Here’s why you need a DAM workflow — and how to map it out

Learn how workflows can help you reap the full productivity benefits of a DAM and tips for sketching out your marketing team’s workflow.

A digital asset management (DAM) system is much more than a virtual storage locker for your company’s intellectual property. It enhances  productivity and efficiency in the search for, and re-use of, marketing assets through artificial intelligence and automation. Reaping the full benefits of a DAM, requires capturing workflows so administrators can address redundancies. For example, most marketing asset management (MAM) systems can’t create different versions of existing assets, but a DAM might. 

Instead of creating a request in a project management tool then waiting for new versions of an existing image to be uploaded to the MAM, a marketer could create several versions in the DAM within a few moments. This simple change could save many hours. 

Given that the largest percentage of marketers are millennials or Gen Z who’ve worked five years or less, business process concepts may be misunderstood. When asked to describe their day-to-day workflows, some may be unable to explain the term. 

What is a workflow?

A workflow is the path one takes from the beginning of a project to the end. For DAM administrators, it represents all the steps between a request for a new asset and the delivery of its final version. 

Most of us don’t think about the steps we take to perform common tasks, especially the ones we do most often. Could you write down the steps you take between deciding to go to the grocery store and putting purchased goods away in your pantry?

Marketing work boils down to a collection of projects containing tasks that are performed repetitively. While the creative process — inspiration, perspiration and activation — is often difficult for writers, designers and developers to articulate, the work products they deliver are not. 

How to sketch out a workflow

Here’s an example of the workflow for a typical marketing project:

  • A project request ideally comes in the form of a brief with detailed instructions about the messaging, look and feel and specific assets required for the project.
  • An initial draft for the client, which may be  a single piece or multiple pieces depending upon the complexity of the request. A client might request separate copy and design drafts or a full mockup of the asset(s) with copy and design in place.
  • A feedback and revision round in which the client returns comments and edits to the creative team.
  • A second draft delivery with subsequent feedback and revision rounds, if necessary, until a final proof can be obtained,
  • A final proof process where one or more stakeholders review the final asset(s) and sign off on all changes.
  • Delivery of the final asset(s) to the client.
  • Completion of the project and migration of final asset(s) to a corporate archive. 

Each of these stages can contain one or more individual tasks, such as:

  • Producing graphics.
  • Implementing templates.
  • Getting brand manager approval of particular items such as logos.
  • Editing and proofing of copy.
  • Internal Q&A prior to delivering drafts and revisions to clients.
  • Legal or other regulatory review of certain aspects of copy or design.
  • Other steps within the approval flow to ensure agreement across different operational or organizational departments.

Reviewing a process such as this can help your team map out their own processes. Using these stages as milestones, they can discuss the tasks they perform to move from one stage to the next.

Making a workflow diagram

There are many templates and flowcharts available to assist you with mapping workflow. Some are available in your desktop software, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Keynote. Even a simple list of tasks in Notepad can suffice. For example:

  1. Project Request

    1. Assign project lead
    2. Assign copywriter and graphic designer
    3. Assign web developer, if required
    4. Choose & verify templates and brand guides
    5. Write first copy draft
    6. Create three graphic mockups for creative team review

A project management platform such as Adobe Workfront, Confluence, Trello or Asanar, can convert these into forms and templates that automatically populate, assign dates and deadlines and send emails to appropriate project members. 

Setting up workflow tasks in your DAM

Some DAMs have features that will help speed tasks and eliminate speedbumps using automated workflows.

Adobe Experience Manager Assets, for example, has  a proof approval workflow  that sends links to internal or external clients and stakeholders, allowing them to OK proofs without needing access to the DAM.

Once the project management tool is linked to the DAM via API, the DAM will capture and retain all comments, revisions and updates and automatically email a copy or a link  to relevant parties. 

This can eliminate the final step of packaging and migrating final files, because they immediately become a part of the DAM system. This also makes it a simple matter for your team to share updates of works in progress to clients without  countless emails or uploading sensitive documents to clouds outside your firewall. 

DAM workflows boost productivity and efficiency

The steps to get things done mostly reside “in one’s head.” But teams cannot benefit from each other’s creativity and skill without common workflows that save everyone time. 

Once workflows are hammered out, DAM administrators can ask relevant questions about what steps take.

The post Here’s why you need a DAM workflow — and how to map it out appeared first on MarTech.


About the author

Michelle Tackabery

Michelle Tackabery is a Digital Asset Management Specialist at Oneida Nation Enterprises. She is a digital content librarian, Certified Knowledge Manager (CKM), and manager of corporate marketing assets. She is a veteran digital marketer with experience creating websites, blogs, social media, and an array of other digital assets optimized for external search and internal findability using CMS, DAM, KM, and a host of other tools & platforms. Michelle has proven expertise in emerging technologies, SEO/SEM, developer/DevOps communications, virtualization, cloud and as-a-service (XaaS) solutions, web and mobile development, electronic devices, the Internet of Things, automated intelligence/AI, information science, collections, curation, digital preservation, and metadata.