Successful marketing is a bit like a Swiss watch: It relies on many components moving in harmony to deliver precise results. Getting those components—people, resources, and assets—moving with precision is easier when you have the right tools. This is the essence of a marketing resource management (MRM) solution.
The right MRM tools make communication seamless. It removes the obstacles to productivity that take creatives out of their element. Plus, it saves time and money while helping large, dynamic teams take campaigns to market faster. With only 28% of B2B content marketers reporting they have the right technology tools, MRM becomes a competitive advantage for those who implement it.
Today we’ll share everything you need to know about implementing an MRM in your marketing department:
- What is MRM?
- What benefits does MRM offer an organization?
- Who benefits from using MRM software?
- What are the best practices for implementing MRM?
- What to look for in a MRM vendor
- Technologies that enhance an MRM solution
What is MRM?
Marketing resource management software is a category of enterprise software that helps organizations manage the different aspects of the marketing process. It focuses on higher-level systems, internal and external workflows. It includes features that help teams with the following:
- Budget for campaigns
- Build and organize processes and workflows
- Administer project management
- Increase team collaboration
- Plan and track marketing campaigns
- Centralize campaign-specific assets
- Measure marketing results and outcomes
How does MRM help achieve your marketing goals?
Marketing leaders are always under pressure to prove that marketing is not only a cost center, that it deserves continued investment to be a true business driver amid changing market dynamics. This starts with connecting financial planning to content operations and marketing performance. A sophisticated marketing resource management system incorporates end-to-end planning and coordination to help teams create and deliver marketing materials and campaigns more easily. It also allows managers to assign and monitor work, and enables users to report on progress, ask questions, receive feedback, and address issues.
Organize project work: Project managers outline, implement, and monitor work progress. Through the platform, managers assign tasks, establish milestones, report on progress, assess budget performance, and centralize project data and insights.
Collaborate: Teams communicate with each other through a platform (either through direct messaging or comments and notes in the system) to ask questions, receive feedback, push forward approvals, or document progress on marketing activities. All communication is centralized and provides a reliable record for documenting methods and improving future work.
Centralize files: Centralizes campaign assets and files. A centralized content hub breaks down the data silos common in email-based collaboration, ensuring all stakeholders have a 360° view of the assets used to drive specific marketing campaigns.
Analyze performance: A winning campaign offers a wealth of information for marketers and brand managers. Top-of-class MRM systems pull performance data back into the platform, helping teams understand the impact of their efforts. This data also enriches data profiles for every related asset, giving valuable insights that drive future success.
Who needs MRM?
MRM delivers benefits across your marketing teams and the larger organization. These stakeholders see the most benefit from implementing a strong work management system:
- Creative teams: MRM clears the path for creative stakeholders to focus on producing their best work without breaking stride for inefficient processes, confusing version controls, or broken communication channels. Teams communicate and understand the tasks at hand quickly, then get back to collaborating and producing results. MRM also helps individual creators manage their workflow and daily tasks.
- Marketers: Once creative teams work their magic, marketers need a reliable platform to distribute content and drive messaging. MRM removes many obstacles to good communication and execution of completed marketing campaigns. It also allows them to harvest valuable data from their successful campaigns and programs. Then, they use it to refine their methods to create a virtuous cycle of production, delivery, and continuous improvement.
- External stakeholders: Teams need a way to securely share information and marketing assets with their external agencies, marketers, resellers, and users. MRM software with delivery capabilities makes it easier for everyone to access the files they need (and only the files they need).
- IT: Systems administrators and IT professionals make complex marketing tools work together behind the scenes. A marketing resource management tool with robust integrations makes it possible to share information easily and expand the capabilities of the platform with a larger ecosystem of tools.
- Revenue and Finance teams: Demonstrating the ROI of marketing efforts is essential to positioning marketing as value creation versus a cost center. The analytic capabilities of MRM provide concrete data on the value and return of marketing campaigns. This helps contextualize spend, enable forecasting, and empower strong budgeting for future campaigns.
Where Does MRM Fit in the Martech Stack?
The pandemic inspired a surge in tools to help us work better together, even when working remotely. As a result, 78% of marketing organizations have adopted new creative collaboration technology due to the pandemic. This explosion of tools and platforms for managing marketing and creative work has given buyers a wide range of choices. Every tool and type of work management software brings different features and strengths to the table.
MRM can be a core component in enabling brand strategy but it cannot exist in a silo. It must connect financial planning systems (like ERP tools), collaboration tools, business intelligence and analytics, as well as content production and publishing platforms. Seamless integration to extend into the broader ecosystem is critical to driving ROI from MRM software.
