It’s a new year, but I’m still reflecting on the Mirren CEO Summit I attended in Chicago in November. The Summit clearly pronounced unique challenges creative agencies face today, as they compete against internal creative services teams and business giants like Accenture or IBM who sell their own digital services. Accenture was actually named the #1 digital agency of 2016.
Adding value to a client’s business has always been part of the agency equation, but it’s also been wrapped up in “the big idea” and creating award-winning work. That’s changing now that clients have become more tech savvy about their own marketing and advertising, and the title “agency of record” is becoming increasingly rare for agencies. With 60,000 agencies in the US alone, agencies have to prove they can move their client’s business forward. At the same time, they need to move their own business forward to stay competitive.
A key part of this forward movement is understanding who the agency wants to be, and assembling a technology stack to support that vision. Being a former agency creative myself, I’ve never been more certain that a digital asset management (DAM) system is crucial to a successful creative workflow. DAM needs to be a core technology that agencies invest in and embrace in order to grow their business and the business of their clients.
- No one wants to buy your costs
Ted Williams from Ignition Consulting Group said, “Who wants to buy your costs? No one. People want to buy your thinking and ideas. You should charge for that.” And he’s right. One big agency cost is the time spent searching for, sharing, and managing visual content (digital assets). Your team’s time spent on these mundane and un-billable tasks means less time spent on creative thinking and ideas.
- With a DAM system as a central content hub, it’s infinitely easier for agencies to manage, search, share, review and analyze their assets as well as their client’s assets
- DAM software can minimize employee’s non-billable hours by automating manual tasks that waste time
- The creative process is king
Digital asset management streamlines a lot of the time spent working with visual content during the creative process. Metadata makes files searchable, Collections help curate photo shoots for review and culling, Workflow routes projects for approval online, and Portals help showcase your brand on a stylized web page.
- DAM can streamline and simplify business development and pitch efforts through the use of metadata, collections, and portals
- Brands need consistency and control
Brands are stronger when they’re delivered into the world with consistency. A DAM system helps control access to brand assets through user governance, rights management, and expiration notifications.
- DAM systems protect their client’s big investment (the assets agencies work so hard to create) and control their client’s brand
- DAM can elevate a client’s perception about the agency’s level of innovation
- Agencies need to save and earn money
Cutting back isn’t always necessary. DAM systems serve as an extra set of hands in the marketing fulfillment process from beginning to end. This save agencies time, and ultimately, money. On the flip side, DAM is an innovation that can also drive revenue for agencies.
- DAM can serve as a revenue generator (when agencies upsell or white label the service)
- As project-based work accelerates for agencies, DAM can help the project fulfillment process become more profitable
The Mirren Summit shed light on several trends that will have a critical impact on the future of agencies. In this deck, you’ll see more details about my big takeaways from the Summit. Enjoy!
When you’re ready to talk about digital asset management for your own agency, contact Widen anytime!
Read more about agencies and DAM on our agency page at widen.com.