Henrik de Gyor: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Natalie Daller.
Natalie, how are you?
Natalie Daller: I’m great. How are you?
Henrik de Gyor: Great. Natalie, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Natalie Daller: I thought I’d start with a little bit of background information on myself. I have a photographic background. I started off in analog darkrooms with projectors and mixing chemistry, and from there I transitioned into a digital retouching role, working a lot for many, many years in Photoshop. From there, I moved into an asset management and permissions role at a museum, and today I work as the global administrator of my company’s DAM system.
In my current role, I’ve worked for my employer in some kind of digital assessment management role for a little over six years now. I started off as an image coordinator and recently was promoted to Digital Asset Specialist. The impetus for the new role has a lot to do with the elevated importance of Digital Asset Management within my company’s Martec landscape. While Digital Asset Management started off as an internal process for improved efficiency, it’s evolved into a method for broader brand control and asset delivery to our external partners, which include a body of approximately 40,000 potential end-users.
Henrik de Gyor: Natalie, how does a multinational, multilevel marketing company use Digital Asset Management?
Natalie Daller: Well, as you mentioned, we’re multinational. I’m based in Chicago where headquarters is located, but we also have international offices in Canada and Germany. As an internal tool, our DAM system provides easy access to our final brand-approved assets to all of our coworkers, no matter where in the world they’re located. As a direct sales company, our sales force is comprised of, as I mentioned, about 40,000 consultants and our consultants need on-brand assets at their disposal to use to market their businesses, and beginning in 2015, we were able to leverage our DAM to provide curated collections of beautifully photographed and designed marketing assets, aligned to our brand.
Doing this is mutually beneficial. We’re able to have more control over our brand, but we’re also freeing up time for our consultants so that they can focus their energy on activities that are most important to their success. Digital Asset Management enables us to provide and continually improve upon this service by looking at the analytics that we find within the DAM system, measuring the success of our campaigns, and then, in turn, tailoring our strategies and content based on the asset performance.
Henrik de Gyor: Natalie, what are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Natalie Daller: There’s a lot of challenges, I’d say. Keeping up with the volume of assets is definitely a big one. We’re able to produce a lot, but then ensuring that everything’s making it into the DAM system and that we’re also seeing on top of archiving. That’s a big problem, the challenge I would say, so that you’re certain everything that’s available, that’s accessible, is still relevant, and then, of course, being diligent and adding useful metadata, you can upload and upload and upload, but if you don’t take the time to actually add meaningful keywords and your users can’t find the assets, then you’re wasting a lot of time.
I would say also, and this is probably most important, is empathizing with your users and looking for ways to continually make improvements so that you’re ensuring your users are finding what they need with very minimal effort. So it’s important to listen to your users. We like to conduct user testing, stay open-minded, and understand that what worked a few years ago may no longer work today, and needs to be updated.
Lastly, and this is something that I’ve really been focused on last year and again going into 2018, is ROI and demonstrating the value of a Digital Asset Management system, so we came up with a formal KPI, a key performance indicator, in 2017 to evaluate our DAM and ensure that it’s best in class and that we were doing everything needed in order to make it useful to our users, and that KPI that we were measuring was what we called our unaided asset request. That means that our goal is to have 82% of our users find assets without the assistance of myself or my counterpart. And what that meant is that 82% each month of all assets downloaded came from requests made through the DAM system.
We did really, really well. Really, really well. But then we still heard lots of complaints, so though while our users were able to find their assets, it was taking them a very long time to find them, so we were changing our KPI for 2018 and we’re looking to measure the ROI using a search to download conversion ratio. So we’ll look at the number of searches our users’ input before they, in turn, download something. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make improvements with our Digital Asset Management system that will decrease the amount of time that our users need or takes them in order to find what they’re looking for.
Henrik de Gyor: That’s great. And so the idea is to be more self-service, as far as search is concerned. Searching and finding what they need.
Natalie Daller: Yeah. We’re not bottlenecks, because obviously if all the requests are coming into us, we can’t immediately turn them around, so we don’t want to be bottlenecks, but then we want people to be able to have a very good user experience whenever they’re looking for their assets.
Henrik de Gyor: And having them actually find their own assets versus you finding them for them.
Natalie Daller: Yes.
Henrik de Gyor: Got it. Yeah, yeah. That should be the goal for most DAM systems, in my opinion.
Natalie Daller: Yeah. There’s really no point if it’s just a huge cloud storage system for the two asset coordinators to go and pull down assets for everyone.
Henrik de Gyor: Completely agreed. Yep. And, Natalie, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Natalie Daller: The first thing that popped into my head when I thought of this question is Digital Asset Management is far more exciting than it sounds on the surface. I know when I first took a job in Digital Asset Management, I don’t think that I was that enthusiastic about the prospects. It just seemed like a natural next step from imagery touching. And that’s what, I think, it was supposed to be was like a middle step before I bounced onto something else. But I’ve completely fallen in love with it and it’s a lot more exciting than it sounds on the surface.
There’s a lot of opportunities to impact user experiences and to think creatively to solve problems, and then it’s important, like I mentioned earlier, to keep an open mind and demonstrate empathy, and to remember that there’s no one size fits all solution.
Henrik de Gyor: Well thanks, Natalie.
Natalie Daller: Thank you.