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Michael Waldron

DAM for Customer Experience Banner

Interpreting The Forrester Wave™: Digital Asset Management for Customer Experience, Q1 2022 report

By Blog, multi-personas, Platform-DAM
Reading Time: 8 minutes

The latest Forrester Wave report on Digital Asset Management (DAM) for Customer Experience has just been published, and like many, perhaps you’re wondering how to make the most of this incredible resource.

 

We’re here to help.

Full disclosure, Tenovos is named in the report as a ‘strong performer’. As a startup company that is only three full years old and making its first appearance in a Forrester report, being evaluated as a strong performer is a big accomplishment for us and speaks volumes about what we’re doing in the market. 

That said, our industry experts have been in the DAM space for a long time. They’ve all used Forrester’s guidance in the past to evaluate vendors, and so we thought it would be a good idea to share our experts’ insights with you, to help you interpret the report and use it to inform your vendor selection process.

Let’s break it down.

Structure

Forrester has developed a 27-criterion evaluation of the DAM for customer experience space, and within that evaluated 14 vendors (of which Tenovos is one, as mentioned above). The criteria are split into three primary categories: Current Offering, Strategy, and Market Presence. Each vendor is given criteria scores, and then placed on the Wave as leaders, strong performers, contenders, or challengers.

The report provides a breakdown of how each DAM vendor scored across those three categories, in addition to their individual scores for each criteria. Forrester shares how it weights each criteria to help you understand how they prioritize performance.

You can find the full Forrester Wave methodology here.

Current Offering vs. Strategy:

Which is more important?

Let’s get right into this question, as it’s probably the most important one for you to consider when evaluating DAM vendors. 

Here’s a quick tl;dr on this section: you want to look at criteria that are more reflective of the future, and not just things that are fundamental current dimensions of digital asset management. Read on for more on why.

 

Read the Forrester Wave Report on Digital Asset Management in Customer Experience to help you choose the right DAM for your organization.

Click here to download the report.

There are some DAM vendors who have been in the space a long time and are really good at what they do. These companies have robust capabilities today that may satisfy all of your current needs and a little bit more. While these organizations are great choices for your DAM platform, ask yourself if they’re built to grow and change as your business needs evolve.

Think about the last five years, and how much change your business has likely experienced. The way your team goes to market, the expectations of consumers, the importance of brands, and how the digital world just continues to evolve day after day. The things that are innovative today are old news tomorrow… that’s just the way of the world now.

The DAM space is similar, in that the functionalities that are evaluated as part of the Current Offering category are really just table stakes. Library services, workflow management, clean user interfaces, DAMs today just have to do these, and do them well.

Now, you might say, when reading the report, that some DAM vendors score much higher than others for different functionalities. Well, you’re right. But that’s where things get difficult in your evaluation, because you need to decide how to prioritize the strength of the current functionality alongside the long-term strategic direction of the platform.

It’s our suggestion that aligning to the strategic vision of a DAM vendor is going to provide the most value to you in the long run. That’s because, as mentioned above, things change fast. But DAMs are complex systems that take time to implement, are not easy to swap between, and that require a lot of internal buy-in to be successful. No one wants to be changing DAM vendors every few years as your requirements evolve.

Within the Strategy category, you’re able to assess how companies approach the market and get a sense for whether or not Forrester agrees that their vision is realistic. It evaluates the roadmap, and gives an assessment of each vendor’s financial performance as well.

We’ll get into more on strategy below, but suffice it to say, the best approach is to ensure a vendor’s current offerings do match your needs, but then focus on their long-term vision and strategic direction to make sure it’s the right DAM for you in the future, as your needs grow.

What are the key criteria to evaluate?

The Forrester Wave evaluates DAM vendors on 27 criteria, which are reflected in 15 higher-level criteria. While each of these categories is important, there are a few that we believe are the most interesting to look at when evaluating your vendors. We’ve provided a breakdown here, with some thoughts on each.

 

Current Offering – Library services:

Library services are absolutely essential to the success of your DAM. Without this foundational capability, nothing in the DAM works. In fact, a decade ago, the most important characteristic of a DAM was how well it organized and indexed content for searchability. 

