The marketing industry is on the cusp of a wave of innovation that will have huge implications for DAM evolution and provide significant areas of growth. Brandworkz is a platform focused on DAM for sales and marketing so that is what we are best placed to comment on, but in our view DAM has an enormous opportunity to be part of that innovation.
Let me explain some of the exciting new advances and how digital asset management can play a major role in brand communications, given the right set of circumstances.
Connections and context
Today we are more connected than we ever have been as technology and digital tools have become essential parts of our professional and privates lives. These tools connect us with others around the world seamlessly and intuitively. For marketers, the challenge is to harness these technologies in order to reach customers one-to-one. Hailed as ‘Context Marketing’, this is about delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time via the right channel.
Marketing communications will no-longer be a set of pre-determined images or video. Instead a piece of marketing content will be personally created based on real-time analysis of real-time data and specific to the time and method of delivery. Think of marketing content as a series of instructions, based on data about your customer, that pulls through a personal, content-specific message in that moment and feeds customer response data back into the system. No more chucking shit at a wall and seeing what sticks.
Digital asset management vendors are in a strong position to be involved in the context marketing revolution that is coming. For context marketing to work it will require highly sophisticated data analytics integrated with a DAM system to serve out the rich media required by the marketing delivery platforms to get the customer’s attention. As you may know, DAM vendors are good at integration and are a natural part of the context marketing stack. As DAM vendors we could even take some of the analytics from this new world of marketing back in-house and leverage some of our reporting capabilities to analyse how digital assets are performing. But no matter what, we must do what we do best in this new context, which is storing, managing and distributing digital assets (or formations of data as rich media assets may well become).
AI in the wild
AI and image recognition is nothing new, we here at Brandworkz, like almost all other vendors, have implemented image recognition as part of our DAM offering to help will the process of adding metadata. While not perfect, it is a step in the right direction and will improve over the coming years. But this should not be the end of where image recognition can help DAM systems.
As a marketer (and DAM user) something I want to know is how an image has performed based on sales or impressions out in the world. How can my DAM system tell me about how a digital asset is performing? The answer I think, lies in AI and image recognition.
I want my DAM system to tell me where my digital asset is being used. Not just via an id or some hidden pixel code that could be cropped out or changed. I want to know where the image is being used intentionally and where it has been copied and is being used illegally. I know a few photographers who would appreciate this. Going forward, it is image recognition that will be able to achieve this. Until now the technology hasn’t been sophisticated enough and the cost prohibitive. But that’s all changed.
Another related area for image recognition is in recalling and replacing digital assets. As a website manager, I have many times had to search through numerous pages looking for a single image that I have to replace. Image recognition and tracking should be able to list out where the image is being used, and with integration to my CMS, allow me swap it out effortlessly. This is a small but powerful feature that would give marketers back minutes, if not hours, to do the more exciting jobs we are paid to do.
We are only scratching the surface with AI. But with the developments strengthening and the costs of the technology tumbling, DAM vendors should be looking to leverage it everywhere we can.
What’s holding us back?
It all sounds great so far but there are some major issues that need to be dealt with. First, there needs to be a recognition that DAM (or any IT system) will not solve all your problems. DAM can only do so much, but when working collaboratively with other systems DAM can have a major part to play in the future of marketing and brand communications.
Secondly, integration and APIs are the life blood of DAM and must be prioritised by vendors if they are survive. No DAM vendor I know has the resources to develop the image recognition software required to deliver the functionality I described above. That should be developed by a team who specialise in AI and DAM vendors integrate with and leverage their expertise. If we stick to what we do best while aligning with other technologies then we will have happier clients and a more successful industry.
For there to be innovation in DAM we need to stop looking internally. The innovation that will drive our own is happening outside of our industry and we are very much part of it. Unless we stop navel-gazing and start seeing DAM as part of something so much bigger, we simply won’t find the innovation everyone is searching for.