Blog | June 30, 2016

Picking Your PDFs (and Other Assets) Fresh from the Tree

by Melissa Kelly in Digital Asset Management

Working with marketing collateral is like working with fresh produce: assets can spoil quickly.

New PDFs are the crisp, shiny apples in your asset bin, providing marketing and sales with material that gives a good impression of your brand. But as campaigns and customer needs change and the asset ages, the luster starts to fade. Eventually, the asset becomes so old and irrelevant that putting it on display does more harm than good.

Ignoring freshness dates

To serve or not to serve? That’s a question salespeople have to ask themselves every time they need to use an asset, but the asset available is old. They have two options:

  1. Shrug and serve it up anyway. Maybe it’s updated, maybe it’s not. They don’t know and don’t have time to figure it out. As a marketer, however, presenting an old asset to a prospect is like serving a rotten apple to a guest.
  2. Figure out if there’s a new version. The reason reaction number one occurs as often as it does is because sleuthing around to find a new version can be a pain. Maybe marketing emailed the latest version – now the salesperson has to dig through the inbox and folders to find it.  Or they may send the “Can you send me…” email to marketing or creative services, which turns into a waiting game and slows down the sales process. You can see sales’ temptation to simply grab and send the file saved to the desktop – even if it’s several versions out of date.

Freshness guaranteed

There’s another way of handling this: put the asset within easy reach of whoever needs it so they can always pluck the latest version fresh from the tree. Live intranet links or a digital asset management system work best for this purpose, although DAM systems in particular offer several advantages to this centralized approach:

  • Easy updates. Your creative teams need only apply the latest changes and upload to a single online location. No need to use multiple folders, subfolders and distribution lists to manage assets.
  • Better version tracking. Well-meaning employees might be sharing outdated assets with each other. A centralized location ensures that everyone knows where they need to go to get the latest PDF files.
  • Transparency and role-based security. Don’t want to give everyone access to the entire library? A proper DAM tool lets you establish levels of permissions so you can see and control who has access to what based on role, location, department, geography and more.
  • Self-serve. With this system, your team no longer needs to field dozens of document requests. Simply post the file in a pre-set location and users will download the file on their own.
  • Measurement. You can track which assets are being used to drive success and which need to be culled or cleaned up.


So now it comes down to a choice. You either gift your team with the freshest assets possible, letting them pluck what they need, when they need it; or you continue to dole out new PDFs one at a time, crossing your fingers that you reach everybody and they all remember to use the latest version.

It’s not a tough choice, is it?

How is your team distributing updated marketing assets? Are you sending out stale PDFs with outdated info or fresh documents ready for consumption? What do you think could be done better? Let us know, and we’ll share some best practices that can help your process improve.