Marketing, by nature, is a media-rich effort. Across websites, social media channels, advertisements, and email campaigns, companies must create, manage and distribute a wealth of media content, including original and sourced photography, video, logos, graphics and more.
To organize and store these media assets, marketers often rely on Digital Asset Management solutions (DAMs). But to handle the full lifecycle of these assets, they also need to leverage a number of additional tools that exist alongside the DAM. This broad collection of tools – the “MarTech stack” – has long been necessary for brands to attract, retain and effectively market to customers. However, the MarTech stack often is just that: a collection of various answers to business challenges, with no harmony or cohesion between the individual solutions.
This matters because in the age of the “visual economy,” every solution you add to your martech stack will interface with your media assets in some form or fashion. Given the increasing scale and variety of these assets, it’s critical that marketers find more efficient and effective ways to leverage them.
A “Fabric” Unifies the Systems It Touches
Think of your own media process: it’s likely that photos are captured, imagery is created, and videos are shot. Then those assets are moved into a creative platform for editing and then into a DAM. Brand assets stored in a DAM are at some point transitioned over to a PIM (Product Information Management), loaded into a CMS, uploaded to a website, picked up by Lead Generation, Sales or e-commerce teams and transferred into their distinct distribution systems. In this environment, you’re just moving your media around, manually manipulating the process until you get what you need. It’s inefficient, and it involves a lot of people, time and frustration.
Picturing marketing solutions as pieces of a puzzle or building-blocks in a stack helps to visualize how everything fits together and where tools integrate in this context. Assets go through a linear progression from a logical starting point to a single endpoint. Here, the “platform” is the foundation each new solution is built upon, but it’s also easy to see how some solutions don’t fit neatly with each other as we start creating new versions of assets for use across different campaigns and channels.
I like to go a step further and picture a unifying “fabric” that weaves through the stack, creating a beautifully unified system. I see three key advantages to embracing this new media-stack-building approach.
1. Eliminate Creative Busywork
A large portion of your creative team’s time is spent on what can only be called “busy work” – the act of necessary but time-consuming image manipulation to create dozens of variations of a creative asset. Resizing and optimizing media assets for their final use cases is critical, but it zaps efficiency. If you have a media management fabric that unifies this, all of your creative team’s media manipulation work can be automated. Their talent is worth gaining efficiency.
This benefit can be enjoyed by teams large and small, but the impact of more efficient workflows is felt by media-heavy websites like Apartment Therapy or Kitchn, for example. The editorial rosters for these lifestyle publications are deep – copywriters, photographers, and artists are working both individually and collaboratively to deliver beautiful inspiration for attainable projects around the home. With a unified media fabric, the potential of these teams is unlocked because automated media manipulation frees them up to do what they do best – create.
2. Achieve Pixel Perfection When It Matters Most
The end-goal of creating and distributing marketing media is ultimately engagement, and in order for your media to make a meaningful impression, you have to prioritize the customer experience. Having a media management fabric running throughout your MarTech stack will help to ensure an asset is as engaging when delivered as it was meant to be, with high consistency. You can ensure it looks as optimized in an Apple Watch thumbnail as it does on a massive 4K screen. Embracing the idea of a media management fabric helps you to deliver assets with true pixel perfection, as quickly as consumers have an appetite for them.
Bleacher Report, for example, is unique in that its video highlights are most interesting when delivered in real-time. The moment that Steph Curry shoots a seemingly effortless three-pointer, fans want to catch the highlight video immediately. It’s simply not as relevant hours or days later. Whether by fans in the arena, in a sports bar, or those taking public transit, the video needs to be high quality and play fast, regardless of where it’s viewed. The footage can be optimized in an instant for distribution across channels, increasing the chances of engagement and feeding back into the efficiency loop of minimizing busywork.
3. Stay Ahead of Digital Transformation
The media landscape is constantly evolving and that MarTech stack of yours will look different a year from now than it does today. Rethinking the stack with the fabric of media management throughout will empower your organization to react to organizational forces as you face Digital Transformation. With new technology being added and outdated or ineffective methods being removed from the stack, you can limit disruption and ensure optimal workflows, no matter the changes your organization makes. The fabric serves as a universal source of truth, sustaining your confidence in content delivery.
Your content is your brand, so it’s incredibly valuable for you to prioritize the effective management of it. When you build a stack with a unifying media management fabric running throughout, you’ll enjoy improved efficiency, consistent delivery, and the agility needed for future MarTech innovation.