If your company is at the point where it sends its digital assets out into the world, whether through your website, social media channels, or email newsletters, your business will be generating large amounts of marketing assets. Like any asset, it needs to be managed properly for the full value to be realized. To do this effectively, you need a digital asset management solution. Unlike simple file sharing platforms like DropBox and Box (or even other more sophisticated tools), a digital asset management solution is designed to keep track of all the growing number of things that are created and uploaded for you – reams of photos and videos, exact replicas of your website’s HTML files and blog posts in .pdf format, customer-provided content in Word documents – so you can easily share them with people around the globe.
What is a Digital Asset Management System (DAM)?
Digital Asset Management (DAM) is the process of organizing and managing digital files. It is an umbrella term that encompasses content management systems, database management systems, and web publishing systems.
A digital asset management solution stores digital assets in a database or repository. Content creators and editors can access this data to use to create and manage digital assets for various purposes, such as web pages, social media posts, emails, or other types of content.
Content creators can access the system via a web browser or a desktop application that allows them to upload new assets and edit existing ones. They can also add metadata tags to the asset that will help organize it within the DAM catalog.
What are the Different Types of Digital Assets?
There are many different types of digital assets. Some of the most popular ones are images, videos, and graphics. However, assets also include all the source files and print-ready files for any company literature or printed resources.
You may think that your marketing department already has asset management under control. If you believe this to be true, consider the following:
The issues with data storage
Think of your company’s logo. How many places is it used? It will appear on every printed piece of marketing collateral, your website, your social media channels, and on any other electronic display that someone may encounter as they browse through the internet.
Every time the logo is displayed, you will want an image file at various resolutions. You need to decide whether to go with a web-optimized size or the largest available file. If you use the largest picture, you will be using more space on your server and possibly even an entirely new server to house all of your image files: what is it that makes so many companies think they can use a single server for their digital assets? The file sizes are getting bigger and bigger as storage capacity increases but what needs to be understood is that a server’s resources are not unlimited.
Now multiply the issue when you consider product photographs, stock images, bespoke photo, and video shoots. Every version of a piece of literature. The scope for asset duplication and the related storage requirements is increasing rapidly.
Time taken for image requests
You will also consider how long it takes to process image requests. If you have a larger server and a lot of images, this can take time – especially if you have a very busy marketing team working on different pieces of content.
Your marketing team may be outsourcing some work to cover other areas. For example, the photographer may be asked to deliver the finished product at a later date and needs access to the digital assets or files used in the original shoot for editing purposes. How many different people are going to need access? How much storage capacity does each person need? What about development progress! If someone is making a design change that requires access to images, they are likely using their own means of storing files.
These demands on your marketing team’s time cost your business productivity and money. It could also damage your brand’s reputation when your stakeholders see inconsistent or poor designs coming from your business.
Lack of brand consistency
If you have a design that is used across many different areas in your business, such as your website, social media channels, and direct mailer, you need to make sure that all these designs and assets are consistent.
You will also want to make sure that if one of these files is edited or updated, it gets updated everywhere else too. Think about email graphics – do you want to use a different version for each email? You may be thinking “Of course not” but how many different versions does the reader see on their mobile device? If someone has a piece of marketing collateral on their phone or tablet, what will happen if this asset is updated? As well as being frustrating for the recipient, it can also be very costly.
Benefits of a DAM
The benefits of implementing a DAM system include:
A single storage location
Asset management is significantly reduced. You can store all of your digital assets in one place, so the need for manual file storage disappears. Digital asset management allows you to find what you are looking for when you are looking for it. You will be able to edit, delete and sort assets to properly manage them. This even allows you to track changes in terms of who posted the asset, when it was changed/updated, and who was involved in the change process. This means that versions are always retained and that they can be accessed again if necessary.
Harmonization of data
Digital assets can be stored in one place and organized in the same way. The risk of conflicting versions and inconsistent naming conventions is reduced. In addition, you can use it to track changes to documents or files as well as who was involved and when.
Your DAM system will allow you to look at asset management issues across your business, which will help reduce the time spent by your marketing team on image requests and organization. If you are a small business or have very limited resources available to you, it may be beneficial for you to choose a service provider who specializes in digital asset management.