3 different types of DAM: Which one is for you?

22 Aug


Written by

Bella Foxwell




3 different types of DAM: Which one is for you?
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As consumer demand for dynamic content increases, many organizations are faced with the same challenge: What technology should they invest in to scale their marketing efforts? Which tools will increase productivity and not further complicate a crowded tech stack?

One solution that companies, big and small, consider is a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. So much more than a storage system, DAM facilitates collaboration, creativity, and the distribution of digital assets across multiple channels at scale.

But not all DAMs are created equal. In fact, the term ‘Digital Asset Management’ is used to describe all kinds of systems, many of which are limited in their capabilities. This lack of clarity around different DAMs on the market and their respective functionalities is what we aim to dispel in this article.

Below we break down 3 DAM use cases from the simplest (for centralizing assets) to the most advanced (for driving digital transformation) to help you understand which one is best suited to your business requirements.  

1. Basic DAM functionality: Better centralize assets

For small and medium-sized companies with one department that wants to better centralize and manage assets, the basic features of a DAM solution are ideal. 

These features include:

  • Bulk ingestion of content assets
  • Ability to tag and organize finished assets
  • Simple asset transformations e.g. in-line cropping
  • Search and download capabilities
  • User access filtering based on tags

A DAM system with basic functionality is an excellent option for universities, nonprofits or other organizations that want to organize their assets while keeping costs low.

This category of DAM is reminiscent of the first iteration of DAM—DAM 1.0—that was used as a standalone media library to find and store assets (the difference is that all DAMs are now cloud-based unlike DAM 1.0). This system helps teams find and share content more easily and quickly than before, but there is minimal integration with other systems and users are required to manually download and transfer files into other software.

Although the core purpose of a DAM system still delivers huge value to organizations big and small, that only scratches the surface of its potential. 

2. Moderate DAM functionality: Increase marketing efficiency

For medium- and enterprise-sized businesses that have multiple departments that would benefit from using a DAM system, these are some of the more advanced features they can utilize:  

  • Seamless integration with marketing and creative tools e.g. CMS and Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Flagging of duplicate or unlicensed content
  • Multi-department review and approval workflows
  • Cloud-native application
  • Brand portals for external users e.g. retailers and agencies
  • Automated content update notifications with version control

These capabilities demonstrate the power of DAM as more than a repository of digital assets. It leverages the advancements made by DAM 2.0, the next phase of its evolution, which removed silos and enabled integrations with CMS, social media channels, and other marketing automation tools. 

This category of DAM use cases enables businesses to streamline marketing activities and boost productivity, providing a single source of collaboration and distribution. 

Tip: When choosing the right DAM for your organization, look for one that’s been recognized by leading firms like Gartner or has the 10 Core Characteristics accreditation. 

3. Advanced DAM functionality: Drive digital transformation

A DAM system really comes into its own when businesses use it to drive digital transformation. It is particularly beneficial for multi-product, multi-brand or multi-region organizations. However, with only 34% of marketers using a DAM system and the rest relying on servers and local storage, the majority are still not realizing the full value of DAM.

This value includes the following capabilities:

  • Global and multilingual deployment
  • Integrations with broader business technology ecosystem
  • Tagging of assets as components 
  • Automated and real-time multichannel content distribution
  • AI-driven identification, tagging and editing
  • Integrations with enterprise security and access management engine
  • Detailed distribution data and analytics 
  • Tailor-made and adapted workflows for multi-team, multi-brand and multi-location companies

One of the most exciting and advanced DAM features is Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

In the past, organizations had to catalog content by manually applying metadata to images and videos. It was a time-consuming process that required trained staff. 

Today, a truly intelligent DAM platform like Wedia offers auto-tagging functionality, facial and speech recognition tools, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and machine learning services to automate the descriptive tagging of content. 

Not only does this save time, it also enables the effective organization of all content, resulting in efficient cataloging, use, publication and analysis of content.

In modern DAM systems, analytics provide aggregated omni-channel feedback and recommendations to content producers. Using this data, micro-content is then dynamically assembled in real-time to produce more impactful content that resonates with customer preferences based on geography, language or device.  

This is how brands continually maximize Return on Investment (ROI) and increase productivity, while customers receive the personalized content experiences they need to make informed purchasing decisions.

This is what is known as DAM 3.0, the latest evolution of digital asset management and, when used to its full potential, the driver of digital transformation and business growth.

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