TAC taps ClearStory to help manage digital assets

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TAC is one of those companies whose name may not be familiar, but whose HVAC building-automation products—including climate, security and energy controls—help keep things quietly comfortable and safe. But for Carrollton, Texas-based TAC, things on the digital asset management (DAM) front hadn't been all that comfortable for a while. An international company with a presence in 80 countries, TAC had an abundance of marketing people in the field “starving for information,” said Jeff Kosiorek, TAC senior manager responsible for several of the company's marketing programs, including its DAM needs. Kosiorek said all that hunger wasn't being adequately fed by an earlier system that failed to organize digital marketing content and distribute it quickly and efficiently. “When I came on board about three years ago, the one thing I saw was that the corporate marketing staff spent chunks of their day chasing down this high-res photo of a product, or that source file for a brochure or this other data sheet,” said Kosiorek, whose marketing office is in Boston. “I'd watch our design group spend its morning burning CDs with source files and FedExing them to Singapore to reproduce trade show brochures. The money we spent was crazy.” Making the situation worse was the company's rapid growth: It had acquired three companies in three years. The acquisitions meant blending some product lines, dropping others and getting different marketing and sales teams on the same page with such things as updated, accurate marketing and sales collateral, images and logos. About a year and a half ago, TAC turned to ClearStory Systems, whose ActiveMedia DAM tool helped “put out the fires,” Kosiorek said. ActiveMedia is a hosted solution, ideal for TAC's global array of marketers and resellers. One attribute of the new system that Kosiorek particularly likes is how vendors outside TAC, such as channel partners or their ad agencies, can log on and request a particular brochure or data sheet. The company then can e-mail a link to the appropriate material. As for sales support, Kosiorek said the ClearStory DAM tool has been customized so that, for example, online materials are bundled appropriately into industry silos, such as health care. The material also is siloed by product line, with building-management systems separate from security. In addition, all the materials are searchable. Customization can go further, from the simple (materials are available in both the 81/2-by-11-inch and the A4 international paper formats) to the more complex (marketing and sales having the ability to adapt an electronic slide presentation or other collateral to a particular customer). Because DAM is more an operational task of marketing, its benefits come largely from savings and efficiencies. “I did an ROI analysis of people's time in searching for or developing redundant assets,” Kosiorek said. “Coupled with saved employee time, and hard costs like shipping and couriering to and from agencies and field offices, our payback was $234,000 in the first year.” Kosiorek said the cost of the ClearStory DAM platform was “a fraction” of this savings, including the costs of system start-up and implementation. Further, other payback, like brand consistency and time to market was, he said, “very high which, given our recent acquisitions, was unbelievably important for brand consistency and for our channel partners.” —C. H.
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