For a while now, there’s been a natural convergence of digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM) in the market. PIM solutions have taken on DAM capabilities; DAM tools have taken on PIM capabilities. That capability sharing makes sense.
When you consider the modern customer experience, rich media assets like images and videos, which are organized via DAM, and product information like descriptions and measurements, which are organized via PIM, are experienced together. Customers see both on a single page, but companies don't always manage them together behind the scenes. Naturally, Widen customers began managing product information as asset metadata in their DAM site, so many asked if we would build PIM capabilities in Widen DAM. So we did!
The convergence of DAM and PIM
Product marketers wanted a 360-degree view of all of their content at the product level versus the asset level. So that’s exactly what our combined DAM and PIM solution gives them. We bring together textual product information, technical specifications, images, videos, and documents all within one product record.
In a Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Widen, research showed that customers feel most empowered when they access various types of product content to support their purchases. They’re looking for everything from product images and videos to features, specifications, packaging, and customer reviews to inform their purchasing decisions. That just goes with the territory when marketing products online today.
Consumers have a complete view of all forms of product experiences, so we as marketers should too! A 360-degree view of product content gives marketers quick and easy access to all the information they need to deliver a seamless customer experience.
Three approaches to integrated DAM and PIM
While the ultimate goal for integrating DAM and PIM might be similar, the execution often looks different for each company depending on its systems and processes. We work with many customers who have taken multiple approaches to combining DAM with PIM. Here are the most common approaches we see them use.
- Best-of-breed DAM and PIM, separate but integrated. Some teams opt for two individual platforms and then integrate them. For example, Widen provides a best-of-breed SaaS DAM solution, and we integrate with other popular PIM tools like Salsify and Akeneo. Many customers go this route and combine the two using our API to manage the sync and exchange of data.
- Combined DAM and PIM. A combined DAM and PIM solution like Widen’s provides a central location where you can manage assets, coordinate creative workflows, and enrich products with assets and information. With this approach, you can also manage product hierarchies and organize products into different distribution channels. We partner with Productsup as our primary syndication provider for e-commerce syndication, but you can integrate with a provider of your choosing.
- Hybrid DAM for products with PIM integration. We also have customers who leverage our combined platform to manage all product content in one central source, and then integrate with, for example, Salsify and Syndigo for PIM and syndication. In this approach, Widen serves as the master library for all product content at the product level, and a third-party PIM solution is the source for a smaller subset of commerce content.
There’s no right approach. It completely depends on your business needs. And we find that needs often flex and evolve over time, so your product content systems and processes should too.
Customer stories for each approach
It’s one thing to talk about these approaches in theory, but let’s look at three Widen customers who are putting them into action.
1. Integration between DAM and PIM systems featuring Sargento
The marketing team at Wisconsin cheese-maker Sargento produces an enormous amount of content — from product packaging and in-store displays to videos and digital ads.
With the pandemic-induced shift to online shopping, their customer experience expanded across new digital touchpoints — and their product content needed to be consistent and accurate across all of them.
With Widen as a foundational solution for their integrated marketing technology (martech) stack, they have scaled their content workflows to keep pace with exponential e-commerce growth.
The success of Sargento’s connected commerce experience hinges on seamless integrations between platforms. The integration between Widen and Salsify — Sargento’s PIM system — is critical because it allows them to control the distribution of brand and product content across their e-commerce business. When assets in the DAM system are marked as complete, they are automatically pushed to Salsify, eliminating the need to manually download files from one system and upload them to another.
From there, assets from the DAM system are enriched with other content, such as nutritional information, dimensions, and marketing copy. Thanks to integrations between Salsify and additional platforms, including Syndigo and Brand Bank, this content is syndicated across multiple digital destinations.
With this strategic set of connected tools, Sargento extends the approved brand and product content stored in the DAM system across their e-commerce experience.
32 illustrated martech stacks entered in The Stackies 2022: Marketing Tech Stack Awards
“Widen is the foundation for how we show up on the digital shelf,” says Cami Schenck, Director of Integrated Marketing Communications at Sargento.
Sargento integrates DAM and PIM to:
- Streamline content operations with integrations that eliminate manual steps.
