9. DAM’s ROI
There is no single metric for measuring the ROI for a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system within a company. Identifying the criteria and ultimately measuring ROI depends on the use case(s) for how the DAM system is used. Sometimes, DAM is simply used as a means to access “one version of the truth”, while in other times it is integral to the full content development, production, and distribution life-cycle. Business cases justifying the acquisition of a DAM system have included such diverse “ROI” areas as:
• Saving time
• Providing access
• Gaining control of content
• Increasing collaboration
• Ensuring compliance
• Repurposing content
• Identifying new revenue streams
• Reducing technology footprint
To address the many areas that ROI can be demonstrated for a DAM implementation, this paper will break ROI into two primary categories:
1. Hard dollars (tangible measurable return)
2. Soft dollars (intangible measurable return)
a. DAM – Hard-Dollar ROI
Hard-dollar ROI refers to real dollars that have been saved or gained through the introduction of a DAM system. When planning for a DAM implementation, companies should focus on high-value assets in order to realize notable hard dollar return. Adoption and full engagement of the system will be minimized by offering access to low-value, low-use content. Then they should focus on use cases that center around the most costly areas of their business. Most common are the high-cost workflows and functions associated with content development/creation and distribution.
Within the realm of content development there are costs associated with simply developing and producing custom design – graphics, photographs, video, page layouts, etc. In addition to the time and materials aspect of content creation is the cost of ownership or licensing of content used. Licensing can become quite complex and costly as the content may be used for a variety of mediums (TV, radio, iPod, Web, print, etc.) each requiring its own licensing arrangement. Distribution expenses take on many forms encompassing both the process of distributing for review and approval, as well as delivery of final product — in many cases to a global supply chain. Regardless of the need, inherent in the process are the hard costs associated with preparing the content, burning the media to CD, and ultimately shipping. This process and all its associated expenses will be repeated as changes are made, errors identified, and new materials produced.
The following common high-expense use cases will be addressed:
Every marketer knows that there are enormous costs associated with creating new marketing content whether it is custom graphics, photographs, brochure layouts, or materials used specifically for the web. Expenses associated with content development can include:
• Agency Fees
• Freelance Fees
• Licensing Fees
• Legal Fees
• Production Costs
By introducing a Digital Asset Management system, those that are at the heart of creating content have access to a wealth of materials. There are two primary content repurposing approaches:
• Content Reuse – Ability to access and retrieve previously created and/or used content to be used in the same format to save time, money, and maximize the value of the asset.
• Content Transformation – Ability to access, retrieve, and transform previously created and/or used content to another format to further extend the value and use of the asset.
For example, a marketing department might have materials originated as part of another campaign or design concepts and materials unused, but paid for and available for use. In addition to saving money, these scenarios also serve to save time, ensure brand designer layouts, graphics, logos, video, audio, documents, photographs, PowerPoint slides integrity and consistency, and broaden access to a repository of approved content.
ROI Metric: Identify pre-and post-DAM expenses associated with creating new content.
Reducing Distribution Expenses
A subtle, yet very real expense for companies is the high cost of sharing and distributing content. As you examine the development lifecycle of marketing assets, you may be surprised to see how many points content is packaged and shipped (mail, courier, and overnight) as part of:
• Creative Collaboration
• Quality Assurance
• Legal Review & Approval
• Final Review & Approval
• Distribution to End Consumers
In the context of content development, materials can potentially be shipped all over the world numerous times before reaching final approval. Not only is this expensive, but impacts time to production and market. With a DAM system in place, the review and approval process is streamlined occurring in-real time and accommodating a geographically disperse team. In addition, it effectively eliminates the high cost and time-constraints of delivery services. Those working with an agency can dramatically impact and control fees incurred for such simple tasks as searching, retrieving, preparing, packaging, and sending content for yet another round of review as well as gain greater transparency into the status of projects.
Conversely, agencies with a DAM system can offer customers a value-added service and help customers save dollars that can be reinvested into new campaigns.
Once materials have been produced, they need to quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively reach end-consumers. By providing a global self-service option companies can significantly reduce, and in some cases eliminate the costs associated with delivery. With a digital asset management system in place, companies can readily make updates and get materials out into the market faster and far more cost effectively. For marketing departments serving geographically disperse partners and distributors, the ability to fulfill in real-time with only approved and market-ready content is a true value-added service. Some companies choose to provide global partners and distributors with templates and other raw elements allowing them to self-select and create customize materials for their needs and markets. In this scenario the production costs are incurred by the channel.
ROI Metric: Compare annual cost of mail, overnight, and courier services pre-and post DAM implementation.
