PIM vs. DAM: Key differences and why you need both
November 21, 2023|
For any retail or e-commerce business, staying ahead of the competition with compelling visuals and accurate product information is crucial. But navigating a sea of product specifications, visuals, pricing, marketing content, and more is anything but easy. That’s where technology solutions like product information management (PIM) software and digital asset management (DAM) platforms come into play.
So, what do these systems do exactly? And what’s the advantage of a PIM vs. a DAM platform?
We’ll walk you through the basic differences between DAM and PIM solutions, so you can see why both are essential for successful, streamlined digital commerce.
What’s the difference between a PIM and a DAM?
PIM systems organize all the information about each product that a company makes or sells. DAM platforms organize and distribute a brand’s digital files — like product images and marketing content. Both platforms improve consistency and operational efficiency, helping companies achieve better business outcomes.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the PIM vs. DAM distinction, and how each of these essential tools fits into the digital commerce landscape.
What’s a PIM?
PIM stands for “product information management.” A PIM system is a single source of truth for information about the products a company sells. That includes SKUs, product specs, pricing details, product descriptions, FAQs, and more.
PIM systems ensure that the product details a company shares across its online shops, websites, and other sales and marketing channels are always consistent.
Typically, the information in a PIM is managed by a company’s product team or product marketing team. The goal is to ensure everyone at the company has on-demand access to accurate product information.
What’s a digital asset management (DAM) platform?
Digital asset management (DAM) platforms like Canto are designed to organize, manage, and share digital brand content. The “digital assets” managed by DAM systems include product images and videos, but also other brand content like logos, marketing materials, graphics, and brand imagery — as well as any relevant metadata.
Marketing departments use DAM platforms to give employees and external partners on-demand access to the content they need to promote a brand and its products. Thanks to automated workflows and integrations with other marketing tools, DAM platforms accelerate product launches and make it easy to create a consistent brand experience across different channels.
PIM vs. DAM: Three essential differences
- A PIM contains product data. A DAM contains digital brand assets.
- PIMs are used by product teams. DAMs are primarily marketing tools.
- PIMs ensure data consistency. DAMs ensure brand consistency.
Do I need a PIM and a DAM?
The short answer: Yes! Because PIMs manage product data and DAMs manage digital assets, most brands benefit from using both a PIM solution and a DAM platform.
Imagine a scenario where you’re launching new product. For a successful rollout, people across the company need access to the same information about that product at the same time. This is PIM software’s time to shine.
But you can’t sell a product on the strength of information alone. You’ll also need stunning, on-brand visuals. A DAM platform contains all the images and videos your marketing team, sales reps, and retail partners need for a successful launch.
While some PIM systems can also store product images, they don’t have the full range of essential features you can expect from a dedicated DAM solution — like AI visual image search, distribution tools, video compatibility, or review and approval settings.
How PIM and DAM systems improve business outcomes
PIMs and DAMs allow companies to work more efficiently, creating outstanding customer experiences at scale. Overall, that means more revenue for less effort — increasing the ROI of investments in product development and marketing.
1. Faster time to market
When bringing new products to market, time is of the essence. PIM software and DAM systems streamline every step of the process. Product managers distribute accurate, up-to-date information to everyone who needs it, and marketers can do the same with product images and brand assets.
Nowhere is this more essential than in the retail and digital commerce sectors, and some DAMs have specially built tools — like Canto’s Media Delivery Cloud — for getting product images live across multiple websites and e-commerce platforms at once.
When product releases run like clockwork, brands gain a competitive edge, beating competitors to market and generating more revenue.
2. Better brand consistency
A DAM platform makes it possible to create an on-brand presence at global scale — whether your collateral’s crafted by in-house creatives, freelancers, or agencies. Content creators in different regions draw from the same collection of pre-approved product images and brand assets, ensuring a unified look across every touchpoint.
Pair that consistent branding with the latest product information from your PIM, and it’s easy to maintain a coordinated, cohesive presence in the market.
3. Outstanding customer journeys
Customers expect an engaging and interactive buying journey. PIM and DAM systems make that possible. More efficient workflows enable marketers to adapt creative content and messaging to target specific personas or customer groups more effectively.
Customers get a satisfying experience across every touchpoint — from visuals that resonate to the messaging surrounding the product. And marketers can more easily craft campaigns that deliver exactly what a customer wants to see at a specific point in their journey.
4. Greater overall efficiency
PIM and DAM systems automate manual processes and streamline complex workflows. As a result, teams across the company work more efficiently, creating more value with the same or fewer resources.
Designers and video producers can crank out more content. Marketers can run more targeted campaigns. Distributors can hit the ground running. And everyone is doing it all in sync.
Maximize your e-commerce ROI with the leader in digital asset management
If you already use a PIM, you know how essential it is to have the right systems in place to manage information. The same applies to product images, videos, and visual brand assets. If you want to maximize the value of your company’s digital assets, you’ll need a powerful digital asset management platform in your marketing stack.
Canto’s digital asset management tools offer everything you need to simplify your content workflows, enhance your team’s productivity, and create revenue-generating customer experiences at scale — including industry-leading technology like AI Visual Search.