DAM and PIM: Competing or Complementary?

27 Apr


Written by

Sara Jabbari




DAM and PIM: Competing or Complementary?
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Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Product Information Management (PIM) are two essential marketing technologies commonly employed by global organizations to streamline their marketing and commerce operations. But while these two softwares share some similarities, they each serve very different purposes and are far from interchangeable. Our infographic highlights the main features and benefits of both DAM and PIM, and whether you should implement one, or both, at your organization. 

Digital Asset Management vs Product Information Management

Before diving into the various features and benefits of DAM and PIM, let’s quickly recap what these acronyms really mean. 

What is DAM?

Digital Asset Management (DAM) handles a company’s digital assets. A DAM system allows you to store, retrieve and diffuse your digital assets and media files, including text, graphics, images, videos, and audio. While DAM may have started as a standalone media library, over time it has become multifunctional, and is today used for collaborating on assets, managing brand and compliance constraints, as well as creating powerful omnichannel experiences.

What is PIM?

Product Information Management (PIM), on the other hand, focuses on information related to your products. A PIM system serves as a reference for all data and information required to market and sell products, such as product descriptions, specificities, translations etc. By unifying and standardizing product data, a PIM makes teams more efficient in optimizing their product information processes. 

What are the features and benefits of a DAM system?

A DAM provides a central repository, or a ‘Single Source of Truth’, for your digital assets and rich media, including photos, videos, 3D, banners etc. It allows different teams, departments, brands or external users to retrieve up-to-date marketing resources and brand-approved templates for marketing, advertising, social media, or ecommerce activities. This is made possible thanks to DAM’s metadata, taxonomy management and artificial intelligence features, which allow users to assign information to assets, making them easy to organize, find, download and share both internally and externally. 

While DAMs may different from one to another, many come with upstream workflow capabilities for the creation, editing and approval of content, as well as downstream capabilities and CDN integration for the localization, optimization and distribution of content for different devices, channels and audiences. By integrating DAM with a company’s broader MarTech stack and IT infrastructure, important data can be drawn to personalize assets on the fly, but also analyzed to continuously improve the usage and performance of content for a specific country, product or context. A DAM therefore streamlines a company’s marketing efforts and benefits global and local marketing teams, but also sales teams, creatives and product teams. 

What are the features and benefits of a PIM system?

Like DAM, a PIM provides a central repository and Single Source of Truth, but this time, for product information. With PIM, brands are able to unify, collect and manage all important product information, from technical data like dimensions, colors, materials of products, to usage information, such as instructions, how products should be used and even shipping info. 

Using a PIM allows companies to improve the quality and completeness of data for every product, but also ensure that content distributed across multiple marketing and sales channels, like social media, online shops and print catalogs, is always accurate and consistent. If changes or updates need to be made to a product on multiple channels, this can be done in almost real-time from one central location, helping ensure continuity and a positive customer experience across the buyer journey. 

How do DAM and PIM work together?

While DAM and PIM platforms come with some similar features and benefits - for example, both provide centralized hubs for important data and assets, reduce time to market and ensure consistency along the customer journey - they each solve challenges that are fundamentally different in nature and scope.

Whether you implement a PIM or a DAM will depend on the specific needs of your company. Companies in the retail and consumer goods industries that have a diverse range of products and that use multiple channels to sell those products, will often opt for a PIM system to manage this product lifecycle. Meanwhile, companies with a large volume of digital assets, or that have multiple brands, business units, or geographically dispersed teams who need access to those assets will often evaluate different DAM solutions. 

Product managers and commerce teams will typically use PIM to get products to market faster, while marketers, creatives, brand managers, and commerce teams will turn to DAM to execute marketing, promotional or brand campaigns. 

However, DAM and PIM are not, and should not be thought of as, mutually exclusive. Combing a DAM and PIM can create many synergies for companies with ecommerce activities. In order to provide an optimal shopping experience, products need to have the right information, but also the necessary visual assets to engage customers and enhance the decision-making process. 

Integrating DAM and PIM together with your broader tech stack can provide companies with a structured end-to-end flow of information. By allowing you to sync metadata structures, different digital assets, from pack shots to videos, 360 images and other types of imagery, can be linked with the right products, and used to populate your ecommerce websites.

While some brands regard DAM and PIM investments as competing, or try to look for “all-in-one” solutions that combine DAM and PIM functionality, many will soon realize their limitations. Implementing a native DAM solution with a separate PIM allows you to leverage their complementary benefits, remove data silos and deliver even more unique and complete customer experiences across all marketing and sales channels.

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