Today’s businesses can’t function without digital assets – the files, artwork, copy and other content that defines what they are and what they do. And while all areas of the business rely on digital assets, that’s particularly the case when it comes to marketing.
Marketers depend on assets such as logos, style guides and rich media content to define and communicate the brand, and ensure it operates with a coherent identity and voice. Brand assets such as photos help businesses market and sell their products and services. Meanwhile, cross-channel marketing campaigns demand a steady input of videos, copy and other content snippets and templates.
These requirements mean that marketing teams may be sitting on tens of thousands of digital assets, but all too often these end up scattered across servers and services in a disorganised and piecemeal fashion. Without central storage and easy asset retrieval, time is being wasted, and assets are at risk of being duplicated or forgotten. And without the ability to securely share files among creative partners, compliance teams or other stakeholders, the inefficiencies multiply, and there’s a greater risk of errors.
What is marketing asset management?
You’ve no doubt heard us talk before about digital asset management (DAM), a technology designed to address exactly these kinds of issues. For marketers, marketing asset management presents a focused set of DAM capabilities designed to solve common marketing challenges.
You might variously hear these platforms called marketing resource management (MRM) or brand asset management (BAM) systems, too. And although their capabilities are broadly similar, marketing asset management shouldn’t be confused with media asset management (MAM).
The point of marketing asset management is to provide a single source of truth for brand assets. Central to this is a secure storage space for files, protected by granular access permissions. Marketers need to store and retrieve files quickly, so marketing asset management platforms often have features to support fast ingestion of content. In addition, there’s usually extensive support for metadata – for example, tagging with keywords, creation date and so on.
Marketing assets are often meant to be shared, so marketing asset management platforms should offer secure sharing and distribution features. This is an essential feature for teams who work with external creative or agency partners, allowing them to work collaboratively without resorting to ‘leaky’ ad-hoc arrangements, like freemium file sharing services . It’s even more of a critical feature for agencies, who might need to manage, share and collaborate with multiple clients, brands and creative partners.
But it’s not enough to simply manage file storage and sharing. Marketers need to ensure that all stakeholders are working with the correct version of an asset, rather than – for example – an old logo that’s since been refreshed. By adding version management and asset protection, marketing asset management platforms mean that teams can be sure they’re sharing definitive, approved assets, and that nobody can make unauthorised changes.
What are the benefits of marketing asset management?
A marketing asset management platform gives marketing teams full control over their assets. It helps organise valuable digital content and other files, ensuring they’re available for easy use and re-use. This helps reduce the time wasted on trying to dig out assets or their source files. Even more importantly, it slashes the number of assets that go missing, reducing the money spent on duplicating material that’s already been written, designed or filmed.
Marketing asset management platforms remove the obstacles and common pitfalls in collaborative working. With powerful and secure sharing features, they help smooth the friction in client-agency partnerships, and quickly integrate creatives and other partners into the brand’s workflows. Some platforms go further, readily integrating with other martech tools to automate key workflow processes.
Some of the benefits of a marketing asset management platform are subtle. Where platforms offer analytics – for example, a search term breakdown – asset owners can use them to help respond to popular searches with new, or better signposted content. And metrics help identify the most commonly used and viewed content, helping brands identify their most useful content, and improve those assets that aren’t getting used.
Is a marketing asset management platform worth it?
A marketing asset management platform can pay for itself via multiple efficiency savings. For starters, teams waste less time trying to find and retrieve assets. Fewer man-hours are lost to searching the archives, and the team and its partners can produce quicker results. When revising assets, the ready ability to find old ones and their source files can cut production time, and prevent expensive duplication – like having to re-shoot video.
You can see these efficiencies at work for many of Imagen’s customers, including NatureScot – formerly known as Scottish Natural Heritage. As information management programme manager Stephen Gerrard explains: “NatureScot has around one million images, videos and audio files spread across multiple systems. That means [it was] very difficult for staff to find the information they need to do their job.
“What we needed was one source of truth: one system that held all of that data together to let staff access the information. And what Imagen helps us to do is pool all that information together.”
Having a central hub to securely share content also helps prevent confusion over resources. In addition to supporting and streamlining distributed working, the presence of a definitive asset store slashes the risk that marketers or comms professionals distribute the wrong content – for example, by accidentally sending out a draft press release containing editing markup or sensitive comments. Where these kinds of mistakes affect physical assets, such as store, ad, or vehicle branding, the cost of putting them right can be considerable.
A marketing asset management platform is fast becoming an essential part of the martech stack. They let marketers, communication agencies, and other professionals take control of the key assets that define the brands they work with. As a single source of truth, marketing asset management platforms prevent lost assets and confusion over versions and signoff. And as a distribution hub, they support smooth workflows across internal teams and external partners.
If you’ve previously lost assets, used the wrong materials, or struggled to coordinate disparate stakeholders, can you afford to be without marketing asset management? Taking full control of your definitive assets will help you streamline your marketing workflows, and focus and maximise your brand and its campaigns.
Want to see how Imagen’s features can help you maximise your marketing reach? Discover more about our platform, or book a demo to get first-hand insight