- Launch products faster with easy, self-serve access to brand and product content.
- Deliver exceptional digital experiences using consistent and relevant high-quality content.
View the Sargento case study to learn more.
2. Combined DAM and PIM in one system with PRADCO
PRADCO Outdoor Brands, a division of EBSCO Industries, is home to some of the most iconic hunting and fishing brands for the outdoors. With over 5,000 SKUs across product lines, PRADCO has a large volume of brand and product content that’s used by teams throughout the company to support marketing initiatives and digital commerce.
With continual growth across their e-commerce business, they needed tools to better manage and distribute all of their product content.
“A lot of product information was coming to our team in piecemeal fashion, which is not ideal when you’re under serious timelines and trying to be organized,” said Martin Hill, PRADCO’s Director of Digital Sales.
PRADCO implemented their Widen DAM system in 2015 to manage their brand content. In 2021, they added the Entries PIM module, which allows them to view and manage all of their product content in a single solution.
- Product data, such as SKUs, dimensions, and material
- Digital assets, like photography, videos, and marketing collateral
- Marketing copy including features, benefits, and product descriptions
All of this content comes together in custom-built product profiles that can be distributed across sales channels. At the product level, marketers enrich product entries with marketing copy and assets. Then, they can distribute all product content to different e-commerce channels.
Using a centralized system to store all of their product content not only helps PRADCO ensure accuracy across their product listings, but it also gives them the agility and speed they need to expand across new channels.
By taking a combined approach to DAM and PIM, PRADCO ensures their products are “retail-ready” across every digital experience.
“Being organized is important because the retailers have spoken: Strong product assets are no longer a luxury; they are an expectation,” said Hill.
View the Pradco case study to learn more.
3. DAM for products integrated with a PIM system with McCormick
McCormick & Company manufactures, markets, and distributes spices, condiments, and other products to the food industry. They have a global market reach that includes their corporate website, retailers, social media, ads, packaging, store displays, recipes, and more.
In addition, the company has plenty of dependencies. For example, a spice label has to be ready for its bottle before the bottle can be shot for images in product listing and ads. The marketing team needs those images for the website, as do retailers for their mobile shopping apps and in-store displays.
It’s a complex web of content needs and timelines across teams and regions.
“Product content is the beginning of everything,” says Leah Carlson, McCormick’s Senior Manager of Global Content and Technology. “It’s how our products come to life – and it powers our business strategy.”
That’s why they chose Widen to gain a complete view of all product content. They’re able to build and share a 360-degree view of everything associated with every product – from specs, marketing copy, and packaging files to brand materials, ads, static assets, videos, and recipes. Product content is used and repurposed by a wide range of internal teams and external partners to extend existing content or build new. They manage digital assets and product entries in one system, so there’s a seamless transition between the main DAM system and the PIM system to flip between assets and products and vice versa. Wherever you are in the system, you can find the assets you’re looking for or the product information you need.
View the McCormick case study to learn more.
Which approach is right for you?
DAM and PIM technologies have grown closer together by necessity because the customer experience doesn’t separate rich media assets from objective information. And we believe a DAM system for product companies should manage this textual information. Creatives and marketers need to quickly be able to use and repurpose digital assets, marketing copy, and technical specs when they’re assembling new campaigns, web pages, catalogs, and packaging.
By combining the power of DAM and PIM technologies, teams are experiencing faster time-to-market; better rights management and risk mitigation; saved time and costs; and better insights into what content is used and how the products that they support are performing in the market.
With a better understanding of these three common approaches and insight into how global brands are leveraging each in the real world, let’s consider which one is right for you.
Think about these questions to help identify your approach:
- Where does product content exist in your organization today?
- Do your current tools and approaches meet your needs?
- Are you manually transferring files and data between systems?
- How important is rich media to your customer experience?
- Where can you cut some steps out of your go-to-market processes?
- What content is deployed in which channels to bring products to market?
If you’re not sure and want to talk through your options, or, if you’re already a Widen customer, reach out to your customer success representative. And when you’re ready to see our combined DAM and PIM solution in action, for a free demo.