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Have you ever searched endlessly for that one elusive marketing asset?
Maybe it’s a new version of a logo your coworker needs to add to your redesigned website, or a chart for a presentation that you literally need RIGHT NOW.
You decide to go on a hunt for that treasured asset.
One that leads you through tangled webs of randomly named files, images, videos, you name it. They’re EVERYWHERE: in emails, Google Drive, Dropbox, your company’s server, your personal folders, your coworker’s folders…
Before you know it, it’s been two hours, and you’re totally frustrated.
You missed the opportunity to update your marketing materials before that presentation. Your coworker is still waiting for that file. You still have no idea where it is. Everyone involved is stressed out.
Fortunately, there’s a solution to help you keep your internal assets organized, accessible, and easily shareable with digital asset management.
What the heck IS digital asset management, and how can it help you finally get all of your files straight? Let’s dig into it together.
Digital asset management (DAM) is simply the process of storing and categorizing digital files, so they’re easy to access whenever you need them. DAM can also refer to the software used to manage digital assets.
In other words, you can create your own DAM process to organize your digital assets, or you can use a DAM tool to help you get there. You could say both are good DAM options.
Just so we’re clear… what are some examples of digital assets?
Digital assets are all the different types of content you store digitally. If you’re a marketer, digital assets are an essential part of your business. They might include:
Why should you care about digital asset management?
Because DAM will revolutionize the way you work.
Organized marketers are 397% more likely to be successful. That’s HUGE. When you successfully manage your digital assets, you’ll gain that success and solve some of your most frustrating marketing problems.
With the help of digital asset management, you’ll slay all of those problems and replace them with real, lasting DAM solutions. It’ll feel AWESOME.
You’ve audited your content. You’ve added up the cost. You’ve found the perfect tool and approved it with your stakeholders. You’ve found your muse, renamed your files, and fancied up those folders.
Now, it’s time to sit back and soak up all the rich rewards of your new DAM process. You’re well on your way to winning with digital asset management.
Most software options that are designed for businesses include some kind of file storage option. This could include the ability to attach documents to client accounts or help individuals access a web-based content library.
These integrated file management solutions are pretty primitive compared to the functionality you will get from a full-fledged DAM platform.
You also might be thinking…
Why can’t I just use OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive?
These tools do help overcome hurdles to file sharing, but they don’t provide in-depth features like advanced search capabilities and version control. Which, in turn, don’t really solve the problems companies face when trying to improve ROI on their assets and breakdown silos.
Here are some common functionalities of DAM software solutions.
Much like metadata provided to search engines, DAM metadata is information that provides details about the asset’s contents.
Metadata can describe many different details about the file, including who owns it, who has rights to access the file, keywords associated with the document, etc.
How many times have you encountered a document saved as Sales_Slide_Deck_Final_Final2_Final-FOR-REAL
Or something similar.
There’s nothing more frustrating, as a marketing team member, to think this is the final revision just to have another stakeholder come in and make additional changes — totally messing up the naming convention you had going.
As a non-marketing team member, it’s also frustrating trying to find a document and encountering that each designer has a different way of naming their files, or finding that they haven’t bothered to upload it to the shared drive, and the asset is saved on their desktop.
One of the major strengths of digital asset management software is that it syncs changes in real-time, while also keeping reversion history and the ability to revert back if needed.
A cloud storage solution, like Dropbox, is usually limited to retrieving files based on searching for the document’s title. Honestly, who can remember the name of that document from last year?
With custom metadata, keywords, categories, and more, you can make sure that the right files will always show up — regardless if you know the file name or not.
Let’s say you want some people to have full editing access to certain documents and not others, or certain images are reserved for the use of specific departments.
DAM software sets clear details about which departments can access and edit each document.
Before we dive into the depths of DAM, download our helpful digital asset management bundle.
It’s a collection of three actionable templates created by marketers, for marketers, and made to expedite your journey to DAM success.
Now that you know WHY digital asset management matters, it’s time to figure out what your own DAM process could look like.
What exactly do you need to start implementing DAM?
We have six starting points that’ll help you successfully get your marketing assets in order. Begin with these steps to start building your own DAM process.
By taking stock of the assets you have, you’ll better understand how you should structure your new DAM system and which files will need to be updated.
We included a Content Audit Template in our bundle to help you easily audit your assets. Download it — if you haven’t already!
Before you implement a digital asset management tool, you’ll want to get a better understanding of what content you already have.
This helps you clear out outdated content, gives you a laundry list of things that need to be updated, and an idea of how to structure the metadata for your new DAM platform.
In the content upgrade above, you’ll find a Content Audit Template Spreadsheet.
Here’s how you use it.
Begin filling out the columns. Add the title of the document, who produced it, who it was produced form, etc.
