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24 July 2023

DAM: A powerhouse for marketing professionals

Tim Melis
Media Workflow Consultant bij Catena Company

Many marketing professionals will surely agree: a successful marketing strategy stands or falls with having professional images. Nothing is more important than images that highlight products, services, events, people and/or locations with razor sharp clarity.

Strong visuals, animations and videos often play the leading role in any successful campaign. Those campaigns are often not limited to one channel. A successful omnichannel marketing strategy often addresses multiple channels. Social media, print, kiosks, portals, websites. All must be provided with high quality visual content. And precisely because of this enormous added value, neither cost nor effort is often spared. By calling in professional photographers and videographers, who use high-tech means such as HD, 4K and 3D cameras, steadycams, video cranes and drones, every marketing department can dispose of excellent visual material. But even those who have to make do on a more discreet budget can use the better smartphone and a few tools to create professional content themselves. After some hands-on training, any marketing strategist can now provide premium content themselves.

Whether you call on outside expertise, or whether or not you work with a colleague, the end result will find its way to marketers via hard drives, USB sticks, emails, WeTransfer links, OneDrive shares, or even still DVDs. To then be stored on computers, servers, NAS systems, SharePoint folders, … Often without logic or structure. The fact that these valuable files are often not protected against irreversible deletion or safeguarded by a solid backup strategy is unfortunately still too often an Achilles’ heel.

And so it happens that over time, the first problems arise. The once precious files cannot be recovered, are overwritten, or even deleted. Thus not only the most important marketing assets of a company disappear, but also opportunities to put the core business of the company prominently in the picture. As a result, every well thought-out marketing strategy collapses like a house of cards.

What is often overlooked is the importance of managing all those valuable digital assets. An organized and structured way to quickly find the right files to share with others can provide a solution. And it is precisely for this task that “DAM” systems are ideally suited. Digital Asset Management systems are not new, but have been gaining tremendous popularity in recent years. And rightly so. They provide a central place where all assets can be managed. And just by securing management and storage in one point, it also becomes particularly easy to find and share assets with colleagues, external partners or use them on social media. All stakeholders can have easy access as well as the ability to access and/or download files.


Consulting assets

Anyone using a DAM solution will quickly see how it eliminates the need for lengthy searches for just those crucial images. Anyone with access to the system will be able to use intuitive filter menus and/or simple searches to quickly locate the files that they need.

They will also be able to use additional information that is inherently linked to an asset and make use of additional input fields during configuration that go beyond the standard search fields. These input fields can vary according to selected options, categories, and subcategories, etc. and are known as ‘adaptive metadata’. This information can then be used for later searches.

Assets contain more information than might immediately meet the eye. Hidden metadata (EXIF, XMP, etc.), such as the name of the photographer, copyright, GPS coordinates and more, can also be imported automatically.

The breakthrough of AI (Artificial Intelligence) has created vast opportunity in a great many areas, including in DAM systems. With AI, these systems can easily and automatically apply ‘tags’ to imagery and with automatic recognition, elements in images can later be searched. If the automatic process fails to satisfy the use case, e.g. when specific product and/or project numbers are needed, tags can be assigned to imagery manually,

It’s also possible to link assets together, allowing related files to be quickly located.


The combination of these settings forms the ‘taxonomy’ of the DAM, the beating heart of the portal. The better it is configured, the more easily, the more efficiently and the more effectively searches and work can be carried out. A carefully considered setup can be simple, with no unnecessary complexity. Finding the right balance is thus essential, something that Catena Company can support and advise clients with and on with the requisite expertise.

Once we have completed our searches, the results are displayed in an overview that can be set up in numerous different ways. Zoom options allow results to be enlarged for better visual inspection. There’s also the option to display a complex watermark over specific types of asset or user so that dishonest use can be prevented.

Retrieving and sharing files

A DAM system makes it easy to locate assets and to then download them with the click of a button. Users who have not been granted the appropriate user permissions can still commence a download after submitting a digital request.

But why download files only for them to then be uploaded into another system or portal? That’s the world upside down, on its head. Assets with a ‘direct link’ can be used immediately on other portals and/or platforms with this public URL.

Maybe you need to collate multiple assets for sharing? By putting together customised ‘collections’, they can be forwarded to colleagues or external contacts, such as editors, publishers, distributors, suppliers, etc. A direct link can be used to facilitate this, with or without a start and/or end date. Permissions can be adjusted on a collection-by-collection basis, including for those who may not have access to the portal. These collections can be integrated into other portals and/or systems via HTML components.

Adding files

The system makes it easy for internal employees or external freelancers, suppliers, etc. to add and collate content. Those with access already can upload content directly, and assign appropriate metadata. Others, including external photographers, can use an optional module on the login page to upload files and designate a contact person. Without needing to have access, these files arrive in a waiting area for approval by an administrator, who can also assign appropriate information.

Metadata are set so that all critical information needs to be completed. That way, we can prevent assets from becoming lost and irretrievable.

Derivatives and DAT

Those working with assets from the DAM will not always want to have to use the original source file. As these are often too large and/or have the wrong aspect ratio, they are downloaded in a classic workflow so that they can then be manually adjusted in an image processing package. These steps can be eliminated. During initial configuration, settings are available for automatic creation of specific variants for individual purposes, including for social media or for presentation software. That way, the user merely needs to click on the right button for the result that he wants. There’s also a cropping tool that can be used for a unique crop that has not otherwise been provided.

Those who need a wide range of variants on different portals, platforms and websites can consider licensing the DAT module. Having a licence enables on-the-fly dynamic retrieval of imagery at the desired resolution and with the right aspect ratio. A shining example of innovation and processing power.



Cloud-based management

There has never been so much to do in terms of cybersecurity as there is now and there is a permanent threat of cyber and ransomware attacks to keep companies on their toes. Continuously monitoring and updating software have become a full-time job. And that’s precisely the reason that companies so frequently opt for cloud-based solutions. Opting for a SAAS solution can eliminate many of the worries stemming from security and backups so that companies can focus on what matters.   


Adobe Bridge is not a DAM

Although there are visual similarities between Adobe Bridge and a DAM system, it’s important to emphasise that gulf between the two. It is a common misconception that they are the same. Adobe Bridge allows individual users to retrieve local imagery visually and quickly, but is not a solid server solution with the above features. Putting this solution under the same heading is thus entirely unjustified.


The past decades have seen various technologies that have had a major impact on business. Like the advent of e-mail, ERP and PIM systems, DAM solutions represent the next step in boosting the efficiency of businesses. Any marketing department that wants to work with content professionally will find the idea of access to a robust platform appealing. Centrally managing these assets makes all marketing assets easily accessible. Internal marketing or sales colleagues, external editors, resellers,… anyone can work with high-quality content in a centralised and secure environment.

Catena Company has been a prominent partner, supporting companies with DAM implementation throughout the Benelux for fifteen years. This unique expertise allows us to help clients with the roll-out of a powerful marketing strategy by putting the right tools to use. Would you like to know more about how DAM can help to boost your company? Please get in touch! There is no obligation!


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