The Changing Role of Digital Asset Management in Marketing
With all the talk of new solutions, new technologies and new versions of technologies, it would be hard to imagine that a considerable number of companies are still having problems with the basics of digital asset management (DAM).

That would appear to be one of the primary conclusions of a new report released by the Aberdeen Group (news, site) for Widen, a provider of web-based digital asset management applications. The report says that only half of Best-in-Class organizations (53%) indicated they currently have searchable access to content.

Admittedly, 33% of those companies said they would looking to implement this in the next two years, but still it's significant given that most companies indicated searchable access to content was one of the top three most compelling features in a marketing asset management solution (MAM).

DAM For Economy

This latest report entitled The Marketers Guide to Justifying Investments in Digital Asset Management is the result of a survey of 130 ‘Best-in- Class' companies which looks at how companies are using their digital assets.

Taken as a snapshot of what was happening in April and May 2009, Aberdeen Group surveyed executives from those companies, 67% of whom work in marketing functions, to understand how organizations justify investments in digital asset management for marketing.

Best in Class was defined as companies that showed:

  • 18% annual increase in average return on marketing investments
  • 23% year-over-year increase in time-to-market
  • 100% reported improved brand consistency over the last 12 months

Unsurprisingly in the current economic climate, the research shows that companies are looking at DAM now as a way of saving money rather than of enhancing their marketing abilities.

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Pressures on DAM investment
 

Changing Priorities

The main reason companies invest in DAM is operational, the report finds, with 66% of companies trying to supplement a lack of top line revenue with increased productivity from their assets.

Interestingly, this has changed in only 12 months with companies last year identifying DAM as a means of increasing returns on marketing investment and brand consistency. The figures would seem to show that these have become secondary considerations.

“Best-in-Class display an aptitude for measuring performance and optimizing marketing investments over time; consequently, Best-in-Class extract far more value from technology investments and continue to stay one step ahead of their competitors in marketing effectiveness,” said Ian Michiels, Practice Director of Aberdeen's Customer Management Technology Group and author of the study.

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How 'Best-In-Class' use DAM technologies
 

Improving DAM Efficiencies

Two important strategies emerged in the research as central to improving efficiency. These are:

  • Centralized access to digital assets: The most successful companies appear to be companies where technologies to centralize marketing content have been implemented. This, the report says, ensures brand consistency.
  • Marketing performance assessment for each campaign: The most successful companies were those that consistently assessed their campaigns on completion and adopted DAM for future campaigns based on asset utilization analytics.

Another interesting fact that emerges in this respect is that 55% of companies that responded indicated that their companies used shared drives to centralized marketing content. It also emerged that 63% of companies had access to marketing assets from a centralized repository.

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How companies store content
 

Combined, these facts would seem to suggest that in a least some of the companies surveyed, both shared drives and central repositories were used to manage marketing assets.

Integrated, Centralized DAM

There are many interesting nuggets to be taken from this survey which would be well worth looking at before making any decisions on your company’s DAM policies.

While it concludes with a whole list of recommendations there are a number that stand out. They include recommendations to:

  • Invest in tools to centralize digital assets. Best company performance and most significant financial savings are made by those companies that invest in centralized management of marketing assets.
  • Cut back on redundant licensing by re-using and re-purposing digital assets. The research shows that 76% of Best-in-Class re-use marketing assets (versus 45% of all other organizations).
  • Integrate with marketing workflow and processes with the automation of that workflow the single biggest way companies can save money.
  • Centralize unstructured assets for the organization. Online videos, webinars and podcasts are not a fad. 53% of Best-in-Class currently have the tools necessary to manage unstructured data.

And there are many more recommendations -- all of which would seem to make perfect common sense, but from the figures seem to have been missed by many companies that are not performing as they should.

If you have thought over the past few months that there appears to be a rush to provide bigger, better, all-bells-and-whistles marketing solutions then you are right, there have been a lot.

But before you going rushing down to your local MAM store to get the biggest and latest, it might be worth downloading this report to see what is working for the most successful companies -- and more importantly, what is not.

The research is currently available free from Aberdeen Group. Quick and easy registration required.