers are expected to manage shorter product life cycles while netting higher results. The passion, knowhow and tools are there, but when we manage assets and approvals through email chains instead of a single system that all users can easily access, workflows are interrupted and some projects may never actually get completed, despite the initial priority assigned to them.

The right DAM should not only be a place to store files, but a place where users can easily obtain materials they can trust. Users can rest assured that the right approvals have already taken place and find what they need quickly, without having to interrupt other projects or workflows.

What’s a DAM Marketer to Do?

It’s clear that a good DAM can help to alleviate many of modern life’s marketing woes, but utilizing your DAM effectively also means updating your strategy. Here are a few ways you can ensure your marketing strategy and DAM are aligning successfully:

Take a content first approach: Focus on the content and message first , then choose which channel it’s appropriate for. This will ensure that you’re not trying to fit content where it really doesn’t belong, and makes it easier to find the right message for your campaign.

Break down silos: Ensure that there is a clear, easy-to-find source of truth for all assets. Eliminate the email attachment mess and ensure that files are being stored in your DAM instead of on individual computers. Users will then have access to all relevant content when and where they need it.

Link it all together: Build supply chains of communication which link assets, people, processes and metadata to build and share knowledge. An article can be linked to metadata, infographics, images and text which can be used together or separately depending on the project at hand. Thinking holistically as you build out your DAM strategy will help to tie everything together in a meaningful way, as opposed to simply storing files.

A DAM can be many things, but the truth is, it is ultimately a marketing solution. Even the most seasoned marketing team will run into trouble if content is living in silos and workflows are constantly being interrupted due to poor team communication chains. The right DAM can solve all of these issues, but not without thoughtful leadership and a smart strategy.

James Kerley James Kerley

James Kerley is a former editor at MapQuest and Yahoo!, and has been writing about the tech industry for over 10 years.

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