Digital Asset Management

Gaining Control in a Marketing Content Proliferation World

The amount at which channels and content have proliferated in recent years is impressive; and for some, overwhelming. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2B marketers plan to create more content in 2017 than in 2016.

Digital asset management (DAM) solutions address a diverse set of problems related to the production, digital storage and access and fulfillment of content. Here are eight issues that DAM can help to resolve.

  1. Content Scattered Among Multiple Owners Across Multiple Departments
    Marketing departments, customer service, advertising, channel partners, sales teams, ecommerce and agencies. These are all places content can live, and, in the absence of digital asset management, are all places that prospective content users need to search. By aggregating assets into a centralized DAM portal, users can start cutting back on those wasted hours spent searching for information.
  2. Brand Control and Compliance
    With assets spread throughout the organization, it’s bound to happen: well-intentioned employees create their own materials without corporate oversight, compromising branding and message. In some cases, users are unaware that updated materials are available and pass along outdated content. For companies in regulated industries, such as insurance or healthcare, compliance is a potential issue when this happens. The governance inherent in DAM, coupled with the fact that it’s a centralized system, can measurably alleviate these risks.
  3. Fragmented Content Hindering Sales and Revenues
    When content is a.) dispersed across business silos; and b.) inconsistent in terms of branding and messaging, the bottom line is affected. According to a 2017 study, such fragmented content – or a routinely inconsistent presentation of an organization’s brand – has direct negative impacts on sales and revenue. Digital asset management, however, gives marketing departments far greater agility to fulfill requests for new or customized material that supports branding and messaging. Depending on your sales enablement and content governance goals, it gives local teams and sales reps the chance to order materials on their own.
  4. Physical Waste
    How much is wasted in terms of excess paper, physical storage space, and shipping costs? There’s probably an opportunity to trim costs in these areas, and digital asset management software can improve insight into inventory and storage needs. Some DAM systems include integration with vendors for print on demand capabilities, which offers a host of other cost- and time-saving benefits.
  5. You Have “Wallflower” Marketing Content
    Sales teams in companies with traditional storage structures often use marketing content that’s easiest to find rather than the content that best fits the opportunity. In a 2015 IDC study, organizations reported that an average of one-third of marketing assets go unused or underutilized. That’s a lot of time, effort and marketing funds down the drain. DAM systems give you a searchable central portal and automation to communicate the availability of and disseminate your assets.
  6. Enabling Local Channels and Marketers
    DAM is key to local marketing enablement, giving local teams 24/7 access to leads, promotions, campaigns and content. Instead of letting a lead go cold while waiting for corporate to create approved, customized materials – or creating their own rogue assets – local marketers can easily and quickly get content into the hands of hot prospects.
  7. You Have Really Good Creative, But…
    It often does not align with top-level strategy and goals. Some DAM software platforms can track and monitor the entire creative lifecycle, from conception to market. By serving as a centralized control point for ideas, reviews and approvals, the creative production aspect of DAM can help ensure that creative ideas are linked to corporate objectives, and are not being executed on the merit of a cool concept alone.
  8. You’re in the Dark Regarding Asset Usage and Effectiveness
    Do you ever feel like assessing the effectiveness of your materials is like staring into a black hole? You need better transparency to identify what assets are being used, how they’re being used, and which ones are helping to win sales. DAM systems can include metrics and reporting features to help pinpoint content that works. In this way, DAM doubles as a knowledge management system that can help you make continuous improvements to your content strategy and the creative production process.

Recognize Any of These Signs?

Consider investigating digital asset management solutions. Features and levels of support vary among platforms and vendors, so assess your current state of DAM at your organization first to identify specific needs. If your organization would like guidance on selecting the right solution, Strata can help. We’ll review your current processes and systems, and make recommendations based on your business and budget.

The average office employee wastes 38 hours per year searching for lost or misplaced materials, while 56% of office workers spend at least 30 minutes per week searching for mislabeled or unlabeled files on their computers. A whopping total of $177.8 billion is thus lost every year among enterprise level businesses, based on the average wage of part-time and full-time office workers. Disorganized, mismanaged internal processes are not only an annoyance, but a detriment to the company bottom line.

Marketing departments have evolved from the lead generators who make cold calls and get ads placed in newspapers, magazines and on billboards, to multimedia business drivers within companies. Content marketing alone generates three times as many leads as the aforementioned traditional channels and costs 62% less. Podcasts, videos, photos, logos and various other types of media are created daily in marketing departments to enhance this content. A proper means of organizing and recovering digital files is vital to an efficient, effective marketing department. Efficient digital asset management is the solution.

What is Digital Asset Management?

