In the upcoming Henry Stewart DAM Europe conference, Kristina Herz invited me to participate in a panel session with the enticing title ‘DAM or DAM plus’. However enticing, it’s a little vague as well and that is actually a perfect summary for the topic at hand.

Let’s take a few steps back.


Digital asset management (DAM) has become an established use case, business case and software category over the last decade. Most larger organizations realize they need it, some have it, and quite a few are replacing an old one with something more modern.

The simplest definition of a DAM is: a software platform that allows you to store, organize and find media files. Media files include mainly images and artwork, layouts and video.

One of the topics that is now inseparable from DAM is that of metadata. Metadata is data that is applied around (hence meta) data (or files in this case), for the purpose of organization, just like you would add author, publisher and genre as metadata to the content of a book in order to put it on a shelf and then be able to find it back.

So, managing media files through metadata is now more or less the key definition of a DAM.

What customers really want

However, if we look at a typical project briefing that says ‘DAM’ on the cover, we usually find a little more inside. Often times, requirements venture out into process (with workflow, collaboration, work in progress etc as the most popular terms) as well as towards integration (with master data from elsewhere in the organisation such as product data or taxonomies that are shared across multiple parts of the organization) and publishing (pushing content out to channels such as websites, social media or ecommerce).

It seems that what customers need is a little more than what the traditional DAM box actually holds.

If we analyze the different elements we seem to find across customers, it seems that there are three main elements: Data, integration and process.


DAM systems are typically sourced by marketing departments. It seems that there is a growing awareness with marketing departments that their core challenge is not just managing media files, but managing marketing master data.

Let’s take the example of a product oriented company such as a retailer or FMCG. For every product they have media files (pack shots and packaging artwork to name a few) but also commercial product descriptions, specifications and benefits that are equally important. On top, they belong together and nobody is happy to see them live in disparate silos in the organization. Now DAM becomes a question of master data management for marketing.


With master data on the table, managing the flow of master data through the organization has become  inevitable. Technical product specifications that are managed in a PLM platform need to partially flow to marketing, where a marketing team translates and localizes the specifications before sending them onwards to a downstream ecommerce or retail partner’s website. This calls for a mature integration between platforms.


DAM already touched on creative collaboration between marketing and agencies. But with editorial processes, copywriting, localization and other processes added to the mix; tools to support processes around master data are a firm requirement and there is a growing consensus that these tools need to be in close proximity of the data.

DAM+ (or is it a Marketing Content Hub)

In brief, there seems to be a new paradigm which is an evolution of the traditional DAM use case, business case and software category. For lack of a better word, we’re calling it DAM+.

DAM+ is a master data platform for marketing that allows to manage marketing content (both media files and data); that integrates with upstream systems and publication channels; and that supports the processes to create and adapt content.

(alert: sales pitch after this point)

At STYLELABS, we call this DAM+ a Marketing Content Hub and the good news is, we have a box that has all of these elements and more included.

If you’d like to learn more, feel free to read our book The Case for a Marketing Content Hub, have a look at our recorded webinars, follow our feed or let’s have a chat at the upcoming Henry Stewart DAM Europe conference – which should really be the DAM+ conference! (use STYLELABS100 for a GBP 100 discount!)

Tim Pashuysen
Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Stylelabs