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What is a Product Thread and How Can It Improve Your Customer Experience?

A strong product thread not only improves your overall product management, it creates consistent, revenue-driving trust in your brand.

It’s unavoidable—customer loyalty is an increasingly vital influence in how top product companies box out their competitors.

The easiest way to gain loyalty? Build trust. But that’s easier said than done.

Right now, with the constant changes in the supply chain and unpredictable external factors, it’s even more important to keep customers in the loop so they don’t feel left behind. 

There’s only one way to close the gap between what the product team knows and what the customer expects. You strengthen your product thread.

What is a Product Thread?

Every product journeys from concept to customer, building a strategic asset along the way—creating the continuous product thread. 

Every department that touches the product management process—from design to development to production to marketing—contributes something essential to the success of the product going to market. For all these checkpoints, the product thread acts as a single source of truth with accurate, up-to-the-minute product information.

The product thread contains answers to vital questions:

  • What is this product? Basic information such as materials included, components, functionality, and the number of units being produced in the initial run. 
  • Who am I selling it to? What’s the target market? Commercialization teams need buyer profile information from the very start to ensure they can cast the widest net and grab market share.
  • Why do they need it? Determining why the target customers need the product requires close collaboration and input from customer-facing teams and product designers. 
  • Where am I selling it? If you have global markets, you need to factor in each country’s quality regulation standards. On top of that, commercial localization takes a lot of effort, especially when connecting to new markets.
  • When will it launch? One of the most troublesome questions to answer in recent years, and the most important to customers if it changes.

Salesforce reports that 80% of customers say the experiences provided by a company are as important to them as its products and services. Essentially, the product thread is a key tool for keeping sales and marketing teams (who lead the customer experience strategy) in the loop at all times.

Marketers and content creators depend on its wealth of product information to successfully manage catalogs and engage with customers in a multitude of traditional and digital sales channels. 

Challenges of a Broken Thread

Creating product experiences that are compelling and consistent across all channels relies on the strength of the thread gathered throughout the product journey.

An unnecessary burden falls on the shoulders of marketing and sales teams when trying to present accurate information to the customer without a robust product thread. 

These teams are the lifeblood of successful product commercialization. They represent the company’s direct line to the customer. So what happens when they’re supplied with a broken product thread? 

  • Excessive content errors
  • High rate of returns
  • Poor customer experiences

A New Era of Product Information Management (PIM)

A business without a proper PIM setup—including a strong product thread—spends time and resources on tracking down and organizing disconnected data rather than building the rich content that drives customer connections and increases ROI. 

Consider: 

  • How do such companies grow revenue in new channels when even basic information (product name, brand messaging, pricing) is inconsistent and difficult to track down?
  • How do these businesses build loyalty when customers aren’t sure if they can trust the messaging, or when they receive products that don’t match the description?
  • How can these companies outmatch competitors who are investing in a higher level of customer experience using robust product management?

When product information is scattered across people and systems, marketing and sales teams are left to scramble for the most recent information – delaying time to market and decreasing brand trust when inaccuracies inevitably get published.

Building a strong product thread is the role of a great PIM platform. Adopting PIM is an easy layup when faced with the growing demand for better customer experiences. Solutions like Propel Software are helping product companies build highly effective product threads, so they can join the customer-first revolution and come out on top.

Learn how to harness the power of the product thread and the critical go-to-market advantage of a strong Product Information Management platform. Read more in our eBook “Achieving Product Success in Omnichannel Commerce.”

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Post by
Anna Troiano
Editor in Chief, Converged

Anna has spent her eight-year content marketing career honing in on the critical keys for successful consumer & industry-driven marketing. Before joining Propel, she developed and executed content strategy for TodayTix, Stella & Dot, Atlantic Theatre Company, and Theatre Communications Group.

Fun Fact: Anna was born on Valentine's Day.

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Anna Troiano