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.

The Gist

  • 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. 


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