As historian Stephen Davies notes in Going Viral: The History and Economics of Pandemics, the pandemic has not introduced anything new – it has only accelerated ongoing trends. And one of those trends that started before the pandemic and was accelerated by the crisis is the shift to omnichannel shopping. Customers are more selective and the buying journey is more complex than ever. Retailers are ramping up digital and omnichannel marketing innovation efforts to reinvent store operations and achieve high scores in customer safety and convenience. New omnichannel fulfillment models like buy online, collect in store (BOPIS) are becoming increasingly popular, with 56% of consumers intending to continue using BOPIS even after the pandemic is over.
As in-person interactions give way to virtual engagements, managing digital assets — images, videos, graphics, music, animations, podcasts, and other rich media content — becomes all the more important for marketers who make themselves compete for the attention of their customers. With reduced attention spans and non-linear purchase journeys, the ability to produce the most relevant and accurate content assets at the right time is a key differentiator. That’s why retailers are investing in digital asset management (DAM) solutions that allow them to efficiently store, sort, manage, retrieve and distribute updated digital assets wherever customers are.
With the proliferation of digital channels and social media, the global DAM market is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $13.94 billion by 2028. Today, it is essential for brands to present messages and consistent images to build brand authority and drive growth. DAM drives a company’s omnichannel strategy so that brand communication accuracy and reliability are never compromised. Additionally, for a scalable omnichannel approach dominated by mobile commerce and smart devices, a robust backend is needed where scalability, efficiency, and simple workflows become the foundation of performance. And DAM scores high in this aspect by providing a single source of truth that forms the foundation of a successful omnichannel strategy.
Here are a few things that make DAM the backbone of your omnichannel success:
Flexibility is key to successful omnichannel marketing, as nearly half of global consumers (49%) prefer to shop anywhere, anytime. To keep up with ever-changing customer behaviors and shopping preferences, retailers need to be able to identify opportunities for continuous innovation by evaluating their existing omnichannel offerings. They need to keep up with the emerging needs of their customers and ensure consistent customer experiences. This requires maximum flexibility to deliver the right content to the right people, across all channels and devices, primarily in real time. With flexible metadata schemas, DAM enables intuitive search and improves accessibility and repurposing of relevant brand assets to meet specific sales and marketing needs.
Accurate information is the least customers expect today, and that accuracy forms the foundation for real-time, personalized experiences. 76% of marketers agree that the demand for personalized content is driving the need for accurate, up-to-date digital assets that enable precise targeting in an omnichannel environment characterized by complex purchase journeys. DAM plays an important role in eliminating inaccuracies and inconsistencies to deliver consistent, seamless brand experiences and personalized communications across all touchpoints. It preserves the integrity of digital assets by providing the required access rights and permissions at very precise levels. As the guardian of all company assets such as logos, text, images, graphics, videos, music, etc., DAM helps manage regulatory compliance and avoids costly errors that erode brand value.
Studies have shown that 85% of marketers are under constant pressure to create brand assets and deliver campaigns quickly. Centralizing digital assets within a digital asset management platform accelerates production cycles by improving file transfer speeds. Digital asset management can be integrated with existing content management systems (CMS), product information management (PIM) solutions, social plug-ins, and video tools to quickly create and deploy digital assets. You can find, share, and reuse assets when and where you need them, reducing production costs and eliminating duplicate workflows. Digital asset management helps design workflows that eliminate handoffs, reduce wasted time, and decrease downtime. By breaking down silos of data and improving transparency and collaboration among different stakeholders, DAM optimizes operations, improves business process efficiency, and delivers faster time-to-market (GTM).
Omnichannel businesses need an infrastructure that can scale with growth and handle increased demand. Whether it’s peak seasons or mergers and acquisitions, DAM solutions allow brand marketers to incorporate additional assets and provide appropriate levels of visibility and access rights to new users. A DAM solution is able to scale in capacity and functionality to meet current and future needs. Its scalability allows for multiple users to be added and integrations to expand without slowing down or impacting the user experience. It also enables brands to respond to the exponential increase in high-resolution content due to the growing adoption of disruptive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), Internet of Things, etc.
Retailers need to deliver a seamless and consistent customer experience, regardless of the channels (physical and digital) their customers interact with. As a single source of truth with version control functionality, Digital Asset Management (DAM) maintains consistent and up-to-date versions of all digital assets for internal and external use. With the rapid proliferation of social commerce and other digital channels, the visibility of brand assets has increased dramatically. Today, customers browse at least six channels and use two devices before making a purchase. Therefore, brands need to ensure that customers see the most up-to-date versions of branded content, including images and messaging, across all touchpoints at all times. Using the right assets consistently strengthens brand voice, creates brand value and fuels growth.
The success of any omnichannel marketing strategy lies in the marketer’s ability to synchronize different channels of interaction into one unified brand experience. Although many brands deliver messages through multiple channels, they often lack the ability to connect these isolated moments of communication into a single, cohesive and unified brand story. Digital Asset Management helps brands solve this challenge by synchronizing their online or digital channels (email, web, mobile, social, AR/VR, IoT apps and other emerging channels) with traditional offline channels like direct mail, in-store, call center, and more. This results in consistent brand stories and consistent, contextual experiences, increasing brand loyalty and customer retention.
As the next normal takes shape, customer expectations are continually changing and evolving. The new ground rules require brands to respond with agility when it comes to driving innovation in their omnichannel experience. Investing in digital asset management will help brands improve customer engagement, spark more meaningful conversations, and nurture stronger customer relationships to survive and thrive in the new world.
(The author Rajneesh Kumar, Director of Marketing at Pimcore Global Services (A Happiest Minds Company) and the opinions expressed in this article are his own)