12 August 2019

DAM vs PIM vs MRM: Which System Should You Use?

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, PIM, and MRM.

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

In fact, one study 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. 


In response to this, we’ve put together a guide that will help clear the confusion. 

By the end of this piece, you’ll know exactly what these confusing acronyms stand for and which system is the right one for you depending on what challenges you’re up against. 

A Quick Recap Of Our Contenders 

  • DAM (Digital Asset Management): enables your team to manage, organise, and distribute digital assets from one central place 
  • PIM (Product Information Management): 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 
  • MRM (Media Asset Management): allows you to manage the backend of campaigns and run day-to-day operations with workflows and tracking tools 

How to Choose the Right Solution

Round One: What Is Your Biggest Challenge?

A report from WARC recently 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. 

If you struggle with growth in a slow economy, you might look to run brand awareness campaigns or adding more products to your pipeline; if your biggest challenge is managing big data, 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. 

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 across the board and keeping up a strong brand reputation. 

The most common “big picture” goals for businesses. Source

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?

A DAM solution is perfect if you need to

  • Manage the lifecycle of content and streamline the approval process for a marketing campaign
  • Mass distribute content to all your digital channels 
  • This solution is good for: growth, big data management, digital transformation, ensuring customer trust 

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 
  • This solution is good for: growth, building a purposeful brand, innovation of product, category disruption

An MRM solution is perfect if you need to: 

  • Planning the details of a full-on marketing campaign
  • Allocate workflows and budgets for an entire team 
  • Measuring the results of your marketing efforts to see what’s working and what’s not 
  • This solution is good for: growth, big data management, digital transformation, building a purposeful brand, building a culture of marketing effectiveness, ensuring customer trust 

Round Two: 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 or 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 brands 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 digital assets or a service. This is because these solutions provide a central dashboard to store digital media, manage team members, organise processes, and manage the lifecycle of projects. 

Round Three: Do You Need an Internal or External System? 

The final part of 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, a DAM system is your best bet. 


The Final Bell: 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.

You don’t have to make any rash decisions. 

In fact, we recommend trying out a few options and seeing which ones gel best with your team. 

When you’ve found the right solution, you’ll know. Because when you know, you know, right? 



Do you want to stay updated about our products, or learn more about what Marvia can do for you? Feel free to contact us!

  12 August 2019       By Jessica