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How To Improve Your Marketing Workflow

There’s a story we’re all familiar with, though hopefully this will soon be a walk down distant memory lane. It goes something like this:

I’m looking for the creative brief for a project we did two months ago. We’ve talked about tools that could improve our marketing workflow, but we haven’t moved past the research stage. That means my first stop in this search is still my email, where I sort by “Sender” and “Has Attachments.” I immediately get a ton of results back, but none of these emails contain the document I’m looking for. A bit more frustrated, I ask everyone on my team who might have an idea where to find the document. They either have no idea or they ask if I’ve checked my email.

I finally find it, misplaced in a lookalike folder in one of our shared sites. I never would have tracked it down it if it wasn’t for Terry, a freelance designer we hired to work on that project a few months ago but never again after that. It’s a miracle I was able to reach him.

Except when I open the creative brief it mentions a font that we nixed before final production. Plus, this file has the wrong colors. This definitely isn’t the final version. I check all the other files in that folder to no avail. Now I have to start my search all over again, and it’s only 9:48 AM on a Monday. Not how I planned to start my week, and I haven’t even done any real work yet.

Enough. Finding the right file shouldn’t feel like you’re chasing your tail. If it was easier for you to find your files, you could put an end to all this frustration. If you could find your files faster, you could skip the back and forth with your team and spend more time creating your best work.

Add, Edit, Delete, Repeat: Show Your Keywords Some Love

When you search for a file, most systems compare your search term against a collection of pre-defined keywords, or metadata. These are the data that describe your creative briefs, videos, images, and everything in between. Type something into the search field, and the system will return all the assets with that keyword in its metadata.

Except how does the system “know” that certain keywords belong to certain assets?

In most cases, someone has to manually add keywords to Every. Single. Asset. If you have thousands or even tens of thousands of assets, or (gulp) even more, this could easily be a full-time job. What makes more sense is finding a system that can do it for you.

There are marketing workflow tools that can automatically apply relevant metadata to each new file as you add it to your system. The more relevant the metadata that’s associated with each file, the easier it will be for you to find what you’re looking for. Because you definitely have better things to do than assign, edit, and manage the keywords that describe your digital assets. That’s what digital asset management (DAM) systems are for.

How Does Your Work Flow?

Digital asset management workflow systems can do far more than automatically add relevant keywords to your files. That’s a big part of getting fast search results, but this only one part of your workflow. The right DAM system can make every part of your creative process more efficient.

  • When you first begin a new campaign. Are you adapting materials from a previous campaign or starting entirely fresh? How will you keep everything organized? And how will you make sure you and your team members are working on the most current version?
    One of the most important ways that a DAM can deliver fast search results is by serving as your single source of truth. If you move all your assets into a DAM, you can sidestep a lot of confusion around who has which version, and which version is the most current. Open a file from the DAM, edit it, and then upload the new version to keep everyone on the same page. And some DAM systems take it a step further. They allow you to set up automated workflows that alert team members once assets have been uploaded into the system and tagged with keywords.
  • When you’re getting approvals. You exchange files with clients and vendors all the time. Are you sending the right versions? How long does it take you get approvals for each project?
    The approvals process can be a huge bottleneck for any company. Miscommunication surrounding who has which version can push back timelines and eat away at your productivity. A digital asset management workflow solution can solve this. Instead of sharing versions by email, you can create a secure web portal for every project. Any time someone logs into the portal, they can be sure they’re seeing the most up-to-date version. And you can also create automated workflows that notify your team members when stakeholders leave comments. You don’t need to spend so much time searching for files. This is the way it should be: simple and straightforward.

Get Results Fast And Stop Playing Games When You Search

Searching for an asset should feel like magic, not a game of charades. You shouldn’t have to know who uploaded it, when it was created, or who touched it last. Search should be approachable, intuitive, and quick. The alternative? A long, drawn-out game that leaves you more frustrated than when you began.

“Artists should be paid to create art, not track down emails or manage projects which are two giant wastes of valuable time. If systems can help reduce even a fraction of the downtime for the artists, how much more art could be created?”

Toby Martin


Your time is too valuable to spend it on searching for files. Your team members’ time is too precious to waste it on comparing one version to another. The right digital asset management workflow solution can give you back your time so you can focus on creating your best work.

Are you getting the most value from your digital assets? 1800Flowers was able to reduce image research time by 33% with Portfolio, our digital asset management workflow system. Whatever your search challenges, a good DAM can do more than you think.