Shopping For a DAM
7 Customer Insights into Buying a DAM System
Director of Growth Marketing
6 min read
Think about the last time you bought a computer.
The experience was more or less straightforward, wasn’t it? You narrowed down your choices based on your needs and budget, checked out a few reviews and, ultimately, made your purchase within a week. It was easy.
But, if you’ve ever purchased marketing technology for your team, I’m sure you can relate, the process is rarely that easy. There are choices and competing priorities for which technology to invest in; there are multiple stakeholders involved, all with different business cases; and there are approval timelines that are constantly shifting.
It’s a complex process that can be hard to manage.
That’s why we’ve compiled insights from seven of our customers for anyone looking into buying a DAM system. Here’s what they have to say:
1. Do Your Research
“If I had to give advice to another business thinking of adopting a DAM solution, I would say be sure to do your research. Know exactly what you need in a DAM solution and have a good sense of the range of vendors that can meet those needs.”
Tiffany Dodson, ATOMIC Design
It’s important to take the time to clearly understand and outline your unique internal needs and start your vendor research with a clear plan. When you enter a discovery call or demo prepared with questions and key use-cases, you make the most of your time and have a more clear outlook on which vendors match up with your “must-haves” the best. Going into a DAM project armed with your needs and wants will allow you to better find a vendor that’s suitable for your long-term growth.
2. Find a DAM That’s Easy to Use
“We were able to bring our assets from a Google Drive folder (read: an unorganized mess) to an amazingly organized, well-structured system that everyone can use. Users have adapted [to] the tool quickly and love that they can find the assets they need when they need them. Our senior management team also loves it too because they can see reports of [who’s] using the tool and which assets are being download the most, in order to make more informed decisions.”
Devin Littlefield, Nomad Hill
When implementing any new technology, user adoption is a huge concern to organizations, especially when there are multiple departments and teams involved. There’s no point in even getting a new system if no one understands how to use it, so you want to find a digital asset management system that’s simple and easy-to-use. The quicker your users can understand how the system works, the quicker they’ll adopt it as part of their day-to-day life. It also helps to find a vendor that offers inexpensive (or free) training to all users – that way you can offer additional training to anyone that needs it without worrying about racking up your bills.
3. Understand Total Cost of Ownership of the System
“Some [other systems] we did like, but there would have to be equipment that was brought in to hold the assets and such, which would be ok, but then we would have to maintain the equipment. And then if there [was] an equipment issue we would likely have to wait for a representative to come fix it and hope it works. Just too much hassle for something we basically wanted to put assets on and keep them there for distribution."
Thor Villagomez, Hard Rock Hotels
When selecting a DAM there are multiple decisions to be made, such as on-premise vs. software-as-a-service, availability of add-on services, and maintenance & support costs. When comparing vendors, make sure you understand the total combined costs of the platform and how they will evolve over time, as you grow and adjust your use cases.
4. Avoid Unnecessary Add-Ons
“After running trials with other DAMS with more "add-ons" I was running into issues with the site actually working. With MediaValet it was consistent, [with] no down time [or] errors, and as an admin, uploading more than half a TB onto their cloud has been smooth. Best DAM system out there.”
Adele Kozlowski, All Inclusive Collection
Additional integrations and features can be great, but only if they add value to your system and, of course, if they work. It’s easy to get distracted by flashy add-ons and cool features, but your first priority with a digital asset management project is to make sure that its core functions meet your needs. Start with the basics, and wait until after you narrow down your vendors to start considering integrations that work for your team.
5. Choose a Vendor That Communicates
“One of the first things you'll notice about MediaValet is that they actually communicate internally with one another, something that seems to be lacking with other DAMS companies. So, the entire team knows what's going on. Also, unlike other DAMS, we found that MediaValet fit our taxonomy! We didn't have to squeeze into their box and make it fit their system, which was refreshing.”
John Noyner, Almond Board of California
It’s important to find a vendor that communicates efficiently, not only with you but also across their own departments. Vendors that have open communication across their teams have a much easier time finding solutions to unique use-cases, and are usually faster at solving any issues that a customer might have. A good sign of an open vendor is their ability to get different departments, such as development, marketing or customer success onto a sales call to address any questions or concerns you may have in their particular area of expertise.
6. Find a Vendor with a Customer-Centric Roadmap
“MediaValet has been very open to receiving feedback on the system and to adding new features - which is so refreshing! Very happy with both system functionality and customer service. I highly recommend MediaValet for anyone who wants to manage videos, photos, and other brand materials on the cloud.”
Jodi Westbury, Grouse Mountain
When you take on a longer-term project, like a DAM, you want to make sure your vendor is invested into your future, not just making the immediate sale. Do some research into how they decide on future integrations and upgrades. Are customers involved in decision making? A vendor that can regularly take customer feedback and apply it to the development road map is essential to ensuring you’re set for the long-run, not just for the next year.
7. Implementing a DAM is Worth It
“Now that we have MediaValet, we love our DAMS because we have easy and instant access to our assets. We get to sit back and be on the receiving end of this innovative product as it evolves and increasingly raises the bar for digital asset management. This is a very different position for us to be in. I don’t know why we waited so long to adopt a DAMS! It is so much better now, I can’t even believe we waited.”
Virgina Gaffney, Canadian Blood Services
Taking on a DAM project can be a long process. You need to research multiple vendors, create a shortlist, get approval from various stakeholders – the works! But it’s all worth it when the return is ten-fold, on both time and money saved. It’s easy to wait until you’re drowning in your own assets, but being pro-active and implementing a DAM before it becomes a desperate need sets up your company for success in the long run.
Ready to start comparing digital asset management systems? Check out this vendor comparison guide.