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Digital asset management: an upbeat option for marketers

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With the increasing volume of digital images and other rich media, the demand for digital asset management (DAM) continues to grow. One of the most dynamic sectors in the use of DAM systems is marketing. According to research from Forrester, many more DAM products are designed to support marketing, as compared to enterprise and media applications. But the ability to manage rich media has become essential for departments throughout the enterprise.

“Being able to locate and reuse digital assets is a primary driver for the market,” says Nick Barber, analyst at Forrester. DAM systems bring efficiency to the search process. “This ability can make a huge difference. One company reported that a team of users could take up to 90 minutes collectively to find an asset they wanted, but after deploying a DAM system, the time was cut to less than a minute,” he notes. That degree of improvement makes a strong business case.

Upstream, the outlook is also positive. “With the vast majority of marketers investing in content development, the need to scale creation of assets without scaling the staff is also critical,” Barber says.

Seven thousand digital assets

Pearl Drums has been around since 1946, so it provides a good model for how an established company can ease into the 21st century in its management of digital assets. The company makes acoustic/electronic drums and other percussion instruments, as well as flutes. The majority of its instruments are manufactured overseas in company-owned factories. In addition, it distributes marching brass, orchestral and electronic instruments manufactured by several other companies. Instruments are sold through distributorships throughout the world.

The content for marketing, including images in product catalogs and videos used by Pearl Drums, is all produced in-house. “After we began producing digital images and video,” says Derek Wolfford, marketing manager of integrated media at Pearl Drums, “we began to accumulate quite a lot of content and we needed to keep track of it.” After doing some research, the company narrowed down the choice of DAM systems to a few options and chose Canto’s SaaS DAM solution.

“Once we started seeing how the different products worked in the testing environment, it was clear right away that Canto was the best match for us,” Wolfford explains. “The cloud-based system is what we needed to provide access for our U.S. and international Pearl offices and for the dealers to get the images for their catalogs. The functionality fit our needs.”

Pearl Drums began migrating its files from hard drives into Canto and added new content as it was created. The art department uploads new images into a workspace within Canto, after which Wolfford reviews, tags and approves it. “We now have over 7,000 assets in Canto,” says Wolfford. The Canto repository is referred to as the Pearl Digital Marketing Resource Center (DMRC).

“Dealers access the Pearl DMRC through a Canto portal to create their product catalogs or promote the products on their websites,” Wolfford adds. The portal frees the IT department from dealing with clogged e-mail servers trying to send multiple high-resolution pictures or having to move them in some other way such as by using file transfer sites or sending them on physical media. Pearl Drums will also be using the images stored in the Pearl DMRC on the new e-commerce platform on its website.

A dozen primary product categories in Canto mirror the structure of the Pearl website, and within the major categories are numerous sub-categories. Detailed product specifications are contained in an Excel spreadsheet, referred to as the Master Build Sheet, which serves as a comprehensive database for information such as UPC code, weight and other features. One of the fields in the spreadsheet contains a URL that links to one or more images in the Pearl DMRC. Eventually, detailed data for each product will be added to the Pearl DMRC so that users can conduct more granular searches based on data within Canto.

Pearl Drums’ employees who are attending events or are visiting dealers, as well as endorsed artists who want to send content from their concerts or studio sessions for review, can use Canto’s Upload Links. That feature allows the employees and others to send Wolfford content that may be suitable for posting on its social networks without overloading his phone with texts containing images.

“Another huge thing for us is the ability to replace images without having to break the original URL,” Wolfford adds. “Some of the pictures from the original upload to the Pearl DMRC contained smaller images that we are systematically replacing them with high-res, and Canto has made this process much easier.”

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