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Relevant and visually impactful content creates a direct connection to customers, but engaging with them in the right way requires specific formats of content across multiple media channels. As a result, a growing number of organizations are struggling with managing their ever-increasing volume of marketing assets and content.
To manage the complexity of producing, managing and distributing this much content, many companies are turning to marketing technology, specifically to digital asset management systems (DAM) to increase their efficiency along the entire cycle of asset creation and distribution, while maintaining control of their brand.
What is a Digital Asset Management System (DAM)?
A digital asset management system helps companies produce, organize, manage, distribute and use their digital assets, such as videos, photos, images, content, audio, PDF and other digital files. It improves the productivity of marketing teams and increases the ROI of content and creative programs.
Core Functions of a DAM System
A digital asset management platform enables organizations to create a single source of truth for their content, brand assets, marketing resources and other digital files, providing controlled, structured access to internal and external users through a number of core functions:
user roles and access permissions
Metadata & taxonomy
searchable and discoverable content
Automatic file conversions
self-serve file converting and rendering
sharing, publishing and re-using content
Analytics & reporting
tracking asset usage over time
While the marketing and creative departments easily understand the necessity of a digital asset management system to manage the growing volume of content, they often need to make the business case to the executive team and budget owners, to justify the investment.
But how do you approach building a business case for a system that provides incremental productivity improvements to dozens, often hundreds of users and cumulative savings across entire marketing production cycle?
How to Build a Business Case for Digital Asset Management
Building a business case involves clearly demonstrating one or more key business arguments and the value they will deliver to an organization. These include:
- Tactical & strategic benefits,
- Quantifiable ROI value, and
- Future expansion and growth opportunities.
Digital asset management increases operational efficiencies substantially for the marketing department and, based on the extent of the implementation, can drive improvements in different areas of the business, as well. There is no single metric that will apply to every use case, however we will discuss multiple angles that will help quantify and position benefits of a DAM to your organization.
Strategic Benefits of a DAM System
Relevant content and rich digital experiences are at the heart of many organizational growth strategies – from increasing brand impact, engaging more customers, and forging new partnerships and channels, to expanding into new markets. The efficient coordination of thousands of visuals, content and brand assets across thousands of users can make or break the success these strategies.
Investing into digital asset management impacts the success of major marketing initiatives, and can often be accelerated by one of the following organizational goals:
- International go-to-market expansion: When an organization opens multiple offices or expands sales and marketing teams into new geographical locations, digital asset management ensures brand consistency across offices, as well as provides new teams with access to all approved collateral, greatly simplifying content sharing and collateral updates.
- Re-branding initiatives: When a company goes through a rebranding, there is often a transitional period where departments continue to use the old branding. A digital asset management system alleviates this by becoming a single source of truth for all the brand materials, newly created collateral and brand assets. The marketing team centralizes all the latest and approved materials in the DAM and users have access to the on-brand resources they need.
- New external creative agencies: Companies that collaborate with agencies, or photo and video contractors need a platform to efficiently review, approve and distribute large volumes of large-sized media files. By using a digital asset management system, companies can speed up production cycles and ensure that they have direct access to the assets they’ve invested in, rather than have them sit on the creative agency’s library.
- Sales and marketing alignment: Providing sales with relevant collateral, training guides, proposals and presentation materials is a key part of a sales and marketing alignment initiative. A digital asset management system provides the sales team with an easily-searchable library of sales resources they can access from the office, on the road, and within familiar apps, such as Office 365. Marketing can update all materials in a single location and makes it instantly available to customer facing teams.
- Mergers or acquisitions: When a company goes through a merger, it involves consolidating multiple brand assets, undergoing mass rebranding, and hosting intensive asset audits to ensure two brands successfully merge into one. Digital asset management becomes a central source of truth of any brand or marketing collateral that can be easily controlled in a single location accessible to anyone, regardless of the legacy systems or processes.
Tactical Benefits of a DAM System
DAM streamlines the creation, management and sharing of content, creating more efficient processes and removing internal bottlenecks for marketing and content creation teams. Here are some of the improvements that customers report when they implement digital asset management systems:
- Increasing team productivity: Marketing teams are often swamped with asset requests from other team members or departments. This time adds up, and ultimately takes away from the time they spend doing their core duties. A digital asset management system largely reduces the time spent searching for assets, ensuring marketing can focus strictly on getting out campaigns.
- Improving workflow: Between content and media creators (photographers, videographers, agencies), content users (marketing and sales teams) and content distributors (PR agencies, partners), there are often multiple touch points before the end consumer sees a single asset. By collaborating on assets within a digital asset management system, these different touch points can be reached much more efficiently, reducing time-to-market on important assets.
- Simplifying content distribution: Once an asset is created, the next challenge that marketing faces is getting those assets to the right people. By implementing a DAM system as a self-serve, searchable library, all users can easily download, use and share assets, regardless of the file size and type.
