Digital Asset Management DAM

What Is Digital Asset Management?

Today’s world is primarily digital. Marketing, communication, and even commerce are done through electronic means more frequently than through traditional channels. With this digital transformation comes new ways of content management, without which it’s impossible to keep up with an ever-changing landscape.

Modern businesses have a seemingly endless list of digital assets that they must track and organize. These digital assets consist of images, documents, video files, audio files, and much more. In short, anything that can be utilized for digital marketing and digital file creation is a digital asset.

Managing these digital assets is a major issue for companies — and the larger the company, the bigger the headache. In a way, it’s a good problem to have. Digital assets can be produced quickly and more affordably than offline materials, and they can be edited and stored in ways that are far more practical than the marketing materials of yesteryear. However, as companies amass large quantities of digital assets, what helps manage digital assets? How can businesses keep everything organized and accessible so that they always know how to get the files they need? And, how complex is it to use or repurpose those assets for future advertising endeavors?

What Is a Digital Asset Management System?

Digital asset management software aims to resolve these issues. A digital asset management solution, also known as DAM for short, helps businesses by storing all of the company’s digital assets in one central location. Just as importantly, the DAM is responsible for making sure all of the files can be accessed and shared by anyone in the company with the requisite permissions. Digital asset management is shared across multiple departments within a business, and it is also shared externally with partners, such as advertising agencies.

What is an example of a digital asset management system? Think of a shared network drive that hosts all of the company’s digital files. But digital asset management software goes much deeper than that. It also administers the rights to those files, makes them available everywhere if the software is cloud-based, and incorporates new files into the existing file structure. Perhaps most importantly of all, DAM software also integrates with tools that allow companies to use those digital assets on customer-facing digital pages, where consumers need up-to-date, relevant information to inform their buying decisions.

Do You Need Digital Asset Management?

Every business that works with digital assets needs a digital asset management software solution. There simply is no other way to navigate the current digital-first climate without an internal mechanism to facilitate the management of the increasing quantity of digital assets a company will accumulate over time.

To see why digital asset management matters, though, it needs to be considered how life looks without DAM software. In companies without digital asset management, each employee has a file of digital assets. These files may or may not be current — in fact, nobody may know which version of a file is current. Files are emailed around, without a central repository for the company’s digital assets. And when it comes time to find a file, nobody knows where to look — and if they can find it, they don’t know if it’s the right version. It’s a messy situation, but that’s how many businesses work today. These businesses don’t even understand how behind the curve they are and how much more efficient they could be.

Now, consider that same company with digital asset management software integrated into their workflows. Everyone knows exactly where to look for what they need, and there is no confusion as to which files are current. Furthermore, because DAM software encourages shareability, multiple people can access files at once, and edits are trackable via audit logs and a permission-based approach to sharing content.

Looking at these two digital asset management examples, it’s clear as to which one is the better choice. Using DAM software is the way to go for any business that wants to be able to keep a handle on its digital assets. After all, there will only be more digital files in the future, not fewer. The smart company starts to manage its asset load now, not later, so that tomorrow’s files can be neatly organized into the DAM.

DAM Benefits

It’s clear that digital asset management is a must for surviving in a digital world. Those benefits are even more profound when the marketing aspects of digital assets are considered. Digital asset management can help businesses to thrive from a digital marketing perspective. Here are just a few of the benefits that can be realized through using DAM solutions.

  • Centralized location. The storage and maintenance of digital assets in one place is vital for managing digital assets across the business.

  • Tagging digital assets. DAM software lets team members tag files, making it easier for them — and everyone else — to find the assets they need.

  • Searchable. Digital asset names and tags can be searched by anyone in the organization who might need to access those files. This makes it infinitely easier for people to find what they need in a timely fashion. No more searching through emails or hoping to find files in personal folders.

