Product Information Management - Joining the Dots

The need to orchestrate a product experience consisting of more than just the traditional product information is becoming essential in the omnichannel customer experience age – Morag Cuddeford-Jones draws on research by Gartner to bring some best practice tips.

  1. chevron left iconProduct Information Management - Joining the Dots
Morag Cuddeford-JonesDecember 11, 2018
  • Digital Asset Management
  • Product Information Management
  • Digital Marketing

Centralizing an organization’s creative and digital assets is now considered good practice. But, without integrating this resource with the other moving parts of the business, essentially it becomes just one more silo. Research from Gartner suggests that it is not just possible but vital to create that link between a company’s data and analytics programs with its rich product content and digital assets.

In Create Powerful Customer Experiences with a 360-Degree View of Your Products, Gartner explores how to gain a full view of your products, to identify key product data assets, and how to implement governance and management to keep on top of processes.

This 360 degree view is not yet a reality because “…data sharing and data integration have not been successful in truly connecting product data”, as the Gartner research identifies. To become successful, companies need to create solid data foundations surrounded with the right processes.

Identify Data Assets

Creating consistent, uniform identifiers that uniquely describe each product is the foundation for connecting content and assets to create the 360 degree view. Master data management (MDM) can connect with application data management (ADM) and digital asset management (DAM) in order to create the holistic view of a product, supporting an improved customer experience.

Classifying your types of data helps you manage it and therefore connect it more effectively. Rich product information is the customer facing content used for marketing and sales, for example a product’s description, features and benefits. Digital assets, however, can include content such as images, video and the copy used to populate a brand’s digital properties, whereas product master data refers to basic item information like its weight, dimensions or materials.

Gain a 360 Degree View

Once connected, these data sets can be used to achieve differing business needs. From an enterprise perspective, for example, connecting the data can lead to operational efficiency in areas such as supply chain management. On the B2B side, benefits can include helping organizations and its partners work efficiently together in being able to exchange assets where each is certain that the correct information and governance is in place. And finally, from the customer facing perspective, having the right assets and data at their fingertips allows brands to communicate and engage customers effectively.

Choosing Processes

As many companies acquire new technologies and create new vendor relationships to manage a 360 degree product view, issues surrounding information governance and data management become important topics. Packaged solutions can often cater for one or two areas but not all, leaving gaps and areas of risk. Taking care in this regard when choosing a provider, or several, is one of the most important aspects in implementing a successful product management suite.

Extending the View

Critically, the paper suggests implementing an extended 360 degree product view. That is, one that uses what most would refer to as ‘big data’. This helps improve customer centricity through contextual information including price sensitivity, social sentiment, live chat transcripts and user generated content.

Naturally, these forms of data have presented a challenge, even to organizations who in other ways may consider themselves relatively sophisticated, as this is hugely varied information, largely unstructured and available in very large volumes. Mastering it, though, can be the key to competitive advantage.

For more information on how to create a holistic, 360 degree product view and manage the process of implementing it, including four steps to mastering new data sources, download the paper here.

Morag Cuddeford-Jones
Morag has been a marketing journalist and editor for 20 years but is still trying to convince herself that she doesn’t look it. She came to journalism after a brief flirtation with the music and entertainment industry, which ended when she discovered that she nurtured a passionate dislike of any tunes not produced in 1985.

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