Word from the Society of Digital Agencies research is that 76 per cent of marketers are actively creating significantly higher volumes of content. Forester Research reckons it’s more like 90 per cent. But whatever the figures it’s a sure bet that, as a marketer yourself, you’re seeing a big increase in the amplitude of content, campaigns, images, videos and documents you are creating, in line with the growing numbers of different marketing channels.
Alongside this growth come the expanding issues of how to store, manage and distribute all this content. Many marketers still have content and brand assets stored in a hundred different places – not to mention their multitude of users who can never find what they need.
Increasingly, they are turning to digital asset management and brand asset management platforms to solve these challenges. A digital asset management technology centralises brand assets, marketing materials and advertising campaign resources in the cloud, allowing internal teams and external partners across the globe to log in with permission-based passwords to self-serve the content they need. Consistency, productivity and efficiency are the major gains.
So, if you are at the early stages of considering digital asset management technology, start by considering these five high level questions.
1. Cloud or on-premise?
These days pretty well every software system is available in the cloud as SaaS (Software as a Service). At Brandworkz we moved away from on-premise builds some years ago and all our client DAM systems are now deployed in the cloud. Something here about benefits of on-premise.
This means your users can log in from a web browser from any geographical location and any device. There’s no limitation. From an efficiency point of view, using a cloud platform means the vendor can upgrade a client’s system, deploy new functionality quicker and scale the platform seamlessly as it grows. The work is done remotely and there’s no need to upgrade anything on company servers. Even so, some DAM vendors still only provide on-premise installations, despite the market now being predominantly SaaS.
2. Pure-play DAM or the default DAM embedded in your other marketing platforms?
Because of the rise in demand for rich media assets, many digital technologies are starting to embed basic DAM functionality within the software. For example, content management systems, product information management and marketing automation systems all have basic digital asset management technology for storing and using digital assets within their platforms.
That will be okay for some, but others might balk at the limitations in functionality, lack of a harmonious user interface, absence of sophisticated search and no download wizards. Not to mention no control over users, metadata and structure, or other key features.
With a pure-play digital asset management technology you have one single source of truth for all your assets and avoid the issue of different assets being stored in separate marketing systems. The key is integration (see point 3 below).
The benefits are many: for example, no duplication across multiple silos; a single location where everyone knows they can find assets; the ability to manage assets out in the field from one location.
3. Integration or stand-alone?
There was a time when your digital asset management technology would stand alone alongside your other stand-alone marketing platforms. Assets would be downloaded and re-uploaded into your CMS, marketing automation platform, social media management systems and so on.
These days, however, your DAM system should sit authoritatively at the centre of your marketing ecosystem, pushing assets to your other marketing platforms and pulling data from numerous sources. Integration via a robust API is key – the absolutely number one priority. Look for a DAM vendor that’s developing features, functionalities, integrations priority and relationships with other martech vendors that will embed the technology within the MarTech stack.
Digital asset management technology is the content hub of your entire marketing ecosystem, allowing the other marketing technologies with which it integrates to pull assets from the DAM and share data back.
4. Just data or insights too?
With expanding investment in content comes more pressurised demand for insights and data on how assets are actually performing in the field. Any decent digital asset management technology will have a reporting feature, giving information and data on which assets are being downloaded or uploaded, users who are active on the system and those who aren’t, data on the Workflows and Web-to-Publish templates that are being used.
Nonetheless, nowadays basic reporting is not enough. Look for DAM technology that provide not only asset performance data capability but enhanced reporting on how assets are performing across integrated marketing platforms, or where they are being used around the web. You can check whether the correct asset is being promulgated on websites and in social media, as well as identifying fraudulent use of intellectual property and easily replacing images as they become obsolete or their usage license expires.
Make sure too that reporting dashboards are intuitive and customisable, making data digestibility far easier.
5. AI and machine learning or manual processes?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is on the march in the DAM industry just as it is in every digital sphere of our lives. Most digital asset management technology already uses some AI and machine learning within their systems. And this is just the start of it.
Until now, when images and assets are uploaded into a DAM system, the metadata and information that must be added to it in order for them to be searchable, has had to be manual. Inevitably, metadata can sometimes be missed off assets, meaning it is hard for them to be found when using the Search feature.
With the advent of AI for metadata keyword generation, as images are uploaded into the digital asset management technology, they are scanned by the AI feature. The image is analysed via image recognition technology and the metadata added automatically. Make sure any DAM vendor you talk to can offer this feature – the process of asset ingestion is hugely simplified and overall metadata governance increased. Remember, an asset that can’t be found is an asset that can’t be used.
When you start the process of considering digital asset management technology these essential factors could make the difference between choosing a DAM platform that delivers ROI for your business, and one that does not.
If you would like more detail about how to specify a DAM and evaluate vendors, read our article, ‘A seven-step dam implementation guide’ designed to aid the process of specifying and implementing a digital asset management solution.
Oh, and one other thing…
Do download the Brandworkz DAM Vendor Comparison Chart before you start to start your digital asset management vendor review journey. Innovation is coming from the big and small DAM players in the market, but keeping on top of who offers what can be challenging, especially at long-list stage. The Brandworkz DAM Vendor Comparison Chart will help you make a detailed overview that will help in narrowing down your search.