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DAM vs. CMS Complementary or Competitors?

April 13, 2021 | Betty Seifu

Learning the difference between DAM vs. CMS is crucial to using both to better optimize your content ops strategy.

As a marketer, you’re probably familiar with Scott Brinker’s insanely overwhelming Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic. With thousands of new martech solutions coming to the market year after year, differentiating between seemingly similar products gets confusing very quickly.  So, when you’re looking for a content and asset management solution, you’re just left wondering what the differences between all of these solutions are and how to know which one(s) your organization needs.

Two types of solutions that may be hard to differentiate and are often compared to one another are content management systems (CMS) and digital asset management (DAM) solutions. Although they both help your organization manage content, their use cases differ in very distinct ways. Both solutions play different roles and perform different functions—but all for a common goal.

DAM vs. CMS: How Do They Differ?

A CMS allows users to easily create, edit, and publish content for web experiences. With a CMS, a user doesn’t need to have intensive technical experience. Most offer intuitive user-friendly interfaces so that users can easily customize the design and format of their sites and pages without having to deal with the hassle of complex coding.

DAM solutions allow many different users to store all their digital files and media assets—text, 3D files, videos, and more—in a single location. Not only does a DAM solution optimize content storage, but best-of-breed DAMs also:

  • Support all content types—from 360-degree product images and 3D files to videos and text-based content like disclaimers, legal copy, and product information.
  • Enrich content with AI-powered auto-tagging to increase findability and
  • Ensure on-brand, compliant content is always available with robust digital rights management.

With an entire library of assets that can be used to create web, mobile, social, and print experiences all in a single location, teams across your company can easily create, manage, and deliver the content they need to power their omnichannel brand experiences.

Teams that use a CMS are usually limited to digital, commerce, and creative, whereas a DAM solution is leveraged broadly across internal and even external teams—partners, agencies, etc.—because they have a wider variety of use cases compared to a CMS’s web experience focus.

Does it Make Sense to Invest in Both Digital Asset Management and Content Management?

Although the two solutions share a common goal of orchestrating and delivering rich brand experiences, a CMS can’t always guarantee those experiences because they are primarily focused on downstream distribution, processes, and analytics. To really ensure you’re creating optimal web experiences for your customers, you need to automate and connect upstream activities like content planning, creation, management, and overall content ROI. CMS and DAM together can do exactly that.

When leveraging a best-in-class DAM solution in combination with a CMS, you optimize your web experiences in several significant ways. Here are just a few:

  • Brand consistency: Never worry that you’re creating inconsistent brand experiences by ensuring you can’t use out-of-date, off-brand, and non-compliant content on your sites.
  • Increase productivity: Users can easily search, find, and leverage DAM assets from directly within the CMS versus wasting time searching across multiple locations.
  • Optimize collaboration: Ensure that updates made to assets in the DAM are automatically reflected in the CMS so that you and the teams you work with are always accessing the most recent, on-brand versions of assets.

DAMs and CMSs are like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

While the title “DAM vs. CMS” is a little misleading, DAMs and CMSs aren’t competitors. Alone, neither of them can fully accomplish their common goal of orchestrating rich brand experiences. But together, they can help you unleash the power of your content so that you can deliver the personalized content experiences that your customers expect.

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