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MAM or how to use digital resourcen efficiently


Media Asset Management create one, publish everywhere

FOCUS PAPER MAM create once, publish everywhere

Media Asset Management (MAM) or how to use digital resources efficiently


In todays information age, multimedia content plays an important role in marketing communication, since media and marketing materials are increasingly produced and prepared using digital means. Being able to administer and reuse them intelligently is a critical factor for success. A Media Asset Management system (MAM) is an effective and efficient tool that ensures media remains available, provides an overview of content and guarantees that media can be used in a wide range of formats. This is accomplished by storing all media centrally; moreover, each item is assigned key-words immediately after acquisition in order to speed up searching. Afterwards the media are available for use via web-access - depending on the predefined rights and role concepts - by staff, partners, customers, service providers and journalists. In addition to being able to pre-pare media centrally, format conversion is an integral component of a MAM system. Media objects that have been created are automatically converted into the desired format, making them available for use across media. The ability to "create once, publish everywhere" allows quick service through a range of channels. Use of a MAM system maximizes economic benefit and contributes to sustainable optimization of marketing processes.

Decentralized management of media data or Looking for a needle in a haystack


A study entitled "Marketing Efficiency Survey 09 conducted in 2009 by the consulting firm marketinghub AG among medium-sized and large companies in Germany and Switzerland demonstrated that only a third of the 200 decisionmakers who responded in the fields of marketing, sales and communication use soft-ware to manage their media assets centrally. Using a MAM system means that all the usual communication paths required to find data can be bypassed. This is because the data are made available to every-one involved, both within and outside of the company, from a central point that is accessed via a web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. This ensures that media objects can be used immediately; moreover, the automatic preparation of media in the correct format results in considerable advantages in terms of efficacy and efficiency. Although information and data may be present in a company, this doesnt necessarily mean that they are available. An enormous amount of data is stored on a company hard drive, but in a scattered way. This means that individual items are difficult to find, especially if the person trying to find them is not the same person who created them. One reason for this is unstructured storage logic, according to which every staff member more or less maintains their own content in order to have certain documents ready for use. This squalid hoard of data leads to a lack of conformity and promotes data redundancies, since it is virtually impossible to perform updates centrally under these conditions. Transparency and quick access to required data are essential, however, to ensure that workflows run seamlessly. On the other hand, spending a long time searching for media is a waste of time and money. When dealing with unstructured data storage, the same questions always come up: Where is

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FOCUS PAPER MAM create once, publish everywhere

the required file stored? Who created it? In what format does it exist? Does it have to be converted to another format? Frequently the result is that materials that already exist are created again.

Figure: Highest need for action in terms of marketing efficiency/efficacy, Marketing Efficiency Survey 09, p.25, marketinghub A

A typical practical example illustrates the usual process of searching for data
A company wants to use existing image material for a new edition of a brochure. Specifically, they only want to change one single image. Ms. Smith is instructed to perform the change and then immediately pass the brochure on to production. 1. On the search Ms. Smith uses the search filter function on her hard drive. None of the terms she inputs generate the desired search result. Even after manually searching and sifting through all file folders Ms. Smith cannot find the image that is required so urgently. The search for media becomes a cumber-some process and ultimately ends without success. This wastes valuable time - and has a negative effect on productivity. 2. Work colleagues are involved in the search process Ms. Smith contacts her colleague Mr. Brown. He refers her to another colleague who he thinks is the person she should talk to. Maybe he can help her locate the required image. 3. The colleague's colleague The person whom Ms. Smith was told to talk to is not there. His representative, who is aware of the existence of the image, expresses a readiness to help look for it. However, he can only find the un-edited source file. 4. Wrong format The image cannot be used for the project. So Ms. Smith contacts the agency that originally created the image and which has the final version. Since the file size is too large to send by e-mail, a courier is engaged. Depending

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on the day of the week, the time the pickup is arranged, and the distance from the company to the agency, delivery of the image can take up to one day.

5. Finally the image is here! The now urgently-required image has arrived. The real work - changing the image can finally begin. Conclusion - The search for one single media object takes longer than one day. - Various staff is involved in the search for varying amounts of time. - The agency sends an invoice for having to search for the archived item. - The courier sends an invoice for express delivery.

Figure: Where are media objects managed? Marketing-Efficiency Survey 09, p.42, marketinghub AG This raises the question of how often this situation occurs and how it can be avoided in the future. Frequent, cumbersome search processes and the necessity of converting media objects to various formats are the fundamental criteria when deciding to use a MAM system. Long searches for data require increased staff resources, which represent one of the most expensive cost factors for a company. Long search times result in lost resources that could be stored or saved in productive project work. Additional editing, such as format conversion of image files, often requires involvement of an agency, which results in more costs.

Media Asset Management What is it?


