I’m sure it’s not just me, but it feels like everyone is talking about digital asset management (DAM) at the moment. Ok, maybe not everyone, but certainly in martech circles, as well as through projects with clients we are seeing a steep increase in conversations around DAM, marketing and creative ops and marketing resource management.

The recently published Digital Asset Management Global Market Report 2022 states that the DAM market grew by nearly 20% and at least in summary, this was due to growth and increasing demand coming out of the global pandemic.

I’m not sure the reasons for that growth are as simple. Here are my thoughts:

1. Impact of the Pandemic on DAM

The pandemic and certainly the move to remote working have had a lasting impact on how teams collaborate across the content and asset lifecycle.

What used to be manual, in-person (office) processes have had to move to digital channels. Companies have had to rethink their digital asset management strategy as a result. In the short term, during the pandemic, it seems that tactical solutions were often implemented to fix the immediate needs, however, coming out of the pandemic we are seeing more strategic approaches and a quest to find better solutions.

What we have definitely witnessed is companies looking to replace quick fixes necessitated by the pandemic, such as the use of Dropbox or other cloud storage and sharing technologies, by investing in fully fledged DAM solutions. In DAM terms, the use case we see more often here is around governance and collaboration.

Related Article: Build Your Martech Stack on a DAM Foundation

2. Impact of the Economic Downturn

Interestingly, the technology sector has (so far) not seen a major drop in investment and in client budgets despite the economic turmoil and gloomy financial forecasts. Where we have seen some is the reduction in staff — fewer new hires, some reductions in workforce, less retention.

What role can a DAM play when the marketing and content teams are being squeezed and have fewer available resources? My thinking is particularly around the automation of processes along the entire asset lifecycle. Smart DAM features such as renditions, AI capabilities around smart cropping and smart tagging and workflows for everything from approvals to publishing can drive a significant reduction in manual effort.

There are definite use cases here for getting a DAM in the first place, but also a replacement or upgrade once you have outgrown yours.

3. Increased Demands on Marketing, Creative and Content Teams

The Forrester Wave™: Digital Asset Management For Customer Experience, Q1 2022 calls out the increased content demand from companies on their marketing teams. A DAM clearly has a role to play in the scalability of content, but more important, in the optimization of content creation processes.

Learning Opportunities

Are we finally seeing real investment into marketing, content and creative teams to streamline what are often antiquated and manual processes? I think so.

What is driving these demands on marketing teams? The answer to that is personalization. We are finally close to the point where personalization at scale is a realistic prospect for many organizations. And to personalize, you need a smooth content engine.

Related Article: 6 Ways Marketers Need to Balance Privacy, Personalization

4. Marketing Frustrations

The final point for what drives investment in digital asset management: the frustration that assets and content exist but are not “findable” and useable at the scale and speed businesses are demanding.

The quality of metadata today is often still below par and affecting how assets and content is found and used. There is a clear and measurable financial impact — duplication of creation, slow time to market, too many manual processes.

In Summary: DAM at the Center of Content Universe

I feel we are getting to the point where our need for content and assets is outstripping the ability to create it at scale.

I also see a strong correlation in the investment into Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and the increased need for assets and content. The foundation for personalized experienced needs to have a DAM at its center.

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