Your product designers put a lot of thought into creating great products.
If your company sells clothing, the technical data—from the specific ingredients in the dye to the fabric used—is important for differentiating your products. However, this information means nothing unless it’s translated into value language for your customer.
In this example, marketers may write about the fabric fade-resistance (thanks to the dye) or the fabric’s breathability and durability (thanks to the fabric). Without those benefits, the features don’t carry much weight.
In many organizations, there is no internal process for translating technical data into value language. That means the marketing team has a difficult time writing copy that tells the right story.
In this case, you lose all the information that makes a product unique. And if you lose the story that compels your audience, you lose your differentiation—and you lose sales.
Optimizing your process with PIM
In many cases, product data is created throughout the product lifecycle by various people in different departments who all work in silos. Then, somewhere toward the end of the process, the marketing department is left to try and identify the most essential product information from a conglomeration of highly technical documentation.
Product information management (PIM) software can simplify this translation process for both the marketing and technical departments.
Without PIM, marketers have to use multiple internal channels to gather and write marketing copy.
With PIM, all the technical data that makes a product unique and interesting is housed in one place. PIM can serve as the one-stop-shop for updating product data, allowing multiple departments to contribute to an ever-growing record of product data.
PIM can even allow for auto-translations, meaning a technical term can be tied to a value-focused phrase. For example, the engineering team can set the term for a specific type of fabric to auto-translate into the word ‘durable.’
With automations like this in place, the marketing team is empowered to access this data and use it to tell a story that highlights all the true features and benefits of your unique product.
Categorizing products for downstream channels
It isn’t enough to think about translating your data into customer-focused language. You must also think about how you categorize your products.
Companies often categorize products internally by business unit or merchandising categories, such as best sellers or holiday items. But you must also consider two equally important categorizations—how your customers search for products and the taxonomies of your downstream channels.
PIM allows you to create an initial taxonomy that is specific to your internal language. But it is flexible enough that this taxonomy can adapt over time to your customer’s search habits.
PIM can also store category data for use with specific taxonomies requested by each downstream channel, so marketers no longer have to constantly update this in multiple spreadsheets.
Additional dangers of siloed product data
Without PIM, the different processes along the product lifecycle journey take place in silos, without any communication between departments.
Not only can this lead to the marketing team missing out on compelling product stories, but work may also be duplicated and time will likely be wasted. And products can stall out in their journey—and get left behind.
Product data may be copied and pasted into multiple different systems by multiple employees along the way. Though these employees may be sitting feet apart, they likely don’t communicate about these processes. And if one employee makes a data entry mistake, that incorrect data could make it to the end of the cycle before anyone catches it.
Putting these processes in place proactively can ensure data accuracy—and facilitate the translation from technical internal data to customer benefit language.
Mapping your product lifecycle
Any marketer worth their salt will already know their personas—but to create great marketing copy, you must align on who’s buying your products and what they care about.
Beyond basic personas, think about who’s buying your products and why. If you are selling products to an individual, you may highlight different features than if you’re selling those same products to another business.
Once you have alignment on your target, identify the key decision makers involved in the product journey. Ask them questions about their process. Why did they capture the data they did? What is important to the end customer? Why?
Understanding your product lifecycle journey is an essential first step in digital transformation. Just as each of our individual life journeys are unique to us, a product lifecycle journey is unique to every business. The more well-versed you are in your company’s product lifecycle journey, the better equipped you will be for digital transformation.
PIM simplifies this process by automating data input and eliminating the need for multiple employees to copy and paste data into different systems. Now, your employees can spend their time making your product data better—which will increase sales and reduce returns. When applicable, this newfound time can also be applied in other areas of your business.
If you are ready to partner with someone who will travel alongside your business on the journey to PIM implementation, let’s talk.