  • Automatically updated digital experiences. DAMs aren’t just file storage solutions — they are dynamic systems that link items in one location to other uses for that item. For example, an item in a DAM may be used on the company website, or in a product catalog. If that digital asset is ever updated for any reason — if a new product description replaces the old one, or the previous photo was removed in favor of a higher resolution version — the new item will replace the old one in every instance of that item across the entire organization. This makes updating product catalogs, websites, and landing pages a breeze.

  • Brand portals. Most DAMs allow marketers to create brand portals that enable them to share a curated selection of digital assets with other users. As a result, team members, agencies, and channel partners can all use the brand portal to get what they need, quickly and easily.

In most organizations, the DAM software is utilized by the company as a whole but is owned by the marketing department. Within the marketing department, there is a digital asset manager. What does a digital asset manager do? They are the person ultimately responsible for not only organizing and categorizing content but also for monitoring the content held within the DAM and ensuring that only brand-approved materials are stored in the digital asset management system. These are just a few of the things in the digital asset manager job description.

Additionally, it’s also the job of the digital asset manager, and the marketing team as a whole, to monitor who has access to the DAM and restrict permissions to only those groups that need to utilize the assets within the DAM. In some cases, this goes beyond the organization itself, with agencies or channel partners requiring access to the DAM software.

What Is a DAM vs PIM?

We now know that digital asset management software centralizes digital files and makes them easier to maintain and access. But there’s another type of software that’s easily confused with DAM software — product information management software, also known as PIM software.

The reason why these are so closely aligned is that they carry out similar functions, albeit in different ways. Product information management software is focused on storing product information in a centralized location, much like digital asset management software. But unlike DAM software, PIM solutions don’t work entirely with digital materials. While there are some digital elements within a PIM, such as how-to videos and product images, there are also offline materials like product manuals, one-page fact sheets, and in-store marketing assets. These physical materials must be accounted for within the PIM software for the company to truly manage its materials via the PIM.

Though there are some differences between PIM and DAM software, they frequently go hand in hand with each other. Most PIM software includes digital asset management software as part of the purchase. By combining these two concepts, companies can fully manage their digital assets and their product information through investment in one program. Because so many digital assets directly relate to product management, this is a no-brainer purchase from which any company would benefit.

DAM Competitive Landscape

The market features no shortage of digital asset management solutions, each of which claims to be the top option in the field. But which one is the best digital asset management software solution for your business?

Adobe is one of the biggest names in all of technology, with its Acrobat PDF program being on virtually every PC in existence. But does that make it the best digital asset management tool? Not necessarily. Adobe’s high price point is enough to scare off all but the most lucrative businesses. Furthermore, companies that want to use Adobe as their digital asset management tool will also have to link their Adobe DAM with a third-party solution, which means having to bring in yet another software tool just to make the Adobe DAM interact with a digital experience. This need for a third-party add-on is a requirement not just for Adobe, but for digital asset management platforms Canto, Bynder, and Brandfolder as well. Lastly, Adobe’s DAM software comes accompanied by more than just a hefty price tag -- it also has a lengthy implementation period.

The good news is that there is one software solution that can cater to your digital asset management needs without additional software or a long implementation. Lumavate is a top-of-the-line DAM solution that includes everything you need, right out of the box. Lumavate’s platform includes digital asset management DAM, product information management (PIM), and a digital experience platform (DXP). This means all three products are seamlessly integrated and will work together to ensure all of your assets are centralized, shareable, and ready to be used in your digital marketing endeavors.

Best of all, Lumavate’s DAM is user-friendly. It’s easy to set up, and users can start linking their digital assets to their product information in just a few clicks. Users can also incorporate these digital assets into digital experiences quickly and easily, without any coding knowledge required.

How Do I Choose a Digital Asset Management System?

Every company has its own unique set of needs that will ultimately drive its DAM decision. That said, there are a few questions that each business should ask itself as it considers which DAM it should purchase. Keep these questions in mind as you think about the best digital asset management system for your organization.