A big differentiator in the MRM landscape is whether the solution can provide the comprehensive, end-to-end visibility and management offered by the native combination of MRM and digital asset management in the same platform. This brings together financial, people, and content management under one system for broad use cases across industries.
MRM versus DAM: What’s the difference?
Both MRM and DAM are essential tools for a company looking to improve its marketing process, efficiency, and financial performance.
DAM platforms help creative teams create, organize, manage, share, and preserve digital assets in a way that makes them easy to find, use, and repurpose. DAM systems provide searchable, dynamic access to images, videos, text, and completed marketing content pieces.
A robust DAM allows you to upload, organize and tag your files, create custom file hierarchies and taxonomy, collaborate with colleagues on assets in development, search for files by keyword or tag, and share files with internal and external stakeholders and partners. A DAM platform enhances the functionality of MRM by providing organization, searchability, and context to digital marketing assets.
Marketing resource management focuses on managing marketing campaign resources. This includes things like budgets, staff, and materials. Digital asset management, on the other hand, is focused on managing the assets themselves. This includes things like images, videos, and text files.
Digital asset management greatly enhances the effectiveness of your MRM solution, because good digital assets can be reused in multiple campaigns. DAM can save time and money, and help improve the overall effectiveness of a company’s marketing efforts.
Aprimo gives users the best of both worlds: an industry-leading MRM platform and a robust DAM, giving marketing teams and creatives a single source of truth and an effective management tool for delivering customer experiences.
Best practices for implementing MRM software
When moving to a marketing resource management solution, following established best practices improves the experience for users and the overall success of your implementation:
Set a process
Build a business case for adding more technology to your stack. What problems are you attempting to solve with a marketing resource management tool? Are you looking for a more streamlined process, better visibility, and scalability?
Understanding the desired impact on the business and building a detailed set of criteria for a solution ensures that you choose a tool that aligns properly with your current business model and needs. Evaluate at least three tools in your selection process.
Outline your current marketing workflows
Visualizing your current marketing processes brings awareness to gaps in communication tools, unforeseen data silos, and areas where collaboration or delivery needs added support. Take time to understand how your current process impacts timely delivery, time to market, performance management, and satisfaction.
Involve your stakeholders
Soliciting feedback is vital to understanding your team’s needs. Find out what they believe works in the current process and what needs to be improved. Identify friction points from the perspective of your end users. This valuable data will inform the selection process for the best MRM tool. The two-way communication with stakeholders also creates a culture of inclusion around the selection process, making it more likely that stakeholders will be eager to adopt the chosen platform.
Identify your champions
Establishing a project champion for implementation leads to better outcomes for your project and easier adoption of the new platform. It gives users a place to get answers to their questions and surface any issues requiring attention.
Look for a project owner who either has prior experience with the tool in question or has the time and bandwidth to fully onboard with the system. They can then act as a resource for others during their onboarding. Sometimes, specialized external consultants or support providers may offer the best service for getting users confident in the system.
What to Look for in an MRM Provider
Brands are picking up on the broader MRM trend to address the challenges of coordination and proving ROI. So, what then should you be looking for in a MRM software vendor? Over the last few years, vendors have expanded their reach and capabilities through M&A activity as well as going deeper into the partner ecosystem to solidify MRM’s place in marketing operations.
If you’re on the lookout for best-of-breed MRM solutions, there are a few things to place at the top of your checklist:
- Marketing performance analytics – does it offer robust capabilities to aggregate all the data required to calculate ROI, and the visibility to understand performance from upstream to downstream?
- Core functionality – does it provide the tools you need to unify content planning, analytics reporting, and work management?
- Workflow and process optimization – does it remove the work about work to free up your creative teams? AI, automation, intelligent workflows all factor into process optimization
- Connectivity and integration – does it work well across your broader ecosystem, and can you pull all that data back in to enrich your content, campaigns, planning, and financial models?
Why Aprimo MRM?
The Aprimo Productivity Management and Plan and Spend offer industry-leading work management, spend management, and performance analytics for marketing teams. Expanding on these capabilities, Aprimo DAM allows marketing teams to maximize their content value, deliver on-brand content experiences, and enable creation and reuse of high-quality, modular content.
This combination allows marketers and brand managers to plan, execute, and measure their marketing performance from start to finish. Aprimo eliminates the need to string together separate solutions, so your teams can do their best work in a streamlined and well-supported environment:
- Automated project management for more agility and faster time to market
- Robust collaboration tools that enable ideation, approval, and brand compliance.
- In-depth content performance data for every campaign and content piece.
- Spend analytics to monitor budget performance and increase spend efficiency
If this is the year your organization streamlines its marketing performance and content operations, start strong with a free demo of Aprimo.