But DAM vendors that focus on archiving content really well, rather than activating content, are living in the past. Today, and looking to the future, how your DAM integrates and activates content, and how it can measure the impact of your content by channel, is much more significant to your business than its ability to store content.

So while library services are incredibly important, they’re also table stakes. Archiving content is the past. Activation is the future.

 

 

“Archiving content is the past.

Activation is the future.”

Current Offering – Enterprise platform integration:

As you’re evaluating DAM vendors, you’ll find two primary camps. You have certain large vendors who have DAM systems within a wider service offering. Purchasing the DAM is taking on just one part of a larger suite of products. There are some pros to these vendors — just think about Adobe and how closely connected their DAM is to their CMS platform. However, Adobe’s top priority is their CMS, meaning their DAM rarely gets prioritized for innovation and improvements.

On the other hand, you have vendors who are solely focused on providing a world-class DAM platform. The benefits here are obvious — having a vendor that pours all its resources into the software that you’ve purchased can only lead to a better DAM for you. But you run the risk of having a DAM that operates in a silo within your organization, if it can’t integrate well with other systems.

That’s why enterprise platform integration is such an important category for you to consider during your evaluation. Think about your DAM and the place it should have in your organization. At Tenovos, we believe DAMs should be as important as any other tech in the enterprise ecosystem of big consumer brands. Therefore, enterprise platform integration is critical so that you have interoperability between systems, and your content can be activated wherever it’s needed. 

Some top systems to consider here are integrations with your product information management system (PIM), your social media publishing software, CMS platform, and collaborative work management platforms to tie into enterprise workflows.

Strategy – Product vision

We’ve already said a lot in this article about the future vision of a DAM platform, and how important it is to your evaluation. But it’s worth mentioning again that, as your industry evolves and the digital revolution continues, your requirements for a DAM are going to change with it. Selecting a vendor based solely on current offerings is not going to serve you in the long term.

So, what is a good product vision?

That depends on how you see the future. At Tenovos, we believe the future is all about activating content, measuring its impact across channels, and leveraging those insights to inform content decisions on a daily basis. Today’s DAM platforms are great libraries of content, they improve productivity through workflows, and in some cases can help distribute content effectively.

But the future of content is much more granular. It’s a future where buyers and consumers expect personalized experiences. They want to see themselves in images, and they crave storytelling as a way to consume messages. Today, we’re doing a lot of guessing. Tomorrow, we should have data and insights to help us make these decisions. 

Forrester has scored each vendor’s vision in their report based on their assessment of that vendor’s ability to achieve the vision. When you’re looking at this category, take it as an indication that what each vendor says is their vision is something they can actually achieve for you. And if that vision is something you get excited about, then maybe you’ve found your next DAM provider.

Strategy – Market approach

Market approach is Forrester’s evaluation of how DAM vendors go to market, and if their approach is sound. As with other categories, you have different groups. The first are your legacy vendors who provide a strong DAM platform, and continue to do the things that are working, or who haven’t really changed their approach.

The second group are the disrupters, like Tenovos, who are new on the scene and are pushing the boundaries of what it means to provide a DAM platform. 

As you’re evaluating DAM vendors, this is a good indication of the kind of company you’re getting involved with. Are they stagnant or innovative? Are they trying to disrupt the category or maintain stability? Do you want to push the envelope or stay in familiar territory? These are all questions for you to answer, and there’s no right or wrong way to go necessarily.

Strategy – Performance

A quick note here on performance. Forrester defines this as financial performance, and the score is not reflective in any way on the platform’s performance for customers and their users. One component of the performance score is profitability, for example. 

What this doesn’t really represent well are startup companies like Tenovos. In our example, as a three-year old company, we are not profitable today because we are intentionally investing our capital to drive growth and innovation instead of cash flow. However we, like many tech startups, are venture-backed with a strong financial position and a documented plan towards profitability. We also have very strong indicators in terms of customer retention and revenue growth rates.

When you’re looking at this section, it’s important to keep these factors in mind so you don’t exclude powerful up-and-coming vendors like Tenovos from your process.

Closing thoughts

The Forrester Wave is an incredible resource for you when evaluating DAM vendors. We hope to have provided you with some insights and food for thought as you review the report, and that you’ve understood the message here that, while the report lists clear leaders, there are other factors we think you should consider when making your decision.

