By now we all understand that MDM is a journey. It is an on-going program for the improvement of data to best satisfy business objectives. Many customers of MDM for Product, or PIM, often ask us how they will measure the effectiveness of the data. Also, how they will identify areas that need further improvement once they are up and running. Of course, it varies by engagement and by the intended use of the data. Yet, we frequently instruct our clients to listen to the data. Let the data-use itself guide your improvement efforts. This is particularly true when the target use case is a digital channel.
Your online channels are likely only one use for your MDM program. Frequently it’s a use that requires additional management attention and it is often a primary driver when justifying the program. The reason most executives focus on digital channels is that it affects the top line. It’s about increasing revenue through the use of MDM. Through optimizing the data, as you will see, it is relatively straightforward to assess and prioritize on-going performance.
Listening to Data in an Online Channel
In an online channel, there are two primary things you are trying to accomplish: you want customers to find the products they are interested in, and you want them to purchase them once found. We call that “hits” and “conversions.” And, nothing is going to have a more significant impact on hits and conversions than accurate, complete, compelling product data.
To begin the discussion, we want to think about the end-user of the data, in this case, potential customers. In “The Forrester Wave: Product Information Management Solutions, Q2 2018“, the analyst firm Forrester presents a model that describes the customer purchase journey. They talk about the journey in terms of “Discovery, Knowledge, Conversion, and Usage.” In other words…
- finding the product
- learning about the product
- buying the product
- using the product.
At each step, they illustrate the type of data supporting the customer journey, such as part numbers, descriptions, copy, features videos, images, etc. Thinking about your customer’s journey is a great way to begin to identify the data you will need to manage in your MDM system. Putting this information into practice will also provide great insight. Showing you how well you are supporting that journey and which areas you need to focus on for improvement.
When the use case is an online channel, we have the benefit of collecting constant feedback. On the efficacy of the data through the same metrics, you are probably using to measure the site – hits and conversions. Here we can let the data inform us about what is working, and where we need improvement.
What we are doing here is “listening to the data,” we’re letting end-user behavior and experience with the data inform our MDM program. This is a relatively simple product data to digital channel example, however, whether it is Product, Customer, Employee, or other business data object, view your MDM program as a journey, and let the data usage tell you how effective the program is, and what areas need your attention.