What companies/organizations have you worked for as a DAM professional? What was your role at each?
My first DAM role was as a UX researcher at King’s College London’s history archive. Shortly thereafter, I was an Assistant DAM Manager at The Art Fund. Now, I’m working freelance, primarily as Chewy.com’s Lead DAM/Media Coordinator.
How do you describe digital asset management to others?
Since DAM is so multifaceted and our can roles can vary so dramatically depending on the client’s needs, I think the biggest challenge for a lot of professional “DAMsters” is actually describing our job to other people.
In professional contexts, I usually tailor my DAM description to what I know that the organization needs. For example, if I knew an organization needed help organizing their marketing assets, I’d explain how investing in DAM would help make their creative assets findable and consistent, thereby helping them keeping track of copyright info and artistic initiatives. A DAM would also help them cut down on production costs costs since they’d be able to re-use Evergreen content. And of course, I’d also explain that I could help them choose, implement, and maintain the system.
But if I’m at a party, I just call myself a “spicy librarian.”
What’s the most important thing for someone new to DAM to understand about DAM?
I think the most important thing to understand is that since the field is so new, it’s not that streamlined and organizations don’t always understand how it can help them. As a result, it’s really important to have a good understanding of all of DAM’s different capabilities and constraints and then be able to explain those specific benefits to any potential employer.
How did you learn DAM? Any recommended sources?
I graduated from King’s College London’s MA program in DAM, which I think is an excellent program for any person who is looking to get an educational background in the topic.
Short of getting an MA, I usually recommend checking out Henry Stewart events & reading Theresa Regli’s book: Digital and Marketing Asset Management, The Real Story About DAM Technology and Practices.
What is your ongoing greatest challenge with DAM?
Getting used to all of the puns.
What is your vision for DAM? What will it look like in 5 years?
One of the things I love about DAM is that its uses, and by extension, its future, are really limitless. It’s impossible to say for certain, but I personally am expecting three trends to grow and/or emerge.
1) Increasing Use Cases
At the moment, most organizations who buy DAM software use it as a repository for their previous marketing assets and occasionally link these with analytics, data, etc. I think as time goes on and DAM becomes better known, organizations will continue to adopt DAM for other, “less obvious” use cases such as for product lifecycle management or in health informatics.
2) Increasing Reliance & Need for Video Content
Mostly courtesy of my generation, videos are really starting to win the marketing and content wars (Think: TikTok, YouTube, and streaming services). Since video files are much larger and more complex to manage, increased reliance on them is going to, and already has prompted investment in slightly different technologies and skillsets within DAM.
3) Increasing Concern For Security
Security has always been a large concern for organizations, but I think some recent highly-publicized cyberattacks as well as the wider understanding of blockchain technologies (the technological method that makes Bitccoin so secure), are going to push it further up on the list.
What was your biggest mistake with regard to DAM?
Not garnering any technical understanding soon enough. You don’t need to know any computer science in order to be a DAM practitioner, but I’m now seeing how helpful it can be.
What was your biggest success with regard to DAM?
My dissertation at King’s College London. I researched how Pfizer used change management theory to implement a new taxonomy into an existing systemI researched how Pfizer used change management theory to implement large-scale changes to metadata. The success of the project I studied ultimately helped them win the race to find the COVID vaccine. That was pretty cool.
If you weren’t doing DAM as a career, what would you be doing?
I’d almost definitely be working in the media department at an NGO such as the UN or The IMF. I was getting ready to send in my deposit for an MA in International Relations & Media when an advertisement for the King’s program popped on my Facebook. I’d never heard of DAM prior to that, but upon further inspection, immediately knew it was what I wanted.
And if I’d never got into politics? I’d probably still be an actress.
I had a pretty long road to finding DAM, but now that I’m here, I actually can’t imagine doing anything else.
What more would you like to learn about DAM?
Right now, it seems that DAM is most widely accepted The US & The UK. I’d be interested to see how it plays out in different, non-Anglo cultures, particularly in Asia.
Alexandra Neudek is a graduate of King’s College London’s MA program in DAM & the owner of Alexandra Digital. Get in touch with her about opportunities, getting coffee, or cats on LinkedIn or at AlexandraDigital.com.
This interview was published in DAM News on 26th May 2021. For more DAM News interviews, see the interviews index page.Share this Article: