It’s 10pm. Do you Know where your Digital Assets Are?

This feature article has been contributed by Brian Trombley, CEO of Ariza Content Solutions.


Some of you might find this headline somewhat familiar. My late-night news growing up used to intro with “It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your children are”. Hopefully they were tucked safely in bed. The same question should be applied to your valuable marketing assets. Hopefully you have them tucked away safely in a repository of some sort where they are carefully preserved and used for maximum business benefit. But even if you have secured these important pieces of your business communication, they only have value if you can find exactly the asset you are looking for at the time you are looking for it. And just because you have them secured in some sort of repository, typically a Digital Asset Management System (DAM), it doesn’t mean you can easily find exactly what you are looking for…unless…you have clean, complete, and consistent metadata to search on.

Some time ago, the world’s largest privately held corporation reached out to us for assistance in getting their metadata right so that important assets could be easily found for their global marketing effort. When you are a company whose products and services touch on 80% of the food products on the shelves of any store anywhere in the world, you need to make sure you marketing is on point and supporting materials are key to that effort.

For this client, many of the day to day assets, tens of thousands of them, were not correctly and adequately tagged with descriptive sentences and keywords. We analyzed the task at hand and found that, at the time, there was no way to automate the process, which is preferred for speed and consistency. So, for this effort we rolled up our sleeves, more than 2, and took on the challenge of manually reviewing and updating the description and keywords for each of the assets. Sometimes there is no way other than brute force and intellect to get through this type of effort. We assembled a small team of knowledgeable resources that reviewed the information on each asset, updating, correcting, and enhancing the metadata over a few months period. The result…marketing staff can now find exactly what they are looking for quickly and painlessly, and get on with the important task of moving their brand forward.

The success of this project led to a second project of integrating marketing assets from a recently acquired company. These assets had some keywording that needed to be maintained, including some non-English local language keywords, but needed descriptive sentences and additional English keywording. There were also some keywords and phrases that needed to be added to all of the assets. Because there were rules around how some of the keywording needed to be applied, we were able to craft a hybrid model of some manual effort and some automation to achieve this effort in a few short weeks.

The importance of proper metadata keywording and descriptive language is critical in driving efficiency and cost reduction/avoidance in global marketing efforts. Many hours and real dollars are lost searching for and recreating assets that already exist. Many times, DAMs are implemented quickly and without adequate budget to address proper search and retrieval aspects. We hear all too often “We’ll go in and clean up the metadata later. We just need to get everything into the system now”. But later rarely happens and the investment in that new DAM never plays out to the fullest. Getting it right the first time is critical in a world where marketers need to turn on a dime to defend and grow their share of the pie. Don’t cheap out on your DAM implementation. And if you have already made that mistake, seek expert guidance on how to get on track to become fully competent in your digitally-driven marketing efforts.

These days it’s not that hard. We have more opportunities to use AI-based tools that are remarkably good. But that doesn’t mean the need for a critical eye isn’t there anymore. As good as AI is, it is not always as accurate as we need it to be. So, there will always be a need for a human element.

About Brian Trombley

Brian Trombley is CEO of Ariza Content Solutions. He has more than 40 years’ experience helping clients implement content-oriented processes and technologies for all aspects of publishing across a wide range of industry verticals. An early practitioner of structured content methodologies, Brian was at the forefront of the SGML and XML revolutions and has helped clients successfully manage change and leverage content for maximum business value.

You can connect with Brian via his LinkedIn profile.

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