Here’s what it will look like as you start.
As you start your DAM content audit, be on the lookout for the following items:
Digital assets are often duplicated or re-created due to the inability of users to find what they need. This wastes precious time and resources.
Here’s how to calculate the cost of duplicating work.
Say you have 5,000 assets and 5% of them, on average, are re-created or duplicated due to inefficient file storage.
This means that every year, approximately 250 resources are unnecessarily duplicated.
Now, let’s say that your designer’s salary broken down to an hourly wage is about $25/hour and it takes them approximately 2 hours to re-create assets.
This amounts to $12,500 lost per year.
Team members spend a huge amount of time each day searching for information. When they can’t find what they’re looking for, they interrupt someone else to help them, which wastes additional resources.
Here’s how to calculate those costs.
Say you have 20 users who need to find assets and it takes them 10 minutes per day trying to find what they’re looking for.
This means the team spends approximately 16 hours per week looking for things. This is 832 hours per year or about 41 hours per person per year. That’s a full week of work wasted every year.
Now, let’s say that the average hourly wage of that team of 20 is $20/hour.
This amounts to $16,640 lost per year.
With just these two things alone, the example company will save over $29,000/year. That’s not to mention the additional productivity created through time-saving.
If your company is planning on implementing a new DAM process, it’ll likely be used by other people and teams across your organization.
In addition to sharing the cost above with essential stakeholders, check in with them to determine a DAM solution that works for everybody. Start with people like the Head of Technology and Head of Finance.
If you’re looking for a tool to help you implement DAM, start researching different DAM providers and scheduling demos to test out those tools.
We’ll highlight a few of those later in this blog. In the meantime, this DAM software comparison is a great starting point.
When you create a file naming convention for your marketing assets, you’ll make them easy to find and organize whenever you need them. That saves you a TON of time.
See how to develop your own naming structure — and how to make sure your team follows it.
We know what you’re thinking; creating a bunch of new folders for your files from scratch sounds… honestly… BORING.
Having those nice, clear, simple folders to house all of your assets will make you feel surprisingly accomplished.
Guess what? We’ve made it way easier for you to create those folders with our Folder Structure Template (it’s also part of our bundle). It’s a collection of pre-made folders that’ll get you organized even faster.
Recommended Reading: The Best Way to Organize Marketing Assets With Simple Folder Structures
Need an idea of exactly HOW digital asset management might look for certain marketing teams? Here are 3 before-and-after use cases of DAM software in action.
Before DAM: Agency marketers juggle a lot of clients–and a ton of files for each of those clients. Time is money, but there’s no quick way to find and distribute the right versions of those assets to the right people.
After DAM: With functional file naming and organizing, agency marketers always know where to find each asset for each client. Less time wasted searching for files means shorter production timelines and money saved.
Before DAM: Marketers in higher ed need to create materials for many departments at once while maintaining overall brand consistency. A catalog of hundreds of photos and videos is needed to connect with students, staff, and alumni, but is nearly impossible to manage.
After DAM: With one place to store their entire collection of assets, marketers can easily divide them among folders for each department or campaign. And because they’re so easy to sort and share across departments, the assets stay totally on-brand.
Before DAM: Marketers at tech companies can experience frustrating silos between teams. The latest assets can get lost in the shuffle between marketing, sales, and support teams, and customers can be misled by inaccurate versions of files.
After DAM: Sharing assets internally between teams is a breeze, so everyone has access to the latest product photos or marketing collateral. Because they’re used more effectively, these assets help marketers boost their ROI.
At this point, you might be thinking that using a DAM tool sounds like a pretty great option. After all, it’s basically a software-based shortcut to finding, organizing, and storing all of your assets.
But how do you know which DAM solutions are out there?
And where do you find out how each of them can help you better manage your digital assets?
We already did all the hard work for you.
You might already know that CoSchedule’s Asset Organizer is one solution that can help get your entire collection of marketing assets organized in no time.
But if you’d like to compare more DAM solutions, check out the in-depth roundup of DAM platforms below. It’ll help you decide which options might work best for your team.
Recommended Reading: The Ultimate List of Top Digital Asset Management (DAM) Software Platforms
Choosing a DAM software is a big deal. There are a ton of things to think about and it can get a little overwhelming.
Understanding your requirements and what features each DAM service provides can help the process run smoothly. Here are some items to make sure you check off in the early, exploratory stages.
Just one more thing before we send you off on your DAM journey.
If you’re still looking for just the right digital asset management tool for your marketing team, we’ve got one right here. CoSchedule’s built-in Asset Organizer lets you:
Leah DeKrey was a contributing author to this updated and republished post, which was republished on July 6, 2020.
July 6, 2020
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