#DAMStraight LA is where the beautiful people are

As much as you know I want this post to be about my beloved Cubbies winning the world series, it will not be. I mean it is amazing. I have been a lifelong fan, of which my Cubbie heritage has been passed down three generations. I went to my first ballgame when I was 7 years old with my Grandmother who is still the most die hard fan I know. But no friends, this post will not be filled with my overwhelming emotion that is being a Cubs fan and the win that we got last night.

I promise.

Kinda.

Me passing the torch to the next generation.

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This post is about the DAM beautiful people. The DAM Stars and Starlets that will be headed to join in a few weeks.

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I am rather disappointed that I won’t be coming to #DAMLA16 this year. The stars, for me, did not align and I am having to be in exotic Delaware most of the week, then fly home to celebrate my son’s 8th birthday.

In lieu of my presence, I know, you’re all broken up about it, I figured I would give you my thoughts of the ‘must see’ sessions as well as the players in the space that you must have a drink, coffee or lunch with.

We all know that Henry Stewart does an amazing job of bringing DAM Superstars from all over the world, across industries to each of our events. DAMLA is no exception. Here’s a sneak at the agenda for those that haven’t seen it yet.

For the event in a few weeks there are actually two tracks to start you day off. While you know that I’m a huge fan of David Lipsey (if you have not personally met this man, you must), I think that I would opt to meet more DAMLadies,  Jennifer Candalerio who is head of IT for Droga5. She seems super rad and honestly, the more ladies in IT and DAM I can get to know the better.

Now I see that there are two tracks, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stay in one throughout the day. It’s even better if you bring (or make) a friend and you guys can tag team the sessions.

From there, you MUST see Theresa Regli (one of my favorite DAMLadies). She’s from The Real Story Group. If you don’t know what they are or do, they are basically the voice in objectively looking at DAM and WCM vendors. I love that they look at the landscape and see it from a business perspective not just an IT (which other vendors tend lean towards). She is an amazing storyteller and I think that if she ever stops being in the vendor evaluation space she would make for a great book writer/storyteller.  This year she speaks about the orchestration of music and computing. Also make sure to introduce yourself, she’s super rad.

Since you’ll be mid-track after you meet and see Theresa, I would just keep going and see the insights from Coca-Cola’s global group director Nick Felder. Not many of us are in super sexy fields like film, music or creative production, but I still think there are lessons to be learned and sometimes being in those sessions and wake up that creative part of your brain for your own brand!

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From there, go stretch your legs with a new buddy you made at the last session (if you didn’t make one, c’mon and make one!) and grab snack while you visit the exhibits.

If you have a fear of talking to random people and small talk, that’s OK! Remember these are your people! They love how amazing and nerdy and geeky we all are about DAM. In September when we all got together for DAMCHI16 I was the lucky recipient of a DAMHero shirt from our friends at Widen. I love it. Even got a sticker for my laptop. It’s nothing short of a conversation starter.  Just remember these people want to help you, not intimidate you.  No judging the picture below, I was at Muay Thai.

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Then its onto the last session before lunch. But since you grabbed a snack with your new BFF, you’re good to go!

So, again I would be torn. Theresa as we said, is a great expert and presenter so I would be torn to go to her session about How to Select (or replace) a DAM system. If this isn’t your speed, or relevant, then I would opt for Holly Boerner and Anne Samoyedny‘s (more DAMLadies!) session about the Power of the big G that we all know and love. Governance. As someone that has rolled out a DAM globally, that is such a huge part of the project and a DAM overall. It’s like the rules of the road. They are basic, but man if you don’t know them, you might just think those stop signs that are outlined in white are optional (this is where you double check-Google stop signs to see if any of them are not outlined in white).

The next session is hard, three to choose from! It seems like MAMs and DAMs and their ecosystems are big topics lately so I personally would probably pop into that to hear Bob Carlson from GoPro talk about leveraging MAM and DAM. Plus it’s GoPro…right?  Now don’t be shocked when you see DAMLady favorite Christina Aguilera is here again. She’s fantastic and comes from Studio Technology at Walt Disney Studios. Now don’t be surprised if it’s this Christina not this Christina. Fun fact! They both have career history with Disney! This one was part of the Mickey Mouse club in the 90s. (Hint: she’s the one in the jamming floral jean jacket).

