Should you buy a DAM from your creative agency?

  • 8-Jul-2016

Over the years, I’ve worked with many RSG subscribers who were roped into using a “DAM” from their advertising or creative agency.

The story is almost always the same:

  1. Company hires a creative agency to conjure up an advertising or marketing campaign  
  2. Creative agency hosts the assets they create on a cloud service, which they make available to their clients as part of the review and delivery process
  3. Over time, the agency adds DAM-like, lightweight services to their delivery service such as search, download, and commenting
  4. The agency then decides they want to go to market with a product, and in turn charges licensing fees to the customer to store assets in a multi-tenant, basic library

Invariably, companies outgrow this scenario as their requirements to apply and adapt assets become more varied, and integration becomes more important. I recently evaluated an agency DAM used by a Fortune 50 company, and the system passed only three of the ten core characteristics of a DAM.  

The cautions are clear:

  1. “Agency-ware” is usually less than it appears.  Avoid monikers.  When an agency says they "have a DAM,”  you may want to test if it even can do the basics. 
  2. The business and skill set needed for developing software is dramatically different from that of a creative agency. Would you also assume a chef could raise a pig, or grow vegetables, simply because she can cook those foodstuffs well? Probably not.
  3. Do you want to tie your asset repository to a creative-services relationship?  What happens when you want to switch agencies? I've heard many a nightmare about "trapped" assets.
  4. An existing relationship is never a good reason to buy a software product from any particular company — especially if you’re buying software from a company whose core competency is services. 

In our DAM research, we rate not only how well 30+ software products can deliver on the basics, but also across a myriad of other technical criteria and strategic considerations. Be sure to have a look at an excerpt, or try out our selection tools.

Our customers say...

"The Real Story Group put their trademark stamp of insight, depth of understanding, candor and overall industry smarts in The Digital & Media Asset Management Research. For anyone working to develop an understanding of what digital asset management is, or what lessons can be distilled from dozens of first- and second-generation implementations, or read a perceptive, engaging recap of the vendor landscape, this is an outstanding resource. With a level of readability that makes accessible, at-your-fingertips, and ready-to-use content, this research is a long-awaited contribution to the field of digital asset management."

David Lipsey, Partner, Media & Entertainment at Optimity Advisors

Other Digital Asset Management posts

DAM Is Critical in 2018

  • April 12, 2018

We all need to manage digital and media assets as first-class objects. Where are you on this journey?...

2018 Digital Asset Management (DAM) Market Overview

  • March 28, 2018

The Digital Asset Management (DAM) technology marketplace continues to evolve. In 2018, we see a serious bifurcation, though, between DAM platforms that can support complex marketing use cases and those that can’t. In 2018, the gap is real and is getting wider....