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It’s Time for Better Digital Asset Management (DAM)

September 8, 2022 | Anthony Fattore


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Sales, marketing, and customer service teams rely on a constant flow of digital assets to reach and engage with customers. But the ever-increasing cadence of production and distribution makes it difficult to manage a growing asset library effectively.

How can you provide teams the access and structure they need without losing control of regulatory and brand objectives

Businesses are turning to technology to secure and administer their digital assets. Digital asset management (DAM) platforms and apps offer the flexibility of access without sacrificing quality or security for your brand and its message.

Let’s look at the basics of DAM and explore why companies move to management platforms.

What is digital asset management?

Digital asset management (DAM) is a system for organizing the digital assets used to promote your brand. By storing digital media such as text, video, images, audio files, creative files, and presentations in an organized system, these assets can be located and retrieved easily. A digital asset management platform centralizes all these asset formats for easy access and usability across an organization.

Why is digital asset management important?

Every year online marketers create hundreds or thousands of digital assets across many digital channels. With so much content in production, redundancy and version issues have increased exponentially. Digital assets are only useful if they are logically organized, searchable, and available for use. 

Like a well-organized pantry enables an efficient kitchen, a digital asset management system combines all your digital “ingredients” in one place. With everything organized on cloud-based servers, team members can deploy and repurpose assets remotely. There’s no need to recreate assets, search for the assets you need, or spend time checking to ensure the “final final” graphic in a folder is the correct version.

Digital asset management lets creatives and marketers do their best work with confidence. It saves time and money while remaining true to the brand image and mission.

Benefits of DAM

A DAM system provides a wealth of benefits for stakeholders and end users. It acts as a single source of truth for your brand assets and reduces the repetitive tasks and issues that come along with manual asset management.

Some of the top benefits of implementing a DAM platform include the following:

Content lifecycle management: Digital asset management is more than a digital filing cabinet. It supports the complete asset management lifecycle of planning, creation, distribution, and archival. It allows teams to create and manage assets effectively, and offers a history of past assets to inform future campaigns and content creation.

Asset transparency: Using a centralized digital library to organize assets improves the functionality of your creative and service departments. With only a few clicks, your customer experience, sales, and marketing teams have access to media assets that drive success. 

Version control: A centralized asset library ensures teams are using the freshest version. It lets departments share assets and digital files. It helps teams manipulate and repurpose assets without simultaneous access/editing concerns. All users can see asset availability and audit trail data for every change to an individual file.

Brand consistency and compliance: A DAM platform makes it easier to maintain brand consistency and enforce brand guidelines. Automated lifecycle management and version control features ensure that teams deploy the most current versions of your assets. In addition to brand guidelines, a robust DAM platform will enable regulatory and legal content compliance for all your assets.

Asset optimization: Dynamic file sharing allows teams to get more mileage out of each asset by preventing time-consuming, redundant asset creation. By enabling teams and creators to safely and simultaneously access and manipulate assets, they can maintain brand integrity. This drives rich media experiences across channels for optimal value creation.

How DAM software works

Digital asset management goes far beyond simply centralizing files. It uses dynamic labeling and permissions to organize files, control access, and track and report on asset changes. It also governs usage rights and timelines for every asset within the organization. 

Here are some of the critical functions of DAM software:

Storage and security

Digital asset management software provides a centralized database of assets. It allows all media files and documents to be securely stored, accessed, and transmitted using encryption. Security is an important component in collaborating on and sharing digital assets.

Classification

Using metadata and classification tags, a DAM admin or librarian creates a highly structured identification and organization system (called a taxonomy) for labeling assets. Multiple attributes can be used to classify assets for dynamic search, including the following:

  • File format—such as video, image, or document
  • Templates for common media types
  • Distribution—such as social media, podcasts, or gated content (e.g. white papers)
  • Project or product type or item
  • Season, campaign, or event
  • Audience, role, or persona(e)
  • Department—such as sales, CSM, or marketing
  • Language or region
  • Production status

With each asset properly labeled, platform users find the assets they need quickly and easily.

Access control

DAM allows admins or librarians to use automated rules to control access and editing permissions for each digital asset. Through the platform, assets are locked or unlocked for use. Users can check out assets for editing or manipulate work-in-progress assets in a collaborative workspace. This eliminates versioning exceptions due to simultaneous access.