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Bonus points if you know the other current pop celebrities that got their start on The Mickey  Mouse Club. Answers at the end of this blog.

Then it’s off to lunch for you and your new buddy! I suggest you eat something other than hot dogs, popcorn and candy but it’s your conference go indulge. 47ca828b83dd3519cf9226fd1aa5d6aa

Now that you are full of food (and hopefully not just dessert), you can go learn more!

The sessions look good enough to eat, but when you are talking about deep-fried and bacon wrapped, I might just turn up to see if Debbie Vengco from the LA County Fair brought goodies with. She’s talking about creative operations and making marketing workflows better. Not your jam? Well the Seven-Year Itch is real my friends. Not just because you get bored with what you have but literally the marketplace and technology is moving so fast that you really should reevaluate every 5-7 years.

How could you possibly need another snack? Well friends, if you missed hanging out with our friends at the exhibits now is your time. Maybe you started a conversation with one of our amazing vendors and never got to meet others. Maybe you had to take a call from your boss and missed all of it! Well NOW IS YOUR CHANCE! Grab a snack and stretch your legs!

Last session of the day (prior to adult beverages!) I love round tables. So much that I was one of the leaders for the round table at DAMCHI16. I think they provide a more intimate dialogue with those with our own passion that you may not have meet yet at the conference. Plus, do you really only want to go home with one buddy? I didn’t think so. I love the Beyond DAM round table because that’s what I did. I love thinking about what we can do, be and what the future of DAM is. We had some amazing conversations and insight into what we want it to be.

You did it!! I’m so  proud of you. Your brain must be very full at this time. So collect all your belongings, check your work email (or not) and then head for an adult refreshment to meet (yes I’m going to say it) another buddy!

As promised, below is the blown out picture of some pretty well known celebrities below that got their humble start on Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club.

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#DAMStraight I will be at #DAMChi2016

#dabears

I’m not taking sides this season, or am I?

If you are from “Chicago” you are  Bears fan. You don’t really get to pick sides. Now during baseball season, you have to choose. You are either a North Sider (Cubs fan) or a South Sider (White Sox fan). The lineage of which side you come from usually stems from at least four generations back within your family. For me, my Grandmother grew up in Chicago proper and was the daughter of an inventor. Worked at a speak easy for her uncle when she was a bit older and met my grandfather at the same said speak easy. Being a North Sider, of course, Grama was a Cubs fan. So much so, that when she moved from Illinois to Florida in retirement she called the cable company (and wrote several letters) about how WGN should not be a paid for cable channel. My Grama being the lady she was, always down for a challenge, won. She got Channel 9 WGN for free and watched her beloved Cubbies into retirement.

For those that do not know personally, I do not live in Chicago proper, or even the immediate suburbs. In fact, I live so far north of the city that I squeak by still being someone can properly say they live in Illinois. But even if you don’t live in the city, I think if you can still get there by rail (Metra) you can still be considered a Chicagoian (this is literally my opinion and not fact). I might get a fair amount of flack for that from those that have seen where I live but I digress.

So DAMChicago 2016 kicks off tonight with getting to see some familiar faces and find out what our colleagues have been up to all year.

As I look at the agenda for Thursday though, I have to ask..what are you most excited about listening to or interacting with?

I’m a big fan of Theresa Regli personally. I always look forward to seeing how she works metadata and DAM into things like food, her family’s journey to America and looks like this year she’s talking about music.

Brooke Emley is another exiting part of DAMChicago this year, in my opinion. I am not pointing out all the #DAMLadies I promise. I actually have interest in those business that deal with parks and entertainment. Professionally, I was born at Walt Disney World and knowing what I know now about DAM as well as slightly understanding the amount of assets, rights and metadata behind entertainment companies intrigues me. Plus who doesn’t love Shamu.

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I would be remiss to not unabashedly promote my small little session at the end of the day. Along side Graham Allan and John DeMarco, I will be facilitating a round-table talking about Beyond DAM. Thinking about what is the ultimate goal? Don’t you dare say saving money because that’s not long term enough. We are thinking 5-10 years out. What will your DAM be doing? What do you want it to be doing? Who do you want engaged enough that they will start using it? How will we be smarter about metadata as an organization? How will the tools and platforms we use be smarter?

Really looking forward to seeing everyone tonight and then getting our #DAMknowledge on Thursday.

