DAM is firmly established as a platform, an industry category and – for brands from startup to enterprise – an indispensable commodity. What’s more, for the overwhelming majority of customers, DAM is the first point of entry to the vast and ever-growing world of marketing technology.
Allow us to make a case for DAM first
If you’re engaged in marketing, you’ll probably have an impressive number of marketing content at your disposal. Marketing content consists of what we call “digital assets” and is literally all over the place. These marketing assets include, among others, photos, video, layouts, packaging artwork, videos, 3D files, source files and much more.
All too often, particularly in very large global organizations, marketing assets are not properly shared. Few companies are able of locating all their digital marketing assets in a heartbeat. They’re scattered all over the place. Various (perhaps outdated) asset versions are lying around on laptops, external hard drives, dropboxes, usb sticks and, who knows, even still floppy disks as well. This leads to duplication and a tremendous loss of time as one area of the business produces materials that have already been created by another area.
Properly handling these bits of content is very important because, even in the 21st century, marketing content is everywhere and nowhere. Every self-respecting marketing professional has every reason to treat marketing content the way it deserves to be treated. It serves as the foundation of the company’s content marketing strategy. And this, again, is all about interaction and engagement with the company’s stakeholders. This is where DAM gets to make its mark as a hub for content.
A brief history of DAM
For the first digital asset management solution we have to go back to the mid-1990’s. Silicon Graphics and CNN were in dire need of a platform to manage their content. Handling over 700,000 news clips was a significant feat at the time. The first DAM solution took on the challenge, although the functionality offered at the time was the bare minimum compared to what modern DAM systems are capable of nowadays.
As the 2000’s went on, we broke away from on-premise storage and along with the early rise of web-based DAM applications, we started looking towards the cloud as the central storage location for content. Later on, DAM software needed to adapt to new sources & devices in order to bring digital assets (content) to new channels like social media and online shops
Right now, DAM vendors everywhere focus on integrations. With DAM as a household practice among content-based platforms, integrations serve as the means to improve effectiveness one step at a time.
A few essential DAM features
Content storage lies at the heart of a DAM platform. A digital storage location for users to store their content and share it with other users. A quick summary of what any DAM system has to offer users.
Search and browse content
Searching for content should be a quick, easy, and effective process. This especially goes for DAM platforms that contain a large amount of digital files.
Download & upload
Users can upload their content onto the platform in a variety of extensions. Other users can then go on to download these bits of content for use on their devices, to use for various campaigns and channels.
Additional data that provides information about the content it applies to. Common metadata examples include additional product information like geographical location, language, media the asset is meant for and so on.
Desktop & mobile
Along with the rise of the smartphone, Most DAM platforms have made the transition from a desktop experience to one that feels natural on multiple devices. This demonstrates the importance of handling content in a f.e. mobile environment, without feeling secondary to the ‘traditional’ desktop way of working.
What can a DAM do for your company?
A well-architected and maintained Digital Asset Management system acts as the single version of truth for all your company’s marketing assets, a home base for content distribution. It makes assets easy to view and share and facilitates integration with other systems.
The features of a basic DAM system are all about storing, managing and distributing digital marketing assets. In our view, a state-of-the-art DAM system must be designed to be more than a simple storage platform. Today’s DAM must be fully equipped to handle complex digital asset management scenarios, including complex metadata, security and digital rights management aspects.
The content journey
The core purpose of a Digital Asset Management system is to support the content journey of your digital marketing asset. This journey adds value and context to the asset, and ensures that it is reviewed and used appropriately. After its initial creation, the asset (, i.e., a design created by an agency for use by the company, a user guide, an educational video) is loaded into the DAM. After adding the necessary metadata to describe its features, the asset is made available to designated users of the DAM.
Those users are now able to download, edit, annotate, and distribute the asset in marketing campaigns. Over time, new versions of the marketing asset are added into the system as they are created to support additional channels.
Choose your starting point
Now say introducing a DAM sounds like a valuable addition to your company’s marketing efforts, we like to present options.
The Digital Asset Management (DAM) module stands at the foundation of Marketing Content Hub’s capabilities. Our DAM module is considered the essence of what Marketing Content Hub can do for all your digital marketing assets. The core application that connects and powers other Marketing Content Hub modules like Marketing Resource Management and Product Information Management.
We recommend choosing a powerful DAM equipped with the basic features as described in this article. Afterwards you may choose to extend the platform to cover features to streamline your marketing campaigns or to stay more on top of your product content. To each his own.
What’s in it for you?
Besides the obvious increase in efficiency, using a DAM adds value to your marketing operations by delivering better quality in a faster way which results again in reducing cost and increasing revenue.
We hope you enjoyed reading our introduction to DAM. For more information, keep browsing our website and blog, get in touch with us to find the right solution for you, or register for our upcoming webinar on DAM.