Insights, System Integration

The Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: How CMS & DAM Aid Digital Strategy & Execution



Having just attended the two-day Henry Stewart DAMNY conference, I’ve come away with a few observations that any marketer would find interesting, especially those wrestling with strategies for –   ahemomni, multi, cross, and even sans – channel customer experiences.


The 300+ attendees to this year’s New York City event represented some of the world’s most prominent brands.  Three key forces united them:

Outgrowing 1st Gen Implementations

Many – though not all — brands have some sort of first generation DAM solution in place. These initial implementations have provided some tough lessons learned along the way. With those experiences, brands are now looking to advance the use of DAM platforms with new implementations, upgrades and enhancements.

Assets as Assets

Images, audio and video files are the quintessential building blocks of modern digital experiences.  As such, they are moving from assets as discrete digital artifacts, to assets having a measurable financial value and ROI.  Whether the business case drives revenue through engagement, is directly tied to monetization of asset consumption, or improves efficiency through reuse and collaboration, the “A” in DAM is getting increased attention from CEOs and CFOs alike.

DAM feeds all

Though many software vendors will have you thinking that it is a hub for all of your digital efforts (and perhaps through their myopic lens that tends to be true), for grounded marketers and technologists, DAMs role is to feed the “downstream” marketing technology ecosystem that is dependent on content and assets. That includes both digital and non-digital channels.  eCommerce, content management (CMS), marketing automation, social engagement, content marketing, video platforms and a host of other systems can and should be fed – directly or indirectly – by a DAM platform.

So What?

You can capitalize on the attention around DAM and improve your broader marketing strategy and capabilities by finding the synergies with another well-known platform: your CMS.  Though different in many ways, there are some striking similarities.  If harnessed and properly socialized within an organization, the concepts and principles in DAM will shape CMS and vice versa.  All you need to do is get those teams in the same room sharing their experiences up, down and sideways.  Here’s what I mean:

Death to Rich Text

There is much to be said about the value of experiences built with enriched, structured components.  Flexibility, control, consistency, reuse and localization all benefit from this approach.  Discrete elements are the norm when working with digital assets, by definition, but they have historically not been the norm for your typical website content.  The urge to create unique, one-off site elements from creative marketers around the world has littered CMS platforms with rich text editors and unstructured content.  Learn from your DAM counterparts and build experience with structured, meta-data-enriched content.

Workflows & Governance

For some time now, simple and complex workflows have been a key part of enterprise CMS platforms.  In many cases, CMS teams have also worked through the governance and organizational dynamics around authentication and authorization, within and outside of tightly regulated industries.  For those looking to operationalize DAM implementations with workflows, look to your CMS teams for inspiration and valuable lessons learned.  It is likely that the benefits and challenges seen by your CMS team will be very similar to those facing your DAM efforts.


Both CMS and DAM systems have a love-hate relationship with API and web service integration.  Though largely standalone systems years ago, today’s CMS platforms are the central hub in many digital marketing technology architectures.  The modern and more advanced CMS systems have extremely robust integration layers. While much is being said about DAM’s role in serving many downstream systems, approaches to integration, especially for existing implementations, are still comparatively immature.  DAM teams should look to their CMS counterparts and the CMS industry at large for guidance around maturing architectures and approaches.

In Summary

As marketing and technology professionals unite, so too must the traditionally distinct disciplines of CMS and DAM within the enterprise.  In addition to workflows, structured content and integrations, both teams can align on related concerns, specifically search, meta-data management, reuse, security and cloud-based delivery.

When it comes to content-rich experiences differentiating your brand, your success starts with a good look at what can be learned from the existing ecosystem of technologies within your organization.  Prior learnings, industry trends and broader marketing technology concepts born within DAM and CMS platforms can indeed drive improvements in your digital strategy, and even more importantly, your ability to execute.

Look to the rising tide of CMS and DAM to float your digital marketing and broader business performance.


CMS and DAM Case Study
CMS and DAM Case Study
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