DAM vs. CMS: Does it Have to Be One or the Other?

These days, digital marketing is an integral and inseparable part of any business’ lead generation, sales, and customer relationship management activities. This is true for B2B and B2C organizations alike. To be seen and secure deals, it is imperative that your brand, its values and its offerings are placed precisely under your target audience members’ noses, in the most attractive and engaging way possible. Whether your marketing is performed in-house, or outsourced to a freelance digital marketing agency, when it comes to the creation and management of your digital assets, organization and efficiency are key. That said, both organizations and their end-users alike report that the ability to manage and organize digital assets is among the biggest challenges they face, a sentiment shared by about 55% of the respondents from a study conducted in October 2020. The study also found that 48% believe that without strong metadata governance, many assets are hard to find and remain unused. To that end, we’re shedding some light on the differences between two completely different marketing management systems whose names are often mistakenly used interchangeably: digital asset management (DAM) and content management systems (CMS). What do each of these systems entail? Is one better than the other? Which one will provide your business with the functions you need to truly resonate with your target audience with the least expended resources? It’s important to understand what each of these systems is intended for, and how they can be used together, to take your digital marketing – and your bottom line – to the next level.

What is a CMS?

According to WPBeginner, a CMS is a “software that facilitates creating, editing, organizing, and publishing content.” Namely, a CMS is used to help create, modify and manage text and media content for your website and other web-based properties only. Only a limited number of marketing team members tend to own and/or access the CMS, and those team members don’t need any real knowledge of technical or programming languages, such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) or Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

What is a DAM?

A DAM is defined as “a system for organizing, storing and retrieving rich media.” DAM systems are not typically used to create the digital assets themselves, rather, infrastructure in the form of a system is built to organize, store, and distribute content, rich media, and visuals across an entire organization. Examples of rich media assets include visual and multimedia content, such as graphics, photos, videos, music, podcasts and more. At the heart of the DAM are tagging and search functionalities that empower employees by enabling the expedient location and retrieval of desired or relevant digital assets. The result: the organization is able to more efficiently and cost-effectively manage all of its digital assets, across all relevant digital channels. While the DAM tends to be owned and managed by the marketing team, it can be accessed by other teams as well, such as Sales, Product Management, Communications, PR, as well as by external and third party partners, agencies, and contractors. Here, the DAM’s workflow, approval, version control, and permissions capabilities come into play, ensuring digital asset quality and alignment across the organization.

DAM vs. CMS: It does NOT have to be one or the other!

DAM brings exciting added value to the digital marketing table, beyond the scope of more traditional content management systems that focus on siloed content creation and deployment for websites only. That said, by no means is this a call to throw your CMS out the window. These two systems complement each other and together, can significantly upgrade your digital marketing efforts and results. Integrating DAM and CMS is the next-level way to support your entire organization, by allowing your marketing team to access the DAM’s advanced management features and leverage highly-organized existing and brand-aligned content to optimize your digital presence and marketing endeavors, without ever having to leave the CMS creation and deployment area. Talk to us about MasterDAM, our solution that provides you with a central storage and management solution for all your digital assets!

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