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is the process of labeling, storing and retrieving digital files. The concept of DAM was first marketed to the video game and animated film industries to help them organize the millions of digital files necessary to complete their projects. The concept quickly spread to major websites as internet became more widely available in the late 1990s. CNN (then known as the Cable News Network) announced it would be the first beta testing website for a DAM system created by Sony/EDS. The network announced in 2001 it would use Sony’s system to digitize all 21 years of new footage it had on analog tape and floppy disks at a cost of nearly $20 million.

Digitizing older forms of media (assets) was the first step in executing an effective DAM program. But as more forms of digital media were introduced, managing and identifying it all had to evolve. Assets in formats like mp4, JPEG, GIF, etc. are also identified by file size, author name, date created and other metadata. The latter, in its simplest form, means data that describes other data.

An employee may have mislabeled a file, whether it’s the wrong author or a nondescript title. This simple mistake will make the file nearly impossible to find among thousands of files. DAM utilizes metadata and smart search functionality to eliminate these needle-in-a-haystack type searches. Metadata contains so much vital information about digital files that several state bar associations require attorneys to scrub all metadata from files before transmitting them to opposing council as it can turn cases upside down.

DAM software is fast becoming a normal function in content management, especially for corporations with large numbers of products and/or branded materials. Here are three ways DAM can benefit your company:

  1. Manage Brand Consistency
    DAM is integral to ensuring brand consistency across all platforms. Centralized control of all digital assets means brand managers have the ability to update and administer materials in real-time. DAM ensures only the most current and correct digital content is used. It allows marketing leadership to control how their brand is represented and helps to ensure materials are not created “on the fly” that may not follow brand standards.This is as important for startups still developing their brand or needing to establish a solid brand, as it is for large enterprises that have an abundance of materials and processes to manage. It’s essential for a number of key players to have access to the bank of digital content that is often changing or being updated so as to ensure a consistent look and feel of a brand.
  2. Digital Assets Are Easily Accessible
    A 2015 Gallup Poll found that 37% of U.S. workers have telecommuted (worked from home) at some point in their current jobs. That’s up from only 9% in 1995. The poll also found that the average U.S. worker telecommutes at least two times per month. Marketing teams thus need an effective means of retrieving files remotely when not working from the office.Utilize cloud-based digital asset management solutions to provide authorized users quick, secure access to important company files whenever they need it. Retailers that constantly add new products, large corporations with several business units and product lines, and hospitals and health systems with multiple locations are particularly ideal candidates for secure, reliable DAM solutions to streamline processes and keep the team connected at all times. Strata can help by creating a customized portal that can be accessed by specific departments to ensure all digital assets are secured and organized.
  3. Marketing Efforts Are Streamlined with DAM
    Successful companies utilize DAM to standardize workflows, facilitate approval processes and improve search results for digital content. A 2013 Gleanster report entitled “Future-Proof Your Investments in DAM” found that top performing companies, based on three KPIs, were seven times more likely to have incorporated DAM solutions versus all others. These KPI’s included:

    • 12-month change in revenue
    • Asset utilization
    • User adoption ratio

The “paperless” office has long been the goal for many companies to reduce unnecessary clutter and lost productivity. But marketing departments of the 21st century have far more than just PDF documents to keep organized. Videographers, photographers and graphic designers are now vital cogs in marketing, particularly to add personality to online content on company web spaces.

Strata cloud DAM solutions provide an intuitive, user-friendly interface and robust metadata functionality that lessen the burden on workers by making file easily accessible from anywhere. Contact Strata today or request a live demo to discover specific solutions for your digital asset management needs.

Steps to Smarter Management of Your Marketing Assets

Revitalizing Your Approach to Marketing Asset Management

We’re marketers, which means we’re driven. Ambitious. And big-time optimists. We resolve to kick off each quarter with the projects that got tabled in the last one. However, operational and process improvement projects such as asset management can often take a back seat to those that appear to have a more direct impact on the bottom line.

With the end of the first quarter quickly approaching, now’s the time to bite the bullet and get one of these projects started before it gets pushed to the wayside again. Let’s focus on ways you can improve marketing asset management.

Organizing Chaos – One of Today’s Big Marketing Challenges

As marketers, we’re here to empower our organization to capitalize on all revenue opportunities out there, while leveraging the most value from our marketing budget. Asset management is a critical component to both of these. If you don’t have a handle on your marketing resources, you’re wasting valuable assets, time, money and more than likely operating in a chaotic environment.

In fact, as an IDC survey on Managed Print and Document Services found, the time spent searching for information averages 8.8 hours per week at a cost of $14,209 per employee per year.