Until then friends.

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#DAMStraight we are talking goals. #DAMGoals or #SquadGoals?

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#squadgoals are not quite the same thing as DAM goals

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In real life…most adults talk about real goals.

Like finally getting that MBA, getting the right job that you love, getting that black Jeep with the hot pink stylized “B” (like Barbie) wheel cover…but this isn’t about me.

Let’s take a look at the word goal.

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goal noun

  1. The first one, we all know and love GOOOAALLLLL!!!
  2.  the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Desired results of a DAM (for those new to the blog Digital Asset Management) tool.

Do you remember when you first set off (or are currently setting off) to build your requirements, specs and goals of launching your DAM? Solving for the why of the DAM is easier than what do we want to accomplish after the DAM has launched? What is the ultimate goal of the DAM?

Are we changing culture? Are we trying to save money? Are we trying to get all the marketing teams to row the same boat and use the same branding? Are we trying to get a handle on the amount of creative we have so we can find things easier?

Please tell me that you chose one of these and not all of these.

But let’s be frank friends.

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We do that.

We assign ourselves multiple goals for the DAM to achieve.

What is the real power of having a DAM?

Are you curious where this blog is going?

It’s a somewhat shameless promotion to come see me at DAMChicago 2016 on the 15th of September here in our beautiful city. While I cannot promise we won’t have snow, it is more than likely we won’t. My session is called Beyond DAM.

Let’s have a conversation because you’ll be in sessions and taking knowledge away all day. At the end of the day, before we wrap up and say cheers we can decompress and talk about what does the digital maturity future look like for our organizations.

I’m towards the end of the day on the 15th so don’t leave early! We will have a great session talking about digital maturity and the DAM’s role in that. We want to talk about more than just best practices but practical ways that our organizations are maturing digitally. Even if your organization isn’t, maybe stick around to see how others are and be the influence in your circle.

Here in Chicago, we cannot compete with the flashy cities of New York with Times Square and Broadway and LA with it’s movie stars. But we can Chicago promises you one thing. Our food is betterDon’t be scared by Pig Face and revel in the glazed goodness of the Donut Vault. I suggest you walk from place to place because we aren’t good at doing healthy but we are good at doing “holy crap put that food in my face now” and “yes I will have another and I’ll work out twice as hard tomorrow.”

Need a list of foods/places to try when you get here? Drop me a line below.

For those that read this far, you can register for DAM Chicago 2016 conference at a discounted rate by using the code DISCOVER100.

#DAMStraight there’s lessons to be learned from Pokemon

Yes it’s going to be an article linking DAM to Pokemon.

I promise you there is gold here and it’s not just about lucky eggs, wild Pikachu’s and filling up your Pokedex.

For those still reading, about a week ago or so the game Pokemon Go! was launched in the app store of both Apple and Android. A free (with purchases if you like) app that brought augmented reality to a group of folks that really would appreciate it the most (if we are totally honest).

As of two days ago, Pokémon Go has already passed 30M downloads and $35M in revenue. For a free app that literally has people wandering around the big beautiful outdoors. I’m a firm believer that anything that gets people moving around and healthy is a good thing.

I am a part of the gaming community. Not a card carrying one mind you, but one none the less. I have had my share of MMORPGs that I have enjoyed. Battling a tank next to my husband that is just about one of the most amazing in-game healers there is. Now if that’s not going to fill your nerd quota for the day, nothing is friends.

One of the biggest sub-sects of the gaming communities is the one that probably has been there just as long as the electronic one. The card playing community is everything from Magic The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons and of course Pokemon. Now this is something I know little to nothing about in all honesty. Both my brother and my husband both played D&D in the 80’s. The breadth and depth of my knowledge of D&D includes the following: you make cool characters, there is a dungeon master that is like a narrator/referee of some sorts, and you get really rad looking dice that have a million sides.

Now the card games, can get quite competitive. There are lists of rare cards that (just like baseball cards) have either special stats or are out of circulation. But here’s where it all starts to make more DAM sense.

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For those that have never seen a Pokemon card, here you go. Also if you have interest now to start up a local game, here’s how to play. Create your own little Pallet Town.

Now like DAM management, where assets have specific metadata in order to keep the chaos of our big beautiful world of marketing, there are specific metadata pieces within that Psyduck card above. See all those stats above that classify it? Length, width, weakness, resistance, level and specific directions on how to use this card.

