If you have talked to your digital marketing agency recently, read the latest from Google, or perused your favorite marketing blog, you have likely come across arguments in favor of better customer experience. If you have watched a webinar about digital transformation or trends in online commerce, chances are there was mention of the importance of customer experience to remain relevant and build loyalty amongst your customers.
What these fantastic resources and experts may have told you is that you need to create a personalized and compelling experience for each and every buyer or shopper. Sounds great, right?
The Dirty Little Secret
What they likely didn’t reveal is the dirty little secret about Customer Experience.
What these revered sources won’t tell you is that this effort will fail—that it is literally impossible—without the development of more and more (and even more!) high-quality content.
What type of content, you ask?
We would argue that product content should be at the top of your list. According to a study by Shotfarm, a vast majority of shoppers consider product descriptions to be very important (63%) or important (30%) to their decision-making process during the buying journey. Best practices outlined by content26 suggest that a product description length between 350 and 400 is justified to address the main features and benefits of a product. Some products, such as consumer electronics may need as many as 600 words to sufficiently communicate product features and benefits. To complement these product descriptions, you should provide imagery, romance messaging, and user-generated content in the form of reviews.
In addition, Google just recently doubled the length of the meta description tags that their algorithms consider to 320 characters. To get the most from your SEO efforts, you will need more—and better—content.
More and more—and more—content
This need for content—to better serve your customers, promote your brand, and satisfy SEO requirements—may be part of the reason that word counts on HTML pages has increased by more than 25% in recent years.
Not only will you need to provide great information for each of your products, but also your content will begin to proliferate. As you multiply product variations, attributes, and product relationships, you will need to create an ever-increasing amount of content. Add to that the adaptations needed for new markets, channels, and languages and you will observe an exponential explosion of content requirements.
You are probably starting to get the idea. How can you possibly track and manage all of this product content? And, is this really necessary?
Fueling the Engine of Customer Experience
As your organization discusses the resources and tools necessary to provide that great experience your customers are seeking, consider this: there is no point in investing in personalization and experience software if you’re still going to provide every customer the same experience as every other customer.
Just as your vehicle needs fuel to power its engine, your marketing organization needs to develop product content to fuel your customer experience and personalization efforts. Regardless of how many state-of-the-art tools you implement, they—and you!—can’t do the job without the fuel for the engine that is product content. By building this solid foundation of content, you can easily reuse and repurpose the information you create to build a personalized experience for every shopper.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver
Few would disagree that, in today’s world, data is ubiquitous. In fact, IDC predicts that the digital universe doubles in size every two years and, by 2025, will reach 163 trillion gigabytes.
In light of that statistic, what do you think of when you think of managing data within your organization? In many cases, Master Data Management, or MDM, comes to mind. This isn’t surprising—when you Google the term ‘Master Data Management,’ millions of results are returned. These results are dominated by firms such as IBM, Oracle, and Talend—firms that offer a method to manage your customer, operational, and transactional data and to implement data policies and governance across your enterprise.
But what MDM does not—and cannot—do, is manage product data in a way or format that is useful to marketers and customers. What this suggests is that MDM needs product information management (PIM), just as PIM can leverage MDM. In fact, according to Ventana Research, “the top two barriers to being able to have and use a single version of product data are incompatible tools (52%) and disparate forms of data (48%). Each is a problem that can be addressed through the effective integration of MDM and PIM into the business.”
PIM can take the product data that is being effectively policed and governed by the MDM solution and turn it into product information—product content that can actually be used to sell products! And isn’t that the true goal of your organization? You aren’t in business to manage data. You are in business to put your great products into the hands of valued customers!
If you deploy a true PIM, you will have a central store of product information—one single source of truth—which you and your colleagues can rely upon for accurate and complete product information. Why wouldn’t you want that?
Product marketers, digital marketers, and merchandizers can leverage a PIM solution to enrich product data with imagery, romance content, and upsell/cross-sell relationships. This product information can then be disseminated to a variety of online and offline systems—to e-commerce engines, CMS platforms, and downstream vendors.
Ventana Research’s study uncovered that by deploying a PIM solution, “74% of organizations report they are able to eliminate errors and mistakes. Another benefit, cited by 61 percent of organizations, is being able to improve the customer experience, which…increases customer engagement and improves the quality of interactions.”
We agree that both data governance and MDM are needed to manage the exponential growth in data that is being created within organizations every day. As the digitization of systems continues to increase, enterprises need to have the right solutions in place to address their data challenges.
Turn your product data into useable product information with PIM. Read the Ventana white paper for more reasons why.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver
Nearly 45% of holiday shoppers peruse options serendipitously—both online and offline—to decide what to purchase for friends and family. Forty-eight percent of shoppers still frequent physical stores for the ability to easily see and touch products. If you are a brand manufacturer, if your products are not there—where they can be seen, touched, and clicked—you can be almost certain that you are losing sales and possibly customer loyalty.
So, what can you do?
Streamline product management to get to market faster
Having a central product information management system makes it easy to bring products to market quickly. Your central store of product information can be the home base for the product story, along with all the details and imagery, tagged and categorized according to its place in the assortment. Product and marketing managers can have a single source of the truth and don’t have to waste time compiling information—that may be inaccurate or inconsistent—from disparate sources. They simply share information and export what they need—to every channel where it is needed.
When you have a product information management (PIM) solution, taking a product to market can takes days or weeks instead of months. Your new products can be on the shelf in-store or live on a website and ready to order in hours—and you can scale volume based on demand.
Help customers make purchase decisions
Sometimes it feels like a “race to the bottom.” Your retailers are asking you to lower your prices because they are feeling squeezed by Amazon, online competitors, and other retailers in their quest for market share.
However, you can work with your retailers to help your customers make purchasing decisions. When you have high-quality product information categorized and tagged, it’s easy to show customers how to combine complementary products, select replacement products, or compare products across price points.
You gain a competitive advantage and increase revenue because you and your retailers are providing product information that guides the customer toward the ideal, comprehensive solution.
Build a reputation for reliability
It is common knowledge that keeping a customer is cheaper than acquiring a new one. So, while your sales team is busy getting new business, you can use your product marketing process to ensure that you satisfy the customers you already have.
If the product information that you have provided to your retailers is accurate and complete, your end-customers will know that they can trust that information when they are making purchase decisions—time and again. You will build a reputation for authority and knowledge by providing enriched product stories across channels and markets.
When you have a central source of enriched product information, you have a goldmine of unique and flexible content that’s easy to optimize into product stories for each channel and market. You will rise above the industry standard to achieve a competitive advantage that will serve you well and build brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Marketing Manager, inRiver