A comparison between DAM & other popular marketing technologies, part 1: cost

Cost of DAM System vs. Other Marketing Technologies

Have you ever wondered how digital asset management (DAM) solutions compare in price to other popular marketing technologies?

This may be a question weighing on your mind, especially if you’re in the process of investigating the best ways to manage your visual content.

The good news is that this series, DAM and other popular marketing technologies, kicks off with the answers you’re looking for regarding cost.

Specifically, we’ll be focusing on:

  • Cost considerations for some of the top DAM solutions in the marketplace, and
  • Comparing DAM pricing to the costs of an array of other marketing technologies, including:
    • Customer Relationship Management Solutions
    • Marketing Automation Solutions
    • Web Content Management Solutions
    • Social Media Management Solutions
    • Content Marketing Solutions

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll identify the various functions and characteristics of a DAM system vs. other marketing solutions.

In Part 3, we’ll discuss how to justify the investment in DAM and the other marketing technologies you’ll need in order to make your team more productive and efficient.

Let’s begin by diving into the cost factor …

Where does digital asset management fit into your marketing budget?

Since the dawn of the internet age, the number and range of marketing solutions have increased exponentially. There are now solutions covering content creation, social media management, online marketing, campaign management, e-commerce, and other tasks — as well as the analytics tools to tell you how all aspects of your campaigns are performing.

The explosion of marketing technologies has resulted in a complicated landscape of applications. Vendors are specific in developing the operations and capabilities that will be central to their respective technologies, but there is some overlap in terms of features. The lines between and among the categories of marketing solutions are blurred, so a comparison of different tools may lead to the conclusion that they all perform the same or similar tasks. The variety of solutions available can be particularly overwhelming for marketers and IT departments, as well as enterprise decision makers entrusted with investing in the ideal solution for each marketing task.

One area that is often overlooked when considering the wide range of options for marketing technologies is digital asset management, which comprises all of the tasks and decisions involved with managing, annotating, indexing, storing, recalling and distributing your visual content (also known as digital assets).

Visual content may include images, animation files, videos, sound bites and other visual or audio content. It’s a mistake to overlook the importance of an effective, efficient digital asset management system because today’s marketing campaigns depend profoundly on how well teams:

  • Create and capture new assets
  • Manage existing files
  • Share and distribute timely, engaging content, and
  • Analyze and monitor content performance

Digital Asset Management Content Marketing Hub

Within these activities, there are tasks that are productive and profitable and there are others that are mundane, time-consuming and routine maintenance. Solutions for DAM are intended to help teams focus on the first group, so marketers can engage their audiences, interact with their community and build relationships — not be concerned with the storage, access, permissions and approvals of visual content.

Still, it can be difficult to justify investment in a digital asset management system when marketing budgets are already stretched thin. Other technologies that cover a wide range of marketing tasks and content management activities seem like a more cost-effective option. If they do more, they must be better, right?

However, when you compare the cost of a DAM system to the more general group of marketing technologies, you’ll soon see the common “breadth or depth” scenario. Is it better for a solution to feature a comprehensive set of tools? Or more targeted, focused capabilities?

Average Cost for DAM Solutions

Product pricing and comparing different solutions is a complex task, so the goal was to gain insight on trends and expectations that would help those involved in making purchasing decisions.


The digital asset management system cost comparison

This DAM system offers pricing based on your specific requirements, which vary depending on the combination of modules that will meet your needs, your different user types, storage capacity and configuration fees.

  • Budget for approximately $2,450-3,780 per month.
  • In addition, there are fees for custom configuration, setup and training that range from $35,000-85,000.
  • Some complex configurations can reach $130,000.

The two main pricing models with this digital asset management system depend on whether you want to implement them as premise-based or software-as-a-service. The pricing for the DAM SaaS model, including support and maintenance, ranges as follows:

  • The Workgroup Edition with 100-500 gigabyte storage: $3,540-$11,995 per year
  • The Enterprise Edition with 1-10 terabyte storage: $17,995-$29,995 per year
  • Unlimited Users Bundle allows any number of Read/Write Users and is priced at $29,995 per year
  • There are other pricing considerations for onboarding, at a flat fee of $7,995, which includes 6-8 weeks of post-implementation discovery, testing and training for administrators and primary users; Additional Read/Write users for the Enterprise Edition are priced at $300 per year; Additional storage is available on a per-gigabyte, per month basis
  • Other modules and add-ons can range from $5,940 up to $80,000. Options include a metadata manager, brand portal, hydra clustering, workflow tools, Adobe InDesign Server, and different support levels.

