Getting started with a DAM can be daunting. Creative files like images, logos, stock photos, banners, and marketing assets are strewn across your organization’s virtual drives like leaves after a storm.
EBSCO Talks Best Practices for Digital Asset Management
Where do you start? How do you avoid doing something that will require rework down the road?
I interviewed Courtney Trudeau and Kendra Mack from EBSCO, one of Acquia’s DAM customers, to get an inside look at what they do to be successful.
EBSCO is a leading provider of research databases, e-journals, magazine subscriptions, e-books and discovery services to libraries based in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Trudeau is a marketing developer and technical director, and Mack is a senior marketing copy coordinator.
Before using Acquia DAM, EBSCO had marketing assets on internal servers, on people’s desktops, in emails, trapped in a learning system, and stored in Sharepoint. They were using a Google calendar and a Word doc to track when assets needed to expire. These weren’t archived assets but rather “live” assets that were powering their marketing websites, internal sales portal, support site, and Marketo campaigns.
This created a marketing asset nightmare. They couldn’t find anything when they needed it. Old branded assets were being used. They would spend time and money creating assets they couldn’t find. It was chaos.
Fast-forward to today, when Trudeau and Mack have taming the chaos, weathered the storm, and a dozen other metaphors for getting their marketing assets in order. Using Acquia DAM gave them a central library to organize, store, share, and update creative files. However, a DAM, any DAM, is only as good as the planning you put into setting it up.
For others who might be dealing with creative asset challenges, Trudeau and Mack shared their initial list of considerations when selecting a DAM:
- Does it provide a system of record of ALL marketing assets and metadata around them for items like Powerpoint, infographics, eBrochures, and so on?
- Will it provide a searchable repository with a clear taxonomy?
- Will it allow for different assets be served to different destinations (website, sales portal)?
- Does it include one source file with historic versioning?
- What about single-sign-on integration?
- Will it Improve workflow efficiency around asset management?
- Will it help to improve brand consistency?
- Will it eliminate duplicate work from not being able to find existing assets?
- Will it make your life … or at least your workload, easier?
- Will it let you get away with saying "DAM" as much as possible in meetings?
Once a system has been identified that meets your goals, the next step is implementation. To make sure everything is set up to run smoothly, Trudeau and Mack broke down their high-level plan into five parts:
- Define scope and audit assets. Think big, but start small. Choose one website or project to start with.
- Define folder structure. Look at what’s working with existing stakeholders, particularly with graphic designers and marketers. Find the people who like to keep organized folder structures and learn from them. Create your test folder structure locally before creating in DAM and review with future DAM users.
- Define metadata and keywords. Again, talk to the people who will being using the DAM. How do they want to search for files? By owner? Type? Language? Create a spreadsheet to refine the fields and data.
- Define naming standards for files will also help in making them searchable.
- Document everything. You’re creating a system shared across the organization so having the rules in place will help maintain order and not devolve into chaos.
One important thing to remember is that although uploading and editing assets is fast and easy, you have to be methodical while defining your vision and architecture of folders and metadata. It will help you spot issues long before you upload anything to DAM.
Here is a sample folder structure created locally before creating folders in DAM:
A spreadsheet is a great way to get a visual plan for customer metadata fields and keywords.
The results speak for themselves. Trudeau and Mack have seen the following improvements from their implementation of Acquia DAM:
- Uploading and tagging assets in DAM is three times faster than it was their old system.
- Assets only have to be updated once in DAM to update on EBSCO.com (Drupal) and marketing center (brand portal) – this became a huge timesaver.
- There’s more visibility across the design team – designers sharing assets more fluidly and reusing approved images across projects.
- With more than 500 active users, EBSCO sales loves the brand portal. (the part of Acquia DAM for general users).
Getting your digital asset house in order is never easy, but it doesn’t need to be a hassle either. For more information on Acquia DAM click here.