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What is DAM?

Digital asset management (DAM) is the practice of administering, organizing, and distributing media files. DAM software enables brands to develop a library of photos, videos, graphics, PDFs, templates, and other digital content that is searchable and ready to deploy.1

Did you know? According to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report, 26% of marketing budgets will be allocated to software over the next 12 months. Matching this pace, content creation is also anticipated to grow 26% over the same time.2 The need to manage this content will only continue to grow as well. 

What are digital assets?

A digital asset is content that is stored in a digital file format. Organizations use digital assets to support their branding efforts, as well as their online and offline sales and marketing initiatives. Digital assets help brands define and support their identity, communicate their offering, and shape customer experiences.3

Digital assets include:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Graphics
  • Fonts
  • Audio clips
  • Presentations
  • Documents
  • Logos

Recreating digital assets that are lost or misplaced costs companies money, time, and energy.

A good DAM platform can store all the asset formats listed above (and more!) in a secure and organized environment, that is built to control content across all six phases of its lifecycle:4

  • Plan
  • Create
  • Manage
  • Distribute
  • Optimize
  • Preserve

Did you know? 41% of businesses are currently going through a digital transformation, 39% already have, and 9% are preparing to in the next year?5 Organizations are optimizing their content operations to better serve their customers and teams.

Automatic file conversion

With a DAM system, users can automatically convert images, audio, video, and documents to other file formats on the fly — eliminating the need to recreate and store multiple versions of the same file.

“We have 27,000 downloads only through [the first] few months. That’s amazing. That’s telling us our distribution partners wanted those images or logo files to make other creative assets they needed.”

- Nick Polcyn, Creative Services Coordinator at Alliance Laundry Systems6


Why a business needs DAM?

When asked about their DAM goals, businesses are looking for organization, consolidation, streamlining, and consistency. Here are the top priorities among Widen customers:

  • 92% Organize content in one system for internal teams and external partners to find exactly what they need.
  • 60% Consolidate redundant content storage, file sharing, and collaboration tools into one system.
  • 59% Streamline proofing and approval workflows.
  • 58% Ensure brand consistency through alignment of content guidelines and standards.7

Further, 68% of marketers identified silos — both across the teams and technologies — as the top barrier to delivering a more integrated content strategy. After all, when data lives across numerous systems, processes and ownership become unclear. Connecting DAM software with other marketing technology (martech) solutions streamlines workflows by syncing content across platforms and channels, seamlessly.8  

Why DAM should be a priority for marketing, creative, and IT departments

The operational efficiencies made possible to DAM translate directly to cost savings. Here’s how the calculation works.9

Average hourly salary of staff finding and sharing assets: $25/hour

Estimated staff hours per week to find and share assets: 10 hours

Annual savings: $13,000/year

Number of asset downloads per year: 60,000

Minutes to fulfill each download prior to DAM: 4

Total hours spent on request fulfillment: 4,000

Average hourly salary of staff finding and sharing assets: 25

Salary savings with DAM: $100,000/year

54% of businesses that are considering  Widen for a DAM solution say their make-shift file management efforts are inefficient or failing, while 19% cite their current DAM system as inefficient or failing.10

ROI example:

How much time and money are teams losing by focusing their efforts on unproductive photography ?

Widen customer JL Audio is a manufacturer of consumer audio products. They specialize in marine, home, and mobile audio systems, and are best known for their subwoofers.

JL Audio spends a lot of time and money planning, shooting, and retouching their catalog and beauty product shots. But before they implemented the Collective, they didn’t have a way to measure the performance of different types of photos. Using Widen’s Insights app, JL Audio is now able to track how many times each file type is downloaded. The charts below demonstrate that beauty shots — which require a lot of resources to produce — weren’t used nearly as often as catalog shots.

This data provided focus for future photoshoots and saved them time and money.11


Successful companies are investing in DAM

According to Forrester Analytics survey data, “more than half of the global software decision makers whose firms prioritize digital experience have implemented, are implementing, or are in the process of expanding their DAM solutions.”12 While all companies have unique business needs, the top benefits of DAM tools are universal.

  • Centralize media files in a single, searchable platform
  • Automate time-consuming processes like metadata tagging and content distribution
  • Collaborate on content creation, reviews, and approvals
  • Share assets through self-service portals
  • Analyze content performance and usage
  • Repurpose assets to maximize return on investment (ROI)
  • Protect brands from inconsistencies and image rights violations
  • Integrate martech tools into one, content-centric stack

Creating outstanding customer experiences requires alignment across processes, tools, and strategies. To meet these demands, digital marketing professionals cite the following initiatives as their top  marketing and content priorities over the next 12 months.

  • 63% Improve ROI
  • 58% Improve our use of consumer data/analytics
  • 56% Improve omnichannel marketing capabilities
  • 55% Improve quality of digital experiences
  • 53% Improve personalization capabilities13

Bottom line?

Digital asset management is the key to managing your content lifecycle.

“Digital asset management is not only mission-critical, it's business critical. DAM technology empowers creative teams to focus on creative work, marketing teams to execute campaigns faster, sales channels to better connect with revenue opportunities and IT to harness the value of all its data. Effectively managing your digital assets supports effectively managing your brand.

Jake Athey, VP of Marketing and Customer Experience, Widen


Request a demo of our DAM solution, the Widen Collective, today.


  1. Serai Schueller, “Digital Asset Management,” Widen, August 25, 2021,
  2. HubSpot, Litmus, and Wistia, Not Another State of Marketing Report, 2021,
  3. Schueller, “Digital Asset Management.”
  4. Courtney Roe, “The Digital Content Lifecycle in 6 Stages,” Widen, November 10, 2020,
  5. Widen, 2018 Widen Connectivity Report, May 2018,
  6.  “Alliance Laundry Systems Distributes On-Brand Content Across Time Zones and Teams,” Widen, last modified March 15, 2021,
  7. Widen, Widen Project Survey, 2021.
  8. Forrester Consulting commissioned by Widen, Enrich Customer Experiences With Product Content, April 2021,
  9. Widen, Getting at DAM ROI,  last modified August 12, 2020,
  10. Widen, Widen Project Survey
  11. Widen, Getting at DAM ROI.
  12. Nick Barber,  “Ask These Questions Before Investing In DAM,” Forrester, February 28, 2019,
  13. Forrester Consulting, Enrich Customer Experiences.