Do you know where marketers spend more time when not brainstorming and running campaigns? Searching for collateral!

You read that right. With docs, images, and videos forming the chunk of marketing collateral, it is easy for any marketing team to lose track of their collateral. Files are loosely organized, lost, or even assumed to be non-existent where there is no proper system of managing these marketing collaterals.

The end result? You spend more time searching for the right creatives. When all hope is lost, you end up creating these creatives from scratch. From a surface level, this is a minor inconvenience, but the impact is huge.

For every duplicated effort in recreating assets that already exist but cannot be found, the business loses precious time and effort of marketers, designers, video editors, and every other stakeholder involved. Not to miss mentioning lag in launching campaigns.  

This blog aims to help you understand how you can tackle these marketing collateral management challenges.

Types of marketing collateral

Marketing collateral can be classified into two broad categories:

  • Physical: Tangible materials that require physical interaction.
  • Digital: Intangible content accessed through electronic devices.

Physical: Tangible materials that require physical interaction

These are marketing materials that you can actually touch and feel. They take the form of hard copies or physical objects and are used to promote your brand name or its product.

The most common types of physical marketing collateral include:

  • Print: Brochures, flyers, catalogs, reports, white papers.
  • Promotional: Sell sheets, direct mail pieces, business cards, event materials (booth signage, handouts, visiting cards).
  • Product-related: Packaging, labels, tags.
  • Merchandise: Swag (branded T-shirts, mugs, pens, etc.).

Digital: Intangible content accessed through electronic devices

Unlike their physical counterparts, digital marketing collaterals do not have a material existence. They exist as soft copies that are distributed through digital channels and platforms.

There are several sub-types of digital marketing collaterals such as:

  • Website: Landing pages, blogs, infographics, videos, podcasts.
  • Email marketing: Newsletters, seasonal campaigns, promotional emails.
  • Social media: Static images, carousels, PDFs, stories, reels, ads, live streams.
  • Others: Ebooks, webinars, online presentations.

Steps to Manage Your Marketing Collateral

Imagine marketing collateral management to be a bigger exercise that lays the foundation for your marketing efforts. If you have your marketing collateral in place, it is easier to execute campaigns, maintain brand consistency, and also ensure that your business offerings achieve time to market.

Be informed that marketing collateral management is more of a process than a function. It is necessary to train all the stakeholders of the process to ensure that the marketing team as a whole moves in harmony.

Now, let’s go through the basic steps involved in managing marketing collateral

Step 1: Creating a Marketing Collateral Checklist:

Inventory everything: Start by taking a detailed inventory of all existing marketing materials, including physical and digital assets. Make sure that the inventory list is categorized by format (brochures, videos, email templates, etc.), target audience, by campaign, and as many relevant and necessary classifications as required.

Identify duplicates: Inspect all assets, delete redundant versions of assets, and retain only updated master copies.

Prioritize asset creation: Identify gaps in your existing materials and prioritize the creation of new assets needed for upcoming campaigns or initiatives.

Step 2: Consolidating Assets in a Centralized Location:

Choose a centralized platform: Select a cloud-based digital asset management solution that can store all assets in an organized manner while ensuring secure access and scalability when required.

Upload and organize: Upload all inventoried assets to the chosen platform using a consistent file naming convention and asset tagging system to ease file discoverability.

Establish access controls: Define user roles and permissions to ensure only authorized personnel can edit, approve, or download specific assets.

Maintain audit trails: Implement version control to track changes and revert to previous versions if needed.

Step 3: Establishing a Workflow for Creating and Managing Collateral:

Define roles and responsibilities: Assign roles for collateral creation, approvals, and distribution. For example, admins control who is added to a workplace while editors are allowed the files, and viewers can view the files.

Develop a creative brief: For each new marketing creative, outline a brief that spells out its objectives, intended target audience, product messaging, formats, and planned timelines.

Streamline the approval process: Establish a clear and efficient workflow that encompasses content creation, review, and approvals.

Regularly review and update: Prepare a calendar for periodic review of the marketing collateral library to ensure it is up-to-date and adheres to brand guidelines.

Optimize Your Marketing Collateral Management with These Best Practices:

Invest in templates and style guides: Use reusable branded templates that allows stakeholders to quickly create assets without having to rely on designers.

