How To Manage Your Assets – DAM or MAM?
Your marketing department has two kinds of assets: “digital assets” and “marketing assets.”
The term “Digital assets” refers to individual files, including graphics, documents, audio, video and other file types, that can be used in any number of ways.
“Marketing assets” refers to fully designed pieces of collateral, each of which is composed of digital assets.
As a marketer, you’ve got to manage both digital and marketing assets. The more assets you have and the more people in your organization who need access to those assets, the more difficult it is for you to keep control of everything. Two technologies help you regain control of your assets: Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Marketing Asset Management (MAM). But while their names are similar, they actually do very different things. Depending on your organization, your marketing effort could benefit from using either DAM, MAM or both.
DAM and MAM Defined
You’ve probably heard of DAM before. In the past two decades it has become a mainstream technology used by many companies. You may also have heard of MAM (which is a technology that ZUZA offers), though MAM is a bit newer and not yet as widespread as DAM. The key difference between the two:
- DAM helps you manage a large number of individual digital files across an organization.
- MAM helps you manage a large number of fully designed collateral pieces across an organization, with the ability to customize those pieces for local needs using variable templates.
Here are more detailed definitions of DAM and MAM from the perspective of the marketing function:
A DAM platform is a central online repository for your organization’s individual digital marketing files, including static documents, photos, illustrations, audio and videos. The DAM platform:
- Stores all of your digital files (assets) – graphics, documents, design files, audio, video and more
- Lets you easily categorize and organize all of your digital files with metadata, a.k.a. keywords
- Makes those files available to the staff of your distributed organization
- Lets you control file access permissions for different staff
- Helps you manage which versions of assets are available for retrieval
- Lets authorized staff use simple keyword searches to instantly find and retrieve specific files for creating marketing collateral.
DAM is the solution for organizations that need to manage a large volume of individual digital assets, with many people accessing and using those assets. DAM eliminates the problem of having digital assets scattered among numerous hard drives in various locations, making those assets difficult to locate and even harder to control.
While DAM lets you manage who can access different assets, it cannot help you control how those assets are ultimately used. Staff are free to use them any way they like. Typically, staff will incorporate digital assets into their own collateral designs. These designs may or may not adhere to your corporate brand standards. To solve this, you can consider using a technology like MAM.
A MAM platform is a central online repository for your organization’s pre-designed marketing collateral, stored as templates, including:
- Direct mail pieces
- Signage and point-of-purchase displays
- Business cards
- Emails for campaigns
- Web pages (landing pages tied to email campaigns)
A MAM platform automates the production of collateral across your organization with pre-designed templates stored online. The templates lock corporate branding elements in place to preserve your organization’s brand. Authorized users can log into the platform and customize collateral for their local needs, but only as allowed by the templates. Users can then order and quickly receive their customized collateral as PDFs or printed pieces.
MAM is the solution for organizations that need to manage marketing collateral for a large number of distribution points with custom collateral needs. MAM lets you control the design of marketing collateral, who has access to it, and how it can be modified for local needs.
So…DAM or MAM?
The answer is, you might want to consider both. If you’ve got a lot of individual digital files to manage and a lot of users of those files, then you might be a candidate for a DAM platform. If you have a distributed sales and marketing organization, a lot of collateral and a need to customize that collateral on a regular basis, then you might be a candidate for a MAM platform. And if both situations apply to you, then you might need both a DAM and a MAM platform.
To learn more about DAM and MAM, we recommend reading the following:
- ZUZA’s in-depth solution guide, “What you need to know about DAM and MAM“
- “DAM Survival Guide” by David Diamond, Director of Global Marketing for Picturepark
Both resources are fast reads and will help you gain a good understanding of how DAM and MAM can help your marketing organization.
Here’s to the Marketing Champion in all of us. See you in the next post.