Globalization and e-commerce present huge opportunities for consumer packaged goods companies. Deloitte estimates online sales of consumer packaged products will increase by 350% to $36 billion in 2018 from $8 billion as recently as 2013.
Rapid growth creates its challenges. It forces companies to scale along every part of the value chain, and marketing is no exception. HARMAN International found their marketing communications tools and processes became a hindrance to delivering products to market, so they invested in a product information management (PIM) system and then a digital asset management (DAM) system.
PIM and DAM integration
The PIM system is the source of truth for product information, like product attributes and marketing copy. The DAM system is the source of truth for digital assets, like product photographs, owners manuals, and quick start guides, and feeds those to the PIM system.
For HARMAN, the link between the two systems is an integration that uses the unique product ID to automatically sync product assets from the DAM to the PIM to the public websites, e-commerce sites, and e-tailers.
“Our integration has been really very successful,” says Arthur Werner, Director Global E-commerce & Operations at HARMAN International. Once the product ID is applied to the asset in the DAM system, it’s in the PIM system within four hours, and after that, available within the staging website. “It allows us to save a lot of time because it doesn’t depend on people having to do this task.”
Why both systems?
PIM systems can manage product imagery, so why have a PIM system and DAM system? The DAM system’s flexibility in file support, permissions, and organization makes it the source of truth for all of an organization's digital assets. For HARMAN International, the DAM system supports the asset needs for the PIM system, plus regional and global offices get the latest marketing and communications content. Also, they are exploring the use of the DAM system for event photography and videos.
HARMAN’s criteria for selecting their DAM system
“We wanted it to be quick and responsive, something that the old system definitely wasn’t. We wanted there to be only one copy of everything and to be clearly identifiable, who owned that copy and who put it there. We wanted to be able to get things out in multiple formats and only put it in once,” says Arthur. He also highlighted that they wanted a system that everybody would understand and that could integrate with their other tools.
Setting up the integration
It took HARMAN about two billable weeks to set up the integration. There were tests and things they had to discover in practice. For instance Arthur shared, “It’s nice if you can set the product image in Widen and that it flows through, but what should happen if that product already had an image not coming from Widen?” The team worked through different logic cases and determined when to reject an asset, accept it, or accept it and send out an email notification. “It’s working very well.”
Other ways HARMAN is scaling their product asset processes with DAM
Partners upload assets instead of mailing to marketing be processed. Teams around the world create manuals, quick start guides, and images. Before, teams in India, Canada, the U.S., and China would mail or ship assets to marketing teams in New York or Amsterdam for processing and then use. Now those teams upload directly into the DAM system. This reduces the cost of shipping and time lost in transit.
The DAM system automatically categorizes assets, tags them with metadata, and assigns privacy settings. For example, HARMAN International set up upload profiles for lifestyle images that will put them in the right category with the right metadata and assign the right asset groups automatically. Instead of thinking about all those things and manually applying that information, the uploader can move on to their next task.
Ready to support your e-commerce growth with DAM and PIM? Read the HARMAN case study or