Implement org-wise style guides: Style guides help in maintaining consistency across all marketing materials, especially if the business operates globally catering to an audience belonging to diverse cultural values and tastes.

Educate stakeholders about style guides: Create and put in place style guides that ensure stakeholders are maintaining brand consistency across all marketing materials.

Consider automation tools: Leverage media transformation and optimization tools for recurring tasks of bulk nature like file uploads, format conversion, metadata tagging, etc.

Promote adoption and training: Train your team on the chosen platform and workflow to ensure effective utilization and collaboration.

If a marketing team implements these best practices, they should be able to eliminate their asset management challenges once and for all. Or can they?

Common Challenges in Managing Marketing Collateral

Even with efficient image and video management systems, marketers often face numerous challenges when dealing with marketing collateral. The most common struggles revolve around:

Content organization

Simple file folder organization may suffice for smaller-scale projects or smaller teams because of the limited number of assets and straightforward organizational needs. In such contexts, it's not difficult to navigate through a few folders to locate the necessary files. But, if the volume of assets increases and the number of teams and workflows expands, the limitations of simple file folder organization become apparent.

Managing large volumes of assets across diverse teams requires a more sophisticated approach. A solution that offers flexibility, granularity, and efficient retrieval methods. Without these features, such teams may struggle to find the right files amidst complex folder structures, leading to inefficiencies, delays, and potential errors in collaboration.

Workflows and collaboration

Marketing collateral management workflows refer to the journey they follow from creation until publication. At each stage, there could be reiterations and approvals requiring collaboration between multiple stakeholders.

Scenario: Imagine a scenario where a video needs crafting for a seasonal campaign. The initial version is created by the video creator and undergoes review by the senior video editor or design head. Their feedback is incorporated to refine the video into a second version. Once approved, it's passed to the marketer for their input. If no further adjustments are needed, the finalized video moves for publication. Typically, it's the marketer who handles the publication, although there are cases where a web developer might upload the video to the website's backend.

Across this workflow, the marketing team would need a centralized platform where the video asset can be shared, reviewed, and approved. Also, it should allow the marketer or the web developer to easily locate and utilize only the approved version.

Resource constraints

Most organizations have small and lean teams with individual contributors for specific functions. This means there is a limit on the amount of work that each person can do. For example, the designer can create only x amount of creatives in a given period of time.

Due to budget constraints, the team may not be able to hire more resources which restricts the overall output of the marketing team.

Another resource constraint is storage space. Most marketing teams use cloud-based storage solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive to store, retrieve, and collaborate. While this works when the volume of assets is moderate, these solutions fall short when it comes to storing and handling a larger volume of digital assets.

Popular cloud storage solutions may not adequately address marketing collateral management challenges due to their general-purpose nature. While these platforms offer storage and basic organization features, they often lack the specialized tools and functionalities required for effective marketing collateral management.

Why? Let's learn -

Basic file organization capabilities

Popular cloud storage solutions often lack advanced file organization features, making it challenging for fast-growing marketing teams to efficiently categorize and retrieve assets. They allow you to upload files, name them, and organize them by folders and sub-folders. However, that’s usually the end of it.

There is limited or no scope for adding metadata, tagging, or advanced folder structures. All of these limitations hinder the ability to organize collateral in a way that aligns with your marketing strategies and campaigns.

Limited scalability

Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and the like operate in hundreds or thousands of GBs. Meanwhile, marketers might need zettabytes of storage bandwidth to run operations at scale. Also, there might be the need to integrate advanced cloud storage services like Amazon S3, Google Cloud, etc., which could be difficult with consumer-based cloud storage solutions.

Lack enterprise-grade security features

While cloud storage solutions do provide all the security they can, when it comes to protecting marketing intellectual property, they lack enterprise-grade security capabilities.

Marketers need to ensure while they share assets with external stakeholders, these original assets are still protected from unauthorized usage. They need security capabilities like signed URLs, which ensure that original images are watermarked with your business logo or the shared links are valid only for a specific period of time.