In the financial sector, asset management refers to management of company assets. In light of this, media assets are media items with value held by a company, which should manage them centrally and use them in the best way possible. The goal of a MAM system is to ensure that data can be found for immediate use and to maintain transparency. This

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means that duplicates and data that is no longer valid will be excluded from the system. The goal is to make available only relevant and CI-conformant media objects. A web-based MAM system acquires, categorizes and prepares media objects to enable them to be reused quickly. Predefined rights and role concepts grant access and editing rights to available content, depen-ding on approval status. In addition to offering free scalability of image data, MAM systems have functions for image editing, such as converting to other media formats, to make the saved content available in various formats for printing or online use. The advantages at a glance:

Data availability Digital media content is stored centrally. All existing data can be accessed by entitled users via a web server, anytime and everywhere. Central management permanently secures the data library and avoids unnecessary data transfers. Quality assurance Media Asset Management precludes data redundancies and prepares only relevant and up-to-date data. The rights and role concept ensures everything runs properly and guarantees the quality of brand communications. Cost reduction Optimized work processes eliminate expensive activities that do not create value, like searching for the appropriate media object. The time expenditure for finding data can be transferred to productive tasks.

Figure: Most important motivators for image/media database, Marketing-Efficiency Survey 09, p.45, marketinghub AG

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Create structure! The implementation of a MAM system


For a Media Asset Management system to be as useful as possible, it is important to identify individual requirements and define goals. 1. Content inventory To begin, the existing data must be analyzed and inventoried. Data stored by staff members and agencies, as well as data on the intranet that can be accessed via external access, such as website content, must be inventoried. This requires diligent work since all stored media must be collected, including media in both electronic and non-electronic form (e.g. slides, negatives and CDs). Then the data are subject to a selection process. At this point, you establish what materials are relevant and should be archived in the system. 2. Data importing Data importing possibilities in a MAM system: a) All media content is put into the database. This comprehensive form of archiving requires significant and time-consuming effort at the beginning. The advantage is that all data are available and can be used effectively by system users. Comprehensive data preparation leads to higher acceptance among users and results in more rapid returns on investment. Only up-to-date material is added. With relatively low volumes of data, one can first begin to prepare up-to-date media objects. Providing access to older media is not a goal of this method, since certain data lose their relevance over time. Material is put into the system exclusively on demand. This method of data import is limited to currently used material and material created in the future. This need-based data acquisition method does not require very much time, but leads to a long and drawn out process of change when attempting to locate media that are not yet in the system.

b)

c)

3. Seeing inhibitions A Media Asset Management system grants access to internal and external parties with varying interests and reasons for use, and as such, it is indispensible to take into account political and psychological aspects. Secure use of media content must be guaranteed. If staff images and personal data are put into the system, general creator rights must be protected, and in the case of images or graphics used for marketing, copy-rights must be protected. Clearly defined user rights and roles assign to each user individual data access rights. These rights control access to both data and functions available in the database of digital media assets. When the system is used beyond the confines of the company, security requirements increase to prevent abuse of data. Assignment of rights and roles, potential watermarks on images or documents and usage-tracking help protect sensitive data. 4. Pilot project A pilot project can begin once a plan has been made, and the individual requirements and those involved have been established. Real test data are put into the MAM system. As already mentioned, the capability to
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FOCUS PAPER MAM create once, publish everywhere

intuitively find assets is one of the most significant factors for success offered by MAM systems. Assigning precise and standardized keywords to the media plays a key role. Categorizing the content is completely flexible and can be configured as desired in hierarchies using metadata or according to other sorting models. To locate files, an analytic approach to assigning keywords and categorizing media objects is indispensable; as well, future system users must be taken into account. The advanced search function offers a wide range of criteria, such as keywords, file size and file format; it allows users to quickly find the data they are looking for and is a fundamental factor in optimizing availability of media objects. 5. Test phase The test phase begins once data has been put into the system. The results are compared with the requirements placed on the system. The goals that the software is supposed to achieve should actually be achievable. The user-specific requirements also become visible in the test phase. This creates a productive environment for the initial process of inputting data and the methods for data migration and data acquisition processes are defined. 6. Roll-out und communication To begin to use the system, future data users and data managers must be given specific information relating to how they will be using the system. Data users must be trained in using the media database and its functions. Data managers are responsible for quality assurance in the system and therefore require more information, such as detailed technical system specifications and a nuanced distribution of rights and roles. Good training programs and placing emphasis on the advantages of the system are extremely important for securing acceptance of the media database among user groups. Only if the system is used to its full extent and by all parties involved will there be a tangible effect on ROI.

