In this podcast episode, we interview Andrew Hally, Chief Marketing Officer at Bynder, a digital asset management platform.

Andrew shares how digital asset management has evolved over the last few years, and how Bynder helps companies ‘scale-up’, using DAM to power the digital experience.

Transcript: Interview with Andrew Hally – Bynder

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today.

Welcome to the latest episode of marketing b2b technology, the podcast from Napier. Today I’m joined by Andrew Halley, who’s the CMO of Bynder. Welcome to the podcast. Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks, Mike. It’s great to be here.

Mike: Great. So, bynder is a company that does Digital Asset Management. But before we talk about the company in detail, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in this sector of marketing technology?

Andrew: Yeah, sure. Happy to my so I guess most importantly, I’m, I’m here in Boston. speaking to you from home, of course, as most of us are these days, after, you know, starting my career after school and consulting in venture capital for few years, the last, you know, slightly more than two decades, I’ve been doing software software as a service and marketing. I really my favourite stage, having done kind of, you know, raw pre product startup through larger public companies is, is the scale up stage right? When a company’s figured out how to solve an important problem for customers. And it’s all about, you know, scaling that up. So that’s, that’s what Bynders at that stage. About half my career has been in the mahr tech realm. Also, I really enjoy, you know, marketers are always happy to tell their stories. I love you know, that the technology of marketing. So it’s been an industry that I’ve been in. So when, when Bynder was looking for marketing leadership back in 2019, it was a great, a great fit.

Mike: Fantastic. So what is it that Bynder offers what’s the what’s the product you offer

Andrew: Well, as you said, the the product category is digital asset management, which we deliver, you know, as software as a service. And, you know, in doing so that’s the category, but put the label on the category, but to me, we’ve got a really important mission. And you know, the digital assets that we take care of, it’s, it’s the best marketing creativity, and we really see it as our mission to take that marketing creativity and really elevate it into the heart of digital experience. You know, marketing is very digital. Now. There’s a lot of technology involved. But at the end of the day, it’s really the spark, it’s that the heart of that creative story that makes the difference. And we really want to make sure that’s part of digital experience and help brands use that to build relationships with our customers.

Mike: Excellent. So I mean, a lot of things you’re trying to help marketers do, but just to, to unpack a little bit, you know, digital asset management? What exactly do you mean by that? What exactly is the software doing for marketers?

Andrew: Yes, sure. It’s, um, it’s a good question. You know, at its core, digital asset management is the system of record, if you will, for marketing content. It’s that single source of truth. And that’s what it originally was, but but through its history, digital asset management, or dam, in short, has actually taken on a much bigger role, you know, so we really kind of see, Digital Asset Management isn’t in the third wave, right, the first wave, you know, like most software, it was a software that the it organisation ran on premise. And it had a pretty narrow scope, it handled big media files for broadcasting and publishing companies. But bynders were one of the vendors that then came along and pioneered dam delivered as a service with user interaction that was really great, really well designed and accessible to all marketers and and dam became the system of record across the marketing organisation to place for assets and to management manage the content lifecycle.

And so that’s been kind of the paradigm that’s really seeing a lot of the the industry growth and Dan become very mean mainstream. But in the last year, so, you know, as the economy rapidly went digital, right, a trend that was already happening, but accelerated by the pandemic. market has shifted. And as we’re in a digital first world, digital experience became really just mission critical for most marketers. And you really don’t have digital experience without creative content. So the need to have create a content powering great digital experience, has a whole bunch of new needs that have really kind of started this third wave of dam where the dam is, it’s sitting in the core marketing technology infrastructure, next to data next to analytics, and driving a personalised digital experience to touch points. So started out as the system of record for assets, but now it manages the complete asset lifecycle, including powering personalised digital experiences, so it’s coming on Way enough in a couple of decades.

Mike: So I mean, that’s really interesting. You’ve covered a lot of things there. And I just like to, to dig into a couple, particularly. So you talked about originally being the system of record for digital assets. So explain that to me, is that helping marketers make sure they have the right images, the right version of the images? What do you mean by by that terminology?

