Digital Asset Management Guide for Small Businesses

Small business digital asset management (DAM) solutions are systems for organizing, storing and sharing the rich media resources of a company. Creative assets such as videos, images, podcasts, and media in other formats need to be efficiently stored and shared by different teams, channels, and departments to accomplish the goals of an organization.

In today’s challenging economic environment, small businesses need to focus on cost-effective DAM solutions with the highest return on investment (ROI) to remain profitable. Innovations in technology enable companies to benefit from cloud-based communications and digital asset management systems for greater reliability, functionality, and productivity.


Editor’s note: Looking for document management software for your business? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.


Growth of digital assets

The global DAM market is expected to see significant growth by 2024. According to the Digital Asset Management Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2019 – 2024) report, the DAM market in 2018 was valued at $1,240.7 million and by 2024 is projected to grow to $6,901.6 billion. The projected rapid and exponential growth of digital asset management is due to these factors:

  1. Concerns about misplaced or lost data
  2. The need for better collaborative tools and processes due to increased globalization
  3. More focus on customer engagement and the need for consistent messaging across all devices
  4. The increased use of cloud solutions and big data analytics
  5. The emergence of artificial intelligence, including facial, optical character and speech recognition

The future of DAM systems will see companies looking for cost-effective ways to organize, store, find, retrieve and distribute digital assets with a high level of security. These are the top five projected trends for digital asset management:

  1. Artificial intelligence
  2. Cloud-based DAM
  3. Metadata management
  4. Automation
  5. Blockchain

How can small businesses benefit from digital asset management?

The digital revolution drives how consumers behave and what they expect. Digital and marketing tools enable companies to be more accessible and stay connected with their customers.

Traditionally, DAMs were attached to price tags beyond the reach of many small businesses. The cloud has revolutionized today’s DAMs by delivering better user experience and more features at prices smaller companies can afford.

By using digital asset management software and tools, small businesses can boost productivity, collaborate better, save time, and reduce costs. For example, when preparing marketing promotional collateral and client presentations, being able to quickly find the necessary media files will speed up projects and waste less time.

Small businesses that use digital asset management software can benefit in many ways. These are some of them:

  1. Saving time by integrating DAM software into existing workflows
  2. Adding a layer of protection from theft and privacy with cloud-based DAMs
  3. Spending less money on hardware storage with online cloud-based DAMs
  4. Improving efficiency by using a DAM tool to handle digital assets rather than a team of people
  5. Increasing productivity with faster deployment of marketing materials and campaigns
  6. Easily accessing assets for team members and co-workers from one centralized location
  7. Fine-tuning how assets are uploaded and distributed, such as by setting expiration dates and file permissions
  8. Ensuring brand consistency by reducing the chances of someone using an older version of branded materials across campaigns and channels
  9. Saving time and money by reusing rather than having to recreate lost assets

Why manage digital assets?

Small businesses rely on using digital assets to reach potential customers. Images, videos and other forms of media are used in marketing campaigns and are sometimes products themselves, such as streaming music, online catalogs and e-books.

Being able to find these necessary assets quickly and easily to create, track, organize and distribute is the reason small businesses need DAMs.

Useful digital assets for small businesses

Digital assets are pieces of content that are stored digitally and are valuable to a business, consumer, or user. These are the most common types:

  1. Photos
  2. Videos
  3. Slide decks such as Google Slides and PowerPoint presentations
  4. PDFs
  5. Excel spreadsheets
  6. Text files
  7. Word documents
  8. Graphics such as logos
  9. HTML documents and associated files such as CSS
  10. Audio files

Some digital assets are more valuable than others. For example, videos and photos from a one-time event can’t be replaced. Small businesses often pay a licensing fee for the right to use a photo or video. If the company can’t find the asset, the only options are to pay for another licensing fee. This is a waste of money.

Another example is a project creating a digital user manual or e-book that contains a variety of different assets such as images, diagrams and charts. When putting everything together, having an effective digital asset management solution in place will save a lot of time and money.

