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5 creative media asset management methods that slow projects down

7 min read
Nick Lanspa

Here's a scary thought: are you managing your creative assets like it's 2010? 

You may be laughing at that question. Marketing technology and marketing campaigns have evolved far past Excel spreadsheets and email coordination. Yet, even though marketing campaigns have grown into complex, multi-format and multi-channel efforts, this is exactly how creative operations teams are still managing and categorizing their creative media files for those campaigns.

Using outdated, manual methods for tracking and organizing your creative media files isn’t just a major and annoying time cost–it can sabotage your entire creative team’s productivity.

Let’s dig in and see how this might be truer than your creative team may like to admit.

What we'll cover

What is creative asset management?

Creative asset management refers to the process of how creative operations managers and brands organize, store, and effectively utilize digital assets used in creative endeavors, such as images, videos, graphics, and other multimedia elements. It involves implementing a systematic approach to categorizing, tagging, and archiving these assets, making them easily searchable and accessible for all stakeholders in a business.

Effective creative asset management is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it enhances collaboration and efficiency by allowing teams to quickly locate and share assets, reducing time spent searching for files. It also ensures consistency in branding and messaging across various campaigns and channels.

Moreover, asset management enables better rights and usage tracking, protecting organizations from legal and copyright issues. Ultimately, creative asset management streamlines workflows, fosters creativity, and maximizes the value of digital assets in today's fast-paced, content-driven landscape.

So, what's the big deal with outdated creative asset management methods?

Creative assets is the lifeblood of your marketing strategy. They're the captivating images, compelling videos, and persuasive copy that fuel your brand campaigns. 

An efficient, updated Creative Asset Management (CAM) process ensures that these vital resources are always at your team’s fingertips, organized, and ready for action.

By failing to modernize your approach to manage your creative media files and assets, your creative team risks lagging behind in a world where speed, efficiency, and agility are paramount. 

There’s simply too many file types and a greater volume of content being produced for marketing and brand campaigns to track, store, and organize it all manually. Manual processes can create bottlenecks, disconnected tools can lead to communication breakdowns, and poor asset organization can result in wasted time and resources. Simply managing files in spreadsheets or shared folders can become a job in and of itself.

On the other hand, embracing the latest CAM technologies and methods can unlock unprecedented levels of productivity and collaboration, while ensuring your assets are always secure, accessible, and optimized for use. 

Let’s dive into some of the major culprits haunting your decades-old asset management process without you even realizing it.

Relying on manual asset management

Once upon a time, creative teams didn't have a choice for creating a list of all files and assets created for a brand. Excel was the king, and manual data entry was the norm. But that was then. Now, it's like trying to catch a grizzly bear with a butterfly net. It's slow, error-prone, and let's face it, a total nightmare for your creative operations manager.

Automated media asset management is the way to go. Using systems that can automatically file, tag, store, and share your files either mid-flight during campaign development or archive approved files is key to keeping your team’s sanity and saving hours of manual categorization.

Lack of integration across creative production and marketing systems

Here's another terrifying nightmare from the past: operating in asset silos. In the past, your brand may have only produced a handful of different media types. Now, media files are created across a huge array of systems and used across a dizzying amount of channels. At a baseline, these systems and channels need to work together in order to keep versions up-to-date and streamline file sharing.

When your marketing asset management system, design software, communication tools, and review and approval platform all disconnected. It's like trying to communicate in all different foreign languages without a translator app.

Today, integration is key and an expected feature of any respectable software tool used by creative teams. All your tools that are used to create media assets like Adobe and Final Cut Pro and to approve and store those files should talk to each other. They need to play nice.

Successful creative teams should use tools that native integrate across the entire creative project lifecycle: design, project management, feedback, and finally asset management software.  Time saved, tasks automated, and no more miscommunications. So, if you're stuck with a dinosaur of ancient tools with poor connectivity, it's high time for a change.

Using local servers instead of cloud-based asset management

Still hosting your assets on a local server? Using a local server is a bit like hoarding all your supplies in a building surrounded by a zombie attack. If something goes wrong, all your assets will be inaccessible. It also makes adding and updating new files tedious and slow.

In this digital age, cloud-based asset management tools are a godsend. Access your assets anytime, anywhere. Especially in the time of remote marketing departments and international teams, it's a no-brainer.

Lack of scalability 

Got an asset management system that can't grow with you, but is still being used because it’s what your team is comfortable with? At first the pain of change might not feel worth it, but eventually, your growth will outpace functionality. It’ll feel like trying to fit an elephant into a mini cooper soon enough. 

If you’re storing files on a local server or shared drives, the maintenance and customization needed to scale it ultimately takes the power away from your creative team. You’ll always be relying on internal resources to add to, update or change your asset library–a risk for fast-moving creative work. 

Your asset management system must be scalable to meet your growing needs. It may not be fun switching tools and building out a new media management processes, but it’s better than being trapped with an outdated system that can’t meet the modern demands of your marketing process.

Poor searchability and asset tagging

Not being able to find the updated assets you're looking for is like being lost in a haunted pyramid without a map. No matter what system you use for asset management, having proper tagging and searchability are vital. If you can't find it, it's as good as gone. You don’t want to burden your creative team with wasting minutes (or sometimes hours!) tracking down an old or existing file they need to hit a fast-approaching deadline.

Every worthwhile asset management tool will have a tagging system in place. Once you develop a predictable, easy-to-use asset hierarchy tailored to your creative team, you’ll streamline the process of categorizing and recalling files on demand.

Modernized your creative asset management process

So, is it time to reconsider your creative media asset management? If you're guilty of these outdated practices, the answer is a resounding yes. Don't be stuck in the past. Embrace the future and watch your team's productivity soar. It's time to kick these old habits to the curb.

Moving to a digital asset management (DAM) system that can do the heavy lifting for your is the first step. Here are some of the best we would recommend checking out:

However, asset management is both an ongoing process during creative asset production and the final step in archiving and storing your completed assets. CAM/DAM systems should plug into both your creative production software and your creative workflow solutions for an air-tight asset management strategy throughout the entire creative lifecycle.

Remember, it's not just about staying up-to-date. It's about paving the way for smoother workflows, improved collaboration, and ultimately, more successful projects. So, don't get left behind. Upgrade your media asset management tools methods today. You'll be glad you did!

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