Turning Chaos into Conquest – 9 Ways You Can Revamp Your Marketing Asset Management Practices

By adding some basic checkpoints to your marketing practices around Asset Management, you can optimize your marketing resources, improve agility and get your marketing on its way to operating at its highest potential in 2015.

Below are some steps you can take to improve how brand assets are managed, shared and disseminated in your organization.

  1. Discovery: Pinpoint where all of your assets are being stored and how and where they’re being referenced.
  2. Take Inventory: Identify, record and categorize all assets.
  3. Set Standards: Remember, setting guidelines for how your brand is managed is as important as creating brand standards.
  4. Collaborate: Review and brainstorm with your immediate team to identify any gaps in asset inventory and make recommendations.
  5. Implement: Schedule kick off and subsequent meetings, identify who should attend which meetings, and follow-through so you can make all parties accountable.
  6. Avoid TMI: Avoid providing Too Much Information (TMI) when involving multiple stakeholders. Stick to the key points that affect them directly; remember, they likely won’t consider your project their priority.
  7. Consider Asset Management Software: Have a Marketing Resource Management system or similar solution in place at your organization.
  8. Make it Measurable: Be sure you have a way to prove measurable benefits to your VP and/or CMO.
  9. Follow-up: Interview users a few months after implementation to identify what’s working, what’s not and identify areas of improvement.

Looking to improve asset management at your organization, but not sure where to start?

If you have similar challenges but would like an expert’s feedback on how to get started, let us know. We offer over more than 20 years of experience helping organizations improve operations, efficiency and the integrity of their brand.

You are welcome to email us, complete our online request form or call 610-941-6100.

Moving Beyond DAM and Why It May Be Crucial to Your Success

As technologies develop, digital assets proliferate, and channels increase, the need for centralized marketing management systems has never been more important. With so much on their plate, it’s no wonder that 70% of CMOs feel they are not prepared to manage the explosion of marketing data and lack true insight into marketing performance.

That’s one key reason why Digital Asset Management (DAM) is so HOT these days.

DAM is one example of a centralized system for marketing that provides a great way to manage the storage, ingestion and decisions surrounding digital assets. DAM, however, does not manage all the deliverables and decisions surrounding marketing’s broader mission. For many marketers, particularly those with distributed marketing networks, DAM represents just the tip of the iceberg in technology-leveraged management tools.

DAM is actually part of Marketing Resource Management (MRM). You can think of MRM as a broader system to manage much of the rest of what you do. Whereas DAM serves as an easy and accessible platform from which to distribute and manage digital assets, a marketing resource management system serves as a platform to easily manage, access, purpose and distribute your marketing content and deliverables.

Adopting DAM can eliminate the time-suck involved in managing and distributing assets and fix a qualitative weak spot to optimizing brand compliance. Businesses face increasing pressure to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time; having a system in place to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible is a must.

Marketing Resource Management: Bridging the gap

In distributed marketing, inefficiencies cut across marketing, sales, purchasing and business management when managed through “traditional” methods of marketing distribution. Marketing resource management seeks to resolve these inefficiencies by delivering functionality in a similar way as DAM to these other areas of the enterprise.

Decreasing marketing costs is the best reason to implement a marketing resource management platform, said 61% of respondents to a 2013 Gleanster survey (pdf). The larger your distributed marketing needs, the bigger the opportunity to recapture wasted time and money that can be better invested in improved performance and more effective distribution of marketing initiatives, leading to better return on investment and increased profitability.

MRM accomplishes this through a technology deployment, generally via the cloud, which connects marketing at its hub to an array of stakeholders and distributed connections such as sales, franchises, offices, branches, distributers, etc. Under best practices, these connections would extend to stakeholders in business management, accounting, purchasing and perhaps others.

Though the core purpose of the MRM application may be to connect marketing more directly and fluidly to its distribution network, in most organizations there are stakeholders who contribute business strategies, approvals, vendors and more in the broader view of creating marketing initiatives and deliverables. In many organizations these stakeholders often exist in silos, and “handoffs” are made across disparate processes and workflows, frequently leading to inefficiencies and delays. MRM implementation presents a great opportunity, through a seamless marketing solution, to change this dynamic and benefit everyone involved.

Go big, win big

Although deploying MRM is certainly more complex than initiating a DAM application, it is a manageable effort that can pay huge dividends across multiple groups within an organization. Those dividends can range from improved organizational management to noticeable savings on internal labor spend.

With an estimated 780 new MRM implementations in the past year (Gartner), it’s clear that many marketers are beginning to notice these benefits as well. In our experience, marketers who successfully deploy MRM solutions never look back. Inevitably, they grow and refine those systems to achieve continuous improvement — the kind of marketing performance improvement that is mandatory to compete and thrive.