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Skyword Press Launches DAM Solution

by Ralph Windsor on April 26, 2016

Contain your excitement everyone, that’s right, it’s another DAM solution to join the mere 199 others that have sufficient interest in this market to fill out a free profile with Capterra (and 87 who were somewhat more motivated to participate in our own directory with all of its irritatingly difficult questions and probing requests for factual information).  Where to start?  Well, the press reads a bit like it was written using a random sample of the top ten current DAM marketer’s buzzwords, but unfortunately fails to tell you a lot:

The functionality streamlines and simplifies brand storytelling by providing a collaborative space for marketing leaders, practitioners and contributors throughout the content creation process. The combination of Skyword’s content marketing technology and digital asset management allows marketers to access images, videos, archived content and other key assets to easily create stories that stand out and are consistent with brand standards.” [Read More]

So, in essence, it all sounds like the same clichés as everyone else – and that’s because it is.  The press release has the headline ‘Skyword Launches New Robust Digital Asset Management’.  Apparently, these people also provide content authoring services.  Some words may need to be exchanged with whoever came up with that title because it’s not really selling the solution particularly effectively.  It’s generally a given that software is supposed to be ‘robust’ (even though it sometimes might not be).  This is a bit like a car manufacturer telling you that their products have ‘working rear axles’, you are supposed to offer that sort of stuff as standard, to the extent that it doesn’t normally need to get mentioned – unless, of course, you can’t think of anything else to say.  I get the impression that happened in this case.

This is the obligatory quote in the press release from Tom Gerace, CEO of Skyword:

Marketing teams at enterprise brands turn to Skyword to create a large percentage of the content they produce. With digital asset management, our clients can collect and organize all digital brand assets in one place, regardless of file type or where the assets were originally created.  Our digital asset manager makes all marketing more efficient and effective, and will help marketers engage with consumers in a specific market and around the world.” [Read More]

This is similarly generic fare to the rest of it.  I will acknowledge, however, that Tom has at least been straightforward and kept the marketing platitudes under control (in contrast to a number of other vendor press items we are sent).  There is a bit more detail on their product page.  I couldn’t find anything to differentiate Skyword DAM from other alternatives on-offer, though and it’s the usual searching, approval workflow and re-purposing stuff that I’ve been looking at (either in a development or reviewing capacity) for about 20 years now, as I would imagine many other readers have too (for differing periods of time).

This line that there are swathes of marketing personnel who don’t know anything about DAM and who are forced to use Dropbox etc as though they are the marcomms equivalent of people-trafficked  refugees just waiting for DAM vendors to come and pluck them from a tempestuous sea of digital assets, is a myth in the vast majority of cases (certainly for any organisation with more than 100 or so employees).  There might well be a DAM solution that someone attempted a few years ago and then it got forgotten about, but there usually was (and often still is) something in the case of nearly every consulting client I have worked with in recent past.  If you are one of these people who doubts their firm has ever done DAM before, my top ROI tip would be to double-check that with quite a thorough investigation that involves talking to a lot of different people across multiple departments, as well as suppliers who already provide you assets.  You might well be surprised at the archaeological treasures you may uncover (as well as a lot of useful data about why everyone gave up on DAM the last time so you are not doomed to repeat the same mistakes all over again, ad-infinitum).

For any DAM trends watchers who have not given up on the sport in abject despair at the near-total lack of activity recently, one point that did come across from Skyword is that their primary business is as an agency who provide content-related services to clients, the software is a secondary endeavour in support of it.  I’m aware of a number of product vendors who have followed the same route and vertical integration is quite common for agencies, in general.  In some cases it is because their excess hubris leads them to believe they can take on any sector and have an edge over the competition just by virtue of their participation in it.  For example, many years ago, my firm had a marketing agency client who once said to us they would offer to build car parks (as in concrete surfaces to store motorised vehicles on) for their clients if they had heard they needed one.  In other instances, it is because the company’s management lack confidence they can make ends meet just selling either software and seek to turn their hands to offering other more creative-oriented services to pay the bills: i.e. opportunism born out of necessity.  This might be one factor behind the upsurge of social media chatter about ‘customer experience’ (which I still hold the belief is just the intellectualised equivalent of the term ‘website design’, hence why so many WCM vendors are keen on it).

If your interest in DAM is to fulfil a role not unlike a mythical trojan horse (not the virus kind) which you can use to mount an assault on prospective client’s marketing communications budget then it’s obvious that the software is a kind of incidental by-product and pushing concepts like ‘customer experience’ play well to that narrative because they reduce the necessity to innovate and keep improving the tools you offer.  That isn’t the trajectory by which I came to be involved in DAM software, however, nor (I suspect) is it for a good number of other DAM News readers either.

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