Why we don’t need digital asset management to run our marketing operations.

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Darts Off TargetI work in a small marketing team of about five. We have a designer, a product manager, a brand manager, a marketing assistant and an online marketer. We work closely with the sales and customer success management teams. We often collaborate with the account executives and project services teams on projects. Basically, anyone with a customer-facing role depends on Marketing and Marketing depends on them.

Like many organizations, our marketing communications programs include online marketing, public relations, brand management, event marketing, etc. We produce a number of digital assets that are put to use promote our brand, sell products and services and assist with customer relationship management objectives. These digital assets are owned and created by a number of different people across multiple departments inside the organization and externally. Each department has their own shared folder on the network and many employees also have their own folder as well. It’s easier for each department to work separately and for each employee to keep their work on their desktop. When we have a new project, we just start fresh in creating new materials. It’s just easier to re-create something than go digging through some archive somewhere or turn to someone else.

If for some reason, someone needs something that someone else has worked on, we’ll just email it or post it to the FTP. Sometimes, the materials get too large for email so we’ll just use web-based delivery programs like YouSendIt or something like that. There are all sorts of tools or methods we can turn to… no need to settle on one. If someone needs a logo or letterhead, they can always email our designer and she can stop what she’s working on and send them whatever it is they need. Sometimes it might take a few emails to get it right, but that’s ok she’s paid by the hour.

It’s common for teams to email a project file back and forth a dozen times and still see mistakes in the end. “She said this” and “he said that” and the project file morphs into something totally different than expectations called for. They should have given better directions and should have done a better job keeping track of changes. Version 1… version 2… version 7… Who cares what was done to which version and where they’re at? That’s just part of internal communication breakdowns that all businesses have. Why should Marketing care?

It doesn’t really matter to Marketing that different departments have their own libraries of materials and guidelines that they follow—we don’t have that strong of a brand presence anyway. Inconsistency is just part of business and “brand consistency” is a made up marketing term anyway… it has no financial impact. If companies would just spend more time selling and less time on branding then they’d be more successful, right?

Although it’s a pain in the neck, working with agencies or other partners is another part of marketing. If we work with an agency on a brochure, video or website we’ll just assume they’re keeping all of the original files, master assets and anything else they produced. If we need it later, we’ll just email the agency and wait for them to send a CD with the final files. Hopefully, they’ve kept all the files even though it’s been a couple years since the project. Why should we be care what happened to the files or if we have them later? ...Chances are we’ll never use them again.

If only Sales could do their job. It’s not Marketing’s problem to look after the crap sales teams put together. If our sales teams put together poor-quality presentations and lose a deal, then that’s their fault… they should have done a better job. They deal directly with our customers, they should get it right. If they’re putting together presentations on the road or working after five, then it’s not Marketing’s problem if there’s no one at the office to track down and send them the files they need. They should be better prepared.

Why should Marketing care what materials are accessed by whomever, used wherever and what impacts they had. All we want to do is create content and move on. If that old logo was used for the new proposal, that’s not Marketing’s fault. If that image for the new campaign was used before it was to be available for general use, that’s not Marketing’s problem. Why should we care what materials were used the most or had the greatest impact? We know what’s best because we’ve always done it that way. That’s Marketing for you… the department that doesn’t require accountability or intelligence.

We don’t need a digital asset management system. Or do we?

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