Guest blog by Trevor Olson, President & CEO, Aware Web Solutions
For many organizations, product data has taken over. That mighty spreadsheet (or series of spreadsheets) created years ago by that one guy nobody really remembers is the master. Every product detail, spec, and line of marketing copy must pass through it. It’s a beast and no one ever wants to anger the beast.
Part of the problem is that your product data continues to grow. Today's empowered consumer demands more before they purchase a product from online retailers.
If you aren’t able to keep up, sales will go elsewhere… and fast.
And so you continue to feed the beast… that master spreadsheet of product data, routing it internally via email to all the different folks in the company who touch or impact your organization’s product marketing. It’s time-intensive to put it mildly and is chalk full of human errors. You don’t have the time, patience, or frankly, the will, to dive in to fix it. Remember, you’re dealing with a beast, your daily master. OBEY.
And we haven’t brought up the multiple channels to which you’re sending this product data. Your web site, catalogs, online retailers, industry marketplaces…you name it…they all now require that the product marketing content you send them is unique. That’s just more fields to add to that master spreadsheet.
Are you managing your channels or are they managing you?
Turn It Around. The PIM Solution.
The only method of fulfilling those demands is a central repository for your product data and content. This repository is known as a Product Information Management System, or a PIM.
Picture this for a moment. Imagine a single click, and you are instantly in a solution with a fully cleansed, organized repository of all master product content. It’s a single view of everything you need as a product manager. No more spreadsheets, files, and images scattered throughout networks, file systems, and individual inboxes. PIM systems accomplish several goals, including:
inRiver is a Product Information Management suite that is built for marketers. Its advanced User Interface and adaptable design make it a leader in publishing your items quicker and to more channels. inRiver features include:
Aware’s PIM Advantage
Meeting the needs of retailers, manufacturers, and distributors requires speed, flexibility, and experience. Aware Web Solutions understands the importance of these needs and provides a proven system to implementing a PIM package that achieves your data and content goals. Aware’s system includes:
Our solutions help syndicate your product data and content using a single consistent message throughout your channels. Your marketing data and content outputs to your web site, your catalogs, Amazon, Google Manufacturing Center, and every other channel your business feeds can happen at higher Speed-to-Market rates and more accurately with less work.
Interested in a demo? Contact Aware
Trevor Olson, President & CEO, Aware Web Solutions
As customer interactions are rapidly moving to the digital channels, organizations need to address the inefficiencies in their content production processes. Shooting from the hip just won't cut it anymore, not even in the creative department. You have to have a disciplined approach to get the right product content produced and distributed to the right channels at the right time. Creating and distributing more content faster cannot be done efficiently using a brute-force approach or by simply adding more people. Instead, it needs to be done by working smarter rather than harder—and finding system support to help you achieve efficiency in your content production processes.
Does your organization require a solution for PIM, DAM, or both?
In their search for a solution that can help them to achieve the required efficiency, many organizations ask themselves if they need a solution to manage their product information (PIM) or one that manages their digital assets (DAM). There are some questions that we need to answer before we can decide that:
Products typically need to be described and augmented using numerous different types of information, such as specifications, USPs, descriptions, documents, up-sells, cross-sells, and much more. This information must be of high quality, be granular, and be very structured. Depending on the industry and product type it also needs to be a part of an ecosystem—for example, as a part of a bundle, solution, repair kit, look, or room. To have a complete and compelling product story it also requires an ever-increasing number of digital assets, from 360 spins and how-to-videos to regular static photos.
We can conclude that we must be able to manage product data and product-related digital assets at the same time. Thus, we cannot choose between PIM and DAM as we need both to support the creation and distribution of a complete and compelling product story. Simply put, a DAM cannot manage the product data and the product ecosystem, so as long as you're not selling images, going with just a DAM to manage your product information will not be sufficient. Do you need two separate solutions? To know that, we need to define more granular requirements.
If you do not manage large volumes of digital assets that are nonproduct-related and choose a PIM solution with strong built-in DAM capabilities, you most likely don't need a separate DAM. The built-in one will be sufficient and already tightly integrated. However, if you do manage large volumes of nonproduct-related digital assets, you should consider adding an enterprise DAM solution and integrate that with your PIM system. The integration with a PIM is necessary as it will drastically reduce the metadata maintenance and automate the distribution of the assets to the channels.
How to manage the selection and review of assets?
WIP, short for Work In Progress, usually represents the first step of the creative workflow, right after or during the photo shoot, but before final delivery to a PIM or a DAM. Sometimes I meet with organizations that believe they need a DAM, when in reality, they are need of a Work In Progress system. A tool that manages the WIP process can be used to streamline review and approval for digital assets and make the selection process easier and faster, so it makes sense that some DAM solutions have this built-in as a feature. Whether you choose to integrate a DAM or use the built-in one in your PIM, adding WIP process support can provide additional efficiency gains.
Whatever you do, don't hamper your sales by shooting from the hip in the content creation process.
Johan Boström, Co-founder and Evangelist, inRiver