Product information management (PIM) has been one of the most dynamic martech categories in recent years. This is thanks to the sheer range of things that can be optimized by getting a better handle on product data: from merchandising, to search, personalization, analytics, order management, seasonal campaigning and more.

Unpacking PIM for us on the latest episode of Martalks was Pimberly founder and CEO, Martin Balaam. Like many founders, Martin’s lived experience of the problems that that his solution solves led to the founding of a highly successful business.

Described modestly as “the little bit in the middle” between various inputs and outputs, Pimberly is a MACH Alliance-certified solution with a valid claim to being the leader in its category. The company continues to scale with customers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Listen to the full conversation with Martin here, or scroll down for a summary of the main talking points.

How ecommerce evolution gave rise to the modern PIM

Pimberly arose from Martin’s former life in IT managed services, as a supplier to the creative industries, including film and TV companies.

Despite the complexity of customers’ orders – with high-value products, technical in nature and often configurable – Martin also recognized there was a significant degree of standardization and repeat ordering.

Martin explains…

“The customer didn’t necessarily want to speak to a technician to place an order… and so that pulls you towards creating an increasingly consumerized B2B experience online.”

Immediately, product information emerged as a major obstacle: not only for Martin’s business, but also for their suppliers – leading to an in-house development project, from which a progenitor of Pimberly was born.

Martin describes the core job of the PIM as being to easily create and store…

“…great product data, such that you can present the best possible digital representation of your product wherever that needs to be sent.

…we’re the little bit in the middle, that makes it super-easy to pull in data from disparate places. And that could be within your organization, or external to your organization such as with all your vendors and suppliers.”

“The middle”, of course, shifts depending on context of the business and its requirements. Today, PIM solutions are proving to be invaluable in both conventional B2C commerce, and also in transactions between suppliers, wholesalers, distributors and brands.

Attaining greater ecommerce efficiency with composable PIM

The composable PIM typically sits between the ERP and the ecommerce platform, consuming data from product lifecycle management modules, and exposing it in the webstore.

Whilst legacy ERPs contain a PIM, the modern composable solution lends far greater agility in the quality and range of product attribution, greatly enhancing the business’s marketing capability.

One of the obvious applications is around multichannel commerce: being able to display consistent information across online experiences, digital showrooms, digital POS, digital shelf tickets, digital showroom displays, etc. To quote Optimizely’s Deane Barker (who appeared on Martalks Season 1), “ecommerce is a content play”, after all.

Another is personalization, i.e., showing clothing that’s relevant to the customer’s size, or the reason or occasion for their purchase.

“As long the receiving platform capable of personalizing at that level, we can serve that up for them.”

But Martin also gave the lesser-discussed use-case of seasonal campaigning.

As anyone who’s worked in ecommerce knows, brands, agencies and solution vendors go into overdrive between September and January, as elevated campaigning and transaction volumes test the limits of teams and technology alike.

Composable PIM, explains Martin, takes some of the load off by allowing the business to store campaigning needs as product attributes.

“For Black Friday, for example: you can take all your images, descriptions, everything for a product in that campaign. On one day you can flip all your images, prices and descriptions, and on another day, flip them back…’”

…with the further benefit of storing these changes for repeated use.

Beyond commerce, the modern PIM is also proving instrumental in carving out efficiencies for the wider business, enabling greater certainty in decision-making and laying the foundations for further development.

PIM as an asset to business innovation

While retailers think in terms of seasons or campaigns, customers shop by the individual SKU – so it’s inevitably that more granular reporting can unlock greater optimization and ROI.

A good example is “digital shelf analytics”: where customer engagement with a specific SKU is stored in the PIM and used to determine whether a product is overproduced, or underpromoted, relative to optimal profitability.

There are similarly valuable gains to be made in business forecasting and the supply chain. Martin describes a scenario where a business, whose products are assembled from a large number of separate components, realises that one component is in short supply.

“What products does that impact? From a commercial point of view… let’s say there are only 1,500 left in stock, should I buy them all? Because if I buy them all, I’ve captured the market for all those products.”

Increasingly, businesses are seeking to use data in this way to better-anticipate headwinds and capitalize on opportunities. This includes in meeting the demand for sustainable commerce and, “…the traceability of products: that is a whole new set of attribution that you’re going to have to capture.”

A core advantage of composability – both in PIM and in many other solution categories – is a high degree of data extensibility, which allows the software to be applied for various purposes. Thanks to vendors such as Pimberly, PIM has evolved rapidly in recent years, from a simple ecommerce component into a multi-faceted tool for innovative businesses.

An important lesson here is that the original intended use-cases for your solution will change faster than a vendor can adapt; the experience of legacy solution vendors is proof enough.

In modern martech, remaining flexible in your application and agnostic to your intended purpose is core to a future-proof product strategy. Ultimately, this allows the vendor to follow where the customer leads.

Get in touch with Pimberly

Vendors and agencies in the Martalks community may be interested to know that Martin and his team are continuing to flesh out their partner network. Already working with agencies such as Luminos Labs, AND Digital and Orium, and vendors including BigCommerce, Elastic Path, the company prioritizes “tight partnerships” where they work seamlessly in the name of frictionless product management for the customer.

Get in touch with Martin on LinkedIn here.

About The Rosenstein Group

The Martalks Podcast is published by The Rosenstein Group, the leader in martech executive search. For over 20 years, we’ve been recruiting heads of sales, channel sales leaders, and other members of the commercial team, across martech, supply chain, ecommerce, sales enablement and systems integration.

Visit to find out more.

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