Top digital asset management use cases

Every organization implementing DAM is looking for specific business outcomes. Here are five of the most common reasons enterprises use digital asset management systems:

Increasing production efficiency: Streamlining the creative process in real time is an attractive use case of DAM. Teams can create an efficient creative and project management process through a single platform, speeding up time to market.

Creating brand cohesion: Siloed data and asset management hampers effective brand management. By centralizing the creative and asset management processes in a platform, organizations can standardize and refine their messaging—no more getting bogged down in redundant work or communication gaps.

Analyzing customer engagement: DAM platforms employ internal and external applications, including the ability to analyze and score customer engagement on managed assets. By understanding what customers are searching for, teams can fine-tune the brand experience and respond to customer needs quickly and accurately.

Increasing customer service: Access to data and content is critical to supporting customers. By creating an easy-retrieval library of available assets, CS teams can reach customers faster. They can educate them more effectively, reduce customer churn, and increase satisfaction.

Enabling sales support: Like CS teams, sales teams need access to a wealth of data in order to successfully engage customers and keep pipelines full. By centralizing asset retrieval, teams have information to share at the moment customer intent is highest. Having instant access to data helps them quickly and confidently close more deals.

Five common asset management challenges

Digital asset management software solves many library management challenges. Here are five common challenges that organizations seek to address through a DAM platform:

Visibility

One of the first challenges of digital asset management is seeing what you have. When assets remain siloed in different locations or workstations, it’s hard to get a sense of available assets. Centralizing through a DAM system removes the blind spots. It breaks down silos that prevent teams from getting a clear picture of their asset portfolio.

Searchability

Great content is only useful if the repository is searchable for users. A DAM reduces challenges with sourcing the correct assets, getting the “latest and greatest” assets. Lack of searchablility becomes time-consuming and delays distribution of assets to drive results. With the right DAM, Content managers, brand managers, and repository librarians can get what they need quickly and efficiently.

Governance

Controlling asset management, taxonomy, brand management, and compliance is difficult without a centralized system. Features like AI and automated workflows can be used to set rules for creating assets that meet business requirements. These features also improve the accuracy of classification to maintain the integrity of the library.

Versioning

Silos create versioning chaos. When many users and teams manipulate assets manually, it’s impossible to follow the audit trail of assets. Lack of visibility makes repurposing content difficult. The permissions and versioning control in a DAM system enable safe, simultaneous access for your users.

Security

With manual asset management, your data and assets are at risk. This risk has only grown in the new world of remote and distributed work. Sending in-production assets via email or over unsecured networks can expose your organization to financial and regulatory risks. With DAM software, production and distribution can happen within a secured environment without exposure to end-point risks or potential loss of work.

Scalability

For a management process to be successful, it needs to be scalable. Manual asset management doesn’t scale. Its effectiveness declines with the increase in assets and versions. With a digital asset management system, your data and production can remain secure as the library grows and more team members participate in creation and distribution.

What to look for in a DAM solution

Selecting the right digital asset management solution is important to your business outcomes. Here are a few key characteristics to look for:

Brand and regulatory compliance features: A fully-featured DAM system is also a brand management tool. It should ensure brand and legal compliance across all assets, file types, and channels.

Centralized collaboration: A quality digital asset management system empowers teams to collaborate. The right solution will foster efficiency in content creation, management, approval, and distribution.

Helpful automation: Automated workflows make everyday tasks like asset tagging, optimizing content, and search easier. Look for a tool that uses AI to enhance the user experience and enable predictive search.

User-friendly interface: Navigating and searching for assets should be intuitive and straightforward. The system should offer optimization features that create value and enable digital rights management (DRM). Look for a highly searchable database that empowers your internal and external stakeholders. 

Integration: Digital asset management shouldn’t occur in a vacuum. A robust DAM platform will offer DAM integration with the rest of your corporate tech stack. This is crucial to unlocking the time savings a DAM can offer. Look for a solution that connects your organization’s vital marketing, sales, CRM, and ERP systems.

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Implementing a DAM solution into your organization allows you to safely and effectively grow your content marketing resources without opening your business to data or regulatory risk. Aprimo offers a total management solution that centalizes production, organizes your assets, and streamlines the delivery of high-quality, omnichannel experiences. Reach out for a demo to learn more about implementing a fully-featured DAM into your tech stack.

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