Choosing the right product data solution: PIM vs MDM vs DAM

When it comes to product data management, there are a multitude of acronyms flying around the digital ecosystem nowadays, so we’ve written this insight article to provide you with a brief overview of what exactly three of these acronyms mean in relation to managing product data.

A quick definition

As noted, both an MDM and a PIM solution centralise data within the company. Although an MDM system manages a wider range of information, it isn’t designed to have the specific functionalities and capabilities linked to product data management which a PIM solution provides. A PIM system enables you to manage complicated product data categories like attributes, variants and much more. It also allows you to easily prepare diverse versions of information for various sales channels requiring different formats and volume of content.

If what you need is a system which gathers all company data, including product information, external customers, and product data from business partners like suppliers, you’re looking for an MDM. If you’re looking to solve problems with your product data management, implementing a PIM solution is far more targeted, efficient, and cost-effective than an MDM.

However, the software market in this field is constantly evolving, and the two big buzzwords are integration and unification. Companies struggle to manage a large number of different systems and PIM / MDM vendors are very much aware of this, so some new PIMs will also serve as fully-fledged MDM systems, while there are also MDM solutions which can cover basic PIM functionalities. In any case, what you choose is heavily dependent on what you need your product data management solution to do and what range of features you need to do it.

The difference between a PIM system and DAM

Given the high expectations of customers regarding how eCommerce sales outlets should look and feel, the large majority of product-centric businesses have to work with enriched product data like hi-res photos, video, and audio. As such, they need centralised access to these product data assets, and a DAM’s capabilities better serves digital marketing materials management. DAM systems also manage a wider range of digital assets, including non-product information assets (in particular metadata). PIM systems are product-centred and aimed at managing
All product-related information:

  • images and assets
  • information about product variants
  • product descriptions
  • categories
  • properties
  • channel-specific product data

    Although DAM functionalities can be sold as part of a product data management solution, they can be a little ‘rudimentary’ for the purposes of modern-day merchants. There are a few standout PIM systems for product data management (AtroPIM or Pimcore come to mind) which provide more advanced DAM functionalities, but if you need a fully-fledged solution for managing product information and product-related digital assets, we recommend using a PIM with an integrated DAM System.

Which system should you choose?

We’ve briefly covered the difference between PIM, MDM and DAM, so you have an idea of what you may need or not for your circumstances. But let’s finish off by putting the focus squarely on your holistic product data management needs. There are five pretty compelling signs that you need a PIM solution, so if:

    • You manage thousands of SKUs
    • You’d like to seriously upgrade the customer experience to compete on a level playing field and win
    • You’re selling across multiple channels
    • You are planning to expand your business to a global scale
    • You need a dramatic improvement in your conversion and product returns rates
    • The quality of the product data you use isn’t consistent
    • staff spend a lot of their time inputting and processing data manually
    • You want control over how all business users manage product data across departments


Whether it’s a PIM, MDM, or DAM solution, implementing a new product data management system implies a major expense. Get informed. Determine what data you want to manage before you fork out money. If your company is using multiple systems with duplicated data records all over the place (assuming you even know where it all is), an MDM solution is probably best. However, if the business simply needs to manage media files like images, videos, and audio files for marketing purposes, get a DAM system.

But…. if your company is struggling to manage enormous amounts of product data and it’s difficult to manage it effectively, invest in a PIM solution – not forgetting the need for DAM capabilities if you really want to blow your customers’ minds!

Please contact us to book a demo of any of the product data management software solutions we cover in our reviews and comparisons. Naturally, if you’re interested in a more detailed conversation about your product information management needs, or how we can help and guide you in your selection of a PIM solution for product data, please get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.

In a nutshell, what you can do with a PIM solution

Given that any business worth its salt is looking to expand, for product-centric companies, which means new markets, new products, and a bigger range of SKUs to manage. The range capabilities which a PIM solution provides you with is getting longer every month as vendors leverage technological advances in automation and artificial intelligence to offer increasingly sophisticated functionalities. However, to summarise, with a PIM system, you will be capable of:

  • Centralising,cleansing, and establishing quality standards for the unique and only version of every data point
  • Enriching product descriptions and specifications using a range of digital assets to enhance the quality and Attractiveness of product information.
  • Tracking progress and completion to confirm channel readiness
  • Linking images, documents, and other media to specific products
  • Easily categorising products catalogs and files
  • Managing ingestion and normalisation of upstream product data.
  • Managing relationships among products to enable cross-selling, up-selling and bundling
  • Creating and publish product sheets
  • Building customised product feeds for particular channels.
  • Automating brand portal creation and maintenance
  • Analysing product performance and adjusting product information accordingly
  • Creating personalised and omnichannel customer experiences
  • Finding everything, whenever you need it
  • Please contact us to book a demo of any of the PIM solutions we cover in our reviews and comparisons. Naturally, if you’re interested in a more detailed conversation about your product information management needs, or how we can help and guide you in your selection of a PIM solution, please get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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