Andrew: Yes, you’ve you’ve put your finger on on the core of it. Maybe one way to think of it is when when customers first come to us first, get into the market for digital asset management. Everyone puts files somewhere, right? Even if you’re just a start up with one person. And typically they’re putting them on either you’ve got, you know, computers, they’re an enterprise, your own servers, and you’re storing things there. Maybe it’s on SharePoint, or people are using Dropbox or Box is a service and it just dumping your files into folders there. But the problem with that is, it’s these systems are designed to figure out, they’re not designed to make it easy for people to find content, they’re not designed to make sure people find the right content content through versioning, things that are approved, you know, things like that.

So, you know, the first time that dam buyer is usually solving the kinds of operational pains you’re talking about of, you know, making sure people can find the right assets, making sure it’s easy for people to find them so that the content team isn’t kept busy just emailing things to people. The content team isn’t worried about people using the wrong asset, because the only the right one is available. And then managing managing the workflow of creating content, you know, what’s what’s in working process, what’s approved, what is revisions that are needed, etc. So that’s some of the baseline things people buy digital asset management to solve.

Mike: And then you you talked about how it extends to actually serving content dynamically. So people pulling, you know, these digital assets, these images and other content directly from the dam using a marketing automation system onto their website. How does that work?

Andrew: Right. Well, so first, in, people are still absolutely no individual marketers are going to the dab and grabbing assets as needed, right. I mean, there’s lots of things that are physical in nature, right? Like, oh, we need new uniprint new posters for the store. But yeah, the when it comes to powering the digital experience now, yeah, that’s exactly right. Integration with the marketing stack has really become a critical part of what what what a digital asset management does. So we’ve digital asset management system does. And so you mentioned marketing, automation tools, that’s definitely a critical one, you know, the the, the most critical integration point is typically with the CMS, or the the content management system that powers the website, or the digital experience, platform power powering the website.

Also integrations with with e commerce, right, making sure that the right product images are, are served, that are right for the device responsive to the type of device that are optimised to have a fast experience. And then, but there’s also Mike, there’s also integration upstream, for example, into the creative tools, that that that marketer that creative marketers will use to generate original assets and things like that, so that we’re able to integrate with those things, bring those into the, into the life side asset lifecycle, we’re able to take assets and actually help automate the process of creating all the versions and variations that modern market marketing typically needs. And then we’ll also integrate into workflow tools, if a marketing organisation has, you know, a write a work front or something like that we can integrate with there. So it really integration is really the name of the game. You know, after you solve those initial kind of pains of just having the right asset available

Mike Maynard 

as that that’s amazing. I mean, it sounds like the dam almost disappears, and it just becomes this resource that’s available everywhere. And it’s not seen as a separate system.

Andrew: I think I think that’s the idea. Of course, we still got, you know, the dam administrators, right to just the critical work of making sure the system’s running, you know, making sure that the permissions work, that the metadata that’s used to categorise assets is logical and up to date. So you do have kind of a core group of folks who are the, you know, tend to the care and feeding. But yeah, a lot of that a lot of the the important than use of the assets happens machine to machine, if you will. Cool.

Mike: I mean, just hearing the range of capabilities. I’m interested in what drives a company to buy a dam is it is it because they get into trouble because they’re, they’ve got people using the wrong versions or using you know, images that the licence has expired. I don’t know something, or people buying dams with with this idea of creating, you know, a complete integrated system from day one

Andrew: Yeah, the answer is both I think we we at Bynder, we usually think of the problems we solve and the value we deliver is there’s kind of three levels, if you will. And the first level is, is, is one of the things you mentioned that that operational pain of it just marketers are wasting time getting the right asset to people, people are using the wrong asset, out of date, assets, those sorts of things. And it’s, it’s kind of narrow operational pain, but it can be big. So, for example, one customer of ours, Akzo Nobel, you know, when you look at across organisation of every employee having difficulty finding things, they were wasting over 1000 hours a month in aggregate, just solving that operational pain can still have big returns for the business.