Addressing New Markets and Distribution Device
Entering new markets can be a costly and unpredictable venture and often requires a complete re-work of existing marketing materials. Components such as messaging, language, and imagery may all need to be addressed in order to effectively speak to a new market. The cost implications of re-creating existing content are obvious.
Similar challenges and expenses also occur when looking to expand marketing reach through new distribution channels such as web, TV, DVR’s, cell phones, iPod’s, etc. With each new device, marketers need to evaluate not only the format, but messaging and imagery to ensure it resonates in the new medium. As seen with the previous hard-dollar ROI examples, the process of re-purposing content for new markets and distribution devices can be significantly stream-lined and accomplished much more cost-effectively with a digital asset management solution in place. Existing content can be accessed, revised, reviewed, approved, distributed, and stored all within the system. A DAM system eliminates the need to essentially start from scratch or seek costly out-side assistance to re-work materials.
In terms of addressing new distribution devices because of the very nature of digital content, companies can easily identify, retrieve, and transform content to the desired file format to accommodate other communication vehicles. Often these types of changes can be made in-house without having to rely on and engage an outside agency or freelancer. At a minimum, the raw components and marketing concepts exist so that the entire creative process does not need to start anew, but rather is a matter of re-expression. Companies that have executed a well conceived DAM strategy are in a much more advantageous position to begin taking advantage of new and emerging distribution devices.
ROI Metric: Compare historic costs of creating new product and/or penetrating new markets. Evaluate post-DAM system expenses associated with creating derivative works.
b. DAM – Soft-Dollar ROI
Soft-dollar ROI is the measurement of non-monetary benefits such as time, efficiency, and responsiveness. These less tangible areas are no less important and constitute a formidable ‘must have’ need for digital asset management. Many if not most of the soft-dollar ROI results are interconnected or bi-products of hard-dollar ROI use cases. Often times, it is the soft-dollars that serve to promote user adoption and provide the most immediate and obvious end-user benefits. Like its counterpart, the way in which to realize soft-dollar ROI is to evaluate your high-cost use case, or in this case the most pervasive pain points.
The following common use cases and pain points will be addressed:
Protecting Brand Integrity
Assessing the cost associated with maintaining and building your brand is often hard to quantify. There are the tangible activities that serve to deliver your name, tagline, and other brand associated imagery to the market. Such activities can be measured in terms of revenue and customer response. Then there are the intangibles such as the connection and relationship the public has in response to your brand. Regardless, every marketer knows that while it is challenging to build and maintain a brand it is even more difficult to re-build it once brand erosion has occurred.
One of the keys to ensuring brand integrity is consistency; ensuring that only approved branding, tags, messaging, and imagery are presented to the market. If a brand is inconsistently displayed in any form, the outcome can be highly detrimental resulting in loss of revenue and unanticipated expenses to regain and re-establish the desired brand image.
A digital asset management system is a powerful component of a company’s brand-management strategy. Marketers and Brand Managers can gain control over the branded content that is made available to the organization both within and outside their departments. By providing access to only current and approved brand content (“one version of the truth”), companies can have greater assurance that their valuable corporate brand is consistently being displayed.
ROI Metric: While it is difficult to measure the ROI around brand management, it is safe to say that the financial loss by not maintaining control can be significant.
Enhancing the Creative Process
Consumers not only have tremendous choice in the products and services they purchase, they have also gained unprecedented control over how and when they will accept messages. This dynamic places a greater burden on companies to continually produce memorable and engaging campaigns that will be pushed, published, and aired via a variety of devices.
Arming the creative team with a digital asset management system offers greater efficiency, access to a host of materials, and information about the content such as when and how it was used, rights and permissions, and its association with other stored and catalogued assets. While efficiency is not typically associated with creativity, within the context of DAM the burden of non-creative tasks such as searching for physical media, gaining approval for use, accessing hi-res versions, and researching rights and permissions is lifted from the creative professional. Thus, allowing for more time spent dedicated to the core function of developing highly creative, quality, brand conscious and memorable marketing deliverables.
As the digital asset repository grows and establishes a comprehensive historical archive of materials, it can offer a starting point in the creative process. By providing visibility into past campaigns, previously developed work product, and other materials will help designers, writers, brand managers, advertisers, and marketers formulate concepts instead of starting from scratch. While not all content will be repurposed, it can serve as a concept, starting point, and inspiration.
ROI Metric: Increased time spent on creative versus administrative non-creative tasks. Reduced frustration experienced by those working with and producing content.
Ensuring Quality Control
Like the concept of enhanced creative process, quality is often a hard area to quantify and measure. However, when quality is compromised, the repercussions can be costly and significantly undermine a brand. Cost implications can take the form of legal fines and fees, a need for unbudgeted PR assistance, as well as lost revenue.