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(eM+C)—A major issue that’s top of mind right now for a lot of marketing professionals is how to predict their budget for 2012. Determining what technology will be affordable is challenging. According to a recent study by Digital Asset Management News, 68 percent of marketers say that up to 30 percent of their marketing budget is wasted because they have poor information on their digital assets.

How do you plan a budget for 2012 to allocate money for content management of digital assets? How do you save precious and scarce marketing dollars? Here are some things to consider in the planning process:

Do more with less. Marketers have felt the effects of the current economic turmoil and have been forced to do more with less. Having an effective content management system (CMS) to manage and track all digital assets will help reduce costs and put your budget to better use in 2012. A CMS provides marketers with a unique opportunity to better allocate their budgets because of the features and data it provides—e.g., collaboration tools, complete reports on the status of your assets and the ability to design, edit and retouch.

Set goals and expectations. Don’t just choose the first CMS that fits into your budget. Begin by setting goals and expectations for the program. Some questions to consider when evaluating your options include the following:
• Is the CMS able to deploy your digital assets to any medium?
• Does it enhance the speed to market of your product?
• Is it able to be shared among specific teams or the entire company?
• Are you able to access your assets in any size, resolution or file format?

By identifying the critical features needed by your team, you’ll be able to better track your digital assets and accurately allocate each dollar for use.

Select a vendor. Once you’ve identified all of the critical features the CMS must have, select a vendor that best fits the bill and will provide a solution that best meets the basic technological needs of your company. Before purchase, make sure you clearly understand what you’re paying for and what kind of troubleshooting the vendor offers. You don’t want to find out after the purchase that the product demo you saw requires expensive customization or additional fees for support, maintenance and upgrades. While a CMS should certainly be user friendly, it’s important that support or maintenance doesn’t come with additional fees.

Mobile and social activities are also big-budget items that will be hot in 2012. Retailers looking to expand in that space will want to make sure their digital assets can be optimized for mobile and are able to be shared socially. Additionally, it’s important that their CMS has the technology to support these other marketing activities, making their budget fully integrated and well spent.

Christopher Ceraolo is the president of KSC Kreate Technologies.