What's the Difference? PIM vs DAM

July 28, 2021
Hannah Svendor

As the demand for digital services increasingly grows, so does the need for clean data! Product information management and data asset management are two vital solutions for enterprises to store, organize, find, retrieve, and share digital content and product information.


As organizations increasingly drive online sales, product information and data management become a vital component to online success and overall operations. It may be time to consider adding some new systems to your digital stack if you can relate to the following:

Do you need to regularly re-use product data, while eliminating manual data entry? Or maybe you’re a design manager who’s stuck spending time responding to requests for creative files. 

Are you trying to create rich, optimized content, consistent across all of your sales channels? Or perhaps your sales team keeps using outdated marketing collateral?

All of these pain points indicate a need for a product information management system (PIM), a digital asset management system (DAM), or even both. 

The differences between PIM and DAM

Simply stated, a PIM handles product information while a DAM handles digital assets. 

Effective product information management helps your team capture, optimize, and store information—all in one place—and distribute it to multiple destinations.

There is a variety of product information a PIM can manage, including:

  • Essential product data: SKUs, names, titles, and descriptions
  • Taxonomy and relationships: Categories, labels, and variations
  • Technical specifications: Measurements, materials, ingredients, and warranties
  • Marketing data: Keywords, user journeys, and personas
  • Sales info: Prices, testimonials, and customer reviews
  • Design specifications: Style sheets and assembly instructions
  • Channel-specific info: Mobile descriptions, Google categories, and Amazon titles
  • Localized info: Multilingual copy and translations

Meanwhile, DAM systems help teams get more value from their digital assets by making them easy to organize, access, distribute, and analyze.

A DAM can help manage:

  • Website media files : Images, graphics, text elements, spec sheets, videos, and other assets
  • Brand files: Easily save, retrieve, and share assets with different employees or departments
  • Vendor relations: Provide access to data for external vendors to use during production
  • User roles and permissions: Securely manage asset access with defined permissions for employees
  • Asset organization: Sort assets into folders, albums, collections, types, and more
  • Finding assets: Easily search and find documents, images, and other assets with tagged metadata

When should I use a PIM?

A PIM can save you and your team time, improve your data quality, and help you take control of your products. The benefits are profound, really!

Here are five reasons to consider using a product information management system:

  1. Enhance data quality: Data quality is critical for ecommerce, as consistent attribute values drive SEO rankings. With a strong PIM, you can control lists and inherited values and easily identify and resolve gaps in data completion.
  2. Align channels: It’s important that your message, branding, and product data are consistent across all channels. A PIM creates that single repository of product data, while localizing necessary elements, that can be easily re-purposed across channels.
  3. Enhance customer experience: PIMs provide full, rich, and accurate product data, helping reduce customer returns and drive more traffic to your product detail pages.
  4. Scale and grow: Get to market faster than your competitors by eliminating bottlenecks and data silos. PIMs can also offer translation and localization to assist with geographic expansion.
  5. Maximize productivity: A PIM serves as your single source of truth, drastically decreasing redundancies and errors. It uncomplicates workflows and eliminates manual tasks, freeing up more time to focus on other meaningful work.

When should I use a DAM?

DAM software is like an enhanced digital media library that eliminates bottlenecks in the creative workflow and boosts productivity by minimizing friction across teams. Indexed files are highly searchable, too!

Here are five reasons to consider using a digital asset management system:

  1. Eliminate the cost of misplaced work: Once files are stored, they’re secure and easy to retrieve, limiting the need to dig through your desktop or recreate them.
  2. Streamline distribution: Receive instant access to all saved and indexed files, from your desk or a coffee shop halfway across the world. And you’ll be confident your team members can do the same.
  3. Maintain brand consistency: DAM systems ensure all team members and partner agencies are using the same files, reducing the use of outdated or low-quality materials.
  4. Provide permissioned access: Allows external partners access to certain collections or restrict junior designers from adjusting key brand collateral. 
  5. Measure return on investment: A DAM provides data on how assets are being used and who is using them, giving creatives the ability to influence future content strategy decisions.

Who benefits from a PIM or DAM?

Ecommerce managers, sales teams, marketing teams, and customers all benefit from the cohesiveness of a product information management system. 

  • Sales teams can access up-to-date, accurate product data on the go.
  • Ecommerce managers can constantly improve user experience and conversion rates.
  • Marketing teams can create, modify, and re-distribute campaigns.
  • Customers can easily find and buy with confidence, knowing they can rely on accurate product information.

Creatives, sales and marketing teams, IT and Legal, and external agencies or partners all benefit from the ease and multi-functionality of a digital asset management system. 

  • Designers save time sharing resources with colleagues, freeing themselves to focus on creating new assets.
  • Sales and marketing teams can ensure consistent brand quality, giving customers a more seamless experience.
  • IT and Legal departments can feel secure with cloud-based data and can restrict downloads to specific documents or assets.

External agencies and partners can easily obtain logo files, images, and other assets to support the brand.

Should my company invest in a PIM or a DAM?

There is no downplaying the place of Product Information Management (PIM) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) in the success of your ecommerce site. And the need for these solutions is only increasing.

Remember that PIMs and DAMs are different solutions that play unique roles. It’s not necessarily a question of one or the other. They work well as a team, with capabilities that complement each other and provide greater value to the overall operations of organizations. By linking your PIM and DAM system, you provide a 'product as a service' approach that creates an optimal balance between product information and related marketing content.

At C2, we have a niche for making systems play nice with others in your digital ecosystem. Our team commonly integrates PIM and DAM systems with many of the solutions we build for clients, like we did for telecommunications provider CommScope, here.

If you have questions about finding the right PIM or DAM fit, or have frustrations with your current systems integration, we'd love to help you out.