Taking Your Product Data to the Next Level—With Sales to Match!

SEMA News—May 2013

BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY
By Jon Wyly

Taking Your Product Data to the Next Level—With Sales to Match!

Jon WylyIt happens to all of us: You just can’t pull the trigger on a purchase simply because there isn’t enough information to make you comfortable with the decision. It might be on the Internet, where you’re staring at a page with vague content and poor pictures, or it could be in a brick-and-mortar store, where you’re dealing with a salesperson who just doesn’t know his or her stuff. Other times, it all seems to fall together. The salesperson is informative and knowledgeable, or the Internet presentation is complete and confidence inspiring, resulting in a quick, satisfying purchase.

Obviously, research plays a critical role in this decision-making and sales cycle. Like many of you, when I’m ready to spend some hard-earned money, I dive into research mode. What are other people saying about this product? How much information is available? Can I be confident that it will meet my needs?

This is the age of information overload, producing fast questions and demanding fast answers. And where do most of us go to do our research? We go to the Internet, of course. It’s a truly remarkable repository of product information, reviews, alternative choices, brand comparisons and pictures—lots and lots of pictures. And videos!

Now this is all well and good, but as you think about all the content that abounds about your products, consider for a minute who is writing it. Hmmm. That can be a little scary. That’s right: If you aren’t in control of your product information, then that means other people are. Lots of other people who probably care less about how accurate the information is than you do, right?

These are some of the reasons why, as a brand owner, you must take control of your product information, in great detail, to ensure that not only are you meeting the decision-making needs of potential customers but you are also controlling the foundational content about your products that will be continually recycled throughout the Internet. Bad, inaccurate information spreads just as fast as good information does. In fact, if your poor information makes enough people mad, it will travel faster than good information will and wreck your reputation in the process!

   

If you author and maintain your data, you can control the quality of it. You can strongly influence the marketing message, maintain consistency and provide researchers with information that will result in more sales.

     

So the simple-to-say and difficult-to-execute answer is to take control of your product information, build it out to extreme detail over time, and distribute it as far and wide as you can. If you author and maintain your data, you can control the quality of it. You can strongly influence the marketing message, maintain consistency and provide researchers with information that will result in more sales. What you can’t do is control where it goes on the Internet.

It’s very interesting to see so many suppliers in our industry working hard to restrict distribution of their product data when what they should be doing is creating rich, complete data to fulfill this ever-increasing insistence for information on demand while ensuring its quality.

And remember: Even if you are of the old-school mindset that your products are only going to be sold in brick-and-mortar stores by talented salespeople, the public is going to continue to move to the Internet for product information. If your data is complete, accurate and contains a wealth of info on product features, characteristics, materials, applications, uses, benefits and more—and has lots of pictures and maybe even a video or two—you will sell more!

To learn more about how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact Director of Membership Jim Graven at the SEMA Data Co-op via e-mail at jimg@SEMAdatacoop.org or by phone at 888-958-6698 x4.

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