After a decision has been made to invest into DAM or MRM solutions and the system has been introduced, one of the realisations that many marketers run into is that old IS maxim, “Garbage In Garbage Out”.
First, staff begin amassing marcomms collateral with the intention of uploading it. Then there is the next job to consider: who will carry out the cataloguing work so we can all find it? At this point, enthusiasm amongst most creative and marketing personnel begins to wane and so also their motivation to complete the cataloguing work effectively.
To get through the ever growing mountain of collateral produced by the business, metadata entry and management tasks may be passed down to inexperienced juniors or carried out at high speed to ensure that assets are available on the system - where everyone just assumes their colleagues will be able to find them because they are 'on the system'.
The net result is that a lot of assets end up with generic metadata that fails to accurately describe the asset in a way that would allow them to be found using predictable and relevant keywords or categorisations. When their colleagues try to search for suitable assets, the results do not meet their expectations; they complain that the system doesn’t provide them with the material they need and look to external sources or overuse those assets which they can find, even if not entirely suitable for their needs. This all limits the ROI obtainable from both a solution and the existing digital assets already owned or licensed by the business.
To minimise these problems, a combination of strategies need to be employed along with a process of continuous improvement and refinement based on both numerical usage data and user feedback.
To help choose and apply appropriate tactics to implement a marketing-oriented metadata strategy, it is necessary to identify the characteristics of the business, its assets, the users and the workload of those who will be carrying out the cataloguing to ensure that the information architecture and workflows are appropriate. This may involve providing multiple metadata capture and cataloguing techniques rather than relying on a ‘one size fits all’ method. An ongoing training process for both marketing staff and external agencies who supply assets can help to educate those involved so that they are aware of the implications of how they carry out asset cataloguing for themselves and their colleagues.
In summary, a holistic approach to managing metadata that considers how it will be introduced and used across the marketing communications supply chain combined with a critical evaluation of how each stage is helping or hindering the ability to find assets easily can increase the ROI obtainable from a DAM system significantly.