Martech Starter Kit

NorthplainsNEXT Content Lifecycle Management

By Jason Compton | 10.26.17

What was Northplains’ motivation for the CLM release?

The explosion of digital touchpoints has made every marketer into a global real-time publisher. With that expansion has come fantastic growth in the diversity and complexity of media used by companies far removed from the traditional definition of a publisher. The digital asset management (DAM) discipline grew up to try to corral not just audiovisual media, but also the intricate net of usage controls, royalties, and rights associated with them.


After years in the DAM space, Northplains released its content lifecycle management (CLM) solution, NorthplainsNEXT. Vendors like Northplains embracing the new CLM terminology liken the shift to the rollup of disparate accounting and inventory systems to become enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. They bring content creation, manipulation, management, monetization, and retirement under a single, integrated umbrella.

What marketing problem does it help tackle?

Combating the sheer volume and complexity of digital assets is a significant challenge. It’s also an easy way to bleed money in a marketing organization, particularly when content is unnecessarily purchased or relicensed. Sorting assets subject metadata, as well as by pricing and publishing rights, cuts down on costly and embarrassing missteps.

What opportunities does it help marketers grasp?

NorthplainsNEXT and other CLM solutions aim to go beyond the nuts-and-bolts of content management by tying digital asset acquisition, management, and performance together under a single platform. Like an ERP solution, the goal is to make it easier for marketers to not only purchase and use creative media, but also to understand and to optimize its performance. “We’re trying to help marketers address the question: if I have another dollar next month, where is that dollar best spent?” says Todd Eckler, chief revenue officer at Northplains.


What does it take to add this product to a marketing organization’s existing tech stack?


Estimated implementation timeframe – NorthplainsNEXT is delivered as a hosted solution, so initial deployment can be as
fast as one week.


Integrations – Integration with Adobe Creative Suite provided out-of-the-box. Additional connections are available through


Dedicated administrator? – The solution typically requires a focused, but not necessarily full-time, administrator. Northplains optionally offers administration as part of a managed service agreement.


Typically, who are the users – Potentially any and all employees in marketing operations, from creatives to the CMO. Those involved with digital asset acquisition are typically the heaviest users.  


Typical number of users – Potentially the entire marketing operation team, plus IT stakeholders as needed to connect other media creation, acquisition, and publishing platforms.


Amount of initial training for users – Most users require little training, Eckler says. Northplains provides limited initial training is.


Data sources – Typical enterprise customers will connect to financial systems for budget and expense tracking, analytics platforms, and media databases. E-commerce and product lifecycle management systems are the next most commonly connected.


Notable process changes – CLM users are frequently able to streamline the media acquisition and management process, cutting down on the time necessary to create, publish, and reuse digital assets. Adopting organizations may in turn be able to reorganize creative and rights-management functions.


Can you test the product before purchase?

Northplains provides a live sandbox environment for exploring the solution against a subset of a potential customer’s media assets.


Does it come with any consulting or implementation services?

Beyond the initial activation, consulting and implementation services are delivered at extra cost by Northplains or a solution partner.


Who “owns” it over time and where does it sit?

Marketing owns the solution, with some collaboration from IT.


What’s the enterprise pricing model?

Subscription on a per-user basis. Users are divided into “casual” and “power” user categories. Power user licenses cost more
and have more access to functionality.


What’s the projected time to ROI?

Northplains projects ROI in just under one year. “A lot of that savings comes from eliminating inefficiencies, reusing instead of rebuying [digital assets] you already own,” Eckler says.


What’s the solution’s competitive advantage?

Tying marketing project management and asset performance data to the basic nuts and bolts of digital asset management can help organizations make better decisions about digital assets. Northplains says it is focused on getting out in front of the high-volume problems of 4K and 8K video and the growing range of publishing channels, as well as on keeping customers well-positioned to avoid adding media silos every time a new format is developed.


Where can I find more information?

> Check out the NorthplainsNEXT splash page

> Read reviews about Northplains on G2Crowd

Download a PDF version of this article.

About the Author

Ginger Conlon found freelance writer Jason Compton shoved in a desk drawer by her predecessor at CRM magazine. He has covered CRM and marketing topics extensively since 1999, largely in her service.

Find him at @jpcwrites and on LinkedIn