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PHOTO: Erik Witsoe

“Get the balance right” — Martin L. Gore

Digital asset management (DAM) has become a key marketing enabler by making rich media, such as images and videos, accessible in customer engagements. DAM is the foundational element of the marketing technology (MarTech) stack because it’s where the content is. You can’t attract, acquire and engage an audience without a proper collection of systems to manage customer data, compelling content and product information. 

DAM is the heart of the MarTech stack. Content should be viewed as a constant connection between people, process and technology. DAM is the right thing to do for your content and your brand. When everything is connected, everything changes.

What Is MarTech?

MarTech consists of the digital tools (products and systems) that can help you automate and streamline processes, aggregate and manage data, and ultimately reach your customers more effectively and efficiently. The MarTech stack is the integrated collection and categorization of those tools. 

MarTech does not work unless the various products and systems are able to “talk” to one another or have some level of automation and process design enablement. The better the data, the design and the process, the better the customer experience and engagement. Every piece of technology a marketer uses to reach a potential customer is MarTech — it's all about consumer engagement.

Related Article: MarTech Sandwiches: A Tasty Approach to Integration Mapping

MarTech Encompasses the Whole Customer Journey

The integrated MarTech stack allows marketing, operations, IT and more to understand data holistically, from the beginning to the end of the consumer engagement lifecycle. If done well, it will help you understand where opportunities for improvement are, and then allow you to respond accordingly to optimize reliability and efficiency. Each component of the MarTech stack must be seen as a key marketing enabler and an opportunity for orchestrated movement of content across channels.

Data Provides the Foundation

As organizations grow, evolve and take on additional global market opportunities, change will be the constant for the people, processes and technology supporting business and marketing operations. Digital transformation plays a critical role in this change, serving as a focused center for content and operations management. 

Metadata, workflow, technology and cultural context all affect operations and must be addressed for many large organizations. Managing data is an opportunity to optimize the content life cycle. Data provides a foundation for digital strategy. Creating an integrated MarTech ecosystem, including DAM, means your digital assets can be part of this innovation by generating revenue, increasing efficiencies, and enhancing your ability to meet new and emerging market opportunities for your users. Now more than ever is the time for responsible data and good governance.

Related Article: DAM, We Really Need You

MarTech Success Is More Than Technology

The balance in achieving what is needed for the MarTech stack is all about the people, the process and then the technology. The single most troublesome aspect of the research and advisory firms’ technology reports is they are based solely on technology and this is not just a technical solution, it’s more than that. It’s also about the people and the process required. You can stack the deck however you want it, but if you do not have the people and the process figured out, you will have a difficult time choosing the technology. Be mindful of these commonly-made mistakes:

  1. Not taking enough time.
  2. Not taking enough time to talk to users.
  3. Not focusing on a human-driven design model.
  4. Not having a solid data foundation to support the future.
  5. Not having a design to drive the vision.
  6. Not having governance to maintain accountability and responsibility for the future.
  7. Not designing the future state.

In regard to the options of a “point vs. platform” solution, the debate is prolific. However, MarTech needs a foundation for scalability, flexibility and adaptability all within an agile framework. Remember, "one size fits all" is usually uncomfortable, so build for the future with a platform solution.

Related Article: Building Your MarTech Stack: Selection Strategies for Success

Balance Technology with People and Process

Technology is great when leveraged to transform data into information, and then information into insight that can generate action and meaning. Communicating the meaning and purpose of why a technology tool is being used will build trust with its audience and impact positive experiences. Trust in technology and the data flowing through its pipes will lead to greater participation that will increase the information's value and utility. Without trust and participation, no system can produce desired results.

Content is critical to business operations; it needs to be managed at all points of a digital life cycle. Trust and certainty that data is accurate and usable is critical. Leveraging meaningful metadata in contextualizing, categorizing and accounting for data provides the best chance for its return on investment. The digital experience for users will be defined by their ability to identify, discover and experience an organization’s brand just as the organization has intended. Value is not found — it is made. So, make the data meaningful and manage it well.

Moving Forward with a MarTech Strategy

When considering moving forward with a MarTech stack strategy, be mindful of the people, processes and technologies that may influence the transformation you desire. You need to get your digital house in order, know what your internal business units and external partners need, and understand how you will need to deliver assets today — and tomorrow — across multiple channels and devices. Business strategy for the 21st century calls for innovation in which the tried and tested triumvirate of people, process and technology operate in unison. 

Using DAM effectively can deliver knowledge and measurable cost savings, time to market gains and greater brand voice consistency — valuable and meaningful effects from your MarTech solution. Start with a foundation, embrace the transformation and discover the value in content.