5 mistakes to look out for when choosing a DAM solution


On 27-28 June, WoodWing attended the DAM Europe conference in London. Leading brands and experts discussed their experiences in advising on, selecting, and implementing DAM solutions, for a variety of use cases, including:

  • Simple photo library
  • Brand management
  • Campaign asset management
  • Multi-channel distribution
  • Catalog and magazine production
  • Short-form media management 
  • Broadcast media management

In this post, we will focus on one particular topic of the conversation -  some of the more common mistakes made by businesses choosing a digital asset management solution. But we will start out with what to think about in the research phase.  


Steps to follow when choosing a DAM solution

Before anything else happens, it is important to map out your use cases for your current situation and the foreseeable future, understand implementation processes, specs, and key principles to set up a DAM system. Based on the speakers’ advice from the event, as you do this it is advisable to keep the following points in mind:

There is no such thing as the “best DAM solution”. Every situation is unique and there is a spectrum of solutions to fit different use cases. 
Increased functionality can come with greater complexity This is a tradeoff you should assess carefully. 
The solution you purchase is important to your project’s success. However, what sometimes gets lost is that metadata governance and staffing are just as important.

With that in mind, here are some key mistakes companies make when selecting a DAM solution.


1. Buying the Millenium Falcon when you need a Mini Cooper

It is human nature to compare things. And something that can work against you when comparing DAM solutions is to focus on the shiniest tool available, especially if it is compared with a less beautiful or functional option. In an effort to sell the more expensive option, savvy salespeople may also use the “decoy effect”. This is a cognitive bias in which option A (which may be well suited to your needs) is compared unfavorably with option B, a pimped up, but more complex or expensive solution. Be aware of your bias - and stay focused on your use cases. Or as noted by DAM consultant Theresa Regli:

"No need to buy the Millennial Falcon, if a Mini Cooper will tend to 90-95% of your company's needs."


2. Making a purchase decision based on price

It may be obvious, but is an issue that attendees are still seeing. As the old saying goes, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” While it may be tempting to go for a cheaper option now, this can end up costing more down the track if your solution is not aligned with your needs. 



3. Prioritizing UI over APIs

In a demo situation or as a user, the UI is the first thing that you notice. While a strong UI is important, as it is often one of the first things you see it also can bring another cognitive bias - the halo effect - into play. This is where our first impressions influence the way we interpret further information, and is why a great company with a bad website may struggle to be as recognized as much as an average company with a great website.

As your DAM solution is more often than not one of a number of tools that can be connected and work together, a flexible API can translate into enormous productivity gains. When assessing potential solutions, make sure to give the appropriate consideration to its extensibility, as well as its UI.  


4. Making a decision based on a consultant or vendor pitch

While vendors may impress with a polished demo, it is important to stay focused on how a solution aligns with your use cases. One way of doing this is to ask all shortlisted vendors to show how their solutions work for a specific use case. This enables you to make an apples-to-apples comparison of what is on offer, and avoid being led into over-buying or selecting a solution that doesn’t align with your specific needs. 


5. Outsourcing your decision 

One final risk to be aware of is “authority bias” - where you weigh the opinion of an expert more heavily than your own. This can be an issue even (or especially) if you are working with a knowledgeable and valuable consultant. While your consultant may know more about the landscape, solutions, and functionality on offer, only you really understand your specific needs and internal challenges. At the end of the day, for the best results, you need to own your decision. 



According to one source, people involved in content creation spend 20 percent of every day on average looking for lost files. Multiply that across millions of marketers, writers, photographers, and designers in the world, and you have an extraordinary amount of asset chaos and lost productivity. The need for strong digital asset management is clear - hopefully, this article will help you make the right choice for you!

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Magdalena Ivanova, Product Marketing Manager

Magdalena is a digital marketer and tech enthusiast with multiple marketing disciplines under her belt. Her articles cover various topics, including all things marketing, digital asset management, interviews, opinions etc. 
You can follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn