Late last year, there was an article written by Elliot Sedegah on business2community.com with the title: Make Digital Assets a Part of Your Marketing Growth Story in Three Steps. I usually find items with titles along the lines of ‘eat yourself thinner in 24 hours’ to be less than satisfying, but there are some potential points of interest if you read between the lines and abstract the buzzwords to analyse how market participants are attempting to position themselves.
Elliot’s three steps are a bit tenuous in terms of their direct connection to DAM (especially the last two) but here they are anyway:
- Get your digital house in order.
- Know and interact with your customer.
- Deliver across multiple channels and devices.
The opening paragraph contains some suitably pithy and glib generalisations:
“In marketing, we aren’t rewarded for cutting corners or shaving a few bucks off operational costs like our constituents. Growth is all marketers (and their bosses) care about. It’s one of the most important variables in today’s global business. The primary directives for marketing are to generate demand, increase profits, and expand market share.To increase profits and promote global growth, marketers must get their product to the market in a way that potential customers will want to buy it. It is marketing’s job to know its customers and to make sure that each user experience is personalized. Tools are now available in the digital world that let you cater to each customer’s individual preferences.” [Read More]
Despite the style, a lot of this is fair enough, although I would hasten to add that in my experience of the marketing function (none of it acquired as a marketing practitioner, I must admit), you are not usually rewarded for wasting your budget either. Senior colleagues will expect to see a positive ROI, but I will acknowledge, providing no laws were broken, they often don’t much care how you actually do it. Efficient marketing that gets the most growth possible from the resources provided is clearly a priority and that is one of the key reasons for investing in DAM too. Therefore, the first point about using DAM to get your digital house in order is a good one.
Elliot’s employer is Adobe and as those of us who have been active in DAM for some time will be well aware, it is a subject you get the definite impression that they didn’t really know how to deal with properly for a very long time – and still don’t entirely, based on evidence to date. Recently, they seem to have reached the conclusion shared by some (but not all) sections of the analyst community, that DAM exists primarily as a rich media CXM (Customer Experience Management) services provider – almost to the exclusion of everything else. When you read through exactly how this is supposed to be the case, the explanations appear to quite quickly want to divert away from DAM and on to some other topic, like how important multi-channel marketing is and the necessity to ‘know’ your customer. The reason is that these topics are only partly related to Digital Asset Management and the authors are having problems making a direct causal connection unless they make some very specific examples which don’t always apply to each and every prospective DAM user.
Where they are right is that your DAM solution of choice has to be directly integrated into your overall strategic goals, that applies for anyone, not just marketing departments with customer experiences to take care of. What is useful about these CXM and DAM items is they do start to encourage DAM marketing people to think more practically in terms of how software products will get used and off the features arms race which characterises the DAM industry at present. Where they are less helpful is the ‘shiny toy’ effect where whatever happens to be the latest big idea in marketing technology is permitted to supersede all other strategic initiatives where DAM might be equally productively employed.
Let’s be clear about this, the tail does not wag the dog. You have a strategic objective to manage relationships with customers and ensure their ‘experience’ is a positive one, then you pick some tools to help you do it. Some of those implements might be dedicated to that task exclusively, others (like DAM systems) can and should be used for more diverse purposes than that, preferably across the organisation whenever digital assets are actively used. CXM is one purpose to which you can apply DAM, but it is far from the only one.