These are things like strategic vision and plans for the platform, abilities to integrate with enterprise platforms, and willingness to innovate within an evolving business landscape where every company is becoming a media company, and content activation is going to be supremely important.

If you’re ready to choose a modern digital asset management platform to help you activate your content, read Forrester’s Wave on DAM vendors for key insights.

If you have any questions about digital asset management, click here to contact us, or book a demo to see the Tenovos platform in action.

Dashboard icons promoting whitepaper The Modern Marketer Needs a Data-First Digital Asset Management Solution

The Modern Marketer Needs a Data-First DAM Solution

By Blog, Data, multi-personas
Reading Time: 4 minutes

In an era of increasing personalization, the key to successful marketing campaigns is effective storytelling that reaches the right audience with the right message at the right moment. If this chemistry between audience, content, and timing is the key to success, creative and marketing professionals have to rely on next-generation asset management technology that can guide them toward the right combinations by replacing guesswork with data, and surrounding content with context.

Traditionally, Digital Asset Management platforms (DAMs) have focused on assisting teams to manage their digital assets and move them from inside the organization to external partners and platforms. The premise is simple: a central repository where brands can store their assets alongside relevant metadata to make everything easy to find — photos and videos, logos and tear sheets, and any other brand collateral that needs to be used and reused.

At its most basic level, a good DAM solution enables marketers to do their jobs more efficiently. More modern DAMs employ AI and machine learning to automatically add relevant tags to assets, so teams can spend less time on tedious tasks like tagging or finding assets and more time on the creative and analytical areas of their jobs. The most advanced DAM platforms, however, go beyond managing and moving assets, to actually measuring their performance in their context of use.

 

Building a DAM for the Modern Enterprise

Over the past 20 years, the pace of change in technology has exploded, while the DAM category has lagged behind in innovation. Brands have come to expect an exceptional, personalized user experience complete with smart insights from their marketing platforms, and DAM should be no exception. As marketing becomes increasingly fast-paced and data-driven, it’s time for a completely new and different DAM experience — one that can meet the demands of an increasingly tech-savvy industry and understands its pain points.

The first and most important question that a DAM provider should ask is, ‘how does my solution help marketers do their jobs more effectively?’ That is, after all, the central goal of a DAM system: to make it easier and more efficient for creators and marketers to collaborate to design and execute successful campaigns. In other words, if finding an asset within the DAM system and searching through emails to find it take approximately the same amount of time, the system is not making teams more efficient — it’s simply adding a layer of complexity to their martech stack.

 

Creating a Seamless User Experience

Not all DAM platforms are created equal. One common issue that many enterprises face is the inability to seamlessly integrate their DAM platform with the rest of their marketing ecosystem, which can essentially negate the efficiencies gained by using an asset management solution in the first place. Considering that the code base of many solutions currently on the market is over a decade old (older, in some cases), this is a problem that will only get worse over time as marketers look to incorporate new tools and technologies into their workflows. Consequently, it’s important to find and implement a solution that leverages the use of modern technologies — such as AI/ML, micro-services, graph databases, and serverless environments — that will be able to maintain its speed and flexibility in the years to come.

An organization’s ability to collaborate seamlessly with team members across — and outside of — the organization is also a key indicator of the success of a DAM implementation. Marketing doesn’t happen in a single silo; from research to ideation, to creation to deployment, marketing is interconnected and interdisciplinary. A modern DAM platform should connect the enterprise in such a way that it simplifies the creative life cycle and enables marketers to reduce the friction and time required to launch each new campaign.

 

Data-Driven Marketers Need Data-Driven Technology

The reality is that many of the DAM solutions available on the market currently have not kept pace with the evolving needs of the increasingly data-driven marketing operation; they’re often expensive, difficult to implement, and don’t deliver the user experience marketers and creative professionals have come to expect from their technology. Seen from this angle, it’s not surprising that many organizations are hesitant to invest heavily in a new system that is not capable of demonstrating a return on investment.

