Marketing Asset Management 101: What, Why, and How

Marketing. What is it good for? Absolutely...everything, as it turns out.


You can have the best product in the world, but what gives if nobody is going to hear about it? There is a reason why Woz and Jobs were such a dynamic duo. Steve Wozniak is a genius programmer. It was Job’s marketing genius, however, that spun their Apple II into an empire of Apple Inc. Quite a feat of a silver tongue, huh?

But it’s not that simple. Knowing how to do banger presentations only gets you so far. Works if you’re running a local mom-and-pop store, but you need something else if you want to get that global reach. You need more assets, if you will.

Why Are Great Digital Assets Important?

If we’ve already mentioned Apple, let’s talk about it a little bit more. What follows every Apple product launch? Eye candy of a presentation on their website, like the recent iPhone 13.

These aren’t some boring plaintext descriptions of what the new iPhone can do. Every feature is backed by vibrant, mesmerizing imagery that is so good that it compels you to scroll through the entire page just to see it all. Without you even realizing that you’re reading an ad! That’s the power of the premium marketing assets: they sell a product to a user without the sleazy feeling of being handled by a used car salesman.

Digital Asset Management: It’s Not That Simple

So you got all these photos, videos, animations, and you’re ready to give your marketing materials that extra oomph. But we all know that it takes time, skill, and iterations to make that perfect project. Apple’s marketing looks effortless, but they work hard to reach that stage.

Think about all the iterations that one of the screens above had gone through: how many mock-ups, copy variations, and photos were swapped around on the path to the final vision. Dozens, if not hundreds of preliminary drafts, work-in-progress demos, and release candidates. How the hell do you keep track of all of that?

Conventional Chaos, Sysiphus Style

The go-to approach emerges by itself from a primordial soup of start-ups. Your designer starts the first draft of a new marketing project on their laptop. Maybe they’ll back up some of their digital assets in cloud storage. Maybe they have some arcane naming scheme that they can understand, but others don’t. That seems fine, but maybe they’ll quit, accidentally taking some of the digital assets with themselves because they weren’t backed up. Maybe their laptop catches on fire, and you have to start all over. And then maybe you get a new guy and you go through the whole loop again.

Sooner or later, this approach gets tiresome, and companies start thinking of something else.

Cloud Storage Evolution

Remember that bit from Pacific Rim where each time monsters got beaten, they would return with a vengeance and with their specific weakness patched up? Yeah, kinda like that. So you get tired of the old ways and impose a new mandate: we will host all digital assets on our Google Drive storage, no exceptions!

Take that, poor asset management

So it’s already better. At least your digital assets are fireproof now. But take a look at this:

You have all these digital assets. They’re safe in the cloud. But how do you search for them?

The first week, you remember the name and the general idea of what it was supposed to be. “Oh yeah, 21_5_tw.png because it is the 5th iteration for the 21st Twitter ad project” … and then you go on a vacation, get distracted by some other project, and then boom. What was it again? Time to get to scrolling until you find a thumbnail or file name that jitters your memory. Ain’t that fun.

Sure, there are folders and even nested folders in Google Drive, but neither is too much of a help when we are talking about hundreds and thousands of digital assets. That’s a lot of clicking. Oh, and did we forget about revisions? Did we approve the latest-latestest revision to that one image or have we decided to go back to the previous one? “RE_upd2_Final.png” and “RERE_upd2_FinalReallyFinal.png” stare back and silence is their answer.

Almost there. Not quite good enough.

MAM (Marketing Asset Management)

We get that managing your marketing digital assets can get so gruesome at times that you can’t help but cry for your mom, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Sorry, kitty, it won’t help this time

MAM is an acronym for Marketing Asset Management. AKA the solution to all your asset-juggling pains. MAM software is a subcategory of Digital Asset Management (DAM). While they are similar, there are certain distinctions. Originally, DAMs were concerned primarily with storage, indexation, and quick retrieval of digital assets, whereas MAMs emphasize collaboration, version control, and establishing a single source of truth of the brand’s identity.

The conflation of the terms exists because modern DAM solutions (such as Pics.io) roll all that functionality into an AIO (all-in-one) solution that does everything. But, since we’re talking about marketing today, we are focusing on the MAM parts of the software.

MAM is a cloud-based software solution that solves virtually every problem that you can encounter when dealing with hundreds upon hundreds of media assets:

  • Protects digital assets from being permanently lost.
  • Version control.
  • Enables smooth collaboration between departments and third parties.
  • Brand protection.
  • Powerful analytics tools.

Lots of fancy words. But it’s quite easy to break down. As easy as using good MAM, actually.

