Congratulations – you’ve made the decision to implement a marketing asset management system. You’ve selected a vendor to provide the infrastructure. Now let’s consider the process of getting your system up, running, and available to your users.
Where to Begin
Implementation involves a number of tasks that can happen in parallel. We begin with the kinds of data you need to organize and the steps to take with your vendor to stand up your application.
Types of Data to Review
You and your vendor will want to review three types of data. The first is your existing asset data; the second is user accounts; and the third is branding and business rules associated with the system.
You probably have your marketing assets on a website, intranet, extranet, shared drive, and/or other systems. You need to make that data available in a format for successful import into the marketing asset management system. An Excel spreadsheet works well because it lets you structure the data with each row representing an asset. You can easily place relevant types of information (metadata) about assets in columns.
If you have PDFs and other digital files for your electronic assets, you should add a column in the spreadsheet for the file name. You’ll end up with a spreadsheet containing the bulk of information you need to make available to your marketing asset management system vendor.
Please note: This may mean putting multiple data sources into Excel.
Along the way, you’ll have opportunities to clean up your data; reorganize it; remove obsolete items; perhaps improve the metadata structure; and add additional attributes you might find useful in the marketing asset management system. It’s best to take care of that before the initial import, if possible.
The second dataset to organize and provide to your vendor is your list of accounts. This includes your marketing team, sales reps, vendors, distributors, and global partners. Data should include email addresses and other information you want to manage relating to users of the system. Here again, an Excel spreadsheet works well as a way to transfer information so your vendor can set them up in the new system.
The third dataset involves the branding and configuration of the marketing asset management system. You probably want the system’s views to be consistent with your marketing and sales strategy, your branding elements, and with whatever programs and campaigns you use for visual identity. If you share this input with your vendor, they should be able to stand up the initial instance of the system using that brand structure.
Mapping User Access
A key element is mapping access for users to sets of assets. How many access points are you going to have? How many audiences are you going to serve? Are they distinct or can they share the same view of the data? All of that is addressed in the initial implementation based on the data, accounts, and branding inputs you provide to your vendor.
If you’ll be using the system for ordering of physical assets, you need to identify business rules for ordering. In this case, you want to consider order minimums, maximums, and charges for items. Your warehouse operation can tell you the fields that are required to constitute a valid order for fulfillment.
Piloting Your Marketing Asset Management System
Within a few weeks, you should have a working Phase One implementation of your marketing asset management system with the bulk of your data loaded and the system consistent with your branding. Now you’re ready to pilot it with some users.
We recommend you recruit a few users from each of your key audiences, give them accounts, and let them walk through the system. They’ll provide very useful feedback to review with your vendor so they can tune and refine your data displays and management within the system.
If your marketing asset management system will provide data to other systems or exchange data with other systems, it’s useful to have the initial implementation provide test files for the parties that manage those systems.
We’ve found many businesses use existing company events to launch their marketing asset management system. Without spending a lot of money, you can showcase the new system and let users know why you invested in it – as well as show them how easy it is to use.
Evolution of Your Marketing Asset Management System Following Launch
After launch, you may find other uses, other audiences you want to serve, and other kinds of data you want to incorporate. Over time, your business rules might become more sophisticated and/or you might want to pursue additional integrations. If you’ve chosen a robust marketing asset management system, the sky is the limit when it comes to taking advantage of the platform to serve your many audiences and uses.
To download our complimentary white paper, “10 Signs You Need Marketing Asset Management,” click here.