Process optimization: ROI potentials of Media Asset Management


Investments have to pay off. Implemented systems should make the day's work easier and produce a quick return on investment. The purpose of a Media Asset Management system like the Media Pool by BrandMaker is to optimize work processes and reduce expenses. Improved usability of media results in increased staff productivity and also directly generates added value. Simply accelerating processes and avoiding redundant work results in dramatic savings. Moreover, production and transaction costs are minimized since the media assets are used multiple times. It is possible to use media content across media, since media objects that have been created are stored in a media-neutral manner, meaning they can be used in a range of channels. The MAM system helps you take advantage of an enormous potential to reduce costs and increase revenue. The internal and external cost savings, which will be explored below, contribute to the viability of a company and can be diverted to budget investments in marketing projects. Creating added value Reuse instead of re-creation According to a representative study conducted by the market research institute GISTICS, each staff member is involved in searching for a specific asset for 2.9 minutes on average. In 39% of cases, the search ends without a positive result. This process of locating data results in average annual costs of USD 8,200 per media user. The more urgently an asset is required, the quicker it is re-created. Usually assets are created with a focus on the carrier medium (print, web, multi BrandMaker GmbH, Mirko Holzer Page | 7

FOCUS PAPER MAM create once, publish everywhere

media). In many cases, a re-conversion of such an asset cannot be done or only subject to great expenditure, so that in this case also, costs for re-creation are incurred. Often unnecessary costs are also incurred when looking for image material native to the company. The desired images are frequently distributed among various folders or agencies. This search process results in considerable expenses. When it comes to media data, things are further complicated in that there are usually no uniform standards for handling media. According to the GISTICS study, a properly functioning MAM system will pay for itself in three years. The reduced time spent searching for media alone would allow for recovery of investment costs 8 to 14 times over. A company with approximately 1,000 staff members can considerably increase productivity by using an image management solution and save 50% of the cost of searching and managing data, about USD 2.25 million annually. MAM systems store and manage all kinds of media objects. They may also have functions for image preparation, such as format conversion and image cropping. A fundamental feature of MAM systems is that they support users in proper use of the images, ensuring conformity with image rights and licenses. The formats that can be used in a MAM solution include all common file types, such as PDF and open graphics formats like Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress. This avoids expenses charged by external service providers for re-creation or format conversion of a given media item. Above all, the required media are in the correct format so that, for instance, pixilated photos in print media are a thing of the past.

Figure: Opportunities associated with a central media database, Marketing-Efficiency Survey 09, p.46, marketinghub AG

Transfer of media objects becomes unnecessary In a Media Asset Management system, data are stored in various formats, but preferably as EPS files. Whether its high resolution media required for print production or low resolution data required for up-stream process steps like creation, review and approval the MAM system supplies the required media objects in various media formats so they can be edited and used both internally and externally. Courier costs budgeted for recurring approval processes involving various

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partners can be a major expense; using a central media management tool can quickly eliminate these expenses. Standard internet bandwidth is all that is required to edit and transfer media objects.

Figure: Media management with a MAM system

Potential to increase turnover Ensuring CI conformity In the information age, the significance of strategic and operational brand management cannot be ignored. To project coherent messages and consistent corporate design through all media channels is a major undertaking. Mistakes made here can negatively influence customers opinion of the brand. The situation becomes even more dramatic when branding is not consistently maintained over all distribution channels. Customers become enormously disoriented and skeptical when they notice that the branding in the print catalogue does not match the corporate design of the website. In practice, this type of mishap happens more frequently than can be imagined. In a great many cases, it is due to an organizational issue: poor delegation of tasks in the company. One department is responsible for online activities, while a different one is responsible for all offline activities. There is a serious communication deficit between them, which is exerting a negative influence on the market and customers. When a MAM system is introduced, it automatically brings about certain adaptive changes in the structure and processes of the marketing sections. In itself, centralization of the media archives removes some organizational hurdles, to a certain extent. A Media Asset Management system is absolutely necessary to efficiently and effectively control and safeguard corporate identity (CI) and corporate design (CD), both within a company and beyond its confines. The MAM system ensures 100% CD conformity, since entitled users can only access centrally approved content. This dispenses with cumbersome review and approval mechanisms. At the same time, strict brand management promotes trust among customers.

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Get to market quicker The basic functions of a Media Asset Management system can also be used effectively during the preparation phase of launching a product. Specific project environments can be set using the web-based plat-form. Everyone involved (e.g. copy writer, graphic artist, media planner, printing house, etc.) can update and access their content, subject to the selectively distributed access rights. Reduced preparation time in advance of launching new products and services allows companies to generate revenue quickly and make ones presence felt among competitors. Within the scope of ongoing campaigns, use of a MAM system decreases response time when it comes to quickly adapting content and creating different points of focus in the media section.

About BrandMaker
BrandMaker is a Marketing Resource Management (MRM) system, which provides a broad spectrum of solutions: Offered are solutions for marketing strategy (scorecards as guide rails for marketing) and management modules (for example, software for integrated market planning and budgeting); as well as modules for marketing implementation and for optimization of the creative supply chain (job management, review management, media asset management, a web-toprint module, event planning, and a module for creation of online media). The system has a modular design and is applied according to the individual client requirements. The software is developed and marketed by the company BrandMaker GmbH. BrandMaker solutions are in use successfully in marketing departments of companies of varying size and in various corporate sectors for example at EnBW in the energy sector, Commerzbank AG and DekaBank in the financial sector, at international service providers like Ernst & Young and companies from the producing industry such as ZF Services GmbH. The software company for optimized marketing processes has about 150 employees across Europe. http://www.brandmaker.com

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