Digital Asset Storage and Sorting

There are two ways how MAMs keep your digital assets safe and sound. The first one is cloud storage. Google Drive, Amazon S3, or MAM’s own storage (like the one Pics.io has!) makes sure that even if you lose literally every PC in your office, your assets aren’t going anywhere.

The second way is by ensuring that your assets cannot hide, no matter how sneaky they want to be. Use metadata to search for assets by their creation date, the uploader’s credentials, copyright restrictions, or any keyword that you can come up with. So the next time you upload marketing materials for the 2021 Christmas campaign, just give them all the “xmas21” keyword or some such and forget all your worries.

Version Control & Collaboration

Every enterprise comes to a point when they feel like it’s time to touch up their brand. Perhaps it’s a new marketing campaign, or you want to play around with the minimalist design. In either scenario, it’s not as simple as pushing the first draft into production. Revisions on top of revisions and soon it can get quite messy figuring out what is the latest version and what is the latest approved version.

Every enterprise comes to a point when they feel like it’s time to touch up their brand. Perhaps it’s a new marketing campaign, or you want to play around with the minimalist design. In either scenario, it’s not as simple as pushing the first draft into production. Revisions on top of revisions and soon it can get quite messy figuring out what is the latest version and what is the latest approved version.

Good MAM software makes it easy. Check this out.

Let’s say I work at Mozilla and I want to upgrade Firefox’s logo. First, I am going to create a new collection so that all assets are in one place:

Right. Now let’s add our “current” logo to the library, add some descriptive information, mark it yellow for mid priority tasks, and also assign our designer - Bohdan - so he gets notified by email that it’s time to start working on that asset:


So, Bohdan thinks his designer thoughts and pushes out a new logo variant, pending approval:

John gets a notification as soon as Bohdan uploads a new version, and he can compare the old and new versions using the compare tool. Instantly, he can let Bohdan know if he likes the new direction or not - all from the same window:

You can do this over and over, with as many revisions as you need. And - I really want to stress it - all these revisions are accessible through a single asset thumbnail within MAM. It’s all there, in this tiny little square:

Phenomenal cosmic power, itty-bitty living space

Sharing Digital Assets Outside the Organization

Okay, I confess. I don’t actually work at Mozilla, but what if I were a contractor hired to design a new logo for them and I want to show execs my progress without spilling too much on the inner workings of our studio? I can use asset share functionality and explicitly define how much they can see. I want them to leave comments and see our progress, but not much else and give an expiration date. I can do it, just like that:

Nice

It honestly took me longer to write this all out than to do all the things that I’ve shown you, so just think how much time you’re saving here on a scale. And we’re just getting started!


Brand Protection

MAM is just a tool, so it’s not entirely foolproof. It can happen that you add a new user to your team in a hurry, forget to give them proper permissions, etc. So, they can be at a loss: they see a new logo, but how do they know if they can use it in, for example, their new marketing campaign? They can message this or that person in Slack, asking “Hey, can I use this picture?” or you can just use the watermarking feature to let them know if it’s green or red light.

Doing that is as easy as flicking a switch. And I mean literally.

Click

Clack

BAM

The bonus feature is that if your digital assets somehow get leaked, it would be kinda tough to re-appropriate them, given a large screaming WATERMARK on it. Two birds with one stone.

Check this article out to learn everything that goes into the creation of a watermark.

Analytics

Who loves numbers? Not me, but someone certainly does. For your number-crunchers, MAMs also provide in-depth analytics about each and every digital asset. So you can see how many revisions there were, how many times the asset was downloaded by your team or third parties, and just the general state of your library. It’s a handy aid when you want to know if you’re moving in the right direction with your team, and it’s accessible to everyone without any tab-hopping.

Rounding Up


MAMs are good for you. They prevent asset loss, theft, internal confusion, and make collaborations so easy, it almost feels like you’re sitting side-by-side with your colleagues. With an ever-increasing role of marketing assets - be it photos, imagery, videos, or anything else you can come up with - lack of specialized software can plunge you into a deep-end of chaos and confusion. Sure, you can still work in such conditions, but the amount of time you’re going to waste is incomprehensible. And time is of the essence, as always. So, why not give your marketing a lift-up by trying out MAMs, today? It’s free to try, and we, here at Pics.io, would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have!

Curious? Learn more about Pics.io or book a demo with us and we'll answer all of your questions!


Pics.io Team
Welcome to Pics.io blog, where you'll get useful tips, resources & best practices on how digital asset management can help your business to manage & distribute digital content on top of cloud storage.
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