Like two prizefighters, duking it out in their prime, DAMs and MAMs have a lot in common.
After all, these handy tools are both designed to streamline and optimise your business processes - so what’s the difference?
Ring the bell, we’re about to find out…
In the red corner: Digital Asset Management (DAM)
Hailing from San Francisco and making its debut as Cumulus in 1992, this plucky contender is a central resource for digital files. Lean, mean and agile, DAM helps organisations manage and share creative assets more efficiently. The software can go toe-to-toe with everything from photos and videos to graphic design and audio files - whatever the format. Creative in the ring and notoriously robust, this slugger’s got a glass jaw for files - and so much more.
And the blue corner: Media Asset Management (MAM)
Earning its stripes in the film and broadcast industry by wrestling larger rich media files, MAM soon became an essential part of the video production process. Now, this heavyweight contender battles it out in a variety of sectors; a muscular hub that’s useful to any organisation looking to store and manage larger multi-media files. Generally designed from the ground up, MAM’s one of the most flexible fighters in the game.
So, how do these two technological thoroughbreds compare when it comes to features?
Tale of the tape - measuring up the key features
Athletic attributes - MAM
Although bespoke in configuration, leading media asset management provider Imagen suggests a good MAM should include the following core features:
- Secure management - whether it’s audio, video, images or docs, you should be able to safely access them from any connected device.
- User permissions - a good MAM offers granular access controls. This means you can decide who can see, watch or download your files via permissions, SSO or email verification. Oh, and you should also be able to set session time limits too.
- Custom interface - whether it’s custom widgets, forms or the ability to switch up the platform’s UI, this isn’t an off-the-shelf solution. It should be able to reflect your brand - whatever that looks like.
Ideal sparring partner - the content producer
Media asset management systems gel best with brands that are producing a lot of content. Whether it’s for your own socials or for clients, e.g. as a creative agency, MAM can help make video production workflows smoother and more efficient. What’s more, they ensure the multimedia output you produce works for everyone.
Athletic attributes - DAM
Essentially, a DAM can do all this and more. Along with storing and managing multiple file types - and the ability to manage the permissions for each - a good DAM can effectively keep every aspect of your organisation on brand. Here’s how:
- Image conversion - whether it’s for social, blogs or other online purposes, DAMs allow you to select a predefined size and download for the perfect crop.
- Advanced tagging and searching - the level of detail you can go into when indexing your files means searching for the right asset is dead easy.
- Licence and rights management - get an automated heads up when an image or video license or copyright is about to expire. Handy when up to 23% of marketers worry they’re using images without the correct permissions.
Version control - DAMs can track changes in digital files so you know you and your team are always using the right version.
File sharing - instead of lengthy transfers, you can send files directly via a link to the folder. Aside from time-saving, another real benefit is that the recipient doesn’t need an account to access them.
Approval workflows - this feature allows you to encourage the use of certain assets or, actually, stop others from being overused.
Integrations - DAM is a solution that plays well with others. With that in mind, it should integrate with other applications like your content management system (CMS).
Ideal sparring partner - all comers welcome
The scalability of DAM means that it can be useful to any business that has digital assets. For example, a small, independent eCommerce business could find value in integrating its Shopify site; seamlessly categorising all of its product SKUs and photoshoots in the process. But a big brand like ITV could use a DAM to create a content hub for all of its digital assets. Light, welter or heavyweight brands; DAM’s got chemistry with them all.
DAMs vs. MAMs - jabbing away the jargon
Although both systems are designed to make the lives of digital professionals a little easier, there’s often a lot of jargon that’s associated with them. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are all the terms you need to dust off that digital ring rust.
7 signature moves of asset management
Metadata - it’s all in the name. So, think of this as the actual data that’s associated with your assets to help you find them. It covers everything from keywords and descriptions to file formats sizes.
Taxonomy - unlike metadata, this is the hierarchical classification of assets. So how you categorise them, e.g. ‘office shots for LinkedIn social strategy’.
Faceted search - this is the tool that makes searching much quicker and intuitive. For example, if you’re searching for a certain asset like a specific photo, you could use this filter to limit the results.
SSO - stands for single sign-on. It allows a user to log in with a single set of credentials across multiple sites - without needing a separate username and password.
Lightbox - this is a location where users can store a collection of assets before previewing, sharing or downloading.
Watermarking - you know the little logo you see on certain images? This is a watermark. It helps protect your image from unauthorised replication and can also give your brand assets a consistent look and feel.
Interoperability - with so many MarTech solutions in play these days, integration in 2021 is fundamental. Interoperability is how your DAM or MAM works with the likes of InDesign, Shopify and WordPress.
Something else got you stumped? Fear not. We’ve published an A-Z of DAM terminology here.
Pulling our punches - which solution is the champ for you
Created for making video production workflows smoother, a media asset management system is still a great tool for digital designers. Especially when you consider that 87% of online marketers are now using video content.
But with brands having to work harder than ever before to grab and keep their audience’s attention, technology has had to respond accordingly.
The scalability of a DAM means that it can help an online SME work just as consistently and efficiently as a major retailer; integrating with existing applications and getting all in-house assets aligned and easy to find.
But it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
Bright’s Asset Bank and Dash solutions have both DAM and MAM capabilities. So whether it’s an easier way to transfer files while you’re working remotely or a central hub for approved logos, fonts and presentation templates, you can build your perfect solution from the ground up.
Because when it comes to DAMs and MAMs, there’s more than one undisputed champ.
Written by Andy Baker
Andy is a creative copywriter, content strategist and vegan pizza connoisseur. When he’s not helping brands channel their tone of voices, he’s probably sketching, listening to records or throwing pebbles on the beach for his dog, Eric. Good boy.