My heart was gladdened by a post I saw this week advertising a suite of Digital Asset Management Positions. This wasn’t just the odd job post, but a well thought our structure of posts which would suggest a business that sees DAM as pretty important.
The posts include :
- Digital Asset Management Supervisor
- Talent & Rights Management Specialist
- Metadata Specialist
- Video Technical Specialist
- Catalog / Web Specialist
I know you’ll be guessing who this might be (if you’ve not already clicked the link!) so I’ll confirm it is McCann Erickson in Birmingham, MI.
I think this tells another story. It is the marketing community that is amongst the first to see the return in a DAM philosophy. The creative sector has a lot to gain from DAM. But it raises another issue in my mind. Where an agency provides the core infrastructure for an enterprise, where is the line drawn between the ownership of the assets and the client/agency relationship? In the fickle world of advertising, often led by creative prowess, what happens to the assets when the relationship ends? What legal terms around the management of assets will protect the client from seeing its managed content disappear overnight? Unlike creative direction, which can wax and wane with the seasons, a DAM strategy is for life. In my experience, this is not the hard core skill-set of your typical agency, no matter how large and successful.
A whole series of new questions arise. Is the data transferable to a new agencies DAM system? Is the metadata structured for the agency or for the client? Will the data contain new sets of rights and permissions which complicate further use of the assets down-stream? The list goes on…
All in all, a very complicated situation for the client to find itself in.
However, for the agency, this could become so important to a client that it locks in’ the agency far beyond the creative process. A good thing for the agency, no doubt.
As I said, it was so pleasing to see such an enterprising reach for the DAM sector, but do complications follow that have not yet been fully thought through?
If I were to add my words of wisdom I would recommend for every agency DAM appointment there should be a corresponding client-side role to balance the books to make sure that the client’s interests are protected long term.
The other reason is this. The effectiveness of DAM extends well beyond the reach of marketing. No department in an organization should be left out of the DAM process. Finance, HR, R&D, can all benefit from the combined knowledge wealth transfer that a good DAM strategy brings. This will not be the goal of the agency, no sir.
So while on the one hand this is a great news story, it raises the question, for me at least, of where the ownership of a DAM strategy should sit.
Those contemplating it right now should think very carefully.