PIM Symmetry’s experience with PIM implementations means we speak the language of the end user, the developers/integrators (TechnoGeeks), as well as the business decision-makers. In this role, PIM Symmetry can do things like helping in a pre-sale education, solution ideas, workflow analysis, data modeling and how different vendors fit with different deployments.
Here’s some factors that will need to be discussed:
- Industrial – These catalog and web sites with high-SKU counts, sometimes enormous page counts, and attributes that don’t fall easily into silos, are the bread-and-butter of the big PIM providers. Have you ever seen any of the Thermo Fisher Scientific catalogs?
- Retail – Do your products change a lot, have high turnover and your catalogs are smaller, but distributed more often? Do you need to coordinate your brand and message from catalogs, to emails, to web sites to the store? This may take a different type of PIM (and deployment).
- Circulars – The weekly grind of newspaper and in-store circulars requires a whole different mentality, and we know it. From regional pricing and product purchasing, to national account contracts – product placement is dynamic with cooperative advertising ramifications. And, who knows versions (whether is products or pricing) and the nuances of prepress, printer specs and distribution better than you do? Well, you do, but we can help.
- Fashion – Yes, we get it. 😉 You’re different. Styles. Colors. Sizes. Quick change artists! Your system looks nothing like an Industrial system. You have to be nimble and understand this year’s (month’s?) needs of the fickle consumer.
- Company Size – If your company is so big that your departments don’t talk to each other but maybe once a year? Or, are you in a medium sized company that either moves too fast or too slow? Worse yet, are you in a small company whose budget won’t allow for what you think your requirements might be? Believe it or not, there’s a PIM for every situation and with the factors that you’ll need to consider. We’ll help you understand those.
- Multichannel/Omnichannel – You’ve read the articles. You understand the analysis. You know what you have to do. But, for some reason, it just doesn’t ever happen like you planned. Who’d-a-thunk-it? Well, we can’t make you buy a PIM (and use it correctly), but we know that when companies do, they can make their multichannel efforts more effective, being more productive, and faster – giving you the ability to turn multichannel into coordinated omnichannel.
- Print Centric – Yes! We understand. There are still those of you that rely on the printed catalog as the cornerstone of your marketing efforts, whether it’s for direct sales, directing sales to the web / mobile, or getting people to your stores. You can’t live without it, and you won’t – because you shouldn’t. Just tell those that feel otherwise to quit, unless they want to expose themselves to a catalog-less marketing environment.
- Web Centric – Sure, the cost of entry is easy and we know that sometimes you have to live without the print catalog (or maybe it’s because you just don’t have the SKUs to justify it. We’d have to look long and hard at your specific “web only” plan before admitting you don’t need peripheral marketing coordination. But, if you use the web as your main marketing channel, then, yes, we get that, too. Life is a balance.
- Versions – Whether it’s for your circular program, that we mentioned above, or if it’s for languages to expand into new countries, or pricing and content for new markets – the ability to version a site or catalog is a critical component for Multichannel marketing using a PIM.
- Profiling – We know you can’t sell the same product to different profiles using the same content. Well, actually, you can try, but there will be some obstacles. It’s important to talk the language of the people to whom you are selling. Or, if you’re prospecting, then it’s important to speak to the challenges they have.
- Languages – This could be lumped in with Versions (yep, see above), but also we wanted to separate it, since it can be a factor in decision-making. The key, as with a lot of the multichannel marketers, is having the ability, creating the workflow and then implementing the process. With a PIM, you can have the tool, then, it’s up to you to make it happen. We can help with that.
- Pricing – So, what are the different ways to develop price point? Distributors. Dealers. Geographical. Country. Market. But, also, what can you tell us about accuracy of your pricing and the proofing of that accuracy, and where that pricing is entered in your system? We’ve seen price entries in seven (count ’em, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7) places at some customers. Tell me that won’t cause some challenges. But, a properly developed PIM process will make that go away – one entry, one time by the one person that is responsible.
- Product Hierarchy/Taxonomy – There’s a lot of talk about how to structure the structure. What is the hierarchy that best fits your business? Print catalogs are pretty easy, usually, with Catalog / Section / Page / Product Group / SKU / Attribute. But, with the web, you’ll want to have the flexibility that gives your products both the granulation they need and the marketing copy associate to the overall product. It can be an SEO professional’s nightmare. Using a PIM to feed your search strategy and also allow for the logical and intuitive hierarchy is something you’ll need to define in a data modeling and process improvement exercise. Getting that done could be a sequence that could lead to the decision-making. In other words, don’t let the software determine your business strategy.
- Integration – Not everyone does everything in the world of data. Even though your PIM provider may have customers that integrate with ECMSs, DAMs, ERPs, CRMs, MDMs, WMSs. old legacy systems, and, yes, even other PIMs, they probably are outsourcing at least some of that. What’s important is that your PIM can be integrated easily – whether it’s intuitive importing and exporting or using an API.
- eCommerce – Ever since the spearheading of a wholesale site in 1999 with 5,000 products, it’s impossible to break apart eCommerce from the Marketing world, hence the whole multichannel marketing approach. But, in order to understand and talk to those customers, one has to know things like Site Search/Guided Navigation, SEM, SEO, PPC, Analytics, Integration with WCMS and ERPs/Legacy Systems, etc. PIM Symmetry understands these, and we are familiar with a boatload of providers.
- Integrators – Over the years, through osmosis, PIM Symmetry has developed relationships with companies that perform the back-end integration services associated to web sites, ERPs, WCMSs, etc.
- Printers – Using strengths born in prepress and printing roots, it’s important, from a productivity standpoint, to be able to align between the channels and their output.
- Data Governance – If it’s so logical, unitutive and reasonable, then why aren’t you doing it? Yes, we know, it’s hard to get everyone on the same page and collaborate using defined standards and quality.