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Picking the best DAM marketing software for agencies

The right technology stack can be the difference between chaos and order at the heart of the marketing machine. But buying the best of everything can leave you with a huge bill, and a mound of expensive features you never use. Here’s how to prioritise your marketing DAM needs.

By: Lydia Bird

Today’s marketers and creative agencies need to be cross-channel, digital natives. Where once the art of marketing was gently wafting people down the sales funnel, today it’s about engaging, influencing and adding value at every interaction. Where the marketing toolkit was mostly mailshots, TV slots and a CMS, today the martech stack is so full it’s teetering.

Technology is fundamental to modern marketing. We’re dependent on it to track and manage customers, place ads, serve up content and handle commerce. A lean and focused martech stack provides the backbone of sales, UX and marketing workflows. Properly integrated, complementing technologies ease pressure points and let the whole enterprise focus on delivery.

But with the martech landscape encompassing up to 8,000 competing and complementary solutions, it’s all too easy for marketing teams to get caught up in the hype. For every brilliant, groundbreaking system there are many dead ends and damp squibs. It’s a rare marketing department that doesn’t find itself lumbered with unsupported, irrelevant or bloated shelfware. And even the best systems can age and lose their relevance.

Clearing out the shelves?

Take a look at why shelfware may put the brakes on the DAM marketing software you really need.

The digital asset management challenge

Look for the cues and you’ll know when it’s time to overhaul your technology. Missed KPIs and poor net promoter scores flag up serious issues. Listen to staff and you’ll get a picture of their frictions and frustrations. Investigate the customer journey and you might unearth more subtle UX and CX issues. Put it all together and there may be a clear picture of underperforming systems, or places where you need to invest.

Getting rid of legacy software is a vital way to recover funds that can be invested more effectively. But when auditing the software stack – or evaluating new solutions – it’s equally important not to end up paying for more than you need. In multiple spaces, many of the leading solutions come with tools and features you’ll never use. And given that premium software usually comes at a premium price, it’s important to ask whether you’ll realise its full value.

We’ve written before about clearing out the software dead wood, but it’s just as important to prune back platforms and services that have run riot. Where providers offer different service levels or feature bundles, these need to be evaluated against what you’re using and what you need. Stepping down the subscription ladder could free up money to improve technology elsewhere, or provide extra training to ensure you’re getting the most from existing solutions.

What makes a good marketing DAM?

This is certainly true when it comes to evaluating a digital asset management (DAM) platform. For brands to successfully market themselves through always-on, omnichannel engagement, they need to be relevant at every turn. Core to this is being able to deliver the right information and send consistent messages, backed up with the right digital assets.

In fact, asset management plays an increasingly central role in modern marketing. As teams publish and engage across multiple channels and platforms, they’re coordinating multiple stakeholders and working with increasingly rich brand libraries. Whether it’s the artwork for a mailshot, product photos for Instagram, or interview outtakes for Twitter, marketers need help storing and retrieving crucial assets in the right formats.

For this reason, DAMs have become an increasingly important part of the martech stack. At their most basic, they fulfil the role of providing secure access to centralised storage of digital assets, but their typical features include plenty of other tools for marketers to optimise and simplify their workflows.

Common DAM features are designed to streamline the uploading of content into an easily managed asset library. Powerful ingestion features are often partnered with simplified or automated metadata creation, making it easy to sort and retrieve assets based on their content, or data such as file size, type or date. With cloud access, DAMs become the authoritative resource for multiple agencies, freelancers and internal stakeholders, even as they iterate files and work across multi-territory campaigns.

Amid the continuing disruption of Covid-19, easy, secure remote access has only become more important. More than ever, marketers need quick tools to find, share and embed content. Working across multiple spaces, they need the tools to resize and convert content to suit the major social media platforms. Most of all, they need intuitive systems, rather than another layer of technology to add friction and delay.

video on demand - roi

Measuring ROI – How to build your case for a DAM marketing system

Learn how your organisation can increase efficiency, save money and connect your staff by filling out our handy Digital Asset Management (DAM) ROI calculator.

Avoiding feature creep

However, with their roots in content production and publishing, many DAM platforms are optimised with features marketers aren’t likely to call on. Powerful monetisation and commerce features are great for production houses and brands seeking to add new revenue streams, but they aren’t as relevant when you’re, say, repurposing ad footage for Facebook. Similarly, it’s great to have the power to distribute TV series and original content to regional broadcast and streaming partners, but for smaller files and highly localised content, fast global delivery isn’t such a must-have.

Marketers seeking to optimise their technology spending, and better match the features they’re paying for with the needs they have, must properly evaluate DAM solutions. Key considerations include security, ease of use, and – particularly during the pandemic – robust support for distributed working patterns and partnerships.

As with any martech solution, it’s vital to consider the role of a DAM within the stack as a whole. Marketers should understand APIs and customisations that might help automate and streamline, along with the integration and training support being offered by the developer. It’s important to also consider where a DAM might take the friction out of your existing workflows, or enable new and quicker ways to achieve more – for example through more powerful search and indexing.

Equally, it’s important to understand what you don’t need, and whether you’re paying for it. While an all-singing DAM can help carry complex international marketing operations to new heights, for many marketing teams it could also be needlessly sapping the budget.

However big your team, and whatever solution you’re considering, it’s important to avoid paying for more than you need. If you’re choosing a new DAM, or reevaluating whether an existing platform is delivering value, weigh up the price and features carefully. And if you need a bit of expert advice, we’re always happy to help.

Want to get the asset management features you need without overspending on the ones you don’t? Download Imagen’s DAM datasheet and find out how we can streamline your marketing team.

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