If you’re in charge of managing your company’s digital marketing assets, ask for the gift that pays for itself through greater efficiency and reduced costs.
If your household is anything like mine, you’re being inundated right about now with catalogs from every merchant you’ve ever ordered from. Not that that’s a bad thing. In fact, a recent paper from the American Catalog Mailers Association spells out a variety of social and economic benefits that both consumer and business catalogs offer.
But it does occur to me that the content in all of these catalogs is very likely used and re-purposed in multiple media and channels: in print, on the Web, on Facebook pages, in mobile apps, on CDs. And it’s someone’s job to make sure that content is accurate, consistent, and easily accessible by all, not squirreled away on a desktop or forgotten on a network folder.
Someone has to make sure that the photo that illustrates the widget on pg. 213 of their print catalog is the same one in the “Widgets” page of their Web site. Someone has to get those assets in usable formats and in organized packages to retailers, dealers, and other channel partners. And someone has to make sure that their ad agency and trade show booth fabricator can get that image when they need it.
If you’re that someone (or one of them) — and assuming you’ve been a good girl or boy this year — you need to ask Santa for a marketing asset management platform for Christmas. A MAM platform lets authorized users upload digital marketing assets to a central repository, manage them there (e.g., add tags and other metadata, edit EXIF data, associate images with products, etc.), and then download them for their own use or output them to the channels and media that need them.
In its most recent report on MAM, Aberdeen Group says that marketing asset management gives companies the opportunity “to better develop, control and enable access to the all-important messaging that creates and sustains the bonds of trust and commerce with their customers.” That may sound warm and fuzzy, but it also translates into cold, hard cash: Aberdeen found that the best-in-class enterprises it surveyed are twice as likely as other companies to use MAM software (as opposed to generic digital asset management software) to achieve superior performance in return on marketing investments.
A MAM platform typically combines technologies and processes such as:
Digital asset management (DAM): …to manage digital assets such as images, audio and video files, digital animations, documents (e.g., PDFs), and others.
Master data management (MDM): …to aggregate product data from various sources and manage them in a central repository for use by authorized users and systems.
Business process management (BPM): …to automate the flow of work and information to people and systems in cross-enterprise processes.
Content on demand: …to output content from the DAM and MDM repositories in formats ready for catalog artwork, Web pages, partner systems, and other media and channels.
Web to print: …to empower non-designers to go online and create professional-quality, brand-compliant marketing and sales materials using approved templates and content.
Putting these elements together as a MAM platform results in a solution that’s greater than the sum of its parts. It ensures that all marketing assets are accessible in one place and that the flow of work is automated among users and systems. It makes the right assets available to the right users, and allows marketing and sales personnel to create customized marketing materials without tarnishing the corporate brand and identity.
If you’re part of the team in charge of creating, managing, and publishing digital marketing assets, make sure you put a MAM platform on your wish list for the holidays.