Digital Asset Management, the new engine of customer experience

“Enterprise DAM is a driving force in the customer experience, enhancing visual marketing content to, finally, boost product sales” – Julien Fauvel, CMO, Wedia

For many brands, the COVID pandemic has highlighted the value of the digital experience, and the important role of visual content in strengthening and even transforming this experience. What better time to re-evaluate the future of Digital Asset Management (DAM)? Explanations with Julien Fauvel, CMO of Wedia.

What impact do you think the pandemic has had on your business? Has it changed your vision of Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

The past months haven’t changed our vision; they’ve only reinforced it. For one simple reason: for a lot of consumers, including those who prefer to shop in-store rather than on a website, their online experience of a brand has become a key factor in their relationship with it. We have the figures to prove it: for one of our clients, the number of photos posted on their e-commerce sites more than doubled during lockdown, going from 8 to 20 billion images a month.

Across all industries, there can be no doubt that we have moved on from selling a product, to selling an experience. Visual content is at the heart of this experience. At Wedia, we see it like this: the visual content sells the emotion, and the emotion the product. Before selling us DIY products, Leroy Merlin gets us thinking about how we can improve our interior, for our own well-being as well that of the planet. Before selling us bike accessories, Decathlon offers us a new approach to urban mobility.

And this new customer experience is linked to DAM?

Absolutely. Certainly, the way Wedia defines DAM. A lot changed in 2020; after saying goodbye to “standard” DAM, with its strict focus on content management, we’ve seen the advent of enterprise DAM. Fully integrated into the information system, enterprise DAM is designed to respond to the challenges of the customer experience as consumers expect it today.

What are these challenges?

There are many, but for now I’ll talk about three: consistency, personalization and performance. 

Consistency is a brand’s ability to guarantee that each product is represented in the same way across all its channels, both on and offline. For retailers, this can mean millions of product references – I think everyone can appreciate the scale of the challenge involved. 

Personalization doesn’t mean delivering different content to each individual visitor, but to each audience segment, usually based on geographic location, language, culture or local rules. Performance refers to the distribution of content. A large part of the experience takes place here, in a system which, from a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to a video player, ensures optimal broadcasting with features on a par with YouTube.

Finally, performance measurement means establishing a way to identify performance sequences: for a given product, what combinations of audience segment, channel, format and content are the ones that perform?

It’s a “broader” vision of DAM to serve the customer experience …

Not for us. These functions linked to personalization or even performance come under a “Digital eXperience Management” (DXM) module that’s a key part of our DAM. And for good reason: our aim is not only to boost the content, but also to enhance the experience based on this content. Enterprise DAM is the driving force of the customer experience. 

Behind all these challenges, there’s the issue of volume, of scaling…

Yes, and it’s not just a question of DAM’s ability to store, or to document, but also to distribute millions of assets. It goes much further. DAM, as we understand it at Wedia, should facilitate the adaptation, variation and reuse of content. Adapting media means producing real-time variations so they can be broadcast in the appropriate formats depending on the broadcasting channel, available bandwidth or device used. And with the use of artificial intelligence (AI), we can now go even further: smart cropping (focusing on the subject of interest), background changes and subtitles mean we can automate the variation of images and videos. As for reuse, thanks to atomic content, there are plenty of possibilities here too.

Atomic content?

The concept refers to the dynamic, often real-time combination of small “atoms” of modular content and media based on context, customer data, and sales approach. With automated smart tags and API access in real time, atomic strategies can now be deployed at scale.

You mentioned the need for enterprise DAM to be able to be fully integrated into the information system? What makes this so important?

For Wedia, the role of DAM is to harness the full potential of media to offer the best possible experience across all existing channels. And our feeling is that this role cannot be achieved without an ongoing dialogue with the pillars of the information system. To manage the visual content produced, and become part of a comprehensive Product Asset Management approach, DAM and PIM (Product Information Management) need to speak to each other. Likewise, to provide a personalized and impactful omnichannel experience to its audiences, DAM needs to interact with the solutions in place – e-commerce, CRM and marketing automation – and distribute the visuals. Its integrability into an IS is one of the characteristics that distinguishes “enterprise DAM” from a simple “departmental DAM”. In fact, we also see enterprise DAM as product-driven DAM. At a glance, a marketer should be able to assess whether they have all the content required to sell a product online through a marketplace or a retailer’s site.

What does Wedia have in store for us in the coming months?

In 2020, we released six new versions of the Wedia solution that included nearly 1,165 improvements, from helping marketing and communication teams become more efficient with our Wedia Content Picker module, to improving our automatic media indexing services, and even providing advanced functions for video use. Behind each function, our goal is always the same: to facilitate the daily life of our users and to push the use of content further, to ensure a personalized and impactful experience. And it’s a focus that we intend to keep over the coming months, without slowing down the pace.

How to put your content at the heart of the customer experience?