This article is the asset assessment best practices shared in a Product Chat with Sandi Olson, Senior Marketing Content Manager at Microsoft >> watch now
Few people will start asset assessment from a completely blank slate. To approach asset assessment, you’ll identify the current system, who’s involved in asset management and whether there are gaps in your marketing materials.
You’ll also want to look at how assets are stored, shared and tracked.
This article will help you get started, identify file naming conventions, and help you explore some potential tools to improve your processes.
Getting Started with Asset Assessment
Three key questions can help you get started:
1. What is Your Current Asset Management System?
To find the system in place, start by asking, “if someone has a great idea for an asset, how does it move through the process from concept to completion?
Then, think about where people look when they want an existing asset. Is there a central folder with all the assets, or do different people have different systems, and you have to know who to ask?
Finally, what’s the review cadence of your asset library? When it goes live, does it just remain in the same folder where it was built, or is there a process for archiving? Is the archive folder organized, or is it just the basement where you’ve thrown everything?
2. Who’s Involved With Asset Management?
Sometimes you’ll have a point person (especially on smaller teams) who owns the archive. So if you need a file from last month or last year, they’re your go-to person.
Other times, there might be a structured project management organization or an administrative team in charge of organizing and maintaining archives.
You might have a situation where anyone can be in charge of anything, which feels chaotic.
It’s also helpful to know if your goal to improve asset assessment is supported in the organization or if you need to gain buy-in from key influencers and decision-makers.
3. Are There Recurring Gaps in Your Marketing Materials?
Suppose you see regular dips in your analytics without a clear explanation. In that case, you can use asset archives to uncover what it is you were publishing to uncover patterns, trends or topic clusters.
You can also investigate if your front-line teams are receiving the same consistent questions or comments about your products or services. That could indicate a gap in your marketing materials or messaging.
Utilize Assessment to Better Integrate Positioning and Messaging
The messaging and positioning framework (MPF) provides the context and guidance for all messaging about the product or company. Through asset assessment, you can ask the right questions about how well that positioning is being communicated in your materials. You’ll have a better look at whether there’s an opportunity to optimize and streamline existing assets with the latest messaging and positioning.
Asset assessment can help identify opportunities for improvement, but it also helps to create a more unified experience for customers. Having accurate and consistent messaging across your assets creates a cohesive narrative that supports the value proposition you’re presenting to your customers.
Is the MPF referenced during the conception stage of new assets?
It’s great to go through the exercise of developing an MPF and making sure that anybody who has contributed elements to the work that you produce has some familiarity with it. But the exercise is wasted if you go through the process, and then it gets filed away, and no one sees it. Unfortunately, that’s really common.
If you want to outshine the competition, you can start by not just creating an MPF but also having it integrated into everything you’re doing and everything you’ve completed.
How Healthy Asset Hygiene Enhances Strategy Development
We all know that we ought to manage our marketing assets, but few teams or companies actually do complete this work. It’s the thing we all intend to do, but when push comes to shove, we don’t.
However, if you are really excellent at asset assessment and asset management, you will have access to all of the things that you’ve done in the past, which will make you a much stronger creative. By creating an organized asset archive and keeping consistent asset hygiene, you can improve your team’s efficacy in developing future strategies. It will also make it easier to track results and identify new opportunities as they come up.
Finally, asset assessment can help you create an organized base of knowledge that your organization can use to improve strategy development and decision-making. It also helps to ensure that your teams are all working from the same information and using the most up-to-date messaging.
Here are three ways asset hygiene enhances strategy development:
- When you have all that reference material, you don’t need to have all the past projects top of mind. You can just go back into the files and have an easy, quick refresher on what’s been happening with any given product or campaign. Additionally, if someone asks you for something that was created before you joined the company, you’ll be able to find it.
- You can explore how ideas evolved. There aren’t many truly new ideas, and seeing what you’ve done in the past, can give you an edge in how you think about what you’ll do in the future.
- Everyone likes a well-placed throwback, especially your most devoted customers. They can appreciate a subtle reference to remind them of things way back when.
When is a Good time to Review Archives?
Suppose you are prepping to brainstorm next year’s big ideas. Referencing previous years’ big ideas can help jumpstart the conversation. It’s so much easier to come up with the next great idea when you’re not staring at a blank piece of paper.
