Following my visit to the recent Henry Stewart event in London on Digital Asset Management, I thought I would take the time to summarise my thoughts on why an organisation should make the investment in a Media Asset Management platform.
The first thing to clear up is that despite attending an event on DAM (Digital Asset Management), this post focuses on the benefits of a MAM (Media Asset Management) tool. They contextually mean two different things, although MAM is a sub-category of DAM. Kind of like a spoon to a cutlery set, an integral part, but used to perform a specific function.
- DAM – is used to store, manage, collaborate-on, retrieve and transform all types of digital assets; including but not limited to, high-resolution images, photographs, animations, music and multimedia.
- MAM – is focused on the latter of those, multimedia content, mainly video. MAM’s originated from a broadcast (tv/cinema) background but have more recently evolved into platforms for distributing web-based video content.
So we know that Media Asset Management tools distribute web-based content well, however, the next steps (already being taken) is integration into the Customer Experience Management (CXM) technology stack; providing contextual relevancy within the video and communicating intelligence back to the customer profile.
This post aims to explain some of the ways in which MAM’s fit into the CXM space. It’s worth noting that this post is based on the features and functionality provided by SDL’s Media Manager, not all tools have some or all of these features:
Create once, use anywhere
In today’s omni-channel world, it’s pretty impossible to keep up with the number of new digital touch-points and technologies being released into the market; new mobile devices are being released with increasing frequency and we are now recently seeing the emergence of Wearable Technologies (e.g. Google Glasses and the Apple iWatch) and Connected TV’s.
Companies need the confidence that existing content (particularly video which is typically more expensive to produce) will, as new technologies emerge, continue to provide the same experience to the user. Just look at what happened to all of those Flash-based videos when Apple released the iPhone and then the iPad, they didn’t work on those devices - companies has to spend significantly to get back in-line with the technology.
Integrated with the CMS (Content Management System), Media Management tools should act as the platform for organisations to build rich video experiences from, scaling them out across multiple devices and displays. The MAM should take the transformation and transcoding effort away from the marketing/content team, enabling them to create one master video source and have the confidence that it will work in any, or at least most environments.
Create once and localise
You wouldn’t expect to have to shoot a product photograph for each country or local market that you plan to sell the product to. You would however expect to take the photograph once and overlay the localised copy/text on top. So why should it be any different for video content?
Leading Media Management platforms give marketers and content managers editorial control over video content, enabling them to separate the video output from the audio and subtitles. This gives them the flexibility to use one master video source and tailor it to multiple local markets; providing significant benefit, not only in the creation process but also during edits. Imagine how time-consuming and costly it would be for company with operations in 30+ countries to have to re-edit 30+ videos, in 3 screen resolutions with various bit-rates (oh the pain…)? It should be edited once at the source then redistributed quickly and easily.
As well as having control over separate audio and video streams, the control also extends to inserting new frames within the video. This feature could be leveraged to provide context to the video; perhaps to dynamically display content which is relevant to the user’s geo-location, search term or known profile data.
Use and gather intelligence
Having the ability to insert dynamic content into the video also provides the opportunity to personalise the viewing (and listening) experience. As is the case with most types of content, considerations should be made when creating video, as to how information known about users can be utilised to provide a tailored customer experience.
As well as using data to inform the relevancy of the video, information can also be distributed back into the CRM to better inform future personalisation of content and also marketing campaigns. An example of this is an email marketing campaign directing customers to a landing page containing video. If the open and click-through rate metrics are being measured, then why not extend this to video plays, pauses and rewinds? This can also be used for automated marketing, for example you could set a rule to say that when a user views an entire video, they are sent an email offering a discount off the product/next holiday etc.
Finally, the last impressive feature I want to showcase (which takes advantage of most of the features in this post) is the ability to inject calls-to-action and input forms into video content. The following screenshot shows a video that each time it is paused, gives the user the option to offer their details to receive more information, share the video on social networks, book a test drive or request a brochure.
Imagine having this kind of functionality available to you, what could you use it to achieve?
What about YouTube?
YouTube is the largest online community for video sharing, it is simply a distribution channel nothing more. It does one thing really well and has become almost a de-facto standard for sharing video, however, it doesn’t ‘manage’ your assets, it has no workflows, no version control, no check-in /out, it isn’t contextually aware. There are no security restrictions, rights management or SLA’s.
The key fact is that once a file is available on YouTube you are no longer in control of its usage – something that makes some marketers feel quite uncomfortable.
I’m not suggesting that YouTube shouldn’t be used (far from it, it has many great benefits) but it should be used as a distribution channel and perhaps not as a CMS for your organisation’s media content.
Hopefully this blog post will trigger some thoughts for website managers currently using a CMS or YouTube to serve multimedia content. Whilst these products & services can serve a purpose in this space, those looking to provide outstanding customer experiences should consider buying a platform designed for this use.