How having a marketing technologist on the team helped Coty find the best fit DAM software

No matter what they do for a living, if you’re around people who talk shop long enough, you start to get the impression that everybody’s showing up at work in fatigues.

Between the war between sales and marketing, the clashes between creatives and coders and the battle between accounting and advertising, you’d think that just about everyone who spends their workday sitting at a desk is constantly dodging bullets.

Sure, most of the rhetoric is overblown for the sake of dramatizing keynotes and spicing up water cooler conversation -- but it’s also true that, even in the relative calm of an office building, peacemakers can come in handy. And when it comes to the showdown between marketing and IT, nobody settles things down quite like a marketing technologist.

Marketing Technologist: Where Marketing and IT Meet

The specifics vary, but marketing technologists generally work within the marketing department. What sets them apart is that they also happen to have more advanced knowledge of technology and its practical application than their marketing peers. This serves to make marketing teams more effective and less reliant on IT personnel.

Take Alex Wolff, for example. As the manager of sales technology at Coty Beauty, US, Alex is tasked with (among other things) helping the beauty product company’s marketers make more informed decisions about what tools to use to support their work. His background in technology gives him some intimate knowledge of the best ways to deal with digital assets. This made him a prime candidate for finding the right digital asset management software solution for the company.

“I'm a commercial photographer as well, so having the background for image management in general, I was quickly able to narrow the people who were providing the service,” said Wolff, who also has experience in database and application development.

“My role is to make processes and procedures in the sales team lean, mean and effective,” he said.

According to Wolff, none of those three words would make good descriptors of Coty’s workflows prior to the implementation of their current DAM software. To evaluate the improvement in efficiency brought by a DAM system, it’s necessary to understand what it takes to get an image (or other asset) into someone's hands.

As Wolff said,

It could be a customer, someone at an ad agency, someone at a magazine or a grocery store. The inability to quickly find, locate and share an image could really cripple the process. For example, prior to going into a DAM system that allowed people outside the company to see assets, the process was problematic. People in the field would put in requests, which would go to admins who were doing this in their spare time. Those would then go to creative department, which would determine whether the requested assets existed or needed to be shot. They would then put it on a disc and mail it out.

If things were going well, that was a one- to two-week process. If not -- because someone was on vacation, for instance -- the request would just sit out there. That was not a happy feeling for customers, agencies or whoever we were trying to get images to."

An Informed Decision

While Wolff didn’t make a DAM software decision all by himself, he did lead the process of evaluating DAM software offerings and making a recommendation as to which system would best support Coty’s need to streamline workflows, minimize time spent on redundant tasks like file conversions, and safely store and organize precious brand assets.

Putting most of the process in his hands ensure that others in the organization had a say, but could still benefit from his expertise as a developer and photographer.

“It's invaluable to have someone like Alex to collaborate with and work through potential ideas,” said Coty Digital Asset Manager Barbara Alexander. “It's essential to have someone who has that type of background to say ‘This is possible. This isn't.’”

Having a sales technologist was also vital to Coty’s ability to promote adoption of the DAM system by all stakeholders. The same is true in any organization and with any major software implementation. Change can be slow, but when people have a person whose expertise and judgment they can trust, that person can serve to champion the use of a new system or the adjustment of an established routine for the benefit of the organization.

“Very quickly, our internal time had gone from several hours tracking an item to a very quick online request,” Wolff said. “The efficiency there is just tremendous. We did 25,000 image requests processed in the first two years (of using our current DAM system).”

Just the time it would have taken to burn CDs (never mind searching for assets, file conversions, etc.) for 25,000 asset requests would have been entirely unmanageable.

Even if you can’t take on a full-time marketing technologist, it’s worth considering that your organization would be more lean, mean and effective if you identified a single person to head technology-intensive marketing initiatives. You might not be even close to needing to handle 25,000 requests for your digital assets, but it doesn’t always take the kind of dilemma Coty faced to justify a reexamination of your workflows.

Editor's Note: To read more by Nicolas Antonio Jimenez: