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Marvia6.05.20217 min read

DAM vs MRM vs PIM: which system is right for you?

Tech has birthed great things for marketing; automation, data analysis, machine learning and software have all helped marketers save time and money while speeding up their processes. 

However, as well as birthing all of these juicy benefits, it’s also brought a whole load of confusing acronyms with it, including CMS, CRM, DAM, MRM, and PIM.

The slew of letters and accompanying complex systems is difficult for a lot of business owners to get their heads around. 

In response to this, we’ve put together a guide that will clear the confusion and will help you choose the right system. 

struggle to find right tech

Taking a look at our contenders

You had probably heard the acronyms before but forgot where DAM, MRM and PIM stand for. Time for a quick recap.

DAM (Digital Asset Management)

A DAM or Digital Asset Management tool enables your team to manage, organise, and distribute digital assets from one central place. A DAM helps you connect your digital assets with your teams and partners so you can all deliver meaningful customer experiences and ensure brand consistency across channels.

MRM (Marketing Resource Management)

MRM or Marketing Resource Management software allows you to track, manage and report on marketing operations to streamline creative production, optimize spend and resources and manage marketing campaigns efficiently. It increases productivity and on-brand marketing output. 

PIM (Product Information Management)

PIM helps you to keep an accurate record of product information all in one place, where you can manage the information and distribute it across different sales channels.


How to choose the right solution

If finding the right tools is a challenge for you, you are not the only one. A study by Brightvision revealed that 24% of companies struggle to find the right tech for their needs. That's a quarter of businesses who don't know what systems are best suited to them. That's why we help you determine which system is right for you in three steps.

1. What is your biggest challenge?

A report from WARC cited the top challenges marketers are set to face this year. Problems include growing in a slow economy (16%), managing big data (13%), digital transformation (13%), and building a purposeful brand (13%). 

So how can choosing the right tech solution help get you past these stumbling blocks? The key is identifying which challenge is your biggest hurdle and working backwards from there. 

brand marketers biggest challenge If you struggle with growth in a slow economy, you might want to double down on brand building activities or adding more products to your pipeline. If your biggest challenge is managing content, you might need somewhere to store all data and a workflow for analysing it. If digital transformation is holding you back, you might need to gather your digital assets and experiment with different digital activities.

The easiest way to do this is to think about the “big picture” you have for your business and what’s stopping you from getting there. Often, your “big picture” goal will reveal your biggest marketing challenge. 

big picture goals for companies

For some businesses, deploying effective local marketing campaigns can be a real sticking point. In particular, creating appealing local content that resonates with specific franchisers and tapping into effective marketing operations to run these campaigns. For others, it’s maintaining brand consistency and keeping up a strong brand reputation.

For example, your “big picture” goal might be to double your sales in the next 12 months. Your smaller goals might include running a brand awareness marketing campaign and adding multiple new in-demand products to your catalogue to encourage those extra sales. 

Once you’ve got those smaller goals in mind, it’s important to pick apart the elements that go into them to decide which kind of system meets your needs best. 

Which system is best? 

So you know what your biggest challenge is and which goals you want to achieve. Let's see which system fits the priorities of your organization. 

A DAM system is perfect if you need to:

  • Store a large volume of digital assets such as logos, videos, images, and documents. 
  • Manage the lifecycle of your content and streamline the approval process for a marketing campaign

  • Mass distribute content to all your digital channels
  • Protect your brand and build a strong brand presence across multiple channels

A DAM solution is good for growth, data management, digital transformation and ensuring customer trust.

6 Reasons why your marketing department needs DAM

An MRM system is perfect if you need to:

  • Plan the details of a large volume full-on marketing campaigns
  • Allocate workflows and campaign budgets
  • Measure the results of your marketing efforts to see what's working and what's not
  • Safeguard that marketing content is brand compliant and consistent

An MRM solution is good for digital transformation, building a purposeful brand, building a culture of marketing effectiveness.

A PIM solution is perfect if you need to:

  • Expand your product database quickly and with accurate information
  • Share new product information with your existing audience and through your existing digital channels
  • Collect and unify product information from various sources such as suppliers and data providers. 
  • Improve and automate product-management processes. 

A PIM solution is good for growth, building a purposeful brand, innovation of product and category disruption. 

2. What are you selling?

No two businesses are the same, and it’s important that you know exactly what you’re selling to your customers and why. For many businesses, this is a simple question to answer because they are selling physical products. For others, it’s slightly trickier because they are selling consultations, software solutions, or services that aren’t tangible. This information is important because some systems are better suited to physical products than others.

Which system is best? 

Neither a PIM nor a DAM is better than the other. Rather, you’ll likely need a combination of the two. The question then comes down to where do you start and what’s your first need. This will help you determine which system is right for you in the first instance. 

A PIM solution is a good starting point for eCommerce brands that are selling physical products because you can collect relevant information (including SKUs, specs, and images) all in one place, add to these descriptions, and organise your product catalogue quickly and easily from one central place. 

On the other hand, you might choose to start with a DAM or an MRM if you’re selling services or work with partners (agencies, freelancers, franchises, resellers).  DAM and MRM solutions provide a central point to store digital assets, manage user access, streamline operational processes, and manage the lifecycle of digital assets and campaigns. 

marketing kalender-dam

3. Internal or external system?

The final step in choosing the right system for you is deciding whether you want your system to be externally facing or used only among your internal team. Again, this goes back to the goals you have for your business and the kind of offerings you have. So, if you’re struggling with this step, go back to rounds one and two and dig deeper. 

Which system is best?

If you’re selling physical products and want to keep your internal team up-to-date on the latest lines and product information, a PIM solution is probably best. 

On the flip side, if you’re offering consultations or services to clients, you might want an externally facing solution that those clients can access too. In this case, you’re better off opting for an MRM. 

If you’re looking for a backend way to communicate with your team about client projects without bringing clients behind the scenes or give them access to specific assets, a DAM system is your best bet. 

Which system is right for you?

While PIM, DAM, and MRM solutions all share some similarities, they are ultimately different systems that serve different purposes. 

You don’t have to stick to just one - in fact, you can use multiple solutions to manage different parts of your business, but you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and your team by having too many systems that need to constantly be checked and updated. 

Instead, think about your “big picture” goals and how you’re going to get there. The key question here is “where do you begin”? From there, you can work with open systems that can be connected to certain standards in the market via APIs. You can then start thinking about what support you need along the way and what tools and assets will help you get there. 

While DAM and MRM solutions are perfectly designed to handle digital assets, they can also be useful for developing and organising marketing campaigns for physical product companies. It’s simply a case of choosing a solution that’s right for you and
your business.

How we can help

If this article has made you realize you need a DAM or MRM solution, make sure you request a demo of our software. Our experts will further explore your needs and determine which of our solutions best matches your wishes and goals. 

Unsure if your business needs a DAM, MRM, or PIM? Schedule a demo with Marvia and let's identify the solution that best tackles your specific marketing challenges.

> Click here to request your free demo today!

Note: This article was originally posted in 2019 and has been updated to include additional information and tips.