  • What are the primary problems you are trying to solve with the DAM? The answer to this question will be different for every company, of course. However, some common problems are disorganization, people not knowing which versions of files are current, and the lack of ability to share files and have them accessible by multiple people and from multiple locations. DAM software can help with all of these issues and many others. But be sure to pick a solution that makes sense for your business.

  • How many digital assets do you have and what types? Most every business in today’s world has digital assets. But how are you using those digital assets? If you need to deploy those files on a website or in a product catalog, consider a DAM that also links with a digital experience platform (DXP) so that any changes you make in the DAM will also be reflected in the DXP. Additionally, if your digital assets are tied to product information, you’ll want to consider using a DAM that is easily integrated with a PIM software solution.

  • How will you structure the taxonomy of your digital assets? DAM programs don’t just create one big folder for digital assets. Instead, they should be organized with care, based on how they will be used by the company for the months and years to come. Choose a DAM that lets you structure your assets your way, with particular emphasis on how future files will fit into the taxonomy you create.

  • What other systems do you need to integrate with? As we’ve seen, a standalone DAM only gets a business so far. The real magic of digital asset management lies in its ability to integrate with other programs, such as a DXP or a PIM. It’s in using those additional programs that a DAM can really shine, helping businesses to achieve the maximum benefit from a centralized data storage solution. Remember the digital asset management system examples that needed additional software to connect with a DXP. You don’t want to pay top dollar for a DAM, only to find that you need to get additional programs just to make it work the way you want it to.

  • Where and how will the digital assets be used? Where are you using the files that you store in the DAM? Who will be accessing them, and should they have the ability to edit those files? Be sure to select a DAM that allows you to give out administrative rights to only those who should have access to your files. This will restrict people who shouldn’t have read-write access, and it will enable full users to view, edit, and deploy digital assets from anywhere. If your digital assets will be used on a website, product catalog, landing page, or any other customer-facing document, purchasing a DAM that integrates with a DXP is strongly recommended.

Cost of a DAM System

The cost of digital asset management can vary widely based on the DAM software provider and the size of the purchasing company. This is an area that’s difficult for businesses because companies don’t always publish their prices on their websites, and even if they do, there are often hidden fees that accompany the advertised costs. This makes it very hard for companies to plan and visualize how a DAM might save them money.

The overall pricing range for a DAM can range from $1,000 to $250,000 annually, with many of the top digital asset management systems sitting towards the top end of that spectrum. While the availability of features is one reason for the wide disparity in costs, another cause for pricing variability lies like the software. An on-premises software solution is cheaper, but it isn’t backed up anywhere and comes with considerably less product support. On the other hand, a cloud-based program generally costs more, but its files can be accessed from anywhere, and it’s frequently backed up. Cloud-based software programs can also be set up more quickly, and the support options are more comprehensive than on-premises solutions.

With the prices getting very high very quickly, it’s important to make the right choice. You want a quality DAM that will do everything you need it to do, at a price point you can afford. With this in mind, Lumavate is the clear favorite. Lumavate is more than just one of the best DAM systems on the market. It's a full product experience management solution that includes a built-in digital asset solution, product information management functionality, a digital experience platform, text messaging, and a form builder, all in one program. In addition to all of that Lumavate offers, it’s also highly affordable, with its products being 75 percent more cost-effective than competing solutions. Lastly, Lumavate publishes its pricing on its website for all to see.

What is a digital asset management platform? It’s a program that helps you to not only manage your digital files, but use them with easy setup, integration, and user-friendliness. With enhanced functionality and pricing transparency, Lumavate is the choice for any business that wants to put its digital asset management to practical use. It’s one of the best digital asset management tools on the market, with a price that can’t be beaten.

See Lumavate in Action

Meet with one of our experts to see how easy it is to centralize your product data, manage digital assets, and create digital product experiences. Trust us…you’re going to be wowed.