DAM pricing ranges widely depending on customer requirements. Two core editions are available, both of which are scalable and include designated users and storage capacity.

  • The Professional version starts at $12,000 per year,
  • And the Enterprise runs $30,000 per year
  • However, prices for both editions increase depending on bundled options, so it’s smart to budget an additional $20,000 for Professional and $46,000 for Enterprise
  • Standard implementation of the WebDAM solution is a flat fee of $10,000, for both Professional and Enterprise editions
  • A quick start implementation version is available for $3,000, while an elite package is $18,000

There are four annual subscription levels for Widen’s digital asset management system, including Workgroup, Business, Enterprise and Unlimited.

  • Prices range from $15,000 to $63,000 per year
  • The number of users and storage capacity increases with each version level, but additional users and storage are available and billed on a monthly basis
  • Widen offers a number of different features and bundles to help you customize your DAM technology to suit your specific marketing needs, available at an additional fee

Average Cost for Top Marketing Technologies

Now that we’ve covered the top DAM vendors, let’s review pricing on some marketing technologies solutions that are not specifically focused on DAM. Keep in mind that many of these offer a free version with limited functionality, and professional and enterprise level editions involve additional cost.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Solutions

CRM solutions are used by companies to manage and assess customer interactions and data throughout the sales funnel, with a goal to drive sales through enhanced customer relationships. These solutions gather data on customers from multiple sources — including website interactions, social media conversations, email and direct mail, and other marketing efforts.

The Enterprise Version is priced at $125 per user, per month, and includes sophisticated workflow, reporting and automation tools. An Unlimited Edition is also available at $250 per user, per month. This version provides unlimited support and customization, with access to additional database storage as necessary.

Microsoft Dynamics
The Sales Productivity bundle includes the Dynamics CRM, plus Office 365 Enterprise Edition for $85 per user, per month. Core features of this CRM are sales and workflow automation tools, social media profile management and social listening. The package also provides video conferencing via Skype and analytics to help you assess performance of your campaigns.

HubSpot CRM
The core CRM solution is free, but is very limited without the additional modules for marketing and sales offered by HubSpot, which are described below in our Marketing Automation Solutions section.

The cloud-based version of this solution, Act! Premium, is the best option for marketing teams that seek deployment with little IT involvement. The cost is $35 per user, per month, for such tools as email marketing, workflow automation and the hosting service.

Of course, this is only a global view of these CRM solutions. Each will offer their own look, feel and specific set of tools that may or may not work for your organization. Reviewing each provider’s website, and taking the application for a test drive (whenever possible) is highly advisable.

Marketing Automation Solutions

The next technologies category we’re reviewing is marketing automation software, which focuses on tools that help companies automate and measure certain marketing efforts, so brands can focus on the more human side of the customer experience.

The Enterprise version is an advanced platform for larger teams, but pricing is based on number of contacts stored within the CRM rather than per user.

  • Prices start at $2,400 per month for 10,000 contacts
  • Required onboarding process is billed at $5,000

Oracle Eloqua
Basic functions include automating web marketing, analytics and lead management, but additional modules are available.

  • The Standard version of Eloqua is priced at $4,000 per month for up to 50 marketing users
  • The cap on contacts is 10,000

Salesforce Pardot
Both Pro and Ultimate versions include such standard features as email marketing, A/B testing and analytics; however, the Ultimate version is more customizable and includes phone support.

  • The Pro and Ultimate versions cost $2,000 and $3,000, respectively, for up to 10,000 contacts

The Enterprise Edition includes functionality for larger marketing teams that need advanced marketing automation and in-depth reporting

  • Cost per month is $2,000 for up to 10,000 contacts
  • Act-On allows six marketing users and 100 sales users

Web Content Management Solutions

This type of software is how marketing teams develop sites and collaborate on content creation, with administrative tools that help less-tech-savvy users maneuver through web programming languages.

