Marketing Resource Management (MRM) tools make your marketing planning process more effective.
MRM provides an operating framework that is consistent across the board, allowing business ideas, objectives, initiatives and data to be communicated with a common language and methodology.
MRM provides deeper insight into the implementation of tactics and campaigns, enabling planning efforts and resources to be allocated with greater accuracy.
1) Planning – Budgeting Activities and Plans
The budgeting function in MRM provides a structured approval process. It should also enable ongoing monitoring and planning of allocated financial resources. Budgets can be efficiently managed across the broad range of activities that are undertaken at different degrees of importance, across your organization:
A cradle to grave approach is critical for the budgeting function. Expenses can be tracked at any point of the marketing activities life cycle; allowing you to estimate costs and track actual costs at any scale of operation.
When dealing with large scale projects, proper planning and budgeting is critical to ensure success. At its most basic level, an MRM platform supports and simplifies the creation of a budget, and the management of resources, both at a sector-wide and individual level. Also, the platform provides functions for the analysis of the total budget that can be viewed by key management. As the sophistication of an MRM platform increases, so will the degree of flexibility and customization.
2) Creating and Developing Content
Support for the tracking of marketing collateral through the various stages of the project 'workflow' is a must for any MRM platform. Providing reminders of approaching deadlines, and displaying outstanding actions by criteria, combined with the ability to view the collateral being tracked, gives management the ability to provide feedback and make changes as part of the process.
Approving collateral and digital assets
Effectively managing activities generates significant time and cost savings. The MRM platform is able to provide copies of images for approval for all involved, allowing for comments and instructions to be tagged to the image, which can be duly approved within the automated system.
Supporting the creative and reuse processes
The reuse of marketing collateral across multiple campaigns provides enormous savings. This function is supported with a fully integrated Digital Asset Management (DAM) system, capable of storing multimedia in multiple formats along with related documentation.
Storing and managing all Digital Marketing Assets
The primary function of a DAM, or Digital Asset Management, is to manage the assimilation, annotation, cataloging, storage and distribution of digital assets. The primary focus of the Media Bank, which is a central part of any DAM solution, is the management of digital photographs, animations, videos and audio files, etc.
Some of the benefits of incorporating Asset Library, Media Bank and DAM solutions are improvements in the following areas:
Organization of digital assets
Manipulation, conversion, merging, collating of digital assets
Delivery and distribution
Asset control (restrictions)
Backed up and secure data
Two types of DAM systems:
The media catalogue does not interfere with the source file; it merely provides a layer of information of the file, which is then stored in an index that is easily accessible. The file can be viewed as a thumbnail. This is typically a lower cost option, easier to install and retrieve. But, it provides just a fraction of the flexibility and features of more advanced high-end solutions.
The system functions as an asset repository, where the digital assets are secured in a database and can only be viewed via the DAM software. This mode of function has a host of benefits; it provides a far higher level of security, the ability to instantly replicate files according to your personal requirement. Data is centralized and backed up, and the highest speeds are provided to optimize the work process.
The driving principle is to encourage the correct use, and reuse, of all content in an organization.
3) Managing Supply and Distribution of Marketing Material
Some marketing campaigns generate large volumes of collateral. Procuring services at competitive prices can provide up to a 15% saving. An effective platform will provide the ability to secure competitive quotes for services and supplies, as well as to track the quality of the performance the vendor has provided over a length of time.
Managing the print process
Print orders can be prepared directly through the MRM platform and sent for Management approval, an authorization process which is supported by the system's workflow functionality. Information about time of delivery and location, along with any specific vendor details, is then automatically submitted to the chosen printer. Email notifications such as reminders and alerts of incomplete orders are sent when required.
4) Analyzing and Reporting Results and Effects
All data generated is collected as a normal function of the MRM platform, and the system generates reports that can be defined to consider multiple viewpoints. Both the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing campaigns can be reported on, providing Management with an in-depth all-encompassing overview.
Through the use of customized reports and the integration of analytical functions, MRM provides a real-time look into the effectiveness of marketing activities and the status of expenses. Performance parameters and ceilings can be set and automatically monitored with a function to immediately notify the concerned individuals of negative developments or of opportunities that may have arisen. These notifications can be delivered to any device that is connected to the system, such as mobile phones, tablets, etc.
From the planning stages, through customer segmentation, development, execution, analysis, and ongoing refinement, all aspects of a marketing activity's life cycle are firmly in control of Management thanks to MRM.
Challenges Facing Marketers
The typical reality of marketing activities is that most are carried out by inefficient processes. Due to the use of outdated technology and work processes, underutilization of time, misallocation of talent and finances often happen regularly. Using an outmoded planning process leads to the wrong people being assigned to a job, dragging into a lengthy, revision-filled approval process frequently ending with questions like: "Why are we doing this?" "Didn't we already do this?"
MRM directly addresses the problems of marketing inefficiencies and reduces the total investment of resources across the whole of the project.
In many cases, Marketing has borne the brunt of budget cuts as companies scale down their expenditures through hard times. Despite a vast majority of CEO's believing that marketing is the key to driving organizational growth, marketing departments' inability to provide visibility of returns on investment has seen cuts in marketing spending, without clear considerations for the long-term brand value.. To be successful in marketing, development is required in a few key areas:
Spending marketing $ on the right things
Doing so more with fewer resources, and
Increasing visibility of the impact of marketing activities (to justify the marketing budget)
To remain relevant in the current environment, Marketers need to adopt a more collaborative environment. Well thought out changes to workflow processes, combined with the addition of the right technology will go a long way to fostering a more productive and outcome focused environment.
Benefits of Incorporating MRM
Identification of non-contributing activities
With the greater depth and visibility that MRM provides over projects and initiatives, ineffective, redundant measures and those that are no longer congruent with specific goals can be easily discontinued.
Optimized distribution of work
By separating projects in terms of those that require more complicated processes from those of a less complex nature, it becomes possible to develop in-house solutions for the less complicated tasks while freeing up financial resources for the more complicated projects.
Efficient allocation of work hours
Seldom is the workload steady in a marketing department; MRM can provide a forecast of the rise and decline of workloads to enable the better allocation of resources.
Reuse of prior projects
The arduous process of creating projects from the ground up can be scrapped with the implementation of MRM, templates to suits the goals of a particular project will be made available. Existing formats can also be reused.
Better management of available skill-sets
The ability to methodically break down projects will allow for the right staff with the right skill set to be assigned where they will be of most use. This will provide senior management a greater degree of flexibility in choosing how they allocate their time.
Better time and resource management
Automating the process of approving collateral, by allowing all those involved to review, comment and collaborate more effectively will greatly reduce the burden placed on the time and resources of management.
As companies expand, collaborating across multiple offices, departments and vendors becomes more difficult. The recreation of existing collateral and insufficient utilization of knowledge gained from prior projects drains crucial resources. The implementation of a sophisticated Digital Asset Management that is part of an MRM platform will generate tremendous benefits in this regard.
With the optimization of the marketing process, the time and resources freed up can be utilized to build on the success of current initiatives with no increase in costs.
Based on customers' and personal experience, in my view - those are some of the main benefits of MRM tools.
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