Digital asset management strategies

Small businesses have many reasons for implementing a DAM. These are some of the most common:

  1. Eliminating frequent requests for assets from co-workers or team members
  2. Needing to centralize assets that are spread out over various cloud storage systems and personal hard drives
  3. Tiring of spending too much time finding files needed to complete a task or project

Deciding to use a DAM is the first step for small businesses to get control over their digital assets as well as determining the best way to manage and analyze NTFS permissions and data streams. However, without a comprehensive strategy, assets can get lost, stored without proper security or become disorganized. Develop a coordinated strategy that will identify what the assets are, why they have been created and how they should be used.

1. Outline your goals.

Focus on the reasons for implementing a DAM and the high-level objectives. Define a coordinated approach to creating or acquiring digital assets, including third-party licensing issues and version control.

If your goals are for more efficient digital communication systems, then becoming aware of cloud communication trends, along with cost and productivity benefits in cloud-based communication assets can enable you to move into new areas of technology and communication efficiency.

If your goals involve improving internal processes, then avail yourself of the influx of process management software available to businesses and corporations. These tools can help you manage your assets, inventory, staff and more in productive ways. They enable expansion and better accountability. What’s more, they are scalable.

2. Identify your criteria for digital asset management software.

Analyze existing workflows to compile a list of criteria for choosing the right software. Consider these factors:

  1. How many current users will need access to your system, and what is your projected growth (need to scale)?
  2. Which hosting option will work best for your company?
  3. How many people will be uploading and need access to assets to determine licensing options?

3. Perform a content audit.

By conducting an audit of your assets, you will get a clear overview of what you currently have, how it is being used, and why it was created or acquired.

Identifying the why and how of your current digital assets will help you establish requirements on how to use and manage them moving forward. It will lead to the creation of better content and, subsequently, a better return on your investment.

4. Understand the customer journey.

Understanding the customer journey enables businesses to know what they are building and for whom. This knowledge will help translate business requirements into digital asset specifications that are measured and optimized to achieve business goals.

5. Organize the life cycle of digital assets.

The life cycle of an asset encompasses everything from creation or acquisition to distribution and everything in between:

  1. Verifying the asset was added to the system without data errors
  2. Checking the quality 
  3. Updating, extracting or entering metadata information
  4. Ensuring asset retrieval is a smooth process based on available criteria
  5. Converting asset formation that is suitable for editing or delivery
  6. Exporting asset files includes all necessary components
  7. Storing and archiving large files on cost-effective long-term storage locations

6. Determine software requirements.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for digital asset management systems. Analyze your needs and requirements before spending money on a solution. Small businesses will likely need less storage space than larger organizations with multiple departments and locations. Choose the system that meets your objectives and needs.

7. Consider how digital asset management will integrate with other systems.

Small businesses utilize many systems and processes to accomplish their business goals. Be sure the DAM you choose will integrate well with the other systems your company uses.

8. Implement digital asset management.

Implement the DAM in small steps by identifying the top priorities and acting on those first. Put together a task force of team members who will be implementing the DAM. Spend the necessary time to plan what will work best for all those who will be using the system and include them in the planning process. Taking this approach helps teams work together to build a solution that works before rolling it out company-wide.

9. Set up best practices and enforce guidelines.

To reduce the number of errors or mistakes, train your team on how to make the best use of the DAM you select. Explain the steps, reasons, and goals behind the system and encourage a culture of shared responsibility.

10. Use workflows.

It’s better to assign tasks to specific users rather than task everyone with all the steps of the workflow. Build workflows that define these operations:

  1. Obtaining files
  2. Attaching metadata information 
  3. Modifying or renaming original files
  4. Organizing, cataloging and tagging 
  5. Documenting the process in writing

Small businesses can maintain control over their digital assets and coordinate user access to content by implementing a DAM. A single repository where all assets are stored will streamline the digital asset management process.

How to Get the Most for Your Business When You Sell It

What Should a Good Credit Application Include?