Is it just me, or is everyone and his mother dropping the phrase digital asset management (DAM) around as if it were big data or the catch phrase du jour?

The big consulting firms à la Accenture use it. Creative agencies have moved into the space. Social media representatives claim they do it to some degree. And we cannot neglect my personal favorite — the plethora of “technology services companies,” big and small, that are using it with clients.

It’s like a game of charades out there. Everyone can put on their own form of DAM for us to guess if it works, but ultimately, the ones who win are those brands that form deeper relationships and bonds with their customers. Said differently, what matters most is that retailers use all of their assets to their advantage so that customers and brands feel deeper connections with one another. 

Maximize Digital Assets


According to Anjali Yakkundi, a Forrester analyst who provided the keynote address at Celum’s Celumium conference in Chicago yesterday, companies of all shapes and sizes need to be obsessed and invested in customer experience.

“Starting in 2010, we entered the age of the customer,” she noted.  In her presentation, she cited different 20-year periods in history where the common thread of companies that survived and thrived were those that reinvented themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.

Celum is a provider of digital asset management, brand management and web-to-print technology. Celumium, the daylong conference it sponsored, focused on best practices about customer experience in brand and product management.

While Yakkundi cited different companies and brands in her discussion, she cited the work of airlines as investing a lot of time — and money — into getting to know how a customer thinks and feels about travel.

“Delta announced a $3 billion investment in customer experience,” she said in making her presentation. “It is revamping experience across a customer’s life cycle. The in-airport experience is as important as the in-flight experience.”

Delta is a great example of an “outside in” mindset. In other words, Yakkundi contends, companies should be judging customer experiences based on what the customer needs from the brand, as opposed to an “inside out” mentality, where brands base customer experiences on internal systems and beliefs.

What’s more, she noted that today’s consumer has become a digital omnivore, consuming content on multiple devices, multiple times of the day — and sometimes even in competitors’ spaces when shopping. 

New Stream of DAM Consciousness

Accordingly, Yakkundi recommends brands be ready with a new stream of DAM consciousness. Her recommendations are focused on two key imperatives:

  1. Deliver omnichannel experiences and measure what those experiences look and feel like. It could be in the form of a connected TV, a smart car, Google Glass or the Apple Watch, but we need to deliver content across multiple channels with a consistent message.  Importantly, content has to be customer-facing and support omnichannel needs and variations, such as cultural and channel differences.  
  2. Streamline marketing processes.  The DAM world can work with marketers to become more agile, responding to customer needs as soon they happen.  It can start by creating a central content hub for marketers where they can find assets and integrating key marketing automation and operations technology so that work can be approved sooner.

For those in the marketing world, these sound like great ideas.  But as Yakkundi pointed out, there is a big hump to overcome. Many vendors in the marketing and advertising worlds are failing to support today’s DAM initiatives. The key for brands is to prioritize digital experience delivery and marketing agility programs such that they are customer-centric (“outside in”) and to push your DAM solutions throughout the architecture of organizations so that groups are not siloed with content owners. 

Otherwise, all we will end up doing is coming up with another catchphrase to talk about more processes that don’t work well.

Title image by WaterArchives.org  (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.