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A personalized customer experience requires a deep understanding of your customer and the ability to quickly bring together the right content to meet their needs. The right content is a combination of text and rich assets. While many brands think about eliminating silos across content repositories to get the best content, they still often manage their digital assets in a silo. It’s time to rethink how you manage digital assets in your web content management platform (WCM) to improve your ability to respond quickly and deliver rich, consistent customer experiences.

The Traditional Way to Manage Digital Assets

It wasn’t that long ago digital assets, such as images, videos and audio, were considered secondary to text-based content. Under the ownership of creative teams, digital assets were managed in a silo with little to no integration with the systems that leveraged them.

Digital asset management software (DAM) was typically complex and expensive, enabling only small teams access to create and manage the assets. What integration did exist was simple, allowing a content creator to see the asset repository and select the assets they wanted to use.

Times have changed and today, the greater demand for rich experiences requires more rich assets. In some cases, rich assets are the primary content of a digital experience.

Customer experiences need to be consistent regardless of channel or device, and that means all digital assets need to be delivered with this consistency in mind. To do that, you need to change your siloed and fragmented approach to digital asset management.

Digital Assets are First Class Citizens

Text-based content will always play a prominent role in customer experience, but digital assets have quickly become a necessary component of the best experiences.

In the latest Content Marketing Institute report on B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, digital assets are some of the top content marketing tactics. The breakdown looked like this: videos (79 percent), illustrations/photos (76 percent), infographics (67 percent) and social media content (of which most is some rich asset) — 93 percent. Some of these numbers are higher for B2C companies.

B2B Content Marketing Tactic Usage

In many cases, digital assets are the main element of an experience as seen particularly with videos and infographics, along with social media content for sites like Instagram and Facebook. What this tells us is that managing digital assets in a silo by creative teams can no longer happen.

Forrester’s 2014 Wave for DAM Solutions (paywall) identified two key capabilities of DAM solutions:

  1. Rich media content is an integral part of digital experiences, and DAM solutions must provide the functionality required to prepare this content to for delivery to all channels, as well as globally.
  2. DAM solutions must support marketers and other business users as they work together to create and deliver experiences. They need to support business process management, content management automation and integration with other marketing technology.

For many organizations, DAM capabilities within a web content management platform are the best approach to ensure digital assets are an integral part of the digital experience. A single platform to manage digital assets and text-based content also improves marketing agility, especially within the web page (or mobile) creation process.

How WCM Platforms Can Improve and Enhance DAM

To get a better understanding of how Web Content Management platforms can improve and enhance the use of digital assets let’s look at several important capabilities:

Taxonomy and Metadata

To manage and use digital assets in the same way as text-based content, map them to the WCM’s taxonomy and apply the appropriate metadata. This mapping improves how these assets are found and displayed in search, as well as how they are displayed on web pages (including personalized web experiences).

Content Import and Aggregation

With a metadata model mapped against the taxonomy of the WCM, it becomes much easier to pull in the right digital assets to mix with content assets.

Having digital assets managed within the same WCM platform should help reduce the number of redundant or duplicate assets because a single asset is used across web, mobile, and social experiences.

Contextual Analytics

Whether you manage digital assets within your WCM platform or a standalone DAM platform, you can get analytics on the use of those assets. However, by managing them within the WCM, the analytics and insights you receive focus on how the assets are used within the context of the overall experience.

How many times a digital asset is viewed doesn’t tell you a great deal. But where it’s used on the website, or mobile site, and in what context tells you how useful the asset is and if you need to improve it, create more similar assets, or replace it with something different.

User Experience

Typically, only a small group of people use a standalone DAM solution. But a WCM solution has many authors, editors, and approvers. Giving a wider range of users’ access to manage their digital assets where they create web pages and text-based content improves the agility and speed of the user to create and update content.

Using the same platform for both WCM and DAM ensures a consistent user experience for the content creators, reducing the time to learn multiple applications and the amount of support that may be required.

Collaboration on Asset Development

It’s rare that a single person creates all the content for a digital experience, especially with a range of content assets often making up a single experience. Any DAM solution must support the ability for multiple users to collaborate on asset development. When managing rich assets using the same platform as text-based content, collaboration is much easier.

Another point to consider is the creation of user-generated content. You may want to enable the use of content created by your customers. By managing digital assets within your WCM platform, your customers can easily add new content, and you can manage it appropriately.

DAM’s Role in Experience Orchestration

Digital Clarity Group’s Tim Walters defines experience orchestration (registration) as “the ability to import and handle the full range of content types needed for a given experience.” This includes rich media, product content, customer data from CRMs, and if you deliver commerce experiences, product catalog content, and PIM data.

I’ve talked already about the importance of intelligent content to creating rich contextual experiences, and how your WCM platform can support it. Digital assets fall within the same definition of intelligent content, and you need to manage them the same way. Applying a taxonomy and strong metadata model that is also used to map text-based content ensures you can quickly pull together all the right content at the right time and in the right context.

DAM capabilities that streamline content creation/management and drive better content reuse across digital (web, mobile and social) and offline experiences are highly demanded today. These capabilities, described earlier, can be found within WCM platforms and are critical to better marketing agility and digital experience delivery.