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Much like the slide above from Widen, we see that Metadata is the language of the DAM.

On the left you see all the metadata that this user has given to this asset within Widen’s DAM (Media Collective). Filename, keywords, type, description, content source, and rights management.

Not too distant from that Psyduck card above.

This is the lesson friends.

Metadata can make or break your DAM. Accountability is placed upon the person that either creates the asset or pays to have it created. They know the metadata best and can describe what it is, how people should use it, who should be using it and keywords that would make it easy to find.

Metadata can be found in the most unusual places. When implementing or bringing your team on-board to use a DAM, sometimes you have to use unusal methods of learning. I personally like the timeliness of the Pokemon example. I think it shows that we are better at metadata then we lead on. We already know what we are doing and we just need to not be lazy about it. Upload the asset once, give it good stats, give it the right accessibility and let it do it’s magic. Let it evolve into something that is shared among teams and saves money for everyone.

So embrace and even engage with our brothers and sisters of the world who are out there still trying to find wild Pikachu’s (I nearly had one last night…I can’t even tell you the strife around that I did not catch him) and talk about what they have, how it’s classified and why you really never need a Butterfree.

 

#DAMStraight we are going back in time

Back in 2010, the company Daydream put together an article about The Four Cornerstones of Digital Asset Management.

See everything old is new again. I mean have you seen the acid wash high-waist jean shorts and crop tops. We did not need to do the 90s over again.

We look at DAM systems as more than just software, it’s something that needs time, attention, staff and governance. It’s not a one and done or something you just install on people’s desktops.

I think more people are starting to see DAM as more but let’s go back to the four cornerstones of why it is more.

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This handy dandy little graphic is my visualization of what Daydream was talking about back in 2010. Now back in 2010 (just to give you a frame of reference) Apple released the new iPhone 4 as well as the iPad and Android powered phones begin to outsell Apple in the smart phone market. Just six years ago friends. If you have yet to notice, our world moves pretty fast, and if you don’t slow down you just might miss it.

Let’s move into methodology.

Assets + Metadata + Workflow + Permissions = Digital Asset Management

Each of these things provides a base for building your DAM. A cornerstone is literally a stone that forms the base of a corner of a building, joining the walls. Without the cornerstones the walls cannot join.

Without each of these cornerstones above, the DAM cannot function. I like that the article calls the methodology for DAM “The Four Cornerstones of DAM.” Mostly because I have yet to see someone in our circle come up with a name for the methodology that we all know so well. It’s second nature for those of us that have been working in the space, but for those that are new to the field or are trying to best understand why it’s not Dropbox or OneDrive it’s helpful.

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What do you need to manage? What is your currency? These two questions are the basics. Every company, department and business unit has a currency. Sometimes its data for those that deal in analytics and sometimes it is creative materials like banner ads, TV spots or coveted branding that most marketers work with. We are not talking about Bit Coins here.

Figuring out what your currency is the first step. What do you want to protect? What is your pain point that you can’t find (or your peers are constantly asking you for)? When you assess your assets, you have to realize that GI = GO (Garbage In = Garbage Out). If you put in assets that no one really cares about or a small number of people that know how to find them in the first place, guess who will use your DAM.

Thinking beyond just the assets and to how they will be used by your DAM audience is essential. If you build a DAM full of creative assets in their raw form, but then give access to a team of marketers that have no clue what to do with that, it’s of no use. Now we always want the raw forms, but we also want the full finalized files. This allows us to share our creative assets with a third party that could be translating the file for us into a different language. This is a huge help to our business partners! If you are in a global or international company, making sure you have the raw creative files is a must. In my previous role in international digital asset management, we knew that the global teams (based in the US mostly) had the biggest budgets as well as the US teams. This was important because if they created something that was relevant to other markets it would be easy for them to reuse. All the marketing teams in the other countries had to do was to take that raw creative file to their local creative vendor (which was always more reasonably priced) to get it translated or edited for their country to be used. Huge cost savings overall. There came a point where I started to re-write the MSAs for most of our creative vendors saying that final payment would not be issued until the final raw creative file as well as the final agreed upon piece was uploaded to our DAM.

Sounds harsh?

You should be. We spend hundreds of thousands of budget dollars on creative material. Never forget you own that. The agency does not.

