Are you ready for a world with 44 zettabytes of content by 2020? For reference, one zettabyte is equal to ONE TRILLION gigabytes! While much of this content is generated by consumers in the form of images and videos from their smartphones, business are generating their own sizable share of rich-media content. Rich-media content has become a key part of today's marketing strategies; 93% of marketers are currently using a content marketing approach to build awareness, generate leads, advertise and provide engaging digital experiences to customers and prospects.
Most of these marketers are mapping their content creation efforts to personas and/or audience segments, and then producing a variety of creative assets such as PDFs, infographics, or videos based on interests and behaviors, as well as organic search.
With so many creative assets needed, it’s no surprise that almost half of all marketers polled said that content production is one of their biggest challenges.
Unfortunately, the lifecycle of creative assets isn’t simply a “press record then upload to YouTube” process. Once someone has a gem of an idea, a creative asset starts its lifecycle. Mock-ups and proof are created, reviews and approvals happen, localization of various languages are tackled and then it goes live, hopefully living somewhere the right people can find and access. In an ideal world, it will eventually reach end-of-life and be retired and archived.
The truth is, most companies don’t have the tools and processes in place to manage and maintain the high volume of creative assets they are producing. They make due with various disconnected technology and tools. Asset requests are made in email where things like feedback and changes are easily lost. Specifications are put in Google Docs.
Files get shared in a confusing Dropbox or Google Drive folder structure but then the approvals are made via chat and on and on. This is just the process for creating an asset! Fast forward a couple months and the people who need these in the first place can’t find latest version. Often, old branded material is sent to customers, images with expired licenses are still live on the blog, no one can search for available assets across the company so people start making their own, and/or money and time get spent recreating assets that already exist but can’t be found. The bottom line is it’s a mess and a problem that compounds itself with every passing week.
While the creation and management of assets seems daunting, it’s a challenge that can be solved. The solution resides with a new generation of digital asset management (DAM) tools that are cloud-based and easy to use but also solve the process mess by providing a centralized storage location so assets can be accessed, updated and used at a later date.
What should a DAM do, exactly? Let’s break down what features you should look for in a DAM:
The reason creative assets are called “assets” in the first place is because they cost a lot of time and marketing budget to create. Keeping track of them should be important. Instead of a patchwork of email, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, file shares, and local hard drives, all the assets being worked on or completed live safely in one place in the cloud. Now anyone who produces or needs access to creative assets know exactly where these files live, how to find them, and how to use them in marketing campaigns and building digital experiences.
Creative Asset Management
What really sets a modern DAM solution apart from a generic storage location like a Dropbox, CMS or local hard drive is the out-of-the-box capabilities for managing the assets. These include:
- Being able to easily suggest and assign keywords and tags
- Allowing access control to certain people within an organization
- Providing simple searching and filtering to find the right asset
- Integrations with other marketing systems and digital experience platforms
- Analytics and reporting
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Capabilities like version control, file resizing, annotations and markups, download rules, scheduled publishing, automated approvals, change notifications are just some examples that make a DAM invaluable to marketers and designers alike.
Every asset that gets created goes through a workflow, either formal or informal. The more assets that get created, the more people involved with the process, and the larger the organization, the more formalized the workflow needs to be. A robust DAM lets marketers track every step in working with a designer to get their creative asset through review cycles and final approval fast with an audit trail.
Another benefit of a DAM is asset governance and control. DAM can help ensure that old versions of files don’t get used and that licensed assets are retired at the right time to limit legal risk. A great example is a company that purchases the rights to an athlete for their website for one year. Instead of someone putting a reminder in their Outlook calendar to take it down one year later, the DAM system will know the expiration, notify the correct people and block access to the file after the contract is up. A similar example is for stock images that are purchases from companies like ShutterStock. These are sometimes licensed for use for a limited period and a DAM can keep track of these.
It’s not hard to see how invaluable a DAM solution is for every aspect of the escalating production of creative assets within an organization.