Editor's note: Chris Gorski is a marketing data consultant who works with clients seeking to successfully integrate PIM, CRM or other marketing data programs to drive improved merchandising and increased revenue generation. We were very excited that he took the time to share with us some of his previous experiences with PIM, and why PIM is essential for future business growth. He can be contacted via Linked In or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nine years ago I moved from Syracuse, NY to Fort Collins, Colorado. This move involved the purchase of a new home. At that time, my wife and I had a 15-month old child and although 2-bedrooms would have sufficed, we needed to look into the future and invest in a house that would meet our needs 5-10 years out. We realized the future required 3 bedrooms – as we planned for another child. We would also need a finished basement with a bedroom suite – a place for periodic visitors. We wanted access to good schools – a forthcoming need.
In short, our investment needed to be scalable enough to accommodate our planned growth.
A PIM system is often an investment to meet future needs
Not long ago I managed a large PIM project for my company – a B-to-B manufacturer/direct seller of analytical instrumentation – via field sales, catalog and e-commerce. As the marketing director, I realized that although current processes met current needs, they lacked standardization and systems capable of withstanding the substantial expansion of our revenue and geographies. In other words, we currently had the infrastructure to support one child, but not a lot of flexibility to provide for another.
To get the project funding and needed internal support, I painted the picture of what the future would look like without a PIM system – and the added expense and chaos we would have without one in place.
What might the perfect fit for a PIM system look like?
Our company website at the time had its own, web content management system. Product data sheets were created by the marketing team, and the product data was stored on the Quark files the designers used. We had catalogs and price lists that needed to be fully proofread with each new printing, and the expectation was that the product managers could recall any changes since the last printing.
The scattered process was not sustainable for our strategic vision, which was to eventually manage many websites in many countries and languages. We would need a central repository for product information where content generators could enter and approve, and marketing could access the information. We would need standardized processes to translate and syndicate information to many web sites and media – with supporting workflows to ensure compliance.
For a growing family, we needed to think of purchasing a larger home. For a growing manufacturing company, we needed to think of installing a flexible and scalable content management backbone.
Conclusion: Why PIM is essential for future business growth
Growth focused organizations need to take a good look into the future – increased sku's, acquisitions, more information, additional media in various languages - and ensure there will be systems in place that can accommodate that future. Smart companies integrate systems before the stress of needing them arises, because waiting until the need arises often means reacting instead of acting, and the necessity of haste often results in cobbled together systems and processes requiring constant maintenance.
The home my wife and I ended up purchasing in Colorado turned out to be perfect for our current needs today - we now have two boys (10 and 7), an unplanned for dog, and annual visits from variety friends and family. Much like with my house, a PIM system should be evaluated with the appropriate vision of the future – so that the subsequent system design, capabilities and implementation will adequately meet or exceed those needs.