YouTube is an awesome destination site for videos -- but it is not a management tool. It is important to understand the distinction. Because marketers -- B2B, B2C, small, big, tall, short -- are all coming to the realization that video is an integral part of their marketing mix and should be used as one of the components to communicate with the marketplace.

YouTube is Great for Asset Distribution

If you have videos and are planning on producing more videos, you need to have a library system in place that can help you manage and distribute these incredibly large files. This is digital asset management (DAM).

YouTube is simply for asset distribution. It does this better than any other site, by far. For example, let's take the "Will it Blend" series of videos, which have millions of YouTube views so far. If you haven’t seen them yet, you can check them out at:

The campaign resulted in 65 million views on YouTube, 120 million views on, 200,000+ subscribers, increased sales 700%, national TV coverage including The Today Show, iVillage Live, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, The Big Idea, Food Network, and The Tonight Show.

It appeared on blogs on sites such as Engadget, Forbes, AdAge, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and even a mention in Congress -- someone said something about taking a bill and putting it in a Blendtec blender.

But It Doesn't Help Manage Your Assets

While YouTube was a huge part in facilitating the growth and viral nature of the video, it only does it by drawing viewers. It does not “manage” your video “asset” in any way.

The "asset" is the highest resolution version; probably straight off the camera. That is an asset that you put into a DAM system. From there, that asset can be uploaded -- and compressed -- to a number of different distribution sites, like YouTube.

As you know, distribution sites compress the video -- which degrades quality -- so that it is easier and faster for viewers to download/stream. The quality is good enough for viewing but it is not good enough for repurposing, which is a primary goal of DAM.

Obviously, YouTube is the largest online video community, so you will almost always want to be there, but there are others and more will be coming. To properly “viral” the “Will it Blend” videos, the owner had to send the high resolution version to TV stations and other news organizations all over the world. The “Today Show” just doesn’t pull the video off of YouTube. They want the high resolution version to rebroadcast over the air.

Digital Assets Need to Be Managed

DAM would easily facilitate sending them the large hi res file. In the specific case of Blendtec, the company that produces the Will It Blend series, they have over 70 episodes. DAM serves as an online, on-demand, portal for large media organizations to search, preview and download very large, complex video files.

Easily Repurpose Assets

As my example shows, the management tool is the starting point and is independent of the destination. It provides neutrality for the digital assets so when the destinations change, the digital assets can be easily repurposed in these new channels. Some organizational requirements also demand a hierarchy of access where some people have permission to see and do things other people cannot. DAM handles that too.

In fact, DAM embraces marketing's need to distribute video to their target markets now and into the future. Proper video DAM functionality includes automatic preview generation, transcoding on-the-fly to different formats and sharing. There are distinct advantages to sharing from the central library of organizational digital assets. As an example, one component of sharing includes embed links.

Update Videos Via Embed Links

Embed links allow users to simply take an embed code that's preset to a specific size and then embed that video in another website or thousands of websites. When a video is expired or you want to change that video out to a more updated version, you change it in one place -- the digital asset management system -- and every other website using that embed link will automatically inherit the update.

YouTube does this as well, but there are branding implications to doing that. YouTube brands their embeddable players so for those interested in controlling their brand, they will need to seek the power of the DAM system for the embeddable player that is exclusively branded for the customer.

A Mix of Technologies is Required

I believe there is an advantage using a mix of technologies to help with the creation, management, and distribution of video files.

  • Creation: The creation of these files may require an internal or hybrid DAM system so the video production team can work in an environment that supports speed and flexibility.
  • Management: In the second stage, the management of these files encompasses two elements; active and archive. Active is likely managed by the marketing team and archive is, well, who cares, it’s not active.
  • Distribution: The distribution component of video files is also a marketing function because it involves propagating the brand to the marketplace. Distribution may include social networks, embedding on third party websites and/or blog posts, sharing a link or downloading in various formats that are created on-the-fly.

Supporting Internal Users

We also cannot forget there is also a service element to managing videos. The service component is helping merchants get organized and get their internal users ramped up with the technology. The technologies are great but the users still need active service and support -- the organizations need coaching and mentoring.

YouTube is not built for that; but a software-as-a-service DAM provider with a service infrastructure already in place is equipped to handle that demand.

DAM Helps Get the Most From Your Investments

We have seen the use of video rising from both B2B and B2C organizations. Digital assets cost money to create and DAM can help get the most value from these investments. DAM helps to create, manage, distribute and repurpose assets many times, lowering the total cost per use.

DAM can facilitate not just video either -- the entire collection of digital assets which includes images, audio, presentations, marketing collateral.

By all means, use YouTube, great destination. Just use the DAM thing to manage those files.