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Matthew Gonnering headshot (VentureBeat)

Matthew Gonnering is the CEO of Widen Enterprises, a Madison, Wisconsin-based digital media solutions provider. He has been recognized by Madison InBusiness Magazine’s 40 under 40 list.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) technology has proven to be an indispensable resource for marketers. By harnessing a plethora of digital assets, marketers can communicate consistent brand messages across an expansive digital landscape.

As marketers respond to the accelerated pace of always-on, always-changing Web, social and mobile channels, the DAM industry, whose services undergird the storage and flow of digital assets, is certain to undergo significant change as well.

Indeed, the drivers of change in the DAM industry mirror those reshaping how brands are marketed:

  • Adoption of cloud-based platforms
  • Influx of digital natives in the workplace
  • Greater emphasis on content marketing

Cloud-based DAM systems

A decade or so ago marketers turned to traditional licensed software to solve problems DAM technology now eliminates. Installed software readily organized, stored and retrieved digitized creative content, and facilitated related workflow processes, such as distributing digital assets to clients.

The Web spawned new social and mobile channels for content delivery, spiking demand for digital assets and exposing weaknesses in the ability of traditional software to handle an expanding assortment of digital assets. The shift from traditional media content to digital media content triggered the emergence of DAM technology that automated work processes involving digital assets.

The emergence of cloud-based platforms has changed the dynamic even further, capturing favor with marketers under pressure to contain costs. Cloud-based DAM systems utilize software hosted entirely off-site, enabling organizations to store massive amounts of digital assets, conduct business remotely with clients and key partners anywhere in the world and provide painless access to digital files for authorized users.

Cloud-based platform efficiencies have fueled an upward trend in the rate of adoption. International Data Corporation (IDC) projected worldwide spending on cloud services will reach $44.2 billion by 2013.

“Economic benefits of cloud will continue to be the number 1 driver of adoption through 2016 for most companies,” said Connor G. Sullivan, associate research analyst in IDC’s SaaS and Cloud Software research practice. “There are numerous perceived soft benefits to deploying cloud solutions — improved collaboration, reduction in time to market, and improved agility around applications, infrastructure, and platforms — but we expect the hard benefit of up-front capital cost savings in the form of reduced equipment, software licenses, datacenter utilities, and IT staff costs to still carry the most weight for the CTO, CIO, CMO, and CEO decision makers.”

Ambling Across the Digital Universe: Digital Natives

Marketers who grew up tapping keys on a laptop instead of playing jacks on the floor are reshaping how business is conducted in the 21st century. Exhibiting an inborn comfort level with technology, they leverage digital tools to the max in their personal lives and expect to do the same in the workplace.

As content producers and clients, millennial-age marketers expect workflow processes to run as smoothly as updating a Facebook page on a laptop synced to two mobile devices. They’ll look to DAM systems that enable frictionless processes for managing and moving digital assets files from one office to another or across the globe. Adept with customizable digital tools, they are likely to favor systems with add-ons and features that respond to changing workplace demands.
Systems that facilitate sharing and collaboration will likewise appeal to millennial-age marketers accustomed to chatting and sharing news with friends on social network. At least in this respect, they are similar to their Baby Boomer and Gen X colleagues: they like team work. A Johnson Controls workplace study found that professionals of all ages expect to spend more time working in virtual teams.

Make Way for More Content

A 2013 forecast found that most B2B marketers plan to employ more content marketing tactics, use social media to a greater degree, and rely on content marketing to build brand awareness. The survey sponsored by Brightcove reported that 54 percent of respondents plan to increase spending on content marketing, with that function consuming a third of marketing budgets — up from 26 percent.

The survey showed across-the-board increases for all marketing tactics, with video usage gaining 18 percentage points (70 percent) and mobile content, 18 percentage points (33 percent). Social media topped the list for nearly all marketers (87 percent) as the most popular content marketing tactic.

The increased demand for digital assets occurs in tandem with the rise of multiple content distribution channels. Social, web and mobile channels intensify the pressure for marketers, accelerating the pace for delivering brand messages to market. DAM systems that manage the complete lifecycle of digital assets — creation, management, distribution, archiving, repurposing – will rev up to handle more assets, more distribution point, more classification parameters.

According to business research firm Frost & Sullivan, the DAM industry is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of more than 30% and exceed $1 billion in revenues by 2013. Those statistics suggest the number of DAM providers, 170 by software information service Capterra’s count, may grow.

As technology advances, tech-savvy workers gain influence and demand for marketing content grows, DAM systems will evolve by necessity. Marketers tasked with delivering consistent brand messages across an expansive digital universe will depend on it.

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