When it comes to brand, certain assets immediately come to mind, assets that most established businesses have in place: a logo, a website, a tagline, pictures, ads run over the years, and so on. No matter where you’re starting from, whether you have fewer than a dozen files and a three-page website or hundreds of files and a massive website, your ability to keep marketing assets organized makes a tremendous difference in the quality and satisfaction of your work. As with most areas of business, assets and content accumulate over time, and marketing tends to be very file heavy.

One of the fantastic things about getting organized and building this practice into your routine workflow is that certain tasks, such as responding to a request for a logo from an advertiser, designer, or the organizer of an event, become quick and simple. The time saved in getting them what they need is time you can use to build the relationship with that person while in the midst of the exchange. Go that extra step when sending a file to someone by letting them know that if they need a different file type, have questions, or need anything adjusted, to please let you know. This way, you’re not only serving as an additional resource, you’re also setting the expectation that you want to be involved in how your brand assets are used.

Rookie Tip. If you are inheriting legacy files, whether 100 or 5,000, and there is little rhyme or reason as to how they are organized, don’t get bogged down in trying to organize files you may never use. Your time is far better spent on other projects. Instead, pull out the most relevant files and add them to a new file directory. If file names are not helpful in identifying subjects, organize them into folders and rename the files. For example, if you have 25 image files from an event on December 1, 2018, the file names are likely 12012018_001.jpg, 12012018_002.jpg, and so on. Those file names will not help you stay organized, nor will they add any value when you upload the images to the Web. After you’ve identified a group of images that all belong to a specific event, highlight all of them, right click on one of them, and rename that file. Each file in that group will be assigned that name followed by a sequential number in parentheses. For example, if you rename a file to Marketing_For_Rookies_book_launch.jpg, you will end up with files named Marketing_For_Rookies_book_launch(1).jpg, Marketing_For_Rookies_book_launch.jpg(2), etc. Not only does this make your files searchable by the subject of their file name, it also creates keyword-specific file names that contribute to search engine optimization (SEO) when uploaded to the Internet.

In order to have asset files at your fingertips, they first need to be developed. How many times have you seen a logo on a brochure or web page and it looks all fuzzy, or the background is black or white when it should have been transparent? Understanding the nuances of which files to use and effectively engaging with your media partner to ensure a positive and on-point brand experience are skills that all marketers must develop. This is especially true for marketing generalists.

What if you don’t have the file formats you need or the necessary software to create them? One thing that has remained consistent in all the years I’ve been in professional service marketing is that in-house marketing is often the responsibility of a generalist—a department of one. Whether you’re taking on marketing responsibilities in addition to your primary role or you’re just settling in as a new marketing professional, being a marketing generalist has a whole lot of upside, responsibility, and opportunity. You’ll simply need to become fluent in the language of designers to the extent that you ensure proper file use. As you grow, you’ll develop knowledge and strategic understanding in all areas of marketing. This is one of the most attractive and rewarding aspects of being a marketing generalist. You will rarely be bored, and there will always be new things to learn!

When it comes to technology, your workstation and other devices will very likely be quite different from other devices on the network. Perhaps the network is made up of thin clients all working off a shared server, and the majority of time is spent working on cloud-based software solutions. Most people are not accessing Facebook and YouTube at work, but those of us responsible for marketing may need to. Your work requires a computer with an enhanced graphics card, access to websites that may be blocked to other employees, two monitors for efficiency, audio and video features, and the hardware to run at top speed even with multiple installed applications and dozens of large files open. These sorts of details and assets may be new and unique for a business. After all, it is a wonderfully unique and exciting opportunity to be a marketing generalist within a professional service organization.

In order to get the tools necessary to succeed, open a dialogue with your supervisor, a managing partner, or the business owner (whoever is champion of your advancement and success), and pull in your IT manager. If you outsource IT support, bring in someone from that company to discuss what sorts of technology assets are necessary for a workstation built specifically to support marketing and advertising activities. The technology needs of a marketing professional are very different from the technology needs and setup of others on an office network. Work with those who are in a position to help you put in place the tools you need to be successful.

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