person holding hands with a doll hand, golden gate bridge in background
PHOTO: Josh Felise

“Relationships are the only thing that matter in business, in life” — Jerry Weintraub

Relationships take work and digital asset management (DAM) is no exception. The decision to implement a DAM system is a positive step in the right direction to gaining operational and intellectual control of your digital assets. Using DAM effectively can deliver knowledge and measurable cost savings, deliver time to market gains, and deliver greater brand voice consistency — all valuable and meaningful effects for your digital strategy. DAM is by nature a complex relationship when you consider all of the inputs, the connecting points and the human element required to create and maintain the governance structure needed to flex and adapt to your growing and evolving business. DAM brings with it great responsibility as to how the organization’s assets will be efficiently and effectively managed in its daily operations.

What’s your DAM relationship status?

  • Single.
  • Engaged.
  • It’s complicated.
  • Rather not say.
  • Cursed.
  • Waiting for a miracle.

All joking aside, these are very real and worthy of your consideration. If relationships matter, and the goal is being in a positive and healthy relationship, then it is always good to reflect on where you are in your DAM relationship. Consider your business, your users, your vendor and all who you collaborate with to make your DAM.

Related Article: Climbing to DAM Success, One Step at a Time

Good DAM Relationship Advice

“Even the Lone Ranger didn't do it alone" — Harvey MacKay

In any relationship it is important to put things into perspective by seeing the whole picture and understanding what it means for you and for others. This is especially true when you consider the breadth of those who are a part of your DAM. DAM is about more than just managing the assets, it involves the players and collaborators themselves. Remember this in all that you do on your DAM journey, whether it be choosing a DAM vendor, migrating assets, navigating the complexity of integrations or managing a DAM program. And along the way remember to:

  • Ask great questions.
  • Be a great listener.
  • Establish a good understanding of each other.
  • Collaborate, not control.
  • Develop trust.

Focus on communication and connection with everyone and maintain the commitment to work through it all together. Hope is not a strategy — DAM takes work.

The purpose of any business relationship is to create a sense of value and purpose. The most effective organizations with healthy business relationships today are collaborative networks focused on involving their customers through data collection, monitoring and ultimately, use. The beginning of your DAM process must ask the question, “what is most important to our customers?” Am I listening to them … am I am asking better questions of them? Customer/user value is a moving target influenced by many factors both inside and outside the organization.

Related Article: How Do You Manage Your DAM?

Trust Is Needed for DAM

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things” — Peter Drucker

The demand to deliver successful and sustainable business outcomes with our DAM systems often collides with transitioning business models within marketing operations, creative services, IT or the enterprise as a whole. We see change everywhere: in people, processes and technologies. Change is as present as it is pervasive. But have we become so busy with the proliferation of content and its associated processes that we have lost trust in our relationships? 

We need to recognize that change is coming, and we must see DAM as more than a tool for managing digital assets — we must embrace it as a critical component of the content and marketing technology ecosystem. More than ever, we need DAM to be not only the single source of truth for our content, but also the foundation upon which to build consumer engagement.

Trust in technology and the data flowing through its pipes will lead to greater participation, which will increase information's value and utility. Without trust and participation in your DAM relationship, no system can produce desired results. Trust and certainty that data is accurate and usable is critical. Leveraging meaningful metadata in contextualizing, categorizing and accounting for data provides the best chance for its return on investment. The digital experience for users will be defined by their ability to identify, discover and experience an organization’s brand just as the organization has intended.

Related Article: 5 Questions to Ask Before Launching a DAM Initiative

Establish Good Relationships with Your DAM

We need to take a hard look at our DAM relationships with an eye toward optimizing processes, reducing time to market for marketing materials and improving consumer engagement and personalization with better data capture and analysis. The demand for digital assets is high because the need for digital assets is multifaceted. Digital assets are used for the design, production and distribution of content throughout all aspects of organizations. 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 because it does the following:

  • Embodies and facilitates responsiveness and agility.
  • Anticipates managing content beyond classically defined digital assets.
  • Fosters greater user interactivity and collaboration across the enterprise.
  • Serves as a single source of truth in the organization, and as such helps quantify the value of digital assets, through their discovery, use and reuse in daily operations.

More than ever, companies need DAM if they want to be effective, integrated and connected with everything in the content, marketing and technology ecosystems. Establishing good relationships early will help your DAM grow and prosper.

Related Article: MarTech Newlyweds: A Guide to Your Vendor Relationship

Accelerate the Relationship Between the Business and Consumer

DAM needs to work within an effective transformational business strategy that involves many different parts of the relationship. Whether you view digital transformation as technology, customer engagement, or marketing and sales, intelligent operations coordinate these efforts toward a unified goal. DAM is strengthened when working as part of a healthy business relationship strategy that considers content management from multiple perspectives, including knowledge, rights and data but also the people within the enterprise and your DAM vendor. As an energetic force, DAM will accelerate the conversation between business and consumer. DAM should be viewed as a constant connection between people, processes and technology.

The opportunity in front of us is clear: we can invest in this effort and we can work on our DAM relationship. The benefits of DAM are within your reach. We can dedicate this investment — this effort — in our people, processes and technology. We can work hard to make the complex simple. Be engaged, a participant in the DAM journey. It’s not complicated — you owe it to yourself and to your relationship to make it work.