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In the land of the lost assets, this is how you start to make chaos into order.

We see metadata making or breaking how a DAM functions and ultimately succeeds over time.

The two functions that it serves are cataloging and fueling the search of the DAM.  This is a good time to remember our little GI = GO. Taxonomy also serves as a big help especially for companies dealing with assets that can run the gamut of acronyms or globally different.

Example (I love examples)

This is my asset. It is a taco.
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Yummy huh?

You could take a pulse and get lots of metadata for this specific asset. Most common would be: taco, Mexican food, comida (if you have a second language in your DAM), chorizo (if you knew what kind of meat was in there). From there you can even say the kind of image it is (JPG, GIF or PNG), date, title, who owns it and all that good stuff.

But the question is: is a taco a taco everywhere in the world? If I use “taco” as a piece of metadata and my internal business partner is from (let’s just take Taco Bell out of this example for everyone’ safety) the word taco might not be in their vocabulary.

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They might call the picture above a taco. Regionally, they could be a taco or a taquito. Regions anywhere in the world (just like here in the US) can call things different. So how do we unite the metadata?

To get good quality search results, where you actually get what you came to find, metadata cataloging must be done with the needs of those that are doing the searching. #knowyouraudience

And other than getting really hungry, where are we going with this?

Controlled Vocabulary.

Having a controlled vocabulary of terms that 80% of your audience will be searching for is what to aim for. This should be pretty easy.  Even in a company that deals with hundreds of thousands of SKUs in their DAM, I bet you have some key categories that can help you drill down, due to their controlled vocabulary.

My favorite example is Grainger. Past employer that I loved working for.

If you go to their site, you will see how many products they have and SKUs out the wazoo. Go to “Power tools” from there you see you still have more product categories and brand (price and shop by are not needed for a DAM example).  This is why setting up your DAM takes time and takes methodology. It’s not Drop Box or OneDrive. You don’t’ just stove stuff into your junk drawer and say I’ll know where it is next time.

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Workflow

So what happens after that beautiful asset of the taco (appropriately tagged) goes into the DAM?

Most times once that asset gets uploaded the basic functions will happen to it. Search, upload, editing the metadata, downloading, sharing and MAYBE integration to a third party like email or web.

Workflow models cover who has responsibly for making a decision when that function happens.

Is that asset restricted? Does someone need to approve the downloading?

There is a risk/opportunity to having too many workflows in the DAM so that people can get what they need, when they need it. It’s the dream that is reality of the DAM to get people what they need.

Workflows are just that, a way to help us manage things that are outside of SOP (in my opinion) like rights access (nice segway…..)

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Permissions

Depending on the content of your DAM, your permissions will reflect your assets.

But it all boils down to the age old question of who can do what to which assets, metadata or workflows or maybe a combo of all of them.

Permissions are where we talk about the big “R” that is business risk.  DAM systems are generally used by more than one person, team, group of people or even external vendors. The permissions framework needs to be compatible with the needs of the business (rigid or flexible). Permissions should also reflect the staff you have resourced to support the DAM.  Please tell me you didn’t buy a DAM without carefully thinking about who or what team will take care of it.

The key to effective permissions is the balance between what can people find on Google (or if it got out we really wouldn’t mind because you can find it easily) and what would we legally not want out there.

That balance is knowing the assets and having conversations with the asset owner.

Effective permissions say that internal people are all the same, external people are all the same and there are possibly some super users in the bunch. Otherwise you make the road so narrow, no one can walk down it, nor remember why it was created so narrow over time.

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So while this article was written as the iPhone 4 was coming out, you can see its nothing earth shattering or mind blowing.

It’s simple, straightforward and makes sense.

You see, methodology doesn’t have to be scary or  process focused or big brained.

For methodology to work, it’s got to make sense, safe time (and money) and make work easier. This my friends is why #DAMStraight digital asset management is a methodology not a piece of software.

 

 

#DAMStraight that’s a Dynamic Duo

Like two peas in a pod, the dynamic duo of IT and Marketing save the day.

This is not utopia, or at least it shouldn’t be. Right? They say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

Believe it or not, IT wants to be your partner Marketing friends. Marketing friends, believe it or not IT does not want to be a pain in the butt with processes and procedures. But here’s the thing, you both want the exact same thing at the end of the day.

