At Stacks, we often hear a story that may sound familiar to you. It goes like this:
After a few years of hard work, you finally get the job you’ve always wanted. A big-name brand you’ve been loyal to as a consumer for years has brought you to run their digital marketing team. Once you’re done celebrating with your friends and family, you spend your first day in your new office. Things go well, the people are great, and your work seems straightforward and manageable. You’re finally not in over your head at work.
A few months in, however, you begin to notice something troubling. You’ve kicked off a few major digital marketing campaigns, all of which demanded the creation of lots of new creative content. Getting those campaigns off the ground and running was more difficult than you expected, mainly because managing and distributing content efficiently wasn’t possible. Since each creator stores assets on their personal computer and shares them via email and Dropbox, this makes them impossible for others to find and remember how to use them correctly.
Your job, instead of centering on leveraging content to grow your organization, has become about managing content, building a program for governing it more efficiently going forward, and cleaning up the mess that currently exists. All of a sudden, you’re over your head again at work.
Breaking Down DAM Jobs
Maybe this story resonates with you, or perhaps your organization has a DAM program that predates your time at the organization. Either way, the biggest threat to the development and growth of a healthy DAM program, in our experience, is forcing employees with existing full-time work to manage it. For that reason, hiring a DAM-related position is a necessity for nearly every organization at some point. To do this effectively, you’ll need to make some decisions beforehand to guide your hiring decisions.
Determine Roles and Responsibilities
The first and most crucial step to take before hiring someone to govern your DAM program is to determine what they’ll be responsible for. Are you hiring this person due to a lack of bandwidth, a lack of expertise, or both? Will they be focused solely on managing the assets coming in and going out of the DAM system, or will they also be responsible for the entire asset lifecycle? What are your team’s pain points?
To start the process of documenting your needs, we recommend surveying current users and administrators of your DAM system. What isn’t working? Where could they use help? Where do they say, “I don’t know what I don’t know in this area?”
Full-Time or Fractional?
Once you have a basic understanding of what your new DAM hire will be doing, you’ll need to decide whether this role is full-time or part-time. Many organizations assume that because their current staff feels overwhelmed by their digital asset management responsibilities, it’ll take a full-time job to handle them.
Often, however, their existing team only feels overloaded because they have other jobs to perform in addition to their DAM duties. If your DAM system is new or isolated to a specific set of assets, you can likely start with a part-time or fractional hire, even if your library has hundreds of thousands of assets in it.
Hire or Outsource?
The final major decision to make is whether this role should be filled with a traditional hire or by outsourcing the work to a staffing agency, interns, or a DAM consultant. The answer to this question should be based on the roles and responsibilities of the job and the goals and needs of your organization. However, the hiring process is often long and expensive and the results aren’t guaranteed.
Take the time to evaluate all your options for filling the role, especially if your organization has tight deadlines or is budget-conscious.
Best Practices for Filling Your Open DAM Position
After you’ve answered all the questions above, you can get to work filling your position. Here are a few best practices for finding the right candidate and helping them achieve the goals set out for them.
- Invest in a strong DAM program. For many organizations, their digital assets are the most important asset they own. They represent their brand and are the primary method by which they grow their customer base. For this reason, investing in the program and its continued success is worthwhile. Hiring a talented employee who is passionate about developing and strengthening your DAM program is the most significant tool you can have in your arsenal. Do what it takes to bring the right person on board.
- Remember the value of real-world experience. Unfortunately, the number of people who graduate with degrees in DAM or DAM-adjacent fields is relatively low. For this reason, don’t discount the value of real-world experience managing digital assets among your applicants. Many members of the Stacks team are former creatives who’ve become DAM experts by managing their own photos, videos, and creative materials. Don’t make a DAM-specific degree a requirement on your job application.
- Bring DAM end-users and stakeholders into interviews. Every DAM program should be built with its end-users in mind. The people creating and using the assets should have a significant say in the processes, standards, workflows, and construction of the program, even if they aren’t given ownership of it. Bring these employees into candidate interviews and discovery calls with DAM consultants to ensure that anyone you hire will get along with these teams and keep their needs in mind.
- Let your new hire grow with the program. In other words, don’t be afraid to start small. At the moment, your team may just need help tagging assets with the proper metadata, organizing the archive, and managing the permissions within your DAM system. In that case, hiring someone who can grow with your DAM program in expertise and knowledge as it becomes more complicated and time-consuming is a smart move.
- Create long and short-term visions for the program. Any new hire should know where you’d love to see your DAM program in a year and in five years. This is especially important for applicants with more experience in the field. Get them excited about what your brand is building behind the scenes and how it enables your work beyond the back end.
If you're looking to hire someone to help launch, facilitate, or grow your DAM program, consider Stacks. We work with brands of all shapes and sizes and would love to help!