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DAM Knowledge

8 Sports Analogies to Help You Manage a DAM Project

Carlie Hill avatar

Carlie Hill

Director of Growth Marketing

6 min read

man jumping with basketball


The crisp smell of freshly cut grass, the loud roar of the crowd, and the satisfying crack of the bat making contact with the ball. There’s nowhere in the world you’d rather be than this stadium…

But….wait a second! Snap out of it! You’re not watching the baseball game. You’re watching your computer screen – waiting for your graphics department to send you the brochure file you needed 40 minutes ago. If you just had access to the content you needed, you wouldn’t be in this mess!

It’s time to stop daydreaming and start taking action! You need a digital asset management system.

Implementing new technology is a lot like being a coach at a sports game – you need to align your key players, have a game plan, allocate your energy and resources, and, of course, keep your eyes on the prize. Here are 8 game-changing insights (disguised as sports analogies) that can turn your DAM implementation into a home run.

1. Don’t Get Hit Below the Belt

The best way to start a DAM project is to get to it before it becomes an urgent priority. If you start looking into a system when you’re already drowning in assets, you tend to rush the research process and ultimately get stuck with a system that might solve your immediate issue, but won't support you in the long run. To make sure you don’t take a surprise blow below the belt, keep an eye out for these early warning signs:

  • Too many hours spent finding assets
  • Too many user requests for images, photo cropping and file size updating
  • Too many bounce notifications from trying to send files over email

These are just a few examples of signs to look for (more here), but they’re key in indicating that you probably need a DAM system.

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2. Have Someone in Your Corner

Digital asset management is a team sport, not a solo performance. One of the main factors that leads to a successful DAM implementation is having multiple stakeholders on board. Each use case is different, but we commonly see CMOs, CIOs, VPs of Sales and Creative Directors as heavy influencers on a DAM project.

Show each stakeholder what's in it for them and get them excited about the benefits a DAM system would bring. There’s strength in numbers, and your manager is much more likely to understand the urgency when it's coming from a team, rather than an individual.

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3. Don’t Pull a Blindside

Building on the last point, when there are stakeholders that you know will be impacted by a DAM implementation, it’s important to get them on-board as early as possible. No one likes to feel blindsided, and getting everyone on board earlier on in the project will help you find the best vendor and also improve buy-in from important teams in the company.

In particular, if your IT department is a key decision-maker for tech purchases, make sure they understand your intentions and your pain points. The last thing you want is to get a contract through the door, only to have IT point out that a critical component is missing from your selected vendor.

Be strategic about getting your key players on board early to help you push your project forward.

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4. There’s No “I” in Team

It's common for a DAM project to start with one department feeling asset pains and making it a priority, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the project has to stay within that silo. In many cases, when the discussion is opened up to other departments, you'll find that they're feeling similar pains, or they have another way that they could benefit from a DAM.

To get the maximum benefits from a DAM system, see if you can get other departments involved. Not only can you find new use cases, you can also potentially find one or more departments to share the cost with.

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5. Keep Your Eye on the Ball

From discovery calls to demos, all with multiple vendors, finding a DAM can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It’s easy to get impatient and decide to bench the project for a time that’s more convenient. Here’s a secret – there’s never going to be a perfect time to take on a new system and the longer you wait, the more desperate you’ll become to pick a system quickly (see Point 1).

Once you get your team’s buy-in on the DAM project, develop a project plan with key milestones and specific timelines, and keep everyone accountable to meet them. This is especially important if you have an upcoming deadline attached to a DAM, like a website re-brand launch or an international expansion.

Working through a sequence of steps helps to reduce the complexity of the project, and complete it on time and on budget.

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6. You Have the Home Advantage

As you learn about various DAM systems, it’s hard not to get distracted by the different bells and whistles that each vendor has to offer and to stay focused on what you truly need. It's important to remember throughout your vendor selection process that you’re the one with the home advantage and the only one that truly knows your actual pain points.

Find a vendor that will take time to understand your challenges, and tailor the process to your unique needs, rather than knock you out with a multitude of features and add-ons.

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7. Go for the Hat Trick

As you learn more about each different vendor, it can be hard to differentiate between them, and understand each vendor's unique selling propositions. While it is important to make sure that your system resolves your unique challenges, make sure you evaluate each vendor with these three points in mind:

  • Usability: How user-friendly and functional is the system? How do the vendor's integrations align with my business needs? Where and how can I access my assets?
  • Security: How safe are my assets in the system? What backup and emergency protocols are in place? Do they meet the necessary compliance regulations?
  • Scalability: Can the system handle an increase in assets or users? How will pricing be affected by these changes?

At the most basic level, you need a DAM that handles all three of these factors, but after that, it's about deciding what's most important to you. There's no right or wrong here – just different priorities for different use-cases. There are also other considerations to take into place, such as support, price and integrations.

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8. Run It for a Touchdown

While your digital asset management implementation needs a solid, MVP quarterback to take the project across the goal line, the benefits of the system are felt by the rest of your team and even your entire organization. Your marketing team’s productivity will increase, your graphics team will be able to focus more on creative work, and your resource updates will be so much easier to manage. You will know you’ve made a real difference for your team and set them up for success in the future.

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