So today we find ourselves talking about how to become BFFs between IT and Marketing.

The good news:

  • Both organizations are usually pretty large which is an advantage for us to find people of like us. People that want to change the business for the better.
  • Both organizations really like to keep things simple and get them done well.
  • Both organizations like technology
  • Both organizations like #GSD (getting stuff done)
  • Both have requirements that are specific to their #GSD
  • Both report to a C level executive that is always asking about new and exciting things in digital and most do not work with what we already have internally
  • Both know the pain (and joy) of working with vendors

The list could go on. The important take-away from this is that the two areas are more alike than different.

Now in past lives (aka jobs I had before the job I now have) IT has grown from this group of folks that you only call when you are in trouble (who am I kidding, I still do) to being business partners. They are the ones that maintain the systems, they negotiate the contracts with our internal systems to make sure our requirements and all our tools play nicely, they help us by making amazing workflows that push work out effortlessly to us…among everything else.

Digital marketing used to be something niche. A ‘specialty’ that some Marketers could or would do. Now it’s something that should be a part of all Marketers resume. I honestly can’t come to mind of an industry that does not need to know about mobile first, web presence, SEO, social media and close looped marketing. All the things that have just become standard for Marketers.

Here’s the proverbial meat and potatoes.

What if you are not BFFs? What if your IT partners are in fact, not partners?  What if instead of a Dynamic Du0 (unabashed shout out to Aaron Voyles and Bhawna Sharma as we are the trio!!) you have a Nemesis in IT?

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Steps to work it out.

  1. Find an ally– remember we talked about how both organizations have lots of people in them?  By a simple  numbers game, there has -got- to be someone in that organization that wants to make things better between the two. It might be a bit of digging, and they may not be the most senior person, but that’s where it starts.
  2. Meet regularly. Not kidding. In one of my roles I had asked how frequently IT and Marketing meet and they said never. So we started meeting monthly, and the information from these meetings has been so meaty! We get direct input into their world and they into ours. We even found some huge gaps that are a direct impact on both of our teams and we get to fix it, together.
  3. Eat together (or combine 2 and 3 and bring them donuts to meetings) If lunches don’t work, or happy hours are out of the question then bring a peace offering of donuts to your next meeting. Those beautiful yeasty, sugary treats make everyone smile. Even the guy that says he does triathlons on weekends. This creates community. It puts you guys “in the trenches” together. It’s relationship building, something that traditionally IT does within IT but not outside it. If you’re a Marketer, it’s your job to reach out first!
  4. Do some research. Find out about their infrastructure and organization. Some IT’s are relatively straight forward but some are really complex. It all depends what kind of business you are in and what IT touches. If you find out that it’s a bigger ball of string than you can get your arms around, ask. You know, at one of those meetings or eatings or happy hours.
  5. Go to a conference together.I am beyond glad I did this in my old role. It was not only a blast but I sat side by side with my cohorts and when i would get excited about something, I’d look over and smile and they would be smiling too! It’s a great way to hypothesize about what could be and what we want our organization to be doing, together.

The good news is there are lots of companies that are doing it really well. Companies that are converging IT and Marketing. I love this thought of the new field of Marketing Technologists. Bridging the gap between Marketers that want to be product specific folks, that want to do launches and campaigns and the Marketers that love to make those experiences happen for whoever their customer is. And those Marketing Technologists are the unicorns out there that can speak the language of IT as well as Marketing. They are the glue that keeps it all together.

How does this wrap up nicely to DAM?

Friend, your DAM (or your DAM to be) is dependent on IT and Marketing being BFFs. You will need your IT friends to help with the workflows and infrastructure and possibly rights management. You will need them to identify other business partners that may have DAM-like things going on in different departments and you need their amazing brains to help you integrate it into faster and smarter marketing tools.

Be well friends. Go forth and find new IT BFFs today.

 

 

 

 

#DAMStraight you don’t know it all.

Our big brain balls love food. Knowledge, tidbits and random factoids. The constant need for learning is something that never stops. Whether it’s about something we are geeky about like a hobby or if it’s professional growth like getting an MBA our brains crave growth.

It’s no wonder why there are so many kinds of knowledge. Everyone has a favorite flavor.

Same goes for DAM knowledge.
There is a lot out there so let’s start with a small analogy (this should be good, if I take a wrong turn just pull me back sometimes my analogies can get weird).

