In the simplest terms, we can define time-to-market as being the time between when the team starts work on a project (new product, new marketing campaign, new printed catalogue, etc.) and when the first item is sold as a result of that project.
Research has shown that early market entrants enjoy clear advantages in terms of market share, revenue and sales growth, and that makes time-to-market one of the essential metrics in evaluating the success of a company. The shorter this metric is for a particular project, the better results that project has for the company. And this is true today more than ever in the past, with digital tools enabling increased agility which in turn raises the bar for customer expectations.
But controlling time-to-market and making it shorter is easier said than done. With data volumes on the increase, and product information scattered across segments, platforms, media and languages, being coherent and agile with regard to updating product information to your market is a real challenge.
For best results in improving time-to-market you need to simultaneously address internal company workflows, build an adequate digital stack for your optimized workflows, as well as find a suitable market place for your business. And most likely, PIM should be a part of your digital stack.
Is your preparation of PDF brochures measured in weeks and preparation of printed catalogues measured in months?
Do shorter product lifecycles represent a problem? Do your competitors arrive first to the market with the same products?
Are last-minute changes to product features, photos or prices handled on an ad-hoc basis when a marketing campaign deadline is approaching?
Do you have product data consistency issues because of hasty and chaotic manual updates?
Do you have a hard time coping with more sales channels and more geographies/languages in a timely manner? Do your product managers feel overwhelmed by manually preparing product data for each channel?
In a nutshell: repetitive tasks, poor product content and chaotic product information management are the worst enemies to your time-to-market.
This is how PIM can help
First and foremost, a PIM system offers you the huge advantage of having a Single Point of Truth. That is, all product data (including digital assets like images, data sheets or CAD drawings) are handled centrally, in a unified, consistent and predictable manner. For every employee of your organisation, there is just one easily accessible and up-to-date version of the product data. Changes are applied to the products as data comes in, and information sharing is no longer a bottleneck. Data only needs to be entered once, and it will be hierarchically inherited if necessary. Then all product materials can be updated at once.
When a launch or campaign deadline is approaching, everything will be ready and easy to compile as needed for the intended purpose. With PIM, automated synchronisation with online platforms or authoring tools like InDesign makes publishing easy in any sales or marketing channel. Fast and easy process, consistent data everywhere, no headache.
For companies, natural evolution is often synonymous with expansion. Whether for you that means going to new online marketplaces or expanding your geographical reach, or both, that will come with new requirements: product data handling in multiple languages, product range with minute customisations for each market, or different data requirements for different online platforms. All done within a reasonable time frame, of course. Using PIM, that will be easy to deal with, without necessarily increasing your people count.
PIM, and Pimics in particular, brings a lot more to your business than speed your time-to-market. If you want to find out more, please read our related blog article.
Intriguing? Let's also see how the ROI looks like.