PIM, PCM, and DAM: Where does product information and marketing content belong?

  • 16-Dec-2016

Digital assets often relate to specific product offerings. So not surprisingly, product and brand managers often want to find digital assets based on product data: product name, ID, SKU, short description. The same is true of museum curators who want to find a picture of an object: they usually want to search for it in a DAM based on data about the object: region, year / era, artist.

Usually though, the data they want to search by is created and managed somewhere else: SAP, a product information management system (PIM), or a collections management system. It’s rare these days that DAM implementations don’t include an integration requirement to one of these upstream platforms.

This begs several questions.

  1. What data elements do DAM users really need to search by?
  2. Should that data be modifiable in the DAM?
  3. What about “romantic” content - not product data per se, but the compelling marketing content that motivates people to buy? This is the domain of PCM or Product Content Management

Several DAM vendors claim to "have a PIM" or "incorporate PIM" in their DAM, but in most cases, it's a only a supplemental feature (specific schema components) to import a subset of product data and facilitate better findability. More free-text fields are often part of the schema, to facilitate PCM. In those fields, marketers add the snazzy content for downstream web pages, print collateral, and marketing emails, offering some relief from what's often managed in a Word or Excel document. 

Don't be fooled into thinking that a PIM component sold as part of a DAM system, or pulling in product data to your DAM, will solve the whole end-to-end challenge of product data-to-digital asset orchestration. This is really a master data and marketing content management challenge, where data that may originate in an ideation or PLM toolsets enhanced, refined, even pared down at each stage, across the chain of multiple technologies, before it makes its way to e-commerce and marketing automation tools, and thus ultimately the customer.

Consider a few of these best practices:

1. Before integrating product data into your DAM, define how and what users really need to search as it relates to asset management

2. Consider how to apply master product metadata as a service, rather than a point-to-point, brute-force push

3. Clearly define your slings & arrows. In particular, know where the one version of the truth for your product data vs. product content actually is. The answer to No. 2 above (should product data be writeable in your DAM) is almost always "no"

4. Use objective research to understand what the products you're buying really do

5. Differentiate product capabilities from people and process problems that need to be solved

As always, let us know if we can help.


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