What is a Digital Asset Manager? Role, Responsibilities & Required Skillsets

By Angela Stringfellow - Last updated

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In a business environment where company assets and collateral are increasingly digital – photos, video, website and blog content, reviews, and more – the role of Digital Asset Manager is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity. Today, companies serious about digital assets (and their interdepartmental use) require a Digital Asset Manager to analyze, organize, and manage vast libraries of digital collateral.

Definition of a Digital Asset Manager (DAM)

Not to be confused with digital asset management (also-owner of the DAM acronym), a digital asset manager is the person responsible for curating, organizing, documenting, cataloging, and managing all digital assets – in other words, all digital capital including images, videos, written content, audio, testimonials, reviews, and more.

What Does a Digital Asset Manager Do?

What is a Digital Asset Manager-min

The short answer: A Digital Asset Manager is responsible for all digital assets. This can include everything from efficient file naming and storage practices, to the use of a digital library management platform. In other words, a DAM acts as a sort of librarian – archivist, organizer, and guardian of a company or organization’s files, photos, video, audio, and other digital content.

It’s a lot more than that, though: A Digital Asset Manager is not only responsible for the digital assets themselves, but also for how company employees (and even the public) can access, use, and interact with these assets. This is a highly collaborative job that can encompass responsibilities such as the proper management of usage rights and file permissions.

As mentioned above, almost all Digital Asset Managers today will also be responsible for mastering digital asset management platforms. And again, it’s about more than simply cataloging and managing assets within a given DAM program; a Digital Asset Manager must also make the platform accessible and easy to use for both end users and interdepartmental collaboration within the company: marketing, programming, sales, and end users.

Bottom line: A Digital Asset Manager manages not only digital assets and their associated technologies, but also all the people, processes, and uses that interact with those assets and technology.

Who Needs a Digital Asset Manager?

Bottom line: If your company maintains a sizeable digital asset library – to include all media, content, testimonials/reviews, and more – then you would benefit from the expertise and analytical mind of a Digital Asset Manager.

This is especially true in large companies and organizations with separate departments. If you want the right arm to know what the left hand is doing (and where and how to find that file the left hand last used), then a DAM will serve as tech support and organizational bridge between departments.

Skills Required for a Digital Asset Manager

Skills Required for a Digital Asset Manager

A Digital Asset Manager is a highly collaborative position so, beyond the obvious requirements – tech skills and digital know-how – a DAM must also be a team player, have great people skills, and possess the ability to simplify digital asset access to the masses. You must understand and empathize with the user experience, while always working to improve it.

From an educational perspective, most Digital Asset Management positions require a minimum bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Beyond that, many skills are required of a DAM. Among the most important are:

  • Tech skills: You will be responsible for managing a company’s vital [and potentially huge] library of digital assets, most likely via a DAM platform. Programming skills, a process-oriented mind, and a data-driven nature are also very valuable.
  • An analytical mind: You will be responsible for thousands (tens of thousands? hundreds of thousands?) of digital files. What is the best, most efficient, most logical way to organize, tag, store, and access them? In this same vein, you must also have the ability to prioritize and implement your developed strategy, including executing a metadata tagging methodology.
  • Project-management skills: Digital asset management is constant project management; you will forever be collaborating with other departments on their projects. Leadership is a plus.
  • Attention to detail: Just one mistake in file naming or permissions can cause serious problems. You must be highly organized with a mind for logical structure – not only what works for you, but will make sense to all.
  • Data entry: Speaking of attention to detail, a DAM will spend a lot of time doing data entry. Be prepared.
  • Excellent communication: You will interact with many departments within your company.
  • Patience and empathy: Technology and management platforms don’t come easily to everyone. You must have the ability to understand other’s questions and answer them in simple language.
  • Flexibility: When you work with people – coworkers and end users alike – you must be flexible and good-natured. Remember, you’re in charge of tech assets and their relationship with and to users who are not always tech savvy. Be flexible.

Companies that value their digital assets will also make room on their payroll for a Digital Asset Manager. Taking the time to integrate a skilled DAM into your team will reap benefits and dividends for many years to come. But a DAM pro isn’t all you need to take control over your digital assets; a DAM solution is the glue that unites the processes and workflows implemented by your Digital Asset Manager. Schedule a demo today to learn how MerlinOne can transform your marketing and creative operations.

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