You're a Content Publisher Now, so Get Your DAM House in Order

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We're all content publishers today due to lower content creation costs (consider the cost of creating HD videos now versus five years ago) and the increasing need to deliver engaging experiences that support customer experience. Multiply this increasing amount of rich media content by an ever-expanding number of channels, regions, and brands, and it's no surprise global organizations are struggling under a mountain of content.

We're all content publishers today due to lower content creation costs (consider the cost of creating HD videos now versus five years ago) and the increasing need to deliver engaging experiences that support customer experience. Multiply this increasing amount of rich media content by an ever-expanding number of channels, regions, and brands, and it's no surprise global organizations are struggling under a mountain of content.

As organizations across verticals morph to become publishers, best-of-breed digital asset management (DAM) solutions are seeing increasing amounts of interest. These solutions can support the content creation process, manage finalized rich media assets, and prepare delivery across channels. Why are they so critical? Two main reasons are to:

1. Provide engaging experiences when customers want it. On digital channels, you can no longer spend months and months creating a single image or video. Instead, you must move more quickly to create and deliver engaging images and video content to customers. As marketers and customer experience professionals, this means greater focus on agility. DAM solutions help by supporting content creation processes, serving as a central hub to find and reuse content, and helping automate key content management tasks.

2. Maintain brand consistency no matter the location or channel. You can no longer deliver completely separate experiences across your different channels. Instead, great digital experiences require you to deliver omnichannel experience globally--all while maintaining brand consistency. DAM is vital in providing a central content hub to manage this omnichannel content. Additionally, it is vital in managing global and local variations of that content, to ensure you have a consistent brand identity no matter where your customer is located.

But while interest is on the rise, most organizations that I speak with struggle to successfully select a DAM vendor and execute on their intended vision. For example, a marketing group at a multinational manufacturer Forrester spoke with implemented a niche DAM solution that didn't allow individual users to upload videos; instead, technology management groups had to upload the video on their behalf.

Through numerous interviews and conversation with clients, my colleagues and I have identified two best practices for vendor selection.

Best Practice No. 1: Stakeholders Must Make Decisions Jointly

One of the most commonly cited reasons for failed DAM projects is a lack of business involvement -- or, conversely, a lack of technology management involvement -- in vendor selection. DAM touches a variety of stakeholders, like technology management, e-Commerce, marketing, lines of business, corporate communications, creative, and publishing, so it's critical for firms to go beyond just finding a "business sponsor" -- and involve multiple groups.

Further, don't fall into the one-size-fits-all trap. Organizations often look for one DAM system to serve multiple groups with vastly different requirements. For example, an automotive company we spoke with wanted a single DAM instance to serve both marketers, who primarily use images, and internal HR, which uses content like training and company meeting videos. Not surprisingly, the organization had a difficult time finding a product and deployment model that could fit the different sets of requirements. It's a delicate balancing act.

Best Practice No. 2: Rate Vendors On Both Features And Strategic Vision

Successful organizations look for a vendor with a vision that matches their own. Many vendors still have a developer-centric vision. But the DAM of today caters to marketers, customer experience professionals, and eBusiness groups in addition to technology management. Ask questions like: What's the vendor's vision? What is its product road map? Is it easy to work with their account managers and professional services? These are important questions to ask to ensure that you source a solution that you can grow into and a vendor with a customer-centric culture.

But asking questions doesn't stop there - scrutinize services as much you do feature functionality. Don't be afraid to vendors pointed questions like, "How many people are dedicated to support,?" "What are standard SLAs,?" and "What percentage of support staff is fluent in DAM technology?"

What's Next?

I've seen it time and again: Organizations choose a best-of-breed tool with all the bells and whistles with great vision and customer service, but the solution fails when it comes to implementation and adoption. If you're curious about the keys to succeed post-vendor selection, check out my latest research.

About the author:

Anjali Yakkundi is an analyst at Forrester Research

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