So that’s operational pain. But the the second level is really around helping marketing teams achieve success with critical initiatives. So think, you know, big brand pivots, as we saw a lot, you know, in 2020, rolling out new products going into a new geography integrating an acquisition, or a rebranding. And so one example would be Nord a, as a customer of ours, they’re a bank with a strong footprint across northern Europe had lots of different look and feel and the different geographies they covered, and they had a goal of rebranding with a, a geography wide, consistent brand. And they just realised that was going to be tough to be successful if people couldn’t find the new assets that instantiate the brand. So by having a single season system of record, it was super easy to use, everyone across the company was able to get the right things, and that that rebranding effort was successful. So that’s kind of achieving critical marketing objectives that second level. And then the third is the other thing that you mentioned, were really is company strategic value, right. And, again, being successful with digital transformation, having a digital experience that sustains and grows the business. That’s that kind of third strategic level of value that we’re that we’re starting to see Dan play more of a role in.

Mike: Thanks, Andrew, that, I mean, that’s great. I’m a, I’m interested actually, it sounds like people are buying dams with a relatively short outlook. Yep, dams have got all these integrations and, you know, potentially their complexity, is it hard to, to deploy and use a dam? Or, you know, is it easier than it sounds?

Andrew: So, when we moved out of the first way, when it was kind of software that it ran into the second way, that was one of the key things that happened, right is, you know, Bynder, pioneered delivering Damn, as a service, you know, software’s a service, which, you know, one of its characteristics is, it’s a heck of a lot easier, you don’t need to do a lot of installation, you know, you’re, you’re basically logging in with a browser. So that made it a lot easier to deploy, there is to really get the most out of dam, there is some level of work that goes into it, and a lot of it’s just around thinking through how you want your content, you know, to look at it, you know, what was that? You know, what does the metadata need to look like? What is the what is the ways, you’re going to look at your library, if you will, and if you think about when you search for products, you know, in e commerce, if you go to like a an electronics, you know, vendor, you know, like Best Buy, or Carphone Warehouse, you know, you go there, and you can slice into, you know, these dimensions of, of home versus auto and, you know, speakers, versus cassette versus turntable versus CD, audio versus video, there’s a number of these dimensions, right, that, that you want to kind of think through what are right for your content.

And so there, you want to invest a little bit in that, because that’s then what makes it super easy for marketers and for employees, in indeed, at the end of the day customers to find what they’re looking for. So you want to have a little bit of thought there. But you can get it been running pretty quickly for those basic work, you know, solving those problems around operational problems of finding the right asset, you know, the integration into the marketing stack does that that is something also that takes more time. That’s, you know, your, your plug in software together. And even though we’ve got 50 odd, you know, pre made connectors, you still want to do that, right. And sometimes, you know, sophisticated large enterprises actually will, will code to our API to be able to integrate with their tech stack exactly the way they want. So kind of varies on the according to the scope of what our customer is trying to accomplish.

Mike: Great. I mean, it sounds like that there’s just multiple levels of what you can do that it you know, introduced Obviously more complexity but more functionality? Definitely. I’ve got to ask this, you know, you’ve talked about all these amazing capabilities, and you know, some some very large customers, you know, a dam is expensive, and they just, you know, really for large enterprises, or can smaller companies benefit?

Andrew: I think one of the great things about the SAS model is it really does help even the playing field of companies able to access the very same software, regardless of the size of the company, right? You don’t you don’t need to have your own large IT department who can set up servers run servers instal software, right, it’s delivered by a SAS, you know, Bynder, and other SAS vendors take care of all of that. So there’s definitely a lot of the, you know, even of the playing field. And, yeah, we’ve got, we’ve got customers that run the gamut, right, from, you know, some of the largest brands in the world, all the way down to, you know, startups that are really digital first, and content is a huge part of their growth plans, but they’re, you know, less than 100 people. So it really does, you know, run the gamut, I think thinking recently, right, we’ve got customers, large enterprises, you know, like Herman Miller in the furniture space. But then we’ve also got amazing customers like human scale, which is a smaller provider, but doing every bit as good things and able to, they’ve got to make the same sort of brand pivots, right? When the world backs away from the office and spin up, direct to consumer businesses spin up work from home categories, and they’re able to do that just as well as multi billion dollar companies.

Mike: Interesting. I mean, you mentioned this, this move to direct to consumer, I can see, you know, how being able to serve personalised content would help. I mean, do you still see a big demand in in what I call, you know, the conventional, big b2b sector, so people selling, you know, large engineering products or something to other organisations?

