What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?
With digital asset management (DAM) platforms, you get the power to store, share and organize all digital assets from a single secure location.
The more your business and store grow, the harder your digital asset management (DAM) will become. Let me explain.
If you’re in marketing, chances are you and your team have had to recreate an image (logo in 400x400 size for social profiles), video (like feature video devs made for you some time ago), or product info sheet that’s gone missing numerous times (don't get me started with Excell sheets and PDFs you’ve copied too many times).
If you’re in sales, chances are you’ve had to wait for the marketing team to deliver supporting digital files on more than one occasion.
One of the easiest ways to take care of those frictions and improve productivity is by aligning marketing, sales, and other relevant departments across your organization. And you can start with a centralized place for shared digital assets. How? That’s where digital asset management (DAM) comes into play.
Before delving deep into the matter, let’s first define what digital assets are.
A digital asset is any digital file you would usually share with your company and/or external associates to support its operations. Think images, logos, audio and video files, presentations, product information sheets, charts, or any other branded piece of digital content.
Images are the most frequently used type of visual content for marketing campaigns (80%) followed by video (63%). (Source)
These assets will usually be used by various teams in their day-to-day activities, have numerous iterations, require approvals, or have specific usage rights. As your company grows, the number of your digital assets will also grow. At one point, it will become impossible to coordinate internally, ensure everyone finds everything, uses the right version, etc.
Ta-daa, this problem is solved by using a digital asset management system.
A Digital Asset Management System is software that centralizes your digital content. All of your digital assets are stored on one platform with varying degrees of user access. Any expiration dates, licensing, updates, approvals, or removals can be automated and delivered to the relevant parties instantly.
DAM systems are designed to unify your digital content, freeing up your employees’ valuable time while at the same time ensuring your company provides better brand consistency across departments. Finally, all collaboration occurs in the system, ensuring no important info gets buried in different communication channels.
In a nutshell, digital asset management seriously improves operations across your company.
To start with, it is the perfect solution for centralized asset organization in the customized way you think is best. Because it’s all available on one unified platform, you won’t be wasting any storage space on duplicates and risk someone using an outdated asset.
On a similar note, DAM lets you set expiration dates for any licensed content so that you avoid any unnecessary legal trouble. It will also help you maximize your content investments by leaving no digital asset unused or recreated because it was lost in the metaverse.
Using DAM also improves internal and external collaborations. No more sharing assets via email or Slack channel and losing them along the way (or at least losing track of them).
Your brand consistency flourishes because everyone has access to the same exact assets; you’ll no doubt see this reflected in your revenue. Moreover, the productivity within your company increases significantly due to streamlined communication and alignment between the different departments. And when the time comes to scale, you can scale with ease.
Finally, distribution to digital channels, or any external associates, becomes a dream.
Crystallize is one of those rare solutions that think about the business needs first and then label what we offer. When working with assets in Crystallize, we want it to be as simple as possible from both an editorial and front-end developer's point of view.
Be it files, images, or HD videos, you can all simply drop the asset in the admin UI, and we handle the rest. Image transcoding to modern file formats like WebP and AVIF happens automatically. Same with resizing images for those responsive devices. Peace of mind.
Videos are transcoded into streamable videos for different bitrates automatically. Ready to be consumed by mobile devices and HD desktop users. All are placed on a global CDN without you having to worry about any of the steps it takes to get it there.
Some call this DAM, all we know is that these assets are required to build rich product storytelling. So we made it part of the editorial flow. Enabling you to focus on creating experiences for your customers.
But wait, isn’t this eerily similar to a product information management (PIM) system? Somewhat, but there are subtle differences.
While both of these systems help improve the organization and accessibility within companies, they were developed to serve different types of information: product information such as pricing, product specifications, and more, vs. digital assets such as images, audio and video files, etc. We talked a bit more about PIM vs. DAM in a separate post.
Now, you might be thinking: well, product images are obviously product-related, so what’s the deal? That’s why some PIM systems (or unique tools on the market like Crystallize), but not all of them, come with digital asset management capabilities where you can store product-relevant digital assets.
Whether a PIM system or a DAM system is a priority for you will mainly depend on the industry you’re operating in.
For example, if you’re a retailer or manufacturer or have a complex product offering that you’re getting information about from different manufacturers, you can’t do without a product information management system.
In such cases, you have to keep track of the different products, inventory, product specs, prices, discounts, etc., which will soak up any time your employees have on aligning. You risk displaying inaccurate or outdated information to your customers on different channels could cost you valuable sales and brand trustworthiness.
With a PIM, all your product information is unified and centralized in one platform so that everyone within your company is kept in the loop, along with the various digital channels you may be used to advertise and sell.
On the other hand, if you’re a company that heavily produces and distributes digital content to various audiences, you’d hugely benefit from a DAM system. Additionally, in general, streaming, archiving, transcoding video, and tracking different versions of digital assets are all strengths of DAM systems.
In case you’re a content-first company with very few products, make sure you check out a DAM system and streamline content creation, management, and distribution within your organization.
What is PIM, and how different is it from DAM? Where do DAM and CMS overlap? And do you need an ERP system for your business use case? We’ve tried to clear up the acronym confusion in eCommerce with the following infographic that provides you with a visual comparison of all relevant terms. Individual posts dig deeper into each term and the concept behind it.
📝READ WHAT IS PIM AND DOWNLOAD THE INFOGRAPHIC FOR FREE FROM HERE
A company in 2023 definitely isn’t using a DAM system alone. One of the biggest challenges when it comes to implementing a DAM system will be integrating with the systems you currently use, such as your CRM, CMS, ERP, and PIM.
The good news is that the best DAM platform providers usually also easily integrate with other platforms via APIs. So, before you go for a DAM, consult your tech team and find the DAM system provider who can fit into your current tech infrastructure seamlessly.
Let’s make this clear: implementing a DAM system isn’t cheap. It’s an investment, but it’s definitely something to consider when choosing a provider.
Note that many DAM platforms let you customize your plan according to your needs, so it would be the smartest only to take what you need and lower the price, at least at first.
Organization & Management
When you first implement a DAM system, you’ll have to define the structure, the guidelines, the user access level, and the exact workflow. Otherwise, it’s a mess waiting to happen.
Don’t expect this to happen and finalize overnight. It will definitely be an iterative process, but you have to start somewhere with a certain set of regulations.
Once that’s done, you’ll also need a manager to ensure everything is being done according to the guidelines. Depending on the size of your company, you may need more than one person on this.
Don’t forget about employee training. Not all of your employees will have used a DAM system before, and even in cases where they have, they haven’t used YOUR DAM system before.
To truly capitalize on the benefits a DAM system can bring, you’ll have to ensure that everyone using it understands its purpose, benefits, and the rules and regulations they should respect when managing digital assets.
And that goes for your external users, not just your teams (like sales, marketing, dev, etc.).
Today, many businesses rely heavily on digital channels for branding, marketing, communication with the audience, and ultimately as a purchase/revenue stream. The simple reason is that you really have to be where your audience is, and today that means the digital world.
That also means you need digital assets of any sort in your business strategies and your product/service storytelling. And you need a management solution as well.
There are two ways you can do this. Opt out for multiple services, with each one handling one segment of your business, or opt out for Crystallize, which is built for product storytellers, i.e., supports PIM, DAM, and CMS functionalities in order for you to be able to sell your products on any channel and in any way you want.
Understanding The Basics🛒
PIM is your centralized product information system from which the product data is distributed to all relevant stakeholders, teams, and sales channels.