Given all the social media and business intelligence space devoted to better methods of marketing, one absolute keeps rising to the top: Companies need to be more efficient in their global brand management. One of the best solutions to achieve this is by utilizing Marketing Resource Management software, or MRM for short.
At its simplest, MRM solutions are all about saving time while boosting efficiency. And where this technology was formerly thought of as only being for larger corporations, small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) can now benefit from it as well. In a recent blog at VentureBeat.com, which covers nascent technology and new business offerings, MRM software was described as “Technology that creates a unified system out of the company’s entire marketing operations.”
Utilizing MRM technology is key to marketing effectiveness, no matter the size of your enterprise; MRM software allows marketing leaders to integrate and track every aspect of their efforts, to see what works and, equally as important, what doesn’t.
Industry research giant Gartner listed some of the key features of MRM software applications. According to Gartner, MRM offers the ability to:
- Create and develop marketing programs and content;
- Plan and budget for marketing activities;
- Collect and manage both knowledge and content;
- Fulfill and distribute marketing assets, content and collateral; and
- Measure, analyze and optimize all of your marketing resources.
MRM solutions take an eagle’s-eye view of the whole marketing operation, including people, assets, plans, goals, spending, and ROI. It allows for integration throughout the entire organization. Thus, by keeping all parts of a marketing campaign together in one central location, managers can better track what everyone is doing, where money is being spent, and how efficiently each project is proceeding.
There are several key factors inherent in MRM solutions that help marketing efforts hit all goals:
- Consolidation of Assets: By having all marketing assets in one central location, where everyone on the team has access, managers can better keep an eye on everything as the campaign progresses. This is done by breaking down assets into “modules”, categorizing each one for easy retrieval and tracking. Such modules might include all of your marketing collateral including brand guidelines, important product information, and budgeting and planning data.
- Faster Time to Market: With integrated workflow modules, communication and collaboration between your external and internal teams get you to your goals faster and at a lower cost. Instead of endless rounds of tweaks and emails, turnaround time is shortened and your product gets where it needs to be.
- Inefficiency Reduced: A joint survey -- by Columbia Business School’s Center on Global Brand Leadership and the American Marketing Association -- found that while marketing leaders acknowledge their work is being closely watched, only 43% base their marketing budgets on ROI analysis. But the good news is that MRM tracking can help marketing managers not only prove, but improve their ROI. The knowledge gained through this tracking is invaluable, and will help cut waste and justify future ROI spend.
- Tangible Benefits and Collaboration: With all marketing assets centralized, qualified users will be able to share their work with others on the team immediately. The ‘old way’ of doing business is replaced by secure storage, sharing, and management of files. As each document is handled and edited, it is uploaded and becomes the latest (and only) version. Equally as important, time-management modules enable everyone to see where work is being done, effectively allowing for resources to be re-allocated if needed. Collaboration naturally rises. As VentureBeat noted, “Instead of wasting time hunting for resources, people produce.” That ‘unified’ aspect is what makes MRM solutions so unique – and valuable.
The real usefulness of MRM software lies in the aforementioned ‘modules’ that make up each aspect of the technology. Such modules can consist of:
- Digital Asset Management, where you upload, store and share your media;
- Product Information Management, so you maintain and retrieve your product data at will;
- A ‘Brand Store’, where users order what they need with transparent billing;
- Web-to-Print and Web-to-Publish capabilities, to help automate your marketing production;
- ROI Tracking, to help generate reports to calculate return on investment; and
- Budgeting and Planning options, to get ready for your next campaign.
According to a global forecast, The Marketing Resource Management Market by Solution, the MRM solutions space is expected to grow 15% from now through 2020, hitting a valuation of $9 billion over the next four years.
Smart marketers will recognize the value of having MRM software in place as projects get more complex, and closer scrutiny is placed on how marketing assets are utilized.
If you’d like some inside guidance on how to better manage your brand and its marketing, we have some timely articles worth a visit.