Brands need modern DAM platforms that not only enable them to meet the demands of marketing in the digital age, but also help them to demonstrate — and improve — their ROI. Marketers should expect their DAM platform to provide:

 

  • A data-first approach to asset management that allows brands to measure and optimize their processes and their content to provide increasingly personalized experiences
  • A seamless user experience that drives adoption and enables teams across the world to collaborate easily
  • Performance and optimization capabilities underpinned by artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Continuous improvement and delivery to support the demands of a global omnichannel enterprise

At the end of the day, companies implement a DAM solution in order to optimize their processes and improve their ability to tell the compelling stories that are central to a successful marketing operation. This optimization should come not only in the form of improving the speed of creation, but also the strategy behind a given campaign. A system that has access to all of the contextual data that surrounds your every asset should be able to distill those data into insights that inform the creation of future content.

A modern, data-first DAM should act not only as a content database but also as a source of insight to enable marketers to make smarter creative decisions, which in turn allows them to tell stories that matter to their audience.

Want to know what types of data your DAM should be providing? Read our blog on Capturing Data Across the Story Lifecycle or contact us for more information.

 

Picture of charts

Capturing Data Across The Story Lifecycle

By Blog, Data, multi-personas
Reading Time: 4 minutes

When marketers talk about data and analytics, we are most often referring to performance data, i.e., what was the outcome of the campaign in which our marketing assets were used, or how much engagement did we generate on a particular channel?

And while this end result is critically important to decisions about the kind of assets we should produce in the future, it only tells half the story. To identify areas where we can optimize across our content operation, marketers need to gather data across the lifecycle — not just at the end.

Data-Driven Marketing: Are We There Yet?

The concept of the “data-driven” marketing organization is not new, but achieving that status is still out of reach for many. According to statistics gathered in the Invesp infographic excerpted below, nearly half of marketers feel “significant pressure” to increase the role that data plays in their current marketing strategy. That stat is unsurprising when viewed in context with the next, which is that 87% of marketers consider data to be the most underutilized asset in the organization. 

But regardless of how much pressure organizations put on their marketing teams to increase the emphasis on data, that can be difficult to do without the ability to collect that data readily and accurately. While advertising platforms and CMSs have come a long way toward providing insight into the performance of completed campaigns, everything prior to that stage is still out of focus for most organizations.

What Is Story Lifecycle Data?

Before we jump into the stages of the Story Lifecycle, let’s back up a moment to define a “Story” as we think of it here at Tenovos. Digital assets are the building blocks of your content — photos, videos, logos, etc. — the kinds of things brands manage in a Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform like ours. These assets on their own are just the beginning. When you are able to augment those assets with data such that you get a 360 degree view of your content, that’s when we call it a complete Story. These data types include classic metadata, product and business data, all the way down to performance data, which we store alongside assets in our Story Manager platform.

As any content marketer or designer can tell you, a lot of time and effort has gone on in the life of a piece of content before it reaches its final, published form. In fact, we think of this Story Lifecycle as having six stages:

  • Creative Ideation
  • Design Iteration
  • Review & Approval
  • Campaign Creation
  • Content Distribution
  • Review & Optimization

Each of these stages is generating data that can lead to actionable insights for marketers that can improve their efficiency, effectiveness, and audience engagement. Below is an example of a Story Lifecycle and the kinds of data that can be captured at each stage if the right tools are in place.

Seeing it laid out this way, can you start to imagine the kinds of opportunities you and your team would have to improve your processes and outcomes if each asset in your content library was stored alongside this kind of data profile?

How To Collect and Store Lifecycle Data

Now that you’ve seen examples of the kinds of data your Story Lifecycle is generating, you might be trying to figure out how you could go about tracking and storing that kind of information within the structure of your organization and the tools you have available. There are as many methods for doing this as there are marketing teams out there, but most companies generally fall into one of three buckets when it comes to lifecycle data:

  1. Not tracking it or storing it
  2. Tracking some of it manually or in disparate systems, but not storing it alongside content
  3. Tracking it automatically through platform integrations and storing it alongside content

Which category does your organization fall into? If you aren’t where you’d like to be, keep in mind that every move along the spectrum adds a great deal of value. That is, there’s a huge leap in value from not tracking data to manually tracking data, even if you haven’t devised a means of storing that data with the content it applies to yet!

The real magic happens when moving from bucket #2 to bucket #3. As those in #2 can tell you, manually tracking data and/or KPIs is time-consuming, and it can be hard to dedicate that kind of time when there’s no clear purpose to what you’ve collected. Without a way to easily attach what you’ve collected to your content and store it in a central hub for later review, it’s easy to let the tracking fall by the wayside when things get busy. 

