Decoding Marketing Technology Terms and Acronyms

Today’s marketing technology landscape is filled with confusing terms and three-letter acronyms. Over the past two decades, the number of marketing technologies has grown dramatically, and companies have attempted to create competitive differentiation by using distinctive terms to describe their solutions. The result is an array of marketing technology terms and acronyms that provide little help to marketers who are looking for solutions to important business challenges. Below are my ‘definitions’ of five important marketing technologies and their acronyms.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) — A software system that enables companies to efficiently catalog, store, retrieve, and repurpose content assets that exist in the form of computer files. The core feature of a DAM system is a centralized repository, or library, containing an organization’s content assets that have been cataloged in a way to facilitate search and retrieval. DAM systems will also typically enable the automation of workflows relating to the creation, approval, and versioning of content assets.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) — The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) defines enterprise content management as, ‘the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes.’ On the surface, therefore, ECM sounds a lot like DAM, but there are significant differences.

  • ECM systems are enterprise-wide solutions that manage all types of information assets, including operational communications and even e-mail. DAM systems tend to be used primarily for marketing-related content assets.
  • ECM systems are designed to work with content that is primarily text-based. DAM solutions are designed to work with images and other forms of ‘rich’ media, as well as text.
  • Both ECM and DAM systems provide search functionality, but ECM systems typically lack the robust versioning and rendering capabilities that are needed to prepare content assets for use in a variety of production/delivery environments (commercial printing, personal printing, website, mobile, etc.).

Web Content Management (WCM) — A software system that provides website authoring and web content collaboration and administrative tools. WCM systems are designed to enable users with little knowledge of web programming languages to create and maintain professional-quality website content.

Marketing Resource Management (MRM) — A software system that is designed to help companies manage marketing operations more effectively. MRM systems provide tools for managing marketing assets, people, work processes, schedules, budgets, and forecasts. MRM systems also typically provide tools for measuring the performance of the marketing function. In some ways, an MRM system can be thought of as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for marketing.

Marketing Asset Management (MAM) — A relatively new term that’s used to describe software systems that provide DAM capabilities and additional functionality designed specifically for marketers. Some people describe MAM as ‘DAM for marketers’, but there are several important differences between robust MAM solutions and traditional DAM systems.

  • Traditional DAM systems are used primarily by ‘creative’ workers. MAM systems also address the needs of other marketing supply chain participants, including salespeople and channel partners.
  • Traditional DAM systems are primarily concerned with managing components of marketing materials. MAM solutions also focus on the creation and customization of finished marketing materials.
  • Some MAM systems provide direct links to production vendors, and therefore they can be used to execute the procurement of marketing materials.

There’s another term and acronym that should be on your radar. At ADAM, we use the term marketing execution platform (MEP) to describe a set of integrated technology tools that enable marketers to manage the full scope of the marketing function. In a future post, I’ll describe in more detail what a marketing execution platform includes and why we believe it represents the emerging paradigm of marketing technology.

This post was previously published on the ADAM blog. And for more three letter acronyms, take a look at our own collection.

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Author:Jan Dejosse

CMO - ADAM Software

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