DAM Champ: Anthony Marshall
DAM champ Anthony Marshall is the digital marketing lead for Kraft Heinz. He is responsible for leading overall strategy, implementation, workflow, and rollout of the digital asset management (DAM) systems for all Kraft logos, recipes images, media, and packaging. He led the implementation of an enterprise-class DAM system with initiatives for the creation, management, and distribution of all creative assets. He stays informed of latest DAM technology trends and innovations.
DAM champ: Someone who supports finding, setting up, or maintaining a digital asset management system (DAM). There is a wide variety in DAM champions, who come from positions in production, creative, management, IT, and marketing.
I’m the digital marketing technology lead for Kraft Heinz. I own the DAM, our product information management (PIM) system, our recipe authoring workflow, and our packaging artwork workflow tools for the company. I own the strategy and roadmap of how we create, manage, and distribute our marketing content. These systems and the business process involved in them are important to our core marketing assets. They make up the foundation of our enterprise digital ecosystem.
Building on that question, explain a little more how you interact with digital assets during your work day.
I have two answers. From a marketing services perspective, I interact with digital assets because all I think about is how are we going to manage, deploy, and hopefully one day be able to build a revenue stream around our images and videos.
But let’s take me out of that role and let’s put me as a consumer. Even though I work for a food company, I am also a Kraft Heinz’s consumer. Sometimes we kind of forget that. We get ourselves into a mindset that we only think about the places that we work and not about how we are the people we sell these products to. So as a consumer, I interact with digital assets on a daily basis. Anytime I’m looking up a Kraft product on the internet, I’m going to find an image. I like many of our brands’ Facebook pages because I want to hear what’s going on with my brands.
I also follow my brands on Pinterest. I don’t just sit there, 9 to 5, and come up with some things that I don’t support and believe in. I invest my time as a consumer to see how I feel about the things that we’re launching here at Kraft Heinz. Anytime I can take advantage of being able to get on these channels and see how Kraft Heinz is being represented is a delight.
Well, that’s a 360-degree view if I’ve seen one. Moving on, how did you find out about digital asset management as a way to deal with assets and content problems?
A couple of years ago I was asked to put together a strategy for our DAM. To be honest, I didn’t know what DAM was. I had to go find out what our digital assets were. I mean, now don’t get me wrong, I know we had logos. I knew we had product images. I had just launched a sales automation tool that leveraged a lot of our product images and gave the pricing of our products to our distributors. But I never put two and two together to say, well that logo, that product image, those recipe images, those recipe videos, those are our digital assets. I never thought about them that way.
I was asked to put a strategy around it and then I Googled it. I searched, and to be honest with you, Widen had a lot of information that helped me with my awareness around DAM. That’s really where I started, just kind of going out and trying to build that awareness.
I learned that if you don’t put in your time and build your awareness to understand why a DAM is important to your organization and start to really, truly build that business case, then you’re never going to make sure you’ve got the right experience for your company.
How did you go about building the business case?
It was relatively simple to build the business case for DAM for Kraft Heinz. I didn’t really have to build it because our consumer’s technology is building business cases every day. You’ve really just got to tell people to take 10 seconds, close their eyes, and stop looking at themselves as a Kraft Heinz employee. Think about when you go onto Amazon. Would you buy a product that doesn’t have a picture of it? If I was on Amazon and I saw a pair of shoes that was $20 but there was no picture of that shoe, I’m not buying it. I’ll go to the next shoe that’s $65 and buy that because, by seeing that image, I know what I’m getting.
If I asked you, “Where are you going to find our product images, our logos?” and you can’t tell me the answer in 25 seconds, then that’s your business case. That answers your question. And if as leaders of our organization you can’t get an answer to where’s my current logo, where’s my current product image, then you need a DAM, because that should be the simplest thing you can go and find.
Why is digital asset management important — not just the system, but the practice as well?
If you don’t have a DAM solution, then every day you’re putting yourself at a level of vulnerability because you’re not managing your usage rights. You then have the opportunity to violate usage rights and potentially go through a legal dispute. So a DAM helps you manage that.
Our organization — our marketing teams specifically — was wasting time gathering assets. I mean, it was wasting time because for me to find something, first I go to one resource and I couldn’t find it, so then I go ask the brand managers. The brand manager says, “Let me go talk to my agency and see if they can get it.” The agency spends time looking for it and comes back and says they couldn’t find it.
Then that leads to me having to go recreate it. And when I don’t have the funds to recreate it, you know what happens? I lost brand dignity. So at the end of the day, the reason why a DAM is important is because it’s standardized, and it built the strategy and business processes around how you create, manage, and distribute your content. And that is important in the new digitized world.
Why is it important to be aware of the new digitized world?
Because we can’t change the world from being a digital world. I can’t change that my consumers are researching online, even if they’re gonna go buy it in the store. I can’t change that, so the only thing I can do is make sure that the content and the way I represent myself in my brands is what they’re expecting.
