The Time for DAM in Customer Experience is Now

7 minute read
Irina Guseva avatar

The intersections of Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Customer eXperience Management (CXM or CEM) is an overwhelmingly understudied and underutilized area -- both in theory, and more so in practice. While it is evident that rich media can play a tremendous role in enhancing customer interactions and overall experience, we are not thinking, doing and talking enough about the use cases, specific product features, processes or strategies for employing DAM under the CXM umbrella.

The Problem with DAM in the CXM Context

While I am not attempting to solve all technology world problems here at once, I thought it’d be useful to highlight several areas where DAM and CXM can play together to deliver tangible results for your organization, so that you’re (eventually) able to justify that investment in the CXM technology stack in front of your boss.

Neither DAM nor CXM are new disciplines. DAM’s role has traditionally revolved around helping organizations manage their digital assets (images, videos, audio clips, print materials, etc.) in a more efficient way.

Customer experience management is, simply put, all about fostering customer interactions and turning prospects to buyers to avid advocates and ambassadors of your brand -- and throughout this continued process, making the experience of interacting with your brand the best possible.

Pictures Speak Louder than Words

It seems obvious that DAM can play a great role in supporting your CXM strategy. In reality, we rarely talk about these two in the same breath. Often, there’s more siloed focus on content (web experience management), or content marketing, or customer service, or CRM, or marketing optimization -- which are all important elements.

The value of DAM is too often being underplayed, as it sits on the back burner, or doesn’t find its place in a specific department. I think this is a sad mistake and a lost business opportunity. If you want to provide that engaging and consistent customer experience, there’s one old adage I would like to remind you of: pictures speak louder than words.

Visuals in the form of video and images are more effective than the written word. But the effect is even stronger when pictures are coupled with words. Put those two together the next time you’re creating an FAQ or help file for your customers. They will thank you.

Visuals have a great power over a human’s mind. Use this to your business advantage by making sure there are integration hooks between the often siloed Web Content and Experience Management (WCXM) and DAM systems that are part of your CXM technological landscape.

Need More Proof?

A lot of DAM’s potential lies in the multi-channel premise of CXM. Clearly, it’s mobile first. Your assets must be available on any device, anywhere in the world. If I am on a beach on Pacific shores of Costa Rica, I still need to be able to shop for a bikini and have the same non-altered and non-interrupted experience on my Android phone or iPad tablet as I would from my MacBook Air in my apartment in New York City.

There’s just no more compromises allowed if you want to keep your customers coming back and advocating for your brand. Does your DAM strategy support that? Can you deliver properly scaled and optimized images to any device? Integrated with your e-Commerce backend? In a manner that doesn’t send your customers fleeing away to competition?

Facebook paid a whopping US$ 1 billion for Instagram recently. In face of the IPO, they realize the powerful advantage of geo-located and tagged images that Instagram provides. Facebook also realizes the multiple monetization opportunities that come with digital assets: from personalized and targeted advertising campaigns within the context of Facebook to selling advertising-as-a-service to marketers.

Facebook itself, I am sure, has multiple challenges managing their own digital assets, as they deliver the same ad asset, for example, in multiple formats across multiple channels. How do you manage all these different variations and derivatives of one asset? Not easy, but possible.

If you watch Hulu, you surely have noticed creative ways of ad presentation and distribution there. I think Hulu is one of the most interactive and better-personalized online TV watching experiences. Not that I particularly like watching ads, but at the very least I can exert influence and provide direct input over the topics that are of interest to me (chose travel ads over car insurance ads, for instance); or take quizzes to further granularize my buying preferences.

The video assets I get in this case are different from what you might get, and serve the purpose of making both of our experiences more valuable. Commercials on Hulu are not just a replay of the 30-second linear TV ad spot. This adds a level of complexity in managing video assets, but it is the path to smarter commerce.

Turning from video assets to images, take Pinterest for example, which is now the third most popular social networking site after Facebook and Twitter. According to their own stats, Pinterest gets about 11 million monthly unique visits. This is a huge opportunity for harvesting referral traffic and managing your brands and social strategies in more unique ways. Pinterest can be a great source of leads and sales for your organization if utilized properly.

Learning Opportunities

Of course, Pinterest hasn’t yet hit the masses in the way that Facebook has. But it’s getting there -- just last week, at the National Broadcasters Association (NAB) conference in Las Vegas, I complimented a woman who gave me a product demo on her dress. She said, “Oh, thanks! I Pinterested this dress!” What she meant is that she bought this dress after seeing it on Pinterest, pinning it to her “My style” board and seeking it out for purchase. You feel the potential power here?

Opportunities for DAM in your CXM Strategy

One of DAM’s business opportunities in the next five years is to integrate, integrate and then integrate some more.

With CXM being one of those disciplines touching many aspects related to people, platforms and process approach, it is imperative that future DAMs are deeply integrated into the Customer eXperience Management technology stack.

And when I am talking about integrations, I am talking about connection points with WCXM, CRM, MRM, ERP, e-Commerce, MAM, DAM, analytics and other systems that you use. The last thing you want to do is to create more silos than you already have.

Too often, the links between DAMs and other systems are pretty weak, and are presented in the form of pushing data and assets around, not even always two-way. A much more meaningful integration would allow you, at the very least, to do bi-directional exchanges, eliminating duplication of assets and metadata, for example.

There are multiple areas where DAM is important to CXM:

  • Asset re-use for multichannel distribution
  • Asset findability
  • Storage
  • Social
  • Mobile
  • Automation
  • Optimization
  • Monetization
  • Monitoring and tracking
  • Reputation management
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Brand building
  • Brand management

Traditional DAMs Must Go Further

Intelligently incorporating rich media assets into business processes that drive CXM is what needs to happen in organizations’ and vendors’ DAM maturity models.

It is not a well-kept secret that technology can get very complicated very quickly. Many platforms that aim to help organizations manage customer experience offer a dizzying array of modules, products, services and add-ons to do a multitude of things. Taking educated risks is the road to higher returns. You may be missing out on some considerable business benefits if you’re not thinking of the role of DAM in the landscape of CXM.

Title image courtesy of Aaron Amat (Shutterstock).

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About the author

Irina Guseva

Irina Guseva is a seasoned enterprise content technologist with 15+ years of experience, with roots in various types of media including print, radio, TV and digital media. She specializes in web content management, digital asset management, enterprise content management, digital marketing and customer experience management.