birds flying in a question mark formation
PHOTO: Ilkka Kärkkäinen

A DAM colleague recently observed, as DAM matures within the organization and becomes popular outside the core DAM users, they think DAM will solve all their problems, and that everything should be there.” I've heard this astute observation many times before. Ultimately, it’s about the intent and purpose of the DAM and its maturity within the organization. What does a DAM do anyway? Figuring out where the DAM begins and ends definitely can vary from organization to organization. The question then becomes, “What does this DAM do, and what is it good for?” 

A functional DAM is not a dumping ground for assets, but is a functional, if not critical, part of the “content factory” of your organization. DAM is not an expensive and complicated FTP server and should never be thought of as such. Nor is it a junk drawer. Our shared drives and personal computers already do too good of a job at that. The demand for digital assets is high because the need for digital assets is multi-faceted. Brand and market position — and the technologies to support customer engagement and brand activation — are essential to any organization’s growth.

DAM is a foundational component of this growth, and the ability to serve as a single source of truth in the organization helps quantify the value of digital assets, through their discovery, use and reuse in daily operations. DAM will not solve all of your problems, but it will serve as the foundation for all of your solutions.

DAM's Place in a Rapidly Changing World

The fundamentals of business have been dramatically transformed by the sudden and rapid emergence of the digital age. The key to successfully managing your digital assets and content in a rapidly changing world is to focus on what really matters for you and your business: to focus on, and continually improve your focus on, business-aligned decisions. 

DAM embodies and facilitates responsiveness and agility, and anticipates managing content beyond classically defined digital assets. DAM should be characterized by greater user interactivity and collaboration across the enterprise. Think global, and act local with good DAM integrations.

Related Article: The Uncomfortable Truth About DAM

DAM as Part of Martech

Martech consists of the digital tools (products and systems) that can help you automate and streamline processes, aggregate and manage data, and ultimately reach your customers more effectively and efficiently. The martech stack is the integrated collection and categorization of those tools. Martech does not work unless the various products and systems are able to talk to one another or have some level of automation and process design enablement. Every piece of technology a marketer uses to reach a potential customer is martech and adds to the customer experience.

More than ever, DAM needs to be effective, integrated and connected with everything in the martech ecosystem. We now have the opportunity to think beyond the here and now and consider content curation, rather than collection, as a strategy for success. Content is a human endeavor and as an organization, you need to assess your methods and business processes for managing content against best practices with clear, agnostic benchmarks. Measure your DAM impact on the organization, only then will you be able to achieve lofty goals and stakeholder satisfaction.

Always remember to use the right tool for the right job. This is why you need not just a DAM, but a PIM, perhaps a MAM, Workflow Management, Project Management, PLM, MRM, MDM, CMS and more. Martech is a system of parts working together to help content move in and out of an organization.

A mature DAM will depart from traditionally fixed infrastructure elements and business rules, and will anticipate managing content beyond classically defined digital assets. DAM may well require updated terminology and a new label for the practice itself, for at the end of the day, it is all about content. A mature DAM should be should be seen as an agile program and responsive to change. DAM should also manage more than classically defined digital assets within the martech ecosystem. Lastly, DAM should be seen as connected to Content with strong UX and enhanced communication channels.

Related Article: Why Digital Asset Management Is Now Officially Martech

Take a Big Picture Approach to Content Delivery

A mature DAM will accelerate the conversation between business and consumer. Be mindful of the people, processes and technologies that may influence the transformation you desire. Never stop asking questions and determine what the content needs of your organization are. If it doesn't work within the DAM, it may very well fit within one of the other parts of the martech system. Ask better content related questions: Do we have the content?  What do you need to get done? Who is it for? Where will it go … and why?

Businesses creating and disseminating brand and marketing messages and products will engage with the consumer community, who will respond with shopping behavior, internet searches, assets and data such as reviews, comments, images, check-ins and other online actions. Content should be viewed as a constant connection between people, process and technology. DAM is the right thing to do for your content and your brand. DAM must be seen as more than just DAM, but as a critical component of the Martech ecosystem.