So you want to buy a car, no better yet, a truck (way more fun than a car). So you do some research with a third party that does not sell trucks (or cars). That way the information is unbiased. They have no steak in the game. They just tell you the good, the bad and the ugly. That way you know what you are getting. You make the decision. You figure out the brand, what you want it to do, how you want it to look and how you want it to perform. Have you talked to other people that have the truck you are interested in? What do they think? How do they use it?

See where I’m going with this? I knew you did, you’re so smart.

But what was the one thing you knew about the truck before you got there? Before you even decided that you wanted a truck. You knew how you were going to use the truck. You probably had a laundry list of ways to use it and how to use it. But do you know all the capabilities of the truck? Probably but have you ever hitched something to the back? Have you ever driven a truck in snow? Much less the arctic tundra that is Chicagoland?

The DAM world is like that.

We are this community of people that love to organize, save money and do things more efficiently, I think.

When you start the DAM process, you may or may not have gone through the process of strategy. The “how are we going to do this” or the “what does this look like long term” or the dreaded “you don’t know a damn thing about it and your team keeps asking for funding.”

Let’s go back to our truck example and apply some DAM folks I know.

You know you want a DAM, no friend, your business –needs- a DAM. The days of trying to shove your assets into DAM-like cloud solutions is over. They are, after all, glorified shared drives. No metadata, no real search…the list goes on. So you know what you want but not sure what you need for your business and while there are loads of great ones out there, you want to use the one that works for you.

So you do some research and see some of my favorite people (fellow #DAMlady) like Theresa Regli. She works with the folks at The Real Story Group. They are –the- consumer reports of the DAM world. They are unbiased and tell it like it is.

Next up, meet up with some #DAM folks at one of the great get together we have all over the world. Henry Stewart Conferences for Digital Asset Management are a way to meet up with those that are in the same DAM boat. With conferences in Europe, New York, Chicago (oh yah), and LA, you have four chances to meet new people and learn new stuff. You could go to all four and meet new people and learn new stuff each time. It’s why I’m personally a big fan. Other than meeting other folks that are in your particular boat, they also offer up lots of personal stories from people just like us. They talk about the struggles, the successes and what they’ve learned along the way. It’s not a bunch of unattainable goals, people that you’ve heard of but have no interest in teaching you or stories that will never happen to you.

 

It’s real #DAM talk. I’ve literally made some of the neatest people in the world at these events. Even went to 3 out of the 4 last year. Do I have a punch card? Sadly, no.

The last piece. What do you do with that DAM once you have it? This is a gap that has been a big pain point for a lot of folks in the industry. The vendors make the tool and do a great job with it, but their expertise is in that specific tool and how it performs. They do their best to make sure it works for you, but they are biased.

There are amazing blogs and books but what about those of us that need more.

What about the DAM fundamentals, how to make a DAM vision, how to communicate that DAM plan, what is your current state. What about the big nasty acronym that no one likes, ROI. Is anyone out there helping you project the benefit? Well, that’s another piece of your journey.

DAM Academy is fantastic. 8 sessions at your pace. One of the few places you can get on demand learning as well as have access to real people behind the training. Not just any kind of real people though, people that know DAM and the field.  Strategy beyond technology.  The guy behind it is the real deal. He’s done stuff all over the place and like me, is passionate about education, Dan McGraw. Get the knowledge to the people that need it. Create materials that people need and can use at any level. Make it knowledge that helps people get jobs in the industry because they –are- those DAM SMEs (subject matter experts).

Hey and just for reading this blog (this really long winded one by the way), I have a special treat for you. No not my infamous cupcakes, they don’t travel well. Those 8 sessions have been fine tuned for you, the DAM community. The good news is that you are getting the preview to pre-register for these because there are only 20 seats. I know, I know. Why do you need a seat there? Check out the content, then tell me that you nothing in those 8 sessions could benefit you as a DAM professional. I’m already digging in myself and I have to tell you, its good stuff.

As always, I hope this was helpful. A bit longer than my normal rantings but talking about knowledge is so important. Continued education in any field is how we become better at our passions as well as what we do day in and out.

If anything, you know I’ll always steer you the right way here on #DAMStraight.

I’ll share news, information and other mostly relevant DAM stuff. Because at the end of the day we are, #DAMCommunity.