Andrew: Yes, definitely. what we refer to as industrials, large b2b companies like that is one of one of our strongest industries in there. If you think about what they’re offering, you can see how digital asset management’s important, right? These sorts of companies are like, take Syngenta as a customer, they’ve got hundreds, or perhaps even 1000s, right of products, lots of technical detail about it that needs to be served up correctly. So there’s a lot of kind of, you know, complexity in what the offering is that they’ve got, and it needs to be just right, because these are, you know, industrial sorts of products, you can’t have errors in there. Sometimes it’s regulated, right? In the case of like, you know, healthcare related things, pharmaceutical stuff like that. So, yeah, it’s, um, that’s one of our strongest use cases, a lot of complexity there that digital asset management can help tame a mare.

Mike: It sounds like you’re saying that they’re using bynder to make sure that, you know, for example, if somebody is interested in a product, they’re serving up the right photo, and the right data and the right information, is that, is that how they’re using it?

Andrew: That’s right, that’s exactly right. Yep. It’s, um, sometimes it’s integrated with other technology, such as Product Information Management, or Pam, that that’s going to have a lot of that, you know, technical specifications around industrial products, and Bynder will serve up, you know, imagery, or perhaps documents related to it, you know, guides, how to videos, things like that.

Mike: Interesting. And one of the things I think a lot of people might be interested in is obviously, Bynder or another dam will serve up content, but how does that interact with, you know, following style guides? Is there a way to use a dam to ensure that you’re, you know, observing more of the rules and regulations in a style guide

Andrew: Absolutely, that’s a great example, Mike of some functionality that, that digital asset management has added, you know, as its evolved from its its early days, is just storing big media files. Yeah, and so, you know, initially what happened is, you know, brands will have a style guide, it’s a static document. And that’s one of the things that’s actually in the dam, so you can go find the style guide. But, you know, in the last few years, it’s become much more popular to actually have the style guide be more of a living. html based document isn’t really even right word. It’s a brand guideline. It’s accessible. It’s accessible online, and much more dynamic than kind of static PDF so things can change on the fly. You’ve got new logos there instantaneously updated, you’re not worrying about some agency or business partner having an old style guide, you know, as a PDF sitting on their hard drive. So that’s definitely one of the more popular, typically add on modules for digital asset management.

Mike: Interesting. So you presumably then have people with different access rights to be able to update different areas of the style guide, for example, or simply be able to read the style guide and not change it?

Andrew: Sure if that’s right, a lot of times it’s publicly available, right? I mean, like you say, That’s owning the style guide is the the job of the creative team, the brand team. And then, you know, a solution like Bynder lets you have very fine grained access and rights, such that it could be made available to partners or you know, a lot of them. You know, like Burton, fully available, anyone can see it, they’re, they’re happy to have people see all the great stuff that they’ve got.

Mike: Great. No, I mean, that sounds really interesting. Um, another feature we touched on it didn’t really go into any detail was was versioning. Does this mean that, that a product like Bynder can help people during the development of assets as well as serving finished assets?

Andrew: Yes, that’s been one of the, you know, the areas that dam has grown into, you know, managing that whole content lifecycle. There’s a there’s an element of this kind of managing a creative process where, you know, okay, who’s going to develop this one, which of the creative team, do they have a when they have a rev, who reviews it, who approves it? What comments are made, get incorporated, then finalise this kind of a workflow? element. But I think one thing that’s really exciting and that kind of the value that Dan brings to the content creation process, is to automate and distribute a lot of the simple but high frequency changes that need to be made to content in a globalised digital world. So if you if you, let’s take a hypothetical English brand British brand that’s doing languages across the continent, maybe five different languages, they need to localise to, let’s say that they’re advertising across Google and Facebook. Google has 12, different IAB standard content sizes and formats they use, Facebook has five. And then let’s say they’re really ahead of the curve and tried to do a B testing for just about everything they do right to test their way to the most effective content. So for each ad, or each piece of digital content they want to create if they’re doing all of that, that’s 20, size versions, five different languages, and two different testing variations. That’s about 200 versions of each piece of content, so a lot to be done way too much for individual creatives to do. But since those changes are very simple, straightforward, they’re repeated, those are the kinds of things that damn can help us templates to share the work of creating localised versions, share these all these versions, or automate some of them in some cases, and really not completely overwhelm the creative team.

