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DAM vs. PIM - What's the Difference?

By Eunbyeol Koh on May 25, 2018
DAM and PIM - what is the difference-1

As the technology landscape is evolving rapidly, organizations may struggle to choose the right solution for their business. Especially in the golden age of content, a myriade of solutions, big and small, are available to help you to safeguard your digital content.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Product Information Management (PIM) systems are common tools used to store and handle large volumes of digital assets in an organization, and the discussion whether one can replace the other rages on. While it is true that they have a few things in common, they're designed with different purposes in mind, and they have distinctive capabilities for their intended use.

DAM and PIM - What’s the difference?

The main difference is that Digital Asset Management deals with all the digital assets that an organization controls, whereas Product Information Management focuses on the lifecycle of a product. Let's elaborate on that:

Digital Asset Management stores, organizes and collaborates an organization’s digital assets such as images, videos, presentations, documents, logos, marketing materials and so on. The primary goal of DAM is to drive the value of a digital asset by letting you and your organization easily find, access, retrieve and use the digital files. DAM shines when you have a number of digital assets to access, retrieve and share internally and externally.

Product Information Management focuses on a product. It integrates product data and information into one centralized system to optimize the product’s distribution across sales and marketing channels. All the product related data required to market and sell products are handled within the PIM system. If you have a variety of SKUs with a dynamic product range that is updated frequently, a PIM can help you to keep track of all the information to manage the products effectively.

 DAM and PIM difference

The benefits of DAM

  1. Easy access to digital assets: The key benefit of DAM is the ability to easily find, access, retrieve and use all digital assets from one single point of entry. It ensures all files are indexed and structured appropriately with metadata so that they can later be searched for and retrieved easily. Even if you can’t remember the title of a certain file, you can search files using a variety of parameters, such as tags, descriptions, categories and more.
  1. Brand consistency & protection: DAM keeps your brand cohesive and up to date no matter where it's used. Usage of brand assets is controlled by a limited number of authorized users so you can easily protect sensitive assets and copyrighted material. Even when sharing access with someone outside of your organization, such as partners, suppliers or distributors, there is no need to be concerned about illegitimate use of your assets.
  2. Streamlined marketing efforts: DAM improves marketing efficiency and allows you to be more creative. It integrates with relevant applications such as PowerPoint, Adobe InDesign and social media to help you get the job done faster with less effort. Workflows and processes are automated to minimize the number of steps required to perform your tasks.

The benefits of PIM

  1. Shorten time-to-market: All product data and associated information are integrated into one platform which enhances flexibility in reacting to market changes. Entering a new market or updating the product assortment is much easier as your product catalogs and portfolios can be extended quickly. Product changes across channels can be reflected near real-time.
  1. Operation excellence: Having one master location for storing product information enhances operation efficiency and improves inventory accuracy. Usually, PIM works together with an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system to strengthen the consistency and transparency of product-related processes by integrating internally available information with information from external sources.
  1. Improve customer journey: Reduced time-to-market means customers can get the newest products much faster. You can provide customers with high quality and timely product information as well as a consistent brand experience across all touch points, both on and offline. Some of them - such as stock availability or delivery time - will have a significant impact on customers' decision making.

Essential Reading: Digital Asset Management vs. SharePoint - What's the difference between the two?

All in all, which one should I pick?

When adapting a solution in your organization, you should first clearly identify your goals and what you need to achieve them. Here’s a quick checklist to help your decision making if you are still wondering which solution can best help you. 

As described above, DAM and PIM are different solutions playing different roles and it’s not necessarily a question of one or the other. They work as a great team together with a capability that complement each other.  

When do I need DAM?  When do I need PIM?
  • I have a large number of visual assets 
  • I need an "official" place to store files within the organization
  • I have to access, retrieve and use the files frequently, both  in and out of the office
  • I frequently share digital assets internally and externally
  • There are many people involved in the assets with different workflows
  • Branding is scattered across several channels
  • I often use my assets for other applications, such as PowerPoint, Adobe InDesign and social media
  • I have several SKUs with a dynamic product range
  • Our product portfolio is complex and updated frequently
  • A great deal of data is generated from various sources
  • There are multiple sales and marketing channels
  • Keeping fast Time-to-Market is critical 
  • I provide customers with a lot of product information, especially for online shopping
  • All the related departments are in need of consistent and up-to-date product data 


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