Your DAM is a Cool Place — Bring It to Everyone

A successful content strategy focuses not only content, but also on the people who need to use that content. Ensure your DAM gets content to those who need it, when they need it most.

Server room.

by Mike Carley

posted on 07-16-2020

It’s been a while since any of us got to line up for anything fun like a new restaurant or a trendy nightclub. But the line to get into your DAM? It’s longer than ever!

Don’t believe me? Chances are you have an incomplete view of what digital asset management (DAM) platforms do. Don’t get me wrong — the core value of DAM revolves around providing your marketing team with a digital single source of truth. However, when forming a DAM strategy, many organizations focus too much on the content — and not enough on the people who need that content to do their jobs.

Do you have internal or external teams, like sales or operations, that would benefit from having a single place to search for and download marketing collateral? Do you have channel partners or resellers that need instantaneous access to your latest and greatest product assets? Do you work with external creative agencies that not only need access to your existing content, but they also need a seamless way to submit newly created assets back to the DAM?

By focusing too much on the content that needs to get into the DAM, it’s easy to lose sight of the people who need that content to buoy digital experiences at every point of the customer journey. An optimized content strategy looks at DAM not as a lockbox where assets go to get filed away, but rather as a content staging area where content goes to get tagged and optimized before being distributed to the person who needs it, when they need it most. At the end of the day, your DAM needs to ensure that assets get where they need to go, and any DAM vendor that says otherwise is doomed to hamstring your content strategy before it ever gets off the ground.

To help formulate a content strategy, let’s take a look at the different content-hungry groups that a DAM should support.

Make marketing magic with AI

Your digital marketing teams will be the core beneficiaries of any DAM investment you make. By consolidating your organization’s content into a single source of truth, you can empower your marketers with enterprise-wide search, eliminate unnecessary duplication of content, ensure all users have access to the latest versions of approved content, and connect teams across the organization with comprehensive workflows. However, if your content lifecycle is bogged down by a rat’s nest of tedious, manual processes, it will quickly become impossible to keep up with the exponentially growing demand for new content.

The backbone of any DAM is search, and the backbone of search is metadata. Unfortunately, manually tagging assets with metadata can be one of the most time-consuming and ultimately neglected workstreams in your digital marketing operation. This quickly becomes problematic, as incomplete or missing metadata results in “dark” assets that can’t be found or used by anyone, reducing the ROI of your creative efforts and leading to unnecessary asset duplication. The silver bullet for this problem? Automation through artificial intelligence (AI).

AI-driven auto-tagging ensures your DAM can scale with your content by eliminating countless hours of tedious metadata entry. Ideally, these tagging algorithms should also be trainable, with the ability to recognize and tag business-specific keywords that would be missed by other generic tagging solutions. Your DAM should also be able to use AI to add metadata based on recognized color profiles to further enrich the results of any keyword-driven search experience.

AI can also be used to translate search terms in real time. Users can enter a keyword in one language, and algorithms can instantaneously translate that keyword into the language of the metadata schema, searching and delivering matching assets regardless of what language the keyword was entered in. AI can even empower users to find content in ways that bypass metadata altogether, with tools like visual similarity search.

Providing marketers with the assets they need is the core value proposition of any DAM. Ensure you can deliver on that DAM value, at any scale, by leveraging AI to eliminate tedious manual metadata entry and maximize the power of enterprise search.

Many other DAM mouths to feed

Outside of marketing, every organization has other internal teams that need self-service access to content. Sales teams need access to the latest and greatest customer collateral. Localized marketing teams need access to the most recent brand components to ensure their experiences look and behave as they should. Product and finance teams just need a way to get content without sending your marketing team 12 email requests a day. As you can see, the demand for DAM content doesn’t stop with your core marketing teams.

However, the DAM is a special place. It holds the totality of your organization’s content (including highly confidential assets) within a production-focused UI tailored to the marketing power user. You can’t give every person who needs content access to the DAM, either for security reasons, user experience reasons, or licensing cost reasons. So how do we get content into the hands of these other key stakeholders? That’s where the concept of a content portal comes in.

Any DAM you choose should provide the ability to spin up a sub-repository of consumption-approved assets, often called a portal. Portal-specific login credentials can be granted to extended users, allowing them to locate the content and download the rendition they need to complete their task — all without ever bothering your core marketing teams. Not only do portals increase the efficiency of asset distribution, they also increase security by eliminating unsafe asset sharing methods like email or a USB stick.

For example, our DAM offering is called Adobe Experience Manager Assets, and our portal offering is called Brand Portal. Here at Adobe, we used Brand Portal to create our internal Marketing Hub, where over 25,000 Adobe employees go to find the latest approved brand components, PowerPoint decks, marketing materials, and more.

When formulating your DAM strategy, it can be very tempting to look at the needs of your core marketing team and call it a day. But as you can see, if we took that approach here at Adobe, there would be over 25,000 users stuck with the same inefficient, non-secure content distribution methods that continue to plague many organizations today.

Secret agencies — fun in the movies, not in marketing

We’ve seen how AI can help get content into the hands of marketers, and how a portal can help get content into the hands of distributed internal teams. Now it’s time to examine which external stakeholders would also benefit from instantaneous access to content.

Do you have channel partners or resellers that need access to your product assets to fuel their own experiences? Are you a manufacturer that needs to distribute plans, mocks, or schematics to suppliers or distributors? Do you work with external creative agencies that not only need your existing content, but they also need a secure way to submit newly created content back to the DAM?

Providing these external partners and agencies with the content they need is yet another great use case for the portal component of your DAM. And given you’re working with external partners, any portal solution you examine should provide differentiated access with permission, where users log in and see only the content they are approved to see — and nothing else.

Another great benefit of the portal can be seen when working with external creative agencies. In these scenarios, your portal should serve as a place where agency users can not only download the content they need but also submit newly created content, which can then be reviewed for ingestion into the DAM.

By leveraging the portal as an asset sourcing mechanism with your agency partners, you can eliminate less secure methods of asset submission like email, FTP, or sending physical drives through the mail. Sourcing new assets via the portal also ensures these net new assets enter the asset lifecycle as early as possible for version tracking and rendition creation.

At the end of the day, the goal of your DAM strategy cannot end at simply organizing and locking down your assets. To deliver on consumer expectations of personalized experiences at every touchpoint, your DAM needs to seamlessly equip your internal and external users with the content they need, when they need it, as securely and efficiently as possible. Because let’s face it — your DAM is a pretty cool place. Let’s bring it to everyone.

Want to learn more? Join me for a webinar on July 28 to hear about the innovative ways Adobe Experience Manager Assets delivers on these next-generation DAM requirements. Register here.

At Adobe, we believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment, and we also stand with the Black community against hate, intolerance and racism. We will continue to support, elevate, and amplify diverse voices through our community of employees, creatives, customers and partners. We believe Adobe has a responsibility to drive change and ensure that every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We must stand up and speak out against racial inequality and injustice. Read more about the actions we’re taking to make lasting change inside and outside of our company.

We also know many people are still impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis and our thoughts are with you. The entire Adobe team wants to thank you, our customers, and all creators around the world for the work you do to keep us inspired during this difficult time.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Personalization

Products: Experience Manager