Mike: So that the dam is is effectively providing the template and then the team responsible for localization is perhaps just putting in the, the local language, is that is that how it’s working? Or is it more complex?

Andrew: That’s, that’s essentially right. The only element I would add to that quick story is, you know, upfront the creative team, they are creating the template. So they’re using their usual tools, you know, frequently something like Adobe’s Creative Cloud, to create that initial asset. But instead of creating a final asset, they’re creating something that’s going to intentionally be turned into a template. Bynder takes that asset, and then allows the creative team to set the the guardrails, if you will of that template, you know, what are the things that the local marketing teams are going to be able to change? Maybe they could use, you know, only, only the colours that are in the official style guide. Maybe they’re allowed to change the call to action copy, they can switch out the images, but only for ones that are, you know, approved for usage within the dam.

So the the creative team, you know, puts those guidelines puts those guardrails along around what is permitted for the downstream teams to do but then just as you said, then the local teams can can localise the copy for their language or, you know, if it’s social media team, it’s another big use case. They can change exactly what said the images right so they’re relevant to whatever social media conversation is interesting for The day. And this can be done for images and video. But yeah, so it’s tip like it’s created dancers the template and then marketers are allowed to really much more quickly kind of take that piece of content and then do that last bit of personalization of tweaking of localization for their deeds on their own, much faster. And that’s really how you can kind of scale content creation to support the volumes needed for, you know, modern digital experience.

Mike: And is that one of the driving factors behind you know, the, the growth of bynder and the use of dams is the amount of digital content, particularly if you want a B tests, and you want to localise is just getting huge compared to what it used to be, where people perhaps were doing, you know, more conservative digital activities, and perhaps a more conventional print?

Andrew: Absolutely, yeah, it’s, um, supplying the volume of creative needed a fuel personalised digital experiences, absolutely, you know, just the, one of the kind of key growth drivers, I mean, that’s one of the, again, it’s, it’s big enough that we think of it as this third wave of Damn, you know, it’s it’s the volume, but it’s also the speed and the agility, right? Things happen fast digitally, you’ve got to, you can’t be executing entire multi week workflows, if you’re trying to fuel digital campaigns these days. So it’s the volume, it’s the agility, but it’s also the productivity, we, we have to maintain bandwidth for our creators to still do what they do best, which is coming up with, you know, impactful visual storytelling that can grab an audience in that microsecond we’ve got when they view an ad online, right, and engage them and build the brand online. So we’ve got to accomplish all three of these and taken care of the digital drudge work, if you will, by having the damn help with that throwing software at that problem. I think that’s the key to, to making it work.

Mike: Interesting. And I think everyone would, would love their creatives to spend more time on the real creative ideas and, and less time on the production and producing the variants. That sounds like a huge benefit. Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for talking about a bender and dams and how, you know, digital has changed the way we think about assets. I mean, do you feel there’s anything I’ve missed or anything else you’d like to cover?

Andrew: You know, we got, we got to talk about what I think is exciting, right? The way, the way content is really acknowledged now is a critical part of digital experience for, for a lot of my career, we’ve talked about data, the analytics, machine learning, all those sorts of things, which is critical, but the end of the day, it’s about having great content and putting it in front of the customer at the right time. And I really, it’s great to see that creativity is kind of getting its acknowledgment and getting its Do you know, even though things are so digital, and so technology driven these days,

Mike: Perfect. I mean, lastly, I’m sure there’ll be people listening to this, who will be, you know, thinking, well, I really need some of these benefits for my, my organisation or my marketing team. So if people want to get in contact with you, what would be the best way

for getting in touch with a company, you know, the website, b y, nd er, calm is straightforward. And we we have a lot of conversations, you know, through through chat on the website now. So that’s, that’s great. People can find me very easily through LinkedIn, or Twitter at Andrew J. Holly, h Ll y comm sorry, at Andrew J. Holly, or on LinkedIn love to I always love hearing from people. I I just think what we do is so interesting. And, you know, we’re blessed to be able to do it and have somebody pay for it. So I’d love to talk to other like minded people.

Mike: Perfect. Well, thanks so much for your time, Andrew, I really appreciate it. It’s been a fascinating conversation. Having joined us well, Mike, stay safe. Thank you.

Mike: Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favorite podcast application. If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.