But when teams are able to harness the power of automation and platform integrations to track their lifecycle data in the background and pair those insights with the content they apply to, those insights become actionable and can add real value to the organization. 

If you’re interested in learning more about managing your content library in a way that adds value and empowers your marketing team to make better decisions, click here to set up a personalized demo of Tenovos’ Active Story Management platform today. We’d love to show you what the modern, data-first DAM can do for your business.

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The Storytelling Life Cycle: 4 Strategies for Success

By Blog, Data, multi-personas
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Assets that don’t work to tell a story, often don’t work at all. But when creative teams are building assets and campaigns, how are they supposed to know which stories will resonate with their audience the most?

At Tenovos, we’re always thinking about how stories are built and contextualized. Let’s take a look at how stories move from idea to execution in the marketing world — and how storytelling strategy is important in every phase, to every role, and in every tool.

Strategy #1: Use Data to Ensure Relevance

Before you can tell an effective, impactful story, you need to understand its audience. Typically, in enterprise organizations, this insights function is handled by strategists using research tools to understand which demographic and cultural trends can be leveraged to capture attention and drive engagement.

Research tools available at this phase of content ideation tend to be market-oriented, with only scant insight into how previous campaigns and assets fared or which stories resonated with potential customers. While researchers pass recommendations on to creative teams, this research often offers little visibility into the why of each recommendation, leaving designers and copywriters struggling to understand which parts are important — and which are coincidental.

Getting it right at the research phase means keeping a laser focus on relevance. The more data you can examine from previous campaigns to see which stories resonated with buyers, the better you can plan a new campaign that engages and delights its audience.

Strategy #2: Put Content in Context

Traditional digital asset management (DAM) tools often come into the picture during the next phase, when designers and producers start to create assets using strategic recommendations.

At a typical enterprise organization these days, the teams putting together assets may be living in different time zones, working on campaigns in different languages, using dozens of different tools.

With limited visibility into the work being done by other teams, creatives are by default limited to the recommendations that come from a small slice of the overall organization.

The more context that an organization can deliver to creative teams — in the form of automated content recommendations, insights into similar campaigns, and value prediction — the better decisions those individuals can make.

Strategy #3: Be Agile and Make Real-Time Changes

As assets are deployed for a particular use (ad campaigns, social media posts, ecommerce websites, etc.), their performance in context can be measured if the right tools are in place. But for many companies, this kind of measurement happens only after, for example, a campaign has already wrapped up and spent its budget.

Realistically, this results in a lot of wasted money. Not every tactic in a major omnichannel initiative is going to succeed, and underperforming assets — perhaps those that tell a story that just doesn’t resonate — are unlikely to suddenly pick up steam after a tepid start.

Companies need real-time analytics and predictive value measurement to understand which campaigns are delivering better returns than expected, and which ones haven’t been able to gain traction. 

By re-allocating campaign spend in a data-driven, agile way, organizations can get the most from their storytelling dollar while minimizing brand dilution from stories that don’t perform well.

Strategy #4: Enhance Your Perception

Once an asset is ready to retire — whether its campaign has ended, or it’s time for a website refresh, or a social post has run its course — what happens to it? At many organizations, the answer is that the asset is put into cold storage, never to be seen or used again.

That’s because most legacy tools restrict users to finding information they’re specifically looking for, taking serendipity and intuition out of the mix. To find that one amazing asset resonated so well in a campaign three years ago, someone has to remember it and go searching.

To make assets valuable beyond their initial deployment, companies need to power their search with predictive analytics. Aided by machine learning algorithms, predictive analytics can draw connections between old assets and new strategies, validating and improving storytelling options by surfacing content automatically that the searcher might never have thought of or know to look for.

Get Strategic About Storytelling

At Tenovos, we take storytelling seriously — at every stage of the storytelling life cycle. With the Tenovos platform, your teams can contextualize and collaborate more effectively to create stories that matter, using next-generation tools that create a strategic advantage when your content is competing for attention and engagement in the digital world.

Ready to learn more about enriching your storytelling capabilities with the newest cloud-native technologies? Read our white paper or contact us for more information.