By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter
My grandfather always said the best way to learn is to put it into terms you already know. With that being the case, think of your Digital Marketing Assets as products. Now think about how you would warehouse them:
- Would you just throw products on any shelf, with no system of arranging them?
- Would you let whoever was in charge of the warehouse set up their own system, and not tell anyone how it was organized?
- Would you let them also install the lock, and have the only key?
- Could any employee or contractor take any product they wanted?
- Would you keep discontinued product on the shelves?
- Would you let people put the products together in any way they wanted?
- Would you leave your products outside in the rain and snow while you figured out the right type of warehouse to build?
I’m guessing the answer to every one of those questions is a giant NO.
And that’s why a Digital Asset Management System (DAM) is an absolute necessity for any business. Even if it’s an informal (but well defined) ad hoc internal system, or a formal one with an outside vendor, a system has to be in place that isn’t dependent on one person to keep it in order.
First and foremost, a DAM will make it easier to find the things you need. From a single image that was in a catalog you printed 5 years ago, to all the elements associated with your last product launch, a coordinated and well-defined system makes it logical and effortless.
It also makes you less dependent on personnel or personalities and more reflective of the working culture you want to have. One person’s “intuitive” is another person’s “mess I can’t be bothered with.” If everyone uses the same, corporate system, then everyone’s on the same page.
A DAM also makes you less dependent on, and beholden to, one person. If a single person holds all the keys (and passwords) then their departure can have significant repercussions. I’ve had more than one client who has had their social media presence limited due to the person who set up the accounts having left, with no one else set up as an admin.
Your system should also allow you to limit and standardize use. Creating templates allows you to send messaging with consistent look and feel, so that what HR says internally is the same as what marketing communications tells customers and what PR says to the media. This only helps reinforce your brand.
An effective DAM also streamlines your marketing efforts. If a product becomes obsolete, or if an image is no longer usable, you can remove it, and find every place it was in use, allowing for quicker and more complete updating.
Lastly, a Digital Asset Management System should be right-sized for your company and marketing efforts. Too often the system put in place 10 years ago isn’t updated for new media, or struggles under the weight of increased products, users and content. Frequent review and modification can head off the sticker shock and time suck of getting a system too late, or having to start over again from scratch.