A recent customer was on the hunt for a product copywriting system that could help their team keep up with the constant (and growing) flow of product copy needed to bring their products to market. They were familiar with Product Information Management (PIM) systems and Content Management Systems (CMS). Those didn’t fit the bill. They didn’t have a storage problem. You can’t store what you don’t have in the first place. What they had was a problem creating great product content.
They scoured the internet, searching for a product content production system, product copywriting tool and product copy software to no avail. Then they happened upon Talkoot, a platform specifically built to produce product stories at scale. To save others that long, arduous search, we created this post to help you understand what Talkoot is, who it’s designed for and how that differs from Product Information Management (PIM) systems.
The DNA of Talkoot: Product Storytelling
Talkoot is an agile product storytelling application born from the product content demands of direct to consumer apparel and footwear brands. Apparel and footwear are fast moving categories highly influenced by cultural trends, social media and quick-changing consumer demands. For these brands, product content tends to be very story driven with continually changing product content season to season and across channels.
If your products are traditionally sold at high margin through specialty shops, your own retail stores, high-end department stores or boutiques and you’re trying to build a strong DTC channel online, Talkoot will likely be the best fit.
Talkoot is first and foremost a creative production tool:
- Upstream system that supports creative teams
- Collaborative productivity tool designed to help teams turn raw, unstructured product data, PowerPoint decks, lookbooks, meeting notes and product briefs into inspired, consumer-facing, channel-specific product stories
- Quick and less costly to deploy and scalable from the department- to enterprise-level
- Think of it as a product content production facility (e.g., a Tesla production plant for product stories)
You’ll likely need Talkoot first if you have:
- A branded product with a loyal and well-defined customer base
- A product line that is trend driven and changes quickly based on consumer tastes
- Product content that is contextually driven with a different story needed in each channel
- A complex product line with different collections, collaborations, technology stories and takedowns
The DNA of a PIM: Product Information Storage
Product Information Management (PIM) systems were born from the content demands of the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry — a much more transaction-oriented market driven by price, promotions and comparison shopping. For CPG companies, product content tends to be very information-based and static through time and across channels.
If your products are traditionally sold on tight margins in grocery stores, pharmacies or big-box retail stores and your strategy online is to sell at high volume across many channels, it’s likely you’ll lean toward adopting a PIM first.
A PIM is first and foremost a storage system:
- Downstream system that supports e-commerce teams who sell across many channels
- PIMs are traditionally rigid backend databases designed to facilitate downstream storage, organization and syndication of large volumes of highly structured, static product data
- PIMS are large, enterprise-wide systems that can be relatively costly and slow to deploy
- Think of it as a product information distribution center (e.g., an Amazon warehouse for product data)
You’ll likely need a PIM first if you have:
- A mass market product sold on price to a broad consumer base
- A product line that isn’t subject to fast-changing consumer tastes
- Product content that is information-based and static over time
- Many channels, each with slight variations in content formats
- A large but uncomplicated product line with few relationships between products
What about a CMS?
A Content Management System (CMS) is yet another system people confuse Talkoot with. CMSs were born out of the software development world as a way to make it easier for web developers to manage websites without manually duplicating formatting, imagery and content. A CMS sits even further downstream from a PIM.
A CMS is a first and foremost a staging system:
- End-of-stream system where content is staged to go live on a single website
- Typically tied to a single website or e-commerce platform and allows you to create and manage webpages by separating the staging of your content (Imagery, copy & page formats) from the mechanics required to present it on the web
- Some headless CMS offerings allow for the staging of content across multiple websites and IoT devices
- Think of it as the retail storage room for product content
Large, digitally mature brands eventually adopt both Talkoot and a PIM (and sometimes even a CMS)
With the rapid maturation of digital commerce, a new supply chain is developing to support its unique demands: the Product Content Supply Chain. Similar to the traditional Product Supply Chain, different processes, tools and technologies are needed to support every link in the chain.
Upstream large, digitally mature brands use Talkoot to turn raw, unstructured data into structured, consumer-facing, channel-specific product stories. Downstream, they employ a PIM to store and syndicate those consumer-facing product stories along with all the metadata essential to organize and display products successfully across all the various offline and online channels.
If you’re a fast-growing modern brand wondering which solution to implement first, it’s important to remember that no consumer brand has ever disrupted their market and fended off larger competitors through better information storage. All the brands you admire most disrupted the market by building loyal communities around them through deeper, more engaging storytelling — all the way down to the product page.