One of the most popular web content management solutions due to its ease-of-use, WordPress offers different versions as well. The Business Edition runs $299 per year, with tools that include:

  • Unlimited web pages and blog posts
  • A customized domain for each site
  • More than 50 themes to assist with advanced web page design customization, and,
  • No limit on storage capacity

This web content management tool is free and open source, so it’s ideal for individuals or small marketing teams. However, it only includes content management and development, so you’ll still need database servers and support. A common route is to incorporate Acquia to gain functionality, but at a price with the Cloud Professional version.

  • Instance downloads start at $54 per month, increasing on a designated scale, and storage is $5 per month for up to 10 gigabytes; Additional storage capacity is available for a scalable fee
  • Support is an additional charge at $75 per month
  • Total cost per month for Drupal with Acquia components starts at $134 per month
  • Acquia also offers a Cloud Enterprise version and prices are quoted individually based on your needs; Features include automated workflows, 99% or higher site uptime, custom A/B testing, uptime monitoring, and high-level global support — including emergency support with one hour response time for mission-critical issues

There is no set pricing schedule for Sitecore because the company’s highly customizable solution is specifically needs-based. However, there are a number of factors that can help you calculate start-up costs and ongoing fees.

  • The number of domains you intend to manage
  • How far you intend to expand into different global regions
  • The different languages required to operate in various regions
  • The number of other software solutions you need to integrate, such as CRM, DAM, social media and others
  • Your amount of web traffic, and
  • How many add-on modules you will be using

With all marketing technologies, it’s important to think about your immediate needs, as well as what your needs are likely to be a few years down the road. This is especially true of content management solutions like the ones just mentioned, because there’s a lot of additional work that goes into changing your website to a different “platform,” as opposed to simply changing your social media management solution. Speaking of which …

Social Media Management Solutions

When it comes to social media marketing, the following solutions facilitate and automate a brand’s engagement with communities across a wide range of social media platforms. Interaction with your company’s fans and followers, and their “likes,” “tweets,” and other activities are essential to developing and retaining the customer community.

There are three tiers of pricing options, starting with the free base version. The Enterprise level social media management system is $100 per month.

Sprout Social
The three packages for this social media platform start at $59 per person, per month for the Deluxe, and up to $500 for the Team version, which includes three users.

This social media marketing solution costs $100 to $250 per user on a monthly basis. However, the minimum number of users is 10, so your total organization costs will be $1,000-$2,500.

The free version of this platform is useful for marketers managing three or less social media profiles. There is also the Pro plan which starts at $9.99 per month and the Business plan is custom quoted. However, keep in mind that with Hootsuite, you are charged for running reports at a rate of $50 per report or $45 annually. This feature should be factored into your budget.

When choosing a social media marketing solution, two big questions we recommend you address are:
(1)   Does this solution allow me to post to all of my social media platforms?
(2)   How much do I like the user experience (UX) of the application?

Content Marketing Solutions

If you’ve made it this far, it’s obvious you like to do your research as much as we do! In the last section of Part 1 of this series, we’re taking a look at content marketing solutions that can help you create, distribute and measure your content.

The licensing fee for Percolate ranges from $5,000-$15,000 per month.

This solution’s basic package starts at $3,500 per month. Content Gallery and Content Planning bundles are an additional $800-$1,600 per month.

Your content marketing strategy and usage will impact pricing for Newscred. The basic software is $4,000 per month, but adding content management and storage capabilities bring the price up to $7,000. Advanced content planning is quoted on an individual basis.

There are multiple modules available on ScribbleLive — including tools for analytics, planning, content creation and curation, as well as distribution. Your monthly rate, depending on your bundle, ranges from $2,500-$10,500.

The last of our content marketing solutions is Uberflip, which offers four versions — Expert, Exclusive, Elite and Enterprise. The price range is $1,200 to $3,500 monthly. However, the software is billed annually, so consider this factor when working out your yearly budget.

In conclusion

So, we’ve learned about digital asset management software pricing, as well as the pricing structure of five different marketing technologies.

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for understanding on cost, Part 2 of this series will identify the various functions and characteristics of a DAM system vs. other marketing solutions.

Thank you for visiting DigitalAssetManagement.com!

For further learnings, feel free to check out our Knowledge page, which provides free resources to help you along your DAM journey.


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