How Digital Asset Management is Like a Grocery Store

A (DAM) grocery store is a central place for what we need. Products are brought into the store in a predictable and efficient way. Each area of the store offers a category of food items or other products so shoppers can intuitively find what they’re looking for. Grocery store workers ensure all of the products are positioned in the correct aisle and on the right shelf. Produce are in the produce area. Meat is in the meat section and all of the peanut butter can be found in one place on the right shelves. If a customer can’t find something after browsing through the aisles they need to ask someone who knows where everything is.

Each individual product has a label that gives the shopper the information needed to know the price and what they are buying. When a customer has everything they want, they go to the checkout lane and a cashier scans the label to know what it is and how much to charge. The cashier ensures everything is square with the customer before allowing them to take the products out the door. The store makes a profit and the customer hopefully is satisfied with the experience. Now this is something we do all the time and don’t really think about it much but if you think about it, a well-run grocery store is very much like digital asset management.

Inside Digital Asset Management

Let’s walk through this example again but this time think about it in terms of media assets. A digital asset management system is a central place for what we need or what we want. Media files are brought into the system in a very predictable and efficient way. Each asset is typically group in categories or families called taxonomies.

Digital asset managers or librarians ensure that all of the assets are placed in the correct taxonomy and in a collection so that the users can easily browse and find what they’re looking for. If the user can’t find something after browsing, they need a way and this time typically a search engine that knows where everything is. Each individual asset has a label that gives all of the information that a user needs to understand what the asset is. This label in DAM is called metadata.

The Importance of Metadata

When a user has everything they want, they checkout by downloading, exporting or even purchasing what they need. The DAM system will then use the metadata to understand what the asset is, who is wanting to take it out or download it and the conditions by which it can be used by the user. The DAM system will update its administrators of the transaction and the user hopefully is satisfied with the experience but most companies don’t use DAM as a strategy for optimizing their media supply chain. They are really just storing assets.

How Does DAM Work?

Let’s look at how this would be in a grocery store. In this grocery store the workers have placed the products wherever they want so they themselves can find them later. So, two brands of peanut butter are on one side of the store next to the apples and three brands of peanut butter are over next to a box of crackers. The milk is next to the beer. All of the fish, chicken and beef is stuffed into a single meat counter. When the customers come in, they have no idea where anything is and after spending a lot of time searching, they’ll have to ask someone but the workers don’t know where everything is because their co-workers have placed their items wherever they wanted and they’ll have to ask. So much of the day is spent asking where something is.

Another problem is that even though all of the cans of soup might be on a single aisle, none have labels. One worker knew there was soup in all of the cans and wrote the word soup on it and put all of the cans on the shelves but the shoppers don’t know what the expiration date is. They don’t even know the type of soup or the brand. Customers wanting soup have to go back to the workers and ask if the soup in the can is of a particular type. And it’s only if they “workers” can remember if the soup is tomato or chicken noodle that the customer might be satisfied but if nobody can remember what it was, all they can do is open up the can and taste it. This grocery store would have a very tough time not only checking customers out of the checkout line but just staying in business for more than a day.

As ridiculous as this idea is, most companies today run their digital marketing exactly the same way. As you think about the files that you deal with on a daily basis across all the hard drives and all of the desktops and shared serves and other places, is your experience like that customer looking for a can of soup with no label? Your photo or video might have a simple file name but the only way to know for sure can be used is to ask someone or download it to open it up and see what’s inside. DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT ➢ Reduces Marketing Cycle Time ➢ Improves sales ➢ Is a Strategy, not Storage ➢ Is fundamental to Digital Maturity

Watch the Video here: How Digital Asset Management is Like a Grocery Store

Credits to: Dan McGraw