Linking ROI and DAM

The honeymoon is over for marketers when it comes to getting a free pass on proving ROI for their efforts. It’s no different for the products and services used for digital marketing. Digital asset management (DAM) is right at the pointy end of the CEO and customer sword to prove its worth.

I liken it to the mythical Greek legend of DAMocles, over whose head was suspended a sword by one strand of horsehair as a means to create motivation. Yes, the play on words is rather convenient. The sword of Damocles has become a powerful metaphor to represent a pervasive and continuing threat. The threat of not quantifying DAM ROI is real and it is not going to go away. One of the most telling facts is that because of the lack of awareness of DAM and the ROI it can deliver, a full one-third of expensive and powerful rich media assets go unused if there isn’t a good DAM in place to make them visible across the enterprise and accessible to those that need these assets to conduct their marketing campaigns.

The Challenge

When our digital assets are in disarray and not being effectively managed, many of us have felt the sword of Damocles hovering over our heads as costs mount and ROI slips helplessly through our nervous fingers. Many of you have successfully implemented DAM systems, freeing yourselves from a cataloging labyrinth and have stepped into the bright lights of success. However, the trouble in demonstrating the link between increased ROI and DAM is as elusive as ever.

Industry Performance

A recent report by IDC has broken through the barrier of proving the value of digital asset management. Here are some key stats:

Analytics is Driving Increased and More Measureable DAM ROI

Companies making extensive use of analytics & reporting show a significant profit improvement over their competitors that don’t. As organizations become more data-driven, using these insights to demonstrate ROI is extending to the individual digital asset as it is used across web, mobile, email and social channels.

Too often, though, there’s a disconnect between recognizing and then harnessing the impact of an asset. While most marketers know gathering data on content use is important, many still “trust their gut” for making marketing-spend decisions.

When it comes to digital assets, marketers need to measure more than creation costs and embrace the broader spectrum of available asset data. They need to know, at a granular level, which assets deliver the most consumer engagement and value. For example, are people watching videos to completion or turning them off mid-stream? On what device was a given image consumed most?

Quantifying ROI and Building the Business Case for DAM

To support the move to more data-driven decision making and demonstration of the ROI of digital assets, marketers are turning to more robust analytics such as attribution modeling and cross channel analytics where the goal is to capture true ROI of a campaign or property and to assess and manage the role of an asset or collection of assets in a customer journey. The proof of ROI can be as simple as a spreadsheet based on calculating the outcome of key performance parameters (KPIs) such as cost efficiency or revenue enhancement. The metrics to be collected as data for your analytics engine to accumulate and analyze will be unique to each company, but the IDC report gives you some great categories to start with that address process and quality improvements, where cost savings can be realized, revenue streams can be made more efficient and productive to show an improved balance sheet, and where intangible business opportunities will be revealed that would have escaped notice before. Specifically,

Conducting an ROI analysis unique to your brand that incorporates the considerations above will go a long way in making your business case. There are so many intangibles that feed ROI that you have to make visible and meaningful. You do that by assigning a dollar value to each KPI. Start simple and build in sophistication as your efforts are accepted and credibility achieved. ROI should rise and fall with the normal events of business. Even within a digitally mature organization, new hires may be working alongside well-trained, long-term staff members, which can affect efficiency and the costs you are measuring. Moreover, many companies find that the automated workflows of a robust DAM system allow for greater productivity and increased revenue without an increase of staff and other resources. Therefore, a formula for calculating ROI related to DAM should include calculations not only for savings, but for additional revenue as well.

In a recent DAM implementation involving an entertainment and media company, their marketing campaign team of creatives, marketers, sales, and IT adopted a robust DAM environment to manage their work. The goal was to create and manage both their online and offline marketing content at the velocity of today’s marketing environment. Using Adobe Experience Manager Assets (AEM Assets) for asset management along the Creative Cloud’s tools and services enabled the company to achieve significant ROI gains in creative production, distributing the assets in a controlled and positive way with the velocity needed to maintain campaign performance expectations.

The fundamental ROI that DAM delivers is increasing the velocity of creative design output to match the speed of the constantly accelerating data-driven marketing technology environment. These facts speak for themselves.


Calculating and linking ROI to DAM can involve many variables, and those responsible for justifying a DAM solution to management may feel under the sword of “DAMolces.” It is however, not only possible to demonstrate the link, but with a thoughtful plan and careful implementation, the results will be self-evident. Add to the conversation and let us know what has been your experience linking ROI to DAM.