- Increasing asset reuse: When assets are held across various hard drives, local computers and USBs, companies often end up recreating or repurchasing assets because they’ve lost track of one, or didn’t know it existed to begin with. With a digital asset management system’s discoverable media library, featured asset sections and ratings, companies can drastically reduce the number of assets that are created but are never used or not fully utilized across teams.
- Controlling brand consistency: When employees are required to build their own presentations, documents or invoices, companies often come across the problem of brand consistency. When there isn’t a central location to find common assets, such as logos or templates, employees are left to use the internet to find the assets they need (and often end up with off-brand results). By giving individuals access to the assets they need within a digital asset management system, a company can always stay on-brand.
Estimating DAM ROI
While each one of the benefits listed above positively impacts marketing operations and program outcomes, executive teams often require hard numbers and justifications for the technology investment. The overall ROI of DAM will depend on each unique use case and can’t conform to a single formula. Below we list a number of approaches to estimate ROI for digital asset management.
First, let’s find some key numbers for your calculations. Determine or estimate the following information for your team and company:
|Digital Asset Management Initiative Variables||Estimated Numbers|
Number of usersThink about the various departments and partners, such as marketing, creative and sales.
Average asset requests per monthEstimate the number of requests for photos, videos, etc. your team gets per month from other departments or external partners.
Turn-around time on asset requestsOn average, how long does it take to fulfill each asset request (in hours)?
% of assets that are duplicated/recreatedOn average, a single-office company will recreate 5-15% of assets, while a global company can recreate up to 35% of assets.
Hourly rate for creative team memberHow much does a typical creative team member make at your company?
Number of assets you currently haveInclude photos, videos, graphics, PDFs, presentations, etc.
Yearly content creation and management spendEstimate the total spend on content creation across your organization (on digital video, photography, stock, collateral creation, outsourced content, etc.)
Average cost of creating an assetWhat’s the average amount you’ll spend on any single asset? This costs varies greatly across organizations, or even projects. Here’s are some baseline numbers:
Reduced Time Spent on Search and Request Tasks (Self-Service Benefit)
Average asset requests per month
Turn-around time on asset requests(hours)
# of hours saved per month
# of hours saved per month
Hourly creative rate
$$ saved per month on admin tasks
DAM can save between 5 to 15 days on global product launch and campaign roll-outs
Reduced Costs on Asset Recreation (Curation Benefit)
Total number of assets created monthly/yearly
Average cost of asset
$% of asset recreation/duplication
%$ asset cost savings
On average, investing into asset re-use also results in:
- 20% savings on stock purchases
- 25% increase in customer-created photography use
- Decrease in cost of created sales collateral/year
Additional Potential Savings on Asset Recreation
- Costs of upgrading and supporting on-site or storage-type technologies
- Reduced risks for legal cases due to rights management
- IT support request reduction for media platform support (average 80-100% decrease in support requests)
Increase in Content Value via Increased Usage (Asset Use Benefit)
Cost of 1 year of content creation (or 1TB etc.)
$Existing discoverability (E.g. - 10%)
%Current value from content investment
Increase in Content ROI (Revenue Benefit)
Your DAM ROI
$0Value of Discoverable Content with DAM0%Increase in Efficiency with DAM$ Content ROIROI with DAM$
Business Case for Specific Use-Cases
Marketing and eCommerce teams
- Faster campaign and product launches, accelerating time to revenue
- Website integration with dynamic image updates – faster web launches
- New monetization opportunities – licensing archive photos or media
- Increase the number of campaigns that marketers can deliver in a given time period
- Access to just-in-time assets for social media campaigns
Sports and Entertainment
- New revenue opportunities for sponsorship and partnerships leveraging media through discoverable, searchable content
- Discoverable content and visuals in a DAM can inspire creative approaches to the campaigns
- Leveraging video and photo archives for fan-engagement media and video opportunities
- Maximizing billable time for agencies, reducing administrative searches and asset resends
- Providing digital asset management as a value-added service offering, white-labelled or as a custom branded portal
Future expansion and growth opportunities
Integrations with existing marketing and IT technologies: After organizing and governing existing digital assets, one of the additional benefits of a digital asset management system is making them available from within other platforms and technologies. This creates opportunities to improve digital processes and user experiences, by integrating the DAM into technologies that employees are already using daily. Possible integrations include eCommerce systems, content management systems, marketing automation, single sign on, and Office Productivity Suite, to name a few.
DAM expansion across the organization: Extending access to entire organization and managing relevant assets as a cross-organizational function helps extract even greater value from digital assets and leverage the full value of created content. Democratizing a DAM system opens opportunities for organizational enablement, by maximizing content usage across HR, product, customer success, field teams and others. If a DAM platform offers unlimited users, costs are contained while value is maximized over time.
DAM as the foundation for digital transformation and strategy: A digital asset management platform is often a first step in laying the foundation for a company’s digital transformation. Organizing digital assets in a way that can be discovered by users and other connected technologies, sets the content up for future personalization, access structures and digital legacy for a company. As a single system of record for any scope of digital assets, a DAM can be used as a seamless backend asset database plus as a front-end portal or library embedded into existing applications.