5 Good reasons why marketing teams need a DAM system

Digital Asset Management, or DAM, is nothing new. Originally developed in the 1990s, DAM was a response to the rapid growth of digital image volume and the increasing difficulty users had finding individual images. For example, a name that the original file creator typed in might have made perfect sense to them but might be obscure to others who needed to use it. Worse still, many versions or updates to a single image might increase the likelihood of finding and using the wrong one. By saving time and reducing the potential for error, DAM systems promised order and efficiency for companies with growing libraries of images, illustrations, and even videos.

The first DAM solution, Cumulus, was introduced in 1992 by Canto Software. Despite the name, it was not a cloud-based or network solution but an application for individual Macintosh computers. In addition to tracking a file’s metadata, it also generated and stored a visual thumbnail of the image for easier visual identification. Since then, Canto and many other developers have expanded the scope and capabilities of digital asset management, vastly improving database capabilities and migrating their systems from purely local installations to the cloud.

Without a reliable DAM system, graphic artists can spend up to thirty percent of their time looking for the right image. This means that for everyone involved in marketing, from merchandise planners and production managers to graphic designers, DAM is not a “nice to have.” On the contrary, it is essential to every retailer’s bottom line. Here are five good reasons why every marketing team needs DAM.

1. Assets Are Easy to Share But Hard to Discover

In the age of social media, we’ve all learned how easy it is to share images and videos, often with URLs, attachments, and file transfer services like DropBox. But that convenience comes at a cost. A simple exchange between two people gets incredibly complicated for larger teams and departments. Without DAM, as assets multiply, those with campaign deadlines have a more challenging time finding that needle in an ever-growing haystack.

2. Files With Multiple Owners Can Create Version Chaos

Very often, an image may go through multiple revision cycles by several different photographers and graphic designers. As a result, every product shot could have dozens of different versions circulating throughout the marketing department. Without a robust DAM system to keep versions organized—and ensure the most current one ends up in the final catalog or web ad – the chances of costly production errors increases exponentially.

3. Inconsistent or Unapproved Brand Assets Are Costly

Retailers in today’s highly competitive market must ensure that their multichannel campaigns resonate with their current and prospective customers. To do so requires visual consistency not only with the retailer’s brand but also with that of recognizable consumer products. An off-brand look can make a shopper look elsewhere, costing millions in lost sales. Similarly, licensed images, for example, often require a rigorous approval process that includes license verification for period, purpose, and medium of use. Without an effective DAM system to monitor consistency and licenses, a graphic designer can easily inadvertently use an unapproved image, jeopardizing relationships with the manufacturer, or face legal consequences.

4. Disconnected Systems and Workflows Slow Production

By themselves, DAM systems cannot support every aspect of retail marketing operations. They are essential but only a part of a total workflow solution. For example, retailers rely heavily on product information management or PIM systems to track literally thousands of individual SKUs, often using data supplied by hundreds of separate manufacturers. In addition, there are separate databases for product pricing (and regional or promotional price variations), inventory, and sales history. Unless DAM, PIM, and other systems are integrated with purpose, marketing teams will waste enormous amounts of time putting all the pieces together. They will not have time to create effective campaigns for an ever-increasing array of channels and their regional variants. Comosoft’s LAGO system is uniquely positioned to combine all these data sources and put their combined data at the disposal of marketing managers and graphic designers.

5. Collaboration Is More Important Than Ever

Finally, as retailers grow larger and more complex, the need for collaboration is growing faster than ever before. Marketing departments must collaborate with manufacturers, multiple internal departments, and decision-makers within the company. The review and approval cycles must be maintained across various channels and regional variations. A powerful DAM system integrated with PIM, collaborative proofing, and web-based approval makes such collaboration a practical reality.

Putting It All Together

Modern marketing teams must make the transition from isolated, legacy systems to a centralized DAM, closely integrated with PIM and other essential data sources to endure. By doing so, merchandise planners, production managers, and graphic design teams will be able to scale their operations to create multichannel campaigns that are tailored to each region and demographic. Comosoft LAGO is preciously such a solution.

LAGO enables marketing and product planners to use their data to plan effective campaigns—using a data-connected whiteboard application and other tools. It then conveys those planning decisions to graphic designers using our Layout plug-in for Adobe InDesign to create visually compelling campaign materials using the most current data from their integrated DAM and PIM systems. It also allows them to create separate versions of each piece without having to “reinvent the wheel” for each version. Finally, the results of a campaign – down to the success of an individual featured product – can be tracked and used to plan the next effort.

Digital asset management is an essential building block for any modern marketing department, but it cannot stand alone. When integrated with other critical business systems, it can power a successful multichannel presence for the twenty-first century.

LAGO Digital Asset Management

Curious now? Find out more about the DAM system of LAGO.