Product information management in B2B marketing – is it really necessary?

Clean product data are the foundation for implementing digital applications in a timely manner. Creating, managing and using this data is possible with professional product information management - PIM for short. In this article our partner wob takes a look at the options available to B2B decision-makers.

PIM systems in B2B marketing – the use cases

With PIM, you can integrate individual products or items from your B2B website into the user interface in various ways – make it as a sortable list, findable via the search function, purchasable via e-commerce or packed into small bites for the user through further selection options. The use cases for PIM solutions in B2B marketing are manifold.

However, maintaining product information by editorial means has its limits: especially when several product packages are to be combined, when there are product variants to be considered, when product dimensions have to be translated, or when performance data visualizations or relevant datasheets need to be provided.

PIM and DXP combined: Pimcore

So – what do you need? A professional PIM solution – a full-blown, database-based software as a cloud solution or a system with a hybrid approach. There are many solutions by various specialists, such as Akeneo, Contentserv, Stibo or InRiver. What these single-focus solutions lack, however, is the possibility to build digital experience platforms.

One provider that not only offers PIM functionality, but can also implement digital experience platforms is Pimcore. Early on, the open-source software platform (not only in name) understood that managing product information is a key task for digital touchpoints.

But which provider is the right one for you? wob AG will show you what is important when making your choice.

PIM pitfalls – what you should look out for when choosing your solution:

  1. First, clarify which requirements the PIM system must meet in your context. Typically, B2B companies have very detailed, production process-based systems in use (for example SAP ERP etc.). For the purpose of B2B marketing, these usually tend to be too complex and too extensive.
     
  2. Find the right allies for the selection, setup and rollout of your system. A mixture of experienced online marketing experts, product managers and IT specialists usually works well. Don't forget to reflect the diversity of your portfolio in the extended project team (countries, business areas, business models).
     
  3. Skip lengthy selection processes with endless feature comparisons and scorecards. Instead, test the top 3 (based on business importance) with concrete products and prototype integrations. As a rule, your technology partners will gladly walk the team through the process and point out important differences.
     
  4. Nevertheless, check which interfaces your PIM needs and which ones it can potentially offer. In the case of Pimcore, for example, the connection of source data and the transfer of PIM data to output systems such as websites, shops or apps are possible in many ways, as the Pimcore DataHub can solve almost any possible connection issues. Being able to map data, set up translation processes or editorial routines for checking or optimising data quality is also a valuable option. According to our experience as a B2B agency, the dismantling of data silos is the greatest challenge in B2B data marketing in the long term.
     
  5. In addition, evaluate which needs from other systems running in parallel for master data management, asset management, content management and experience platforms might be addressed to your PIM. Ideally, you will discover synergies which can be discussed early in the process with all responsible parties.

But it is not just about picking the right tools. Workflows as well as processes within the company also have to be set up in the right manner. A brief overview:

The 5 most important factors in product information management:

  1. Leadership: In order to be able to make quick and sound decisions, it is important that company management is on board right from the start of the project. It is also crucial that both vision and strategy are clear to everyone in the team.
  2. Operations: Communication should be set up to work smoothly across the interdisciplinary team. Spoiler: This also refers to change requests!
  3. Process: More than just best practice – documentation is the key. All team members need to stick to the plan, or data will lose its integrity.
  4. Data: Data must be consistently collected, updated and organised – this is the prerequisite for optimal use and the basis for any important decisions.
  5. Technology: Your company's IT must be sufficiently powerful to cater to the above points.

So, what’s the takeaway? Connection makes a PIM stronger

As you can see, in B2B marketing, any B2B company faces having to choose the right product information management solution. There is a lot of potential for a better user experience, but also there are just as many hurdles to overcome during the selection and implementation process. Connect your PIM with other systems in your company and you will see:  A good PIM can not only simplify your work, but it will also in many ways help you unleash the power of your company’s various business areas.

 

 

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