So now this is where I look at companies across the world that are putting consumer needs and desires into their business strategy. Before we could just say, “Hey, we’re going to sell this product and they’re going to buy it.” But nowadays there’s not much loyalty with consumers, so we’ve got to make sure we market to them differently. Now that consumers aren’t afraid to try a new brand or a new product, we’ve got to put consumer needs and desires into our strategy, especially from a digital perspective.
What is the best thing about digital asset management?
There are a few things. First, it drives how we manage our brand assets and equities. It’s making sure that we have the right content, at the right times, in the hands of the right people. Secondly, it’s about speed, because the speed of your creative process and production lifecycle should be increased. You should be able to launch and deliver faster because you now have a true visual workflow.
And then you have security policies and processes that are built into most DAMs that make sure that you put it in the hands of the right people without them having to ask everybody and their cousin for assets. It’s also being able to make sure that you eliminate costs. Now you save the organization money, and if you save the organization money, you know what we can do with that? We can invest in other digital marketing trends.
There’s also the delivery of targeted content that’s relevant to my consumers. When you think about our email programs and the fact that if you are a vegetarian and I have over 40,000 recipes, I don’t want to send you recipes with bacon in them. I’m going to send you recipes that are pertinent to the way you search for assets. So that’s why having a DAM is important, because I can dynamically give you that content.
Furthermore, it helps us maintain our brand consistency, because I’ve got to be consistent across every single channel that my asset or my brand is on. At the end of the day, none of it’s about technology; it’s about if I’m serving you Kraft dinners, if I’m sending you Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Every place you go to, I’m telling you why it’s great for you. Every place you go to, you have the right image, so if you decide you are going to go in the store, you know you’re picking up the right one, the one you read and spent the time to research.
If I have the wrong image and you go to the store and don’t see the image you expect to see, then what are you going to do? You’re going to question whether or not it’s the same one that you just researched for two hours because your family wanted you to make a cream cheese pie. And we don’t want you to second guess because that second guess may lead you to a competitor, and I can’t have that. I can’t have you not buying Kraft Heinz products. So those are the best things about DAM.
How have you been successfully able to measure value?
Well, there are two answers. First, we’ve eliminated systems. So that’s one value that we have. That’s the hard-nosed analysis, because those are benefits that you can sit there and say, yeah, I can show you this saved the company a million dollars or more.
Second, is word of mouth. My brand managers absolutely love the fact that they don’t have to be the ones going and finding assets for the agency department, and that’s increased productivity. That’s more of a qualitative benefit, but it matters to them. It matters for them to be able to say, I don’t spend days on top of days telling people how to get access or trying to gather content. They say, get access to the DAM because that’s what they should be using.
That’s really how I’ve been measuring it. It’s really as brands get onboarded, I talk to them about what benefits they’ve realized and they kind of help me justify how much they use. DAMs should all come with some kind of base level of analytics and reports to see how many people are using it, because that’s how we’re going to continue to get money to buy additional modules and continue to invest into the DAM.
When you say eliminate systems, can you comment on any of the systems that were eliminated?
I won’t comment on any of the main systems, but I’ll tell you we had about 14 to 15 systems that acted as a DAM, and some of the systems were within our agency partners’ hands, so we were paying an agency about as much as it cost us on a DAM to manage and support only a subset of our assets. I had about three agencies supply DAM, so I was paying almost three-quarters of a million dollars for them, which is an insanely expensive amount of money.
Do you have a favorite digital asset? What is it and why do you like it?
My favorite would have to be all of the recipe images. That really started our journey because that’s where the need came from. We had so many different sources managing our recipe images and we have one of the top recipe sites in Kraftrecipes.com. We drive a lot of traffic to our sites and we have email programs for our recipes. We want to ensure that our consumers know that we want to be a part of their everyday lives during meal time.
So the need to make sure we managed and distributed our recipe images was great and high. I saw how much of a challenge it was with managing our recipe content and I had to get involved. And that’s why I kind of got involved from a DAM perspective. Whenever I see the images in there, I think about the fact that I’m a consumer too, and everybody loves eating. Everybody may not love cooking, but we all love eating. So whenever I see these recipe images, they just inspire me and it makes me excited. If I had a favorite, it would be our recipe images.
I like it. Comes full circle right there. Well, Anthony, I thank you for your time. I guess my last question would just be anything else you want to say to the community and the future people following in your footsteps when they start their google search for digital asset management?
The only thing I’d tell people is that it is a sweet and necessary journey and there is nothing wrong with soliciting advice and help along the journey. Always listen to the community as a whole. And lastly, I’d tell people that when you’re starting out this journey, it really starts with your people and your process. The technology just enables capabilities and functionality. The people and the process is really where the transformation happens.