This blog covers the following:

  1. Looking at DAM fundamentals
  2. Understanding why you need a DAM
  3. Reviewing how to assess your needs
  4. Evaluating cloud‐based services

Digital content has drastically grown in importance, which creates a problem for marketers and digital creators who must keep up with the demand for quality content. They need to quickly respond to their competitors’ promotions and get attention in a marketplace that is constantly changing. Not only do marketers need to find a solution, but they also need to demonstrate that it’s worth the investment and provides real value to the organization.

We’re sure you recognize this problem. You may be asking yourself how you can effectively manage your digital assets and demonstrate a high return on investment (ROI) for now and for the future. An effective DAM solution allows you to increase operational efficiencies, generate real revenue from your assets, and grab new organizational opportunities when they present themselves.

In this chapter, we look at DAM fundamentals and demonstrate how to get attention for your most important corporate assets — your digital content.

Comprehending the fundamentals of DAM solutions

The proliferation of valuable media assets has created the need for a system to manage and retrieve them so that they can be used to attract and delight customers. You have your marketing materials, video, graphics, photos, brand assets, and much more called rich media. Each asset has its own requirements and variations that must also be tagged, uploaded, and stored in your DAM solution.

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You also have a staff across the globe who needs to quickly utilize this media. What’s more, employees are continually creating new digital content that needs to be entered in the DAM solution and deployed across all web platforms, so utilizing your assets is one part of the DAM equation.

The second part is the role your content plays in effectively telling your organization’s story to the world to engage people. A DAM helps you tell your brand story by providing the structure and system you need to produce compelling media. It also drives your customer experience. The media assets you create will either encourage your customers to seek more information about you or drive them toward your competitor.

The following sections take a closer look at what you need to know about DAM, including the trends that led to the creation of DAM and the unique characteristics of a DAM system.

Changing trends that created a need for DAM solutions

If you’re wondering what caused the urgent need for the development of DAM systems, you have to look back before the wave of new technology impacted the selling cycle. Marketers could take their time creating static product brochures and data sheets that typically had a stale corporate photo and a logo. They would print these sheets and mail them to customers and then call them for an appointment. Those days are clearly over. No executive today would consider waiting for a packet of materials to come in the mail or answer a cold call from an unknown salesperson.

Specific marketplace trends created the need for software that could streamline the creation and distribution rich media to sell products. Here are five main trends that have had the greatest impact:

  • A change in buying behavior: Smartphones and the web have changed the way people buy. They may walk into a store to look at a product and then buy it online at a better price. They may check their phones to find discounts or coupons causing them to buy from the retailer that gets to them first. This behavior requires marketers to change almost everything about the way they present and promote their products. Key product information needs to be available from mobile devices. In addition, you as a marketer need to use rich media that has been personalized to develop real relationships.
  • The need to prove ROI: Continual fluctuations in the economy have caused marketers to become smarter about their company’s investments. They need to demonstrate that the systems and processes they adopt will add to the bottom line. Management needs to see tangible results; the pressure is on executives to demonstrate that value.
  • The introduction of Software as a Service (SaaS): The advent of cloud technology has created a category of services that allows marketers to access sophisticated software on a subscription basis. This is more cost effective and doesn’t require long ramp‐up times. In the earlier days of digital asset management systems, most were hosted on site on the company’s locally owned servers. Refer to the section, “Understanding the Value of SaaS” later in this chapter for more information.
  • The development of content marketing: Mobile devices have made digital content ubiquitous. Companies need to create a never‐ending supply of rich media to engage their customers 24/7. Doing so requires staff to produce professional‐looking and entertaining content for advertising, websites, social media platforms, and so on. Customers’ expectations have risen, so companies need to improve their methods to meet them.
  • The need for omnichannel marketing: Omnichannel marketing refers to a seamless customer experience across all your channels. Customers should be able to look at products at home on a company’s website, find a coupon for it on their mobile device, and then redeem it at their local store or on their tablet. Shoppers expect to be able to connect with your company without any regard to the device they’re using or their location. Your rich media assets need to be viable on all platforms. According to the CMO Club (2015), 64 percent of marketers say that their top barriers to achieving omnichannel marketing are the lack of resources and investments. Make sure that your staffers have the right resources to do their job by allocating budget toward technologies to manage digital content and to pay dedicated content administrators who will oversee the administration of these systems.
  • The reduction of product life cycles: Technology has made access to all content faster and easier. It has also impacted the product life cycle. Customers expect new product releases to occur frequently. Hence, the content to develop and promote them must be supported by a streamlined production process.

As you can see, these trends impact every part of your operation. Without a way to manage assets, you’re damaging your company’s chance to develop customer relationships and stay relevant in an increasingly fast paced digital world.

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