Top CMSWire Contributors 2023: Spotlight on Jake Athey
This is part of our end-of-year series celebrating our top CMSWire Contributors of the Year for 2023. These are regular CMSWire Contributors whose articles this year greatly resonated with our community of professionals. These Contributors simply serve as great ambassadors of our brand in the world of marketing and customer experience.
- DAM’s cult brand impact. Jake Athey highlights how digital asset management supports unique brand messaging and community identity, key to cult brand status.
- Expertise in martech. Athey’s extensive experience in marketing technology, including DAM and PIM, positions him as a leading industry adviser.
- Inclusive marketing insights. Athey provides valuable insights on using DAM for diverse, inclusive marketing, aligning with current diversity standards.
Have you ever explored the transformative power of digital asset management (DAM) in building cult brands? Meet Jake Athey, a leading figure in the realms of DAM and product information management (PIM) at Acquia. With his article “3 Ways DAMs Can Support Cult Brands,” Jake delves deep into the art and science of using digital assets to cultivate and maintain a cult brand status.
With a career spanning significant roles, including leading all marketing, sales, and customer experience efforts at Widen before its acquisition by Acquia, Jake has become a respected voice in the industry. His expertise in martech and commerce platforms uniquely positions him as a trusted adviser on DAM, PIM, and Digital Experience Platform (DXP) topics. Holding an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he frequently shares his insights as a speaker at industry events and as a resource for media and analysts.
In his latest piece, Jake, alongside Jennifer Kordosky, explores the nuances of creating a cult brand — a challenging endeavor that demands defying conventions and embracing innovation. They delve into how effective DAM supports the consistent expression of a brand’s unique message and fosters a strong community identity, integral to cult branding. The article not only imparts valuable insights into DAM’s role in marketing but also serves as a narrative that brings complex concepts in customer experience and marketing to life in an engaging and informative manner.
As a contributor for CMSWire, Jake demonstrates a profound understanding of customer experience intricacies, making the esoteric world of DAM both accessible and fascinating.
Q&A With Jake Athey
Essential Principles for Accessible Web Design
What are the most critical principles of accessible web design that organizations often overlook, and how can they effectively implement these in their digital experiences?
1. Copy formatting. Content should be concise and formatted in a clear to follow format. A simple fix for this is removing ambiguous language and having a style guide that has the proper hierarchy (H1, H2, H3…Body); this not only enables visual readers to have a simpler experience but also makes it so screen readers and other assistive devices can parse out the experience.
Having a clear style guide that includes accessibility first content creation is a must to ensure an inclusive digital experience.
2. Alternative description text for images. If an image is critical to the consumer understanding the content it needs to have alt text. This helps non visual + assistive device users have an equal opportunity to experience the design. Most CMS platforms/site builders have an alt/descriptive text field built in by default, so it is only the level of effort to enter the alternative description.
There are also alt text generators and integrations that help content creators with this process.
3. Call to action buttons with unclear text like: Ok, Start, Request…Link buttons need to be able to stand on their own. Link text should tell the user what they are clicking or where they will go.
Example: Do not write link text like “Click here.” Some people who use screen readers jump from link to link to scan a page and need to understand what a link contains.
Link text should always be underlined so color blind users can see them.
✔ Read this article about integrations.
✘ Click here to learn more about integrations.
Again, adding rules like this to your style guide fosters inclusivity and consistency.
4. Ensure minimum color contrast ratios are met for graphics and text. For text in particular, there are A LOT of companies that don’t meet accessibility requirements. Having a style guide that defined text and text background color usage would be incredibly helpful.
In your view, what are the key rules businesses should follow to maintain brand trust while leveraging AI in their digital marketing strategies?
DAM Systems: Enhancing Diversity in Marketing
How can digital asset management systems be used to enhance diversity in marketing campaigns and make people feel more seen and represented?
- Leveraging Metadata for Inclusivity: DAM systems enable the use of metadata to ensure diverse representations. By tagging assets with detailed metadata, brands can actively track and promote inclusivity. For instance, a makeup brand can use metadata to ensure their models represent the entire spectrum of their foundation shades. Similarly, lifestyle brands can tag assets to reflect diverse family structures or relationships, like interracial families or LGBTQ+ couples. This metadata approach ensures that marketing campaigns are not only diverse but also accurately represent the target audience.
- Asset Utilization Tracking: DAM systems provide insights into which assets are being used most frequently. By monitoring the download and usage patterns of diverse and inclusive assets, brands can understand the impact and appeal of these assets. This data helps in recognizing the value of diversity in their content and encourages the creation of more inclusive assets. It’s a way to gauge market response and adapt strategies accordingly.
- Campaign Alignment and Tracking: Ensuring that each marketing campaign reflects diversity goals is crucial. DAM systems can help monitor if the inclusivity criteria set for campaigns are being met. This involves keeping assets up-to-date and aligning them with the current standards and expectations of diversity and inclusion. By analyzing how well these assets perform and resonate with the audience, brands can measure the success of their inclusivity efforts.
- Compliance and Ethical Standards: DAMs can help ensure that all marketing materials comply with ethical standards and regulations related to diversity and representation. This is crucial in maintaining brand integrity and social responsibility.
AI and Metadata: Enhancing Customer Experience
Can you elaborate on how combining AI with metadata can create a winning strategy in customer experience management?
AI can be used to create additional relevant metadata on assets to support what and how digital media is used to create a more personalized and productive customer experience.
AI’s ability to garner and produce more accurate data, and metadata’s ability to classify and organize information on digital assets, together create a powerful combination for helping marketers improve digital experiences at scale.
What emerging trends do you foresee in the integration of AI in digital marketing, and how should marketers adapt to these changes?
AI is or soon will be prevalent in all major marketing technology categories. The marketers that choose to experiment with AI now, and adopt AI for specific use cases, and begin to leverage its power to free up human time for more valuable tasks will begin to create a competitive advantage.
Jake Athey’s 2023 Articles
3 Ways DAMs Can Support Cult Brands
4 Principles for Accessible Web Design & Digital Experiences
4 Rules to Preserve Brand Trust When Using AI in Digital Marketing
Diversity in Marketing: How DAM Systems Can Make People Feel Seen
Combining AI in Customer Experience & Metadata for a Winning Strategy
What Generative AI Means for Digital Asset Management
Need to Get Scrappy? Use Your DAM Metadata
Is Generative AI the Future of Product Content Generation?
Maximize Your Customer Data Management for Holiday Seasons to Come