Not easy to integrate

Cloud storage solutions can integrate with third-party software, but the range of integrations is limited. For example, it is not easy to integrate Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage with them. Also, integrating a PIM, eCommerce CMS, or web servers could also be difficult. The end result is disjointed workflows, manual data transfers, and data silos.

Inadequate for large teams having complex workflows

Large marketing teams often operate with complex workflows involving multiple stakeholders and approval stages. Cloud storage solutions may not possess the required features that can streamline such processes.

For all these reasons and many others, it is better to choose a DAM solution over cloud storage.

DAM Delivers Tangible Marketing Value

A DAM system is the single tool that is going to negate all your marketing challenges and bottlenecks discussed above.

Download our free guide on DAM ROI

Centralized asset management with unlimited scalability

From images to videos, a DAM system helps create a centralized repository for all digital assets that all team members can access remotely.  It fosters seamless organization and ensures that every team member, whether remote or on-premises, has access to the assets. This centralized approach eliminates all chaos that scattered files cause while arresting version control issues.

In terms of storage scalability, DAM systems are designed with specialized infrastructure that allows for seamless expansion of storage capacity as digital asset libraries grow. Unlike general-purpose storage solutions like Google Drive, DAM systems offer scalable storage architectures optimized for handling vast volumes of diverse digital assets efficiently.

ImageKit's centralized DAM platform to store and manage digital assets
ImageKit's DAM that facilitates centralized storage 

Advanced search capabilities

Advanced search and filtering tools to find the right asset. Unlike in cloud storage solutions, where search is limited to file names and tags, in a DAM system users can use advanced search criteria, such as tags, metadata, or file types, to pinpoint the exact asset they need. This not only saves time but also empowers teams to locate and incorporate the right assets seamlessly. Also, by facilitating the discovery of assets based on specific formats or categories, a DAM system simplifies the process of repurposing assets without requiring constant reliance on designers.

Tighter version controls and easier asset distribution

Whether it's social media, websites, or marketing campaigns, a DAM system facilitates easy sharing and distribution of marketing assets. It reduces the risk of using outdated or unauthorized materials in marketing campaigns. A DAM system’s version control ensures that marketers are able to preview the log of changes an asset went through before the final version was approved. Further, version control also allows marketers to restore a previous version and use it if they desire.

Digital Asset Version Control by ImageKit
ImageKit's Asset Version Controls

Further, DAM systems like ImageKit go a step further in providing public links to share assets with external stakeholders. Public links spare the need to add external stakeholders to the DAM system. These links also have expiration options, which further maximizes their security.

Easier image transformation and optimization

Unlike native cloud storage solutions, Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms offer the capability of easy image transformation and optimization. Websites, mobile apps, social media all require media assets of varying sizes and formats. Transforming and optimizing assets individually is a humongous waste of time and effort. But, with a DAM system, you can quickly optimize image sizes and formats effortlessly, without needing to rely on your tech teams for these quick changes.  

Robust security measures to protect sensitive information

A DAM system prioritizes and deploys robust security measures to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or usage. It provides greater control over user access management. What this means is — a user can only access and operate on files, folders, and media collections shared with them only based on their roles assigned. Since the permission controls in DAM are more granular than solutions like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive you can exhibit finer control over user access and actions within the system. Also, by adding Single Sign-On (SSO) DAM systems makes security even better by bringing all login processes together and keeping access rules the same for everyone in the organization.

Seamless Integration with your tech stack

One of the standout features of an AM system is that it can integrate with your existing storage or server without any hassle. You can connect any object storage like Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage, Firebase Storage, etc. effortlessly with the help of external storage integrations.

This means less time spent on integration complexities and more time focusing on actual work.

Predictable costs - eliminate hidden fees

Marketing teams often struggle with forecasting the approximate costs that would be required to store and manage their digital assets. Cost predictability is also challenging when hidden costs and volatile pricing is added to the mix. SaaS-based DAM pricing removes all these ambiguity and facilitates effective expense management. Teams can efficiently track bandwidth consumption to avoid unexpected costs related to asset acquisition or distribution.

Using a DAM turns the chaos of handling marketing materials into a well-organized team effort. It helps your teams work together smoothly, makes campaigns more agile and workflows more transparent.

Not convinced that a DAM can boost your marketing efforts?

Try ImageKit for FREE and decide yourself.