Easy and clear access to the archives helps your analysts connect customer behavior to specific campaigns, launches, media or even specific assets. This will allow you to compare when you had spikes (either up or down) and what was out there at the time. It’ll help you have a real clear sense of what you were communicating and how you were communicating it.
Finally, if you need to rush a message or campaign, but your legal team doesn’t feel the same urgency. If you can use previously released assets with the same phrasing or images, that can speed up approval. So all you are approving now is a thing that you have already approved, and that can sometimes turn them around much more quickly so you’re not bogged down with them.
How to Structure an Archive
There needs to be folder naming conventions and file naming conventions to make your archive as accessible to as wide a range of people as possible.
There’s no one completely right answer. There will always be bits and pieces relative to exactly what works for you and your team.
A note on dates: typically, you want to use day/month/year. This is different from the American version of month/day/year. We do this because if there are multiple files produced during the same month, you want to be able to quickly sort and find the latest version by day, not just by month and year.
Another strategy is to create a folder for all final versions of an asset as a single source of truth.
Listen and watch Sandi Olson, Senior Marketing Content Manager at Microsoft, explain her best strategies for organizing and naming folders and files:
Here are some suggested organizational strategies:
Organized by Campaign
Campaign name – Campaign Launch Date_ File Name
If your organization functions by the campaign, and generally, the people who would care about your files will reference things by their campaign, this is a great structure.
Organized by Launch Date/Sprint
Launch Date_File Name
If your organization is much more focused on dates, then you organize by date. But make sure that you have all of that information and have a clear delineation of the subject matter.
Organized by Product
If you have a team that, that only works on BIS apps as a product, then the top-level folder would be bi apps. From there, then date might be the easiest organizational structure.
Tools and Processes
One thing to remember is no software or tool can overcome a culture of disorganization.
If there are people in leadership who refuse to use the naming conventions that you’ve used in the folder conventions, it’s going to be a struggle.
It’s easy to put off organizational tasks, especially in busy creative times. However, if you do not prioritize this somewhat mundane task, the benefits will not be available to you.
Some Project Management Brands:
- Google Drive – This is a great option for smaller teams or those not ready for full-blown project management software. Store your documents and share the folders company-wide.
- VPN – If you work with sensitive information, use a virtual private network to ensure that your documents remain secure. You can craft permissions based on roles and protect especially sensitive documents with passwords.
- Basecamp – This is an excellent option for teams who need to keep track of multiple projects. Utilize the message boards, task lists and calendar features to stay on top of every project detail.
- Microsoft Teams – This tool is one way to keep up with team progress and streamline the workflow. It has different options like tasks, chats, files, and even calendar scheduling.
- Trello – Trello is a useful project management tool for teams that need more of an agile approach. Here you can create boards to assign tasks, set deadlines and track progress.
- Slack – Slack is great for teams that need to keep up with conversations across channels and have faster interactions to complete projects faster.
- Monday.com – Monday.com is designed to promote team collaboration and increase visible task management. It makes it easy for you to have an instant overview of your project’s progress, as well as assign tasks to people quickly and easily.
- ClickUp – ClickUp is a comprehensive project management system that allows people to create tasks, organize them into checklists and assign them to team members. It also has features like time tracking, task dependencies, and Gantt charts.
- Asana – Asana is perfect for teams that want to stay on top of their projects and reduce the time spent managing tasks. It offers a variety of features like task list management, collaborator tracking, timeline view, and more. By using these tools in combination with organized folder structures and file naming conventions, you can effectively keep your workflow running.
- A Well-Oiled Spreadsheet – An organized spreadsheet can be a great way to keep track of multiple projects and tasks with ease. Ultimately, the key is to ensure that everyone in your organization is aware of and actively participating in the established file-naming conventions. It may take some time to become part of the organizational culture, but it will help make managing and finding files much easier in the long run.
Enroll in Focus
Asset management is one way to bring focus to your work and your team. When you enroll in Pragmatic’s Focus course, you’ll learn more about asset assessment, and you’ll learn how to find opportunities in your market’s problems, score them objectively and identify where your company’s strengths intersect with market values.