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Managing content operations

What is Digital Asset Management?

Learn how a digital asset management (DAM) solution can help you wrangle your organization’s disparate assets into one centralized location in this beginner’s guide.


DAM 101: What is a digital asset?

Digital assets include photos, graphics, layouts, artwork, video, 3D, source files, and more. All of the file types in which your digital content is available – these are all your digital assets, and you need a foolproof way to organize them.

So what is Digital Asset Management?

Digital Asset Management is software that stores all your digital assets in one place. It also enables you to categorize and search them on multiple attributes to quickly find the right one. In addition, you can associate metadata and digital rights management (DRM) information; edit, download, or delete files in batches; and share secure download links to external users. These are just some of the features you should expect in a Digital Asset Management system.

Chapter 2

Do you know where your digital assets are?

The time-wasting trap of disparate digital assets

Pop quiz: How many digital marketing assets does your company own, and where are they all located?

With so much material to manage and so many technological options for storing it, it’s all too easy to draw a blank when someone asks you for that packaging artwork sent via email a few weeks ago — or was it via a cloud-based file sharing service?

From photos and videos to layouts and 3D files being stored on laptops, external hard drives, or the cloud, companies with large libraries of marketing content often struggle to keep it all corralled. Having various asset versions in different places can mean duplicated efforts, as well as a serious time-suck for marketing teams, project managers, and other collaborators.

Digital asset management to the rescue

A digital asset management (DAM) solution helps bring harmony to all that digital discord and stop the treacherous time-suck. Usually falling under the responsibility of the marketing team, a DAM solution serves as a single gathering and storage point for all those scattered source files, images, videos, graphics, layouts, documents, and more.

It’s a centralized, streamlined, and easily controllable way to gain efficiency and manage the mountains of content most marketing teams are challenged with managing today.

Chapter 3

A brief history of Digital Asset Management

DAM solutions have actually been around for about a quarter century. The earliest one was developed to house CNN’s more than 700,000 news clips. While it was an impressive accomplishment in the realm of content management at the time, it pales in comparison to the capabilities of modern-day systems.

Around the dawn of the new millennium, a shift away from on-premise or in-house storage and toward cloud storage began. This is when the development started on today’s web-based DAM applications. The next phase of evolution was the adaptation of DAM software to new sources and devices, which allowed digital content to be delivered to new channels like social media and e-commerce stores.

Chapter 4

How your company can benefit from DAM

Save time (and your sanity)

A well-built and maintained Digital Asset Management system can be a marketer’s best friend. All your company’s marketing content lives in one organized environment, making it easy to view, share, and integrate with other systems.

While any basic DAM system is designed to store, manage, and distribute digital marketing assets, a truly state-of-the-art one should be expected to deliver much greater value. A DAM solution today must be able to handle elaborate digital asset management scenarios, including complex metadata, security, and aspects of digital rights management.

In addition to improved efficiency, a DAM solution adds value to your marketing operations by ensuring consistency and avoiding duplicated efforts. That in turn helps reduce your costs.

Chapter 5

The nuts and bolts: Features of a Digital Asset Management platform

Search and browse content

The primary purpose of a DAM platform is to make your marketing content quick and easy to search, browse, and share with other users. The more digital files you have to manage, the more important it is for ease of use.

Download and upload

A Digital Asset Management platform allows users to upload content in a variety of extensions. Other users can then download that content to use across different campaigns, channels, and devices.

Add complex metadata

Metadata provides additional information about the content. Some examples of common metadata include information like geographic location, language, and more. Metadata that reflects how, where, and in which context each asset can be used is often quite elaborate, so it’s important to have a DAM system that can comfortably manage all that complexity.

Desktop and mobile

Along with the rise of the smartphone, most Digital Asset Management platforms have made the transition from a desktop experience to one that feels natural on mobile. A good DAM platform should give you the ability to handle content on multiple devices.

Chapter 6

An asset’s journey through a DAM system

Once a piece of digital marketing content has been created — let’s take an educational video as an example — it gets loaded into the DAM system. Metadata is then added to describe the content’s features, and finally it’s made available to the DAM system’s designated users.

Those users can then download, edit, annotate, and distribute that asset in marketing campaigns. New versions of the asset can be added to the system as they’re created, in order to support additional marketing channels.

Chapter 7

Choosing the right Digital Asset Management system

Your digital content is powerful, so the DAM solution that houses it should be, too. A solid choice would be a Digital Asset Management solution equipped with the features we’ve described here, that's also part of a larger integrated solution such as the one included in the Sitecore Content Hub.

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