The Problem with Product Content Management

Aug 16, 2013

Article ImagePurveyors of traditional electronic content often rely on content management systems (CMS) to maintain and update text, visuals, and other media on websites. But companies that offer consumer packaged goods (CPG) face more complex challenges when they want to deliver high quality e-content to consumers who trust that the information listed for a product in a brick-and-mortar or online store is accurate. Hence, they typically turn to product content management (PCM) systems and software.

However, brand owners of CPGs are increasingly struggling to produce, maintain, and distribute the product details and images that inform consumers' shopping decisions due to the sheer number of channels that exist today - including mobile, online, in-store, and print. Additionally, leading CPG manufacturers are establishing product content requirements to make exchanging information more consistent. Charged with overseeing thousands of product content data, addressing these requirements and disbursing to every possible channel, brand owners face an uphill battle.

A new PCM solution designed to address these concerns was recently launched by Gladson-a digital content creator for the CPG industry- and 1WorldSync, a global product data management provider. The companies have created an integrated solution that will enable brand owners to quickly and easily send out correct and up-to-date e-content on their brands to clients, retailers, and consumers.

"The problem has been that brand owners don't really have a sustainable or scalable process to create and push out content to where it needs to be," says Steve Cole, CMO for Gladson. "They may have all the information they need to do it themselves, but it's not all in one place. The ad department has the images, the legal department has the disclaimer copy, the production department has the packaging info, and so on. It's extremely difficult for (companies) to pull all that information together and get it out to their partners in an efficient way."

The Gladson and 1WorldSync integrated solution provides three core services-a sustainable process to create and update the content, a place to store it, and a distribution system so that the content can be properly delivered consistently to hundreds of different outlets.

Carly Fauth, director of marketing and outreach for Money Crashers, a personal finance blog, says trying to disseminate updated information on ever-changing CPGs to vendors, retailers, and consumers can be a nightmare in the information age.

"Thirty years ago, companies didn't have to worry about accurate information dispersed across multiple platforms or brand management across them. With the advent of the internet and mobile, this is now a must for any company wishing to succeed on each and every level. A store just can't print a circular and expect to be successful," says Fauth.

Fauth says this new PCM solution also addresses the ever-changing inventory of companies nowadays. "With the advent of big data, organizations now have access to massive streams of customer information, and those who analyze it accurately can introduce new product lines to leverage that data," says Fauth. "While that's great, it makes it a challenge to keep product content relevant, accurate, and updated."

For example, consider a product that needs an accessory that the manufacturer didn't carry in the past but now does. A good PCM solution would address this issue by ensuring that the company's website and distributors list the updated, accurate information on the original product and its accessory.

The bottom line is that product content is increasingly harder to control than traditional content.

"It's easy to manage content like articles and blog posts featuring information about a company's product line or services because if an update is needed you simply send out a new article or create a new post on social media," says Fauth. "Product content is more intertwined with other existing content, whereas traditional content tends to stand on its own."

Fauth says businesses today that sell products-even intangible goods like e-books-should strongly consider PCM solutions or "run the risk of confusing their customers because of inconsistent branding. And customers can miss out on sales opportunities because of inaccurate or outdated content on existing product items."

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)