Skip to content
DAM 101

DAM Cost Demystified: Understanding the Investment

Ben Owen

By Ben Owen | Oct 25, 2023

Dam cost

If you’ve ever purchased or adopted a pet, you know that it can be expensive. New pet owners often have a hard time calculating the true cost of owning and providing for a pet. Besides the expense of bringing the pet home, there are a multitude of other costs that add up over the course of the pet’s lifetime. Potential pet owners need to be aware of these costs to properly budget for and invest in the life of their animal friend. 

Building a digital asset management (DAM) program is much the same way. Managing assets efficiently has become paramount for organizations of all sizes. Whether you're a small startup or a multinational corporation, ensuring that your digital assets are organized, secure, and easily accessible is crucial for staying competitive in the market. 

Both decision-makers at organizations and potential pet owners face the same question: What will it cost? In this article, we'll demystify the expenses associated with DAM and help you understand the investment required in both the short and long term.


The Initial Investment

When you adopt or buy a new pet, there are fees associated with the adoption or purchase. There are also expenses related to making sure you have all the necessary toys, equipment, training resources, and medical care for your pet. Most expenses occur within the initial few months since you likely won’t need to repurchase many of these items. Some purchases, like a crate, are one-time investments, while other expenses, such as your pet’s initial vet appointment, are higher the first time compared to subsequent visits. 

When you embark on your journey to implement a DAM program, you'll encounter some upfront costs. There will also be ongoing expenses associated with its maintenance and operation. Below, we’ve listed some of these costs and how often you can expect to pay them.


DAM Team Staffing

Estimated Investment: Varies depending on current staffing, use of outside firms, and the level of expertise needed to build and maintain your program. 


Once you identify the need for digital asset management in your organization, the next step is to structure a dedicated DAM team. This could mean assigning these responsibilities to existing employees or hiring experienced DAM professionals to lead the effort. 

It could also involve bringing in contractors or outside agencies to assist in the development and implementation of your DAM program. This staffing will likely carry you beyond the initial creation and rollout of the DAM program. It will also serve as the nucleus of the team that will govern, maintain, and scale the DAM program in the future.


DAM Platform Licensing

Estimated Investment:$12,000 - $60,000


With the proper team in place to lead the DAM effort with authority, neutrality, and expertise, you can confidently search for and find a DAM platform that meets your unique needs. This platform will serve as the hub of your digital asset management workflows and standards and provide specific features to facilitate an efficient asset lifecycle

Many cloud-based platforms come with annual licensing fees based on the amount of storage and user seats needed. Your dedicated DAM staff needs this information, as well as your “must-have” features list, to properly evaluate and compare different platforms. The range of sophistication and complexity within these platforms is wide, as is the range of costs associated with them. Be sure to set an annual budget for this fee. 


DAM Implementation & Onboarding Costs

Estimated Investment:$5,000 - $20,000


The licensing fees give your organization access to the technology needed to facilitate your unique DAM program. Implementing this technology, developing custom workflows and standardstraining and onboarding your users, and configuring specific platform features also carries a one-time cost, typically encapsulated in an “implementation and onboarding fee.”

Depending on the complexity and customization of your DAM platform, as well as the amount of existing workflow and taxonomy documentation your organization already has, this fee can be quite large or relatively small. It’s important to factor the cost of these vital tasks into your planning and budget when considering DAM.


Initial Asset Migration & Enrichment

Estimated Investment: $5,000 - $20,000


Besides developing the custom workflows that will comprise your DAM program, you also need to account for moving assets from your current system for housing assets to your new DAM platform. This migration sometimes requires support or tools that can be purchased from your DAM platform provider or a third-party agency. 

Like moving into a new house, this transition provides an opportunity to add valuable metadata to assets to ensure they're easy to find, remove duplicates and out-of-date content from your library, and re-organize assets to ensure an intuitive user experience. These valuable efforts require significant time and attention. Due to this, it often makes more sense to outsource these tasks to implementation specialists.


Towfiqu barbhuiya jpqyf K7 GB4w unsplash

Ongoing Operational Costs

Anyone with a pet will tell you that they have regular expenses associated with keeping their best friend happy and healthy. These include food, medical care, and grooming. Similarly, after the initial setup, you'll encounter ongoing operational costs for your DAM program. Some of these costs are listed below:


Annual Licensing Fees

Estimated Investment: $12,000 - $60,000


As mentioned above, the use of a DAM platform requires licensing fees that are typically paid annually. While platform providers often provide multi-year contracts so that budgeting is simple, keep in mind that as your DAM program expands, your licensing fees may increase. 


Additional Staffing

Estimated Investment: Varies depending on current staffing, use of outside firms, and the level of expertise needed to build and maintain your program. 


As your DAM program grows, you may need additional staff dedicated to maintaining, growing, and leading it from a strategic point of view. 

These roles can include DAM librarians responsible for handling the growing volume of content needing to be ingested and managed, DAM managers to administrate the system’s back end and ensure metrics and health scores are monitored and maintained, and DAM directors to lead strategy, implement large-scale workflows, and collaborate with other parts of the organization.


Integrations & Automations

Estimated Investment: $5,000 - $15,000


As your DAM program grows and content workflows become more complex, you may need new features, custom integrations with other systems in your tech stack, or automations for tedious tasks related to DAM. 

No matter what, these signs of growth cost money and require time and attention to implement effectively. Be sure to budget for regular costs associated with expanding your DAM program.


DAM Program Expansion & Special Projects

Related to the growth of your DAM program, you may want to execute large-scale projects to maintain the program’s health and streamline and enhance the overall efficiency of your organization. Ultimately, your DAM program can serve as the hub of your content strategy and workflow. Whether it's building an archive, adding a new department, or moving to a new system, be sure to identify these future projects early and factor them into your budget.


The Value of Efficient Digital Asset Management

While the cost of a DAM system can be significant, it's essential to view it as an investment rather than an expense. The real question is: What's the return on investment (ROI)? A well-implemented DAM solution can streamline your workflows, enhance collaboration, and save valuable time and resources.

Efficient digital asset management can lead to increased productivity, better brand consistency, and faster content creation and delivery. It can also reduce the risk of costly errors and security breaches. By enabling your team to access, share, and utilize assets more effectively, you'll realize tangible benefits that far outweigh your initial investment.



Understanding the advantages of investing in a DAM program is crucial for making informed decisions that will benefit your organization in the long run. While there are upfront and ongoing costs associated with DAM, the value it provides in terms of efficiency, productivity, and brand consistency cannot be underestimated.

If you're considering implementing a DAM program and need assistance in choosing the right one for your organization, contact Stacks today! Our team of experts can guide you through the process, helping you maximize the ROI of your DAM investment and ensuring your digital assets are managed seamlessly and securely. Don't let the mystique of DAM costs hold you back; let Stacks be your partner in efficient digital asset management.

Cta abstract bg

Successfully Take the Next Step in DAM

Get in touch with our DAM experts today.