Although it's "just hitting the radar now," there are good reasons that MRM (Marketing Resource Management) is poised to become a household acronym, said Suresh Vittal, a senior analyst with Forrester. "Today's marketers are pressed for efficiency. They're asked to do more with smaller budgets and with a greater degree of accountability," said Vittal. Enter MRM, a software platform designed to help automate the workflow for marketing planning, budgeting and collateral creation. By enabling marketing departments to better coordinate resources, define customer-centric objectives and devise budgets, MRM can help support a company's CRM strategy in a manner that's familiar to marketers.
"CRM for marketing has long floundered," said Vittal. "That's because from a user-interface and analytics standpoint, it's a technologist's solution; it's not a marketer's solution. MRM can really help this process, because it was designed by marketers for marketers. So using MRM solutions really helps bring to fruition a lot of the goals that were espoused by CRM tools." These goals include gaining a better understanding of customer behavior, creating customized marketing campaigns and delivering a consistent brand message to consumers. In fact, reports from Gartner and Forrester project 20 percent higher returns on CRM programs and significant increases in profits — both from top-line revenue improvements and bottom-line efficiencies — resulting from MRM implementations.
It's no wonder that vendors such as Unica and DoubleClick have introduced MRM modules to their product suites. Other MRM vendors include Aprimo, Assetlink and Smartpath. Here's how these offerings can help bolster CRM initiatives.
A company's marketing activities can involve countless agencies, various managers and piles of documents. Fortunately, MRM offers a single repository for managing marketing activities and storing important records. By centralizing this information, a company can better manage its marketing objectives, coordinate financial plans and control budgets and expenditures. Vittal pointed to Bank of America as a prime example of a company that has reaped the benefits of MRM. By using an MRM solution from Aprimo, Bank of America was able to cut cycle times on its creative-brief approval process by more than 30 percent, slash retail-branch sales programs by 16 percent and eliminate three duplicate expense-tracking systems.
Making It a Small World After All
The global expanse of many of today's corporations can spell lengthy approval processes and a hodgepodge of around-the-world marketing initiatives. But thanks to MRM's use of templates, asset libraries and portal interfaces, Vittal said that multinational corporations can work in a collaborative and centralized manner. Web-based review and approval processes can help speed up production cycles while ensuring that the proper compliance and legal requirements are met in each country. What's more, MRM lets companies oversee the customization and localization of its marketing collateral with the click of a mouse, rather than via a flurry of emails and couriered packages.
Uniting Disparate Parties
It's not uncommon for today's large enