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The Impact of Digital Asset Management

February 2004 By Ken Kornbluth
Improve direct marketing processes with a content management system

It’s not every day that technology disrupts how direct marketing is done. The 1980s, for instance, was the decade of word processing and desktop publishing. The early 1990s ushered in breakthrough tools for merge/purge, sorting, printing, addressing and delivering direct mail. More recently the Internet spawned a whole new medium—e-mail marketing.

The next new thing is digital asset management. Digital asset management, or DAM, refers to software that enables you to store and retrieve—quickly—all types of files, including design, copy, word documents, spreadsheets and more. The difference between DAM systems and simply storing files on a server is that DAM offers users a more secure environment for content and the ability to share documents, perform full-text searches and maintain control over the different versions of assets that can be used in direct marketing campaigns.

Improve Productivity

You may be surprised by what you find out when you ask the members of your direct marketing staff how many files they manage. According to industry averages, each marketer typically manages more than 5,000 files spread across a number of storage mediums.

Then ask your staff members how often they search for files. Marketing professionals report that they spend a great deal of time searching for, filing, retrieving, organizing, backing up and sharing digital assets. On average, the typical marketing professional performs more than 10 searches a day. And more than a third of searches are failures, resulting in wasted time and, potentially, the beginning of a “redo.” Creative professionals spend 10 percent of their time performing file management activities, of which one third is spent on searches alone, according to Gistics, a leading consulting firm specializing in digital asset management.

Obviously, companies have an opportunity to make measurable improvements to productivity.

Improve the Creative Process

More promotional opportunities with prospects and customers means greater demand for letters, inserts, e-mails, logos, brochures, images, photos, fliers, catalogs, etc. Every piece takes time to create. Or, if you use an agency for design, you have to pay for them. Copy needs to be written, edited, formatted and proofed, too.

The creative process starts with either a completely original concept or a revision of existing work. In both cases, the first draft of the piece needs to be routed and reviewed. It may take weeks to get everyone to look at the piece, make suggestions and give his or her approval. The finalized piece is sent to the intended audience, and the results are tallied. Then the process starts again with an analysis of the results and the decision to test a new idea or revise the current effort to improve response.
 

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