Is Digital Asset Management relevant to today’s marketers? Do we now need to think about DAM differently? Many traditional and new DAM vendors are positioning themselves as marketing solutions and focusing on the use of content. In this article we’ll explore what role DAM plays in today’s hyper-connected marketing ecosystem — and how DAM is innovating to better improve ROI and support brand owners and marketing users in the foreseeable future.

Today’s marketers are facing challenges managing an increasing volume of content while having to improve agility and prove the return on their content investments. As they look to engage customers via multiple channels — both online and off — marketers have looked to gain better control over how the content is produced, how the content is managed and how it is being consumed. This has led to marketers having to deal with problems that members of the DAM industry have been solving for many years. Yet for many marketing teams the idea of having their own DAM system is still new.

This is not to say that DAM has not been involved in the process. The content may well have been managed by a DAM at some point in its lifecycle, but the need to manage the end-to-end content marketing lifecycle has led to an explosion in MarTech products — and how does DAM for marketing play a role in this?

Managing the Content Flood

Not that long ago, a retail customer of mine was dealing with more high-definition video footage per day than a small TV channel. This change in both the type of media as well as the volume has caught many organizations off guard. Some have gotten this under control but are asking themselves how they can optimize the workflows and improve the analytics to help them understand the success (or failure!) of their campaigns. 

In this case, the challenge was first to get the sheer volume of content under control, provide a single place for the marketing teams to find the content they needed, and improve content reuse. However as their maturity in DAM improved, the need to integrate into other existing business systems like product information, web content management and e-commerce applications became critical. They wanted to improve and optimize the workflow, but the number of output channels and formats hindered the ability for this to be achieved manually.

This example is just one of many where the management of content is the first step in getting that content under control. The hyper-connected nature of the MarTech ecosystem means that DAM’s role is critical in providing the foundational management of content across this complex landscape. Without DAM providing that single place for the content to be managed, we are left with multiple silos across the organization — which, over time, will become unmanageable and make it virtually impossible to understand the content landscape.

Putting DAM First

It seems every other article in marketing today is about analytics, business intelligence and proving the ROI model for the content marketing buyers. To fully understand the content landscape for today’s marketers it is critical for DAM to be at the heart of this process. Understanding that your content was successful as part of a social campaign may be useful, but understanding the components that made up that campaign and the costs involved is critical in making future reuse and buying decisions. 

Reducing the timeframe in which a marketing organization makes these decisions allows improved agility and enables marketing teams to be more reactive to their market. Without DAM, this is like playing Twister with your MarTech products – trying to align data from multiple products with each other and then using it to drive business decisions. DAM provides the one place where you can both resolve this data and incorporate descriptive metadata that enriches the raw data.

I fundamentally believe that the software solution is only as good as the DAM processes that the organization adopts. For the marketing use-cases, the process of good digital asset management is the vital step in improving the content workflows. Using DAM as the foundation allows the whole ecosystem to be managed and simplifies the reporting and analytics that are needed to show ROI and drive future business decisions.

Many DAM vendors are now positioning themselves as marketing solutions, but it is important to understand that if your DAM solution cannot integrate into the multiple systems and numerous output channels needed in the modern marketing ecosystem, you will continue to create multiple silos for your assets. Using DAM as the core foundation to build a fully connected marketing tech ecosystem is a major step forward. 

Vendors must understand the motivations of their marketing customers. Unlike the content production industry, marketing cares more about the campaign outcome than the content itself. As we innovate our products to meet the needs of marketing teams, we must adapt our language and features to suit. For example, enabling search to be far more intuitive, reducing the complexity of metadata entry and improving the user experience (particularly in complex areas like video management) improves the adoption of DAM and increases its relevance to our wider user base.

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