Making the DAM connection 

Rocky and Bullwinkle. Laurel and Hardy. Saturday night and hockey. Peanut butter and lettuce. Some things just work better together. Same can be said for brand teams working on digital assets.

Today every brand is producing content – and producing more and more of it, trying to connect their customers with their brand. What many brands aren’t doing is creating those assets in a logical, collaborative manner.

For the most part enterprise marketing assets  – images, text, videos, digital – are still created in siloes and stored randomly in emails, on agency servers, and orphaned out there, who knows where? This works counter to the value that content represents to an organization.  It is time to stop the madness.

Digital assets have to start moving through organizations in a manner that enable marketers in any part of the organization to get what they need quickly, manage it effectively, and use it expressively to deliver a cohesive narrative across the entire customer journey.

How do you get to this utopia you ask. In three easy steps.

Step 1 – Create a cohesive, inclusive environment.

Teams from across the organization, inside (marketing, legal, product development, customer service) and out (agencies, translation services, printers), help create thousands of digital assets as they generate brand experiences for customers. Unfortunately, for the brand and it’s customers, these team are just, for the most part, not set up to work effectively together.  Creating that cohesive narrative needs a cohesive work environment for the contributors helping to shape that journey. To do that companies should consider:

  • Who currently impacts the delivery of digital assets into your customer’s journey? Do they all have access to the Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution? Should they?
  • What are the business processes that affect digital asset creation? Storage? Management?
  • Where are there efficiencies to be gained in those processes?

Step 2 – Connecting the dots for success

According to Gleanster the average marketing strategy incorporates the use of at least four digital channels such as email, website, paid search, and SEO in addition to traditional offline channels that have been used successfully for decades.

What it doesn’t take into consideration are some of the less obvious platforms that could benefit from being tapped into a centralized digital asset management system. Technologies such as ERPs (Enterprise resource planning – think SAP) and PIMs (product information management systems – again, think SAP, and Informatica) upon which catalogue production and warehouse management systems rely. Or commonly outsourced services like translation and video production that would benefit from a single source of truth for the digital assets they interact with, as well as contribute to, in maintaining the integrity of that truth.

What if each of the above mentioned, and other marketing influencing systems and platforms could be connected, or at a minimum their data points synched up so that marketers could exploit all channels and data sources to make better informed decisions about which assets to use and when.

Companies have a lot to gain by acting on journey insights garnered from a collection of data points. A McKinsey analysis showed that those organizations that make use of their marketing related big data stores see as much as a 15-20% reduction in cost to serve, a 10-20% boost in cross-selling, and a drop of 10-25 basis points in churn. This big data factor of DAM also significantly impacts the economics around the asset life cycle and provides the opportunity to optimize the economic return on digital assets and digital asset management system.

So with all the marketing systems where digital assets are used synched up not only do you know where the assets reside, you can also track where they are being used, and how effective they are in that campaign, channel, and context.  But first you have to find the digital assets that you need for our content marketing campaigns.

Step 3 – Take your time and set DAM up right

Connecting the teams and systems together within a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system won’t make as much of an impact on marketing efforts, if the assets within the system cannot be found, leveraged, or properly managed.  Digital assets are created day in day out in every organization, and not just by those in marketing. Digital assets have moved beyond the specialized file types for videos, images, and voice to include just about any format including common formats such as documents, presentations, and even spreadsheets, compounding the need for  governance and structure. Ensuring standards are in place, metadata is pro-actively captured, and assets are logically sorted and catalogued will help keep unnecessary files from being lumped in with valuable marketing assets, as well as increase their findability.

What if contributors and influencers could create in near-real-time a tailored how-to video in response to a customer care request, or an image for a viral campaign in response to a current event? Think about the impact on your customer journey when:

  • The availability of digital assets via structure and search makes them easier to find, access, and tailor to deliver to your customer.
  • Assets can be delivered at the right time to the right customer in within the parameters of licensing, cultural, royalty and other considerations.
  • Dated or obsolete videos, visuals, and other digital and print collateral are not available to be accidently published because they have been properly tagged, filed, and catalogued.

Consider your customers’ journey like an ongoing network of avenues and highways, and your company’s digital assets are the map for that journey guiding them to their destinations, as well as roadside assistance to help them get on with their journey when they lose their way.

Bonus Step – Monitor. Adjust. Repeat.

Today’s customer journey is all about the here and right-now. It doesn’t matter necessarily how well their needs have been met before, it the video they are looking for, or event registration form they want are not available, then that could mark the end of their journey as a customer with your company. So while your digital asset management solution may be working well, keeping it in tune requires on going tending and tweaking.

Ensuring that digital asset management is a pro-active ongoing process, and not a reactive crisis management situation will positively impact your customers’ journey, and keep them on your path by being able to continually meet their needs via their preferred channels with creative, tailored, and relevant content.

Cathy McKnight
Cathy helps organizations transform the way technology can enable business strategy and performance. In her current role, Cathy has helped dozens of companies realize their digital transformation objectives. With more than 15 years of global experience and expertise in digital partners, content management, intranets, marketing technologies and customer experience, Cathy has led strategic business transformation initiatives as well as the detailed execution of enterprise technology implementations.

Prior to DCG, Cathy served at Aon Hewitt as the Innovation Lead and a Senior Associate for the Communications Consulting Team, building an innovative Web solutions practice for the company and leading communications and organizational change initiatives. As Director, Client Services at Prescient Digital Media, Cathy led a team of consultants delivering enterprise strategies and technology and agency selection projects for an array of global clients. As Senior Communications Advisor for IBM’s Global Services division, Cathy led the overall change management strategy and messaging of IBM’s values and mission to internal IGS audiences.

With her background crossing technology, emergent business trends, and change management, Cathy focuses on working with clients to bridge leadership, business process, and technology acquisition and adoption. Cathy is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator at numerous events around the world.
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Author: Cathy McKnight
Cathy helps organizations transform the way technology can enable business strategy and performance. In her current role, Cathy has helped dozens of companies realize their digital transformation objectives. With more than 15 years of global experience and expertise in digital partners, content management, intranets, marketing technologies and customer experience, Cathy has led strategic business transformation initiatives as well as the detailed execution of enterprise technology implementations. Prior to DCG, Cathy served at Aon Hewitt as the Innovation Lead and a Senior Associate for the Communications Consulting Team, building an innovative Web solutions practice for the company and leading communications and organizational change initiatives. As Director, Client Services at Prescient Digital Media, Cathy led a team of consultants delivering enterprise strategies and technology and agency selection projects for an array of global clients. As Senior Communications Advisor for IBM’s Global Services division, Cathy led the overall change management strategy and messaging of IBM’s values and mission to internal IGS audiences. With her background crossing technology, emergent business trends, and change management, Cathy focuses on working with clients to bridge leadership, business process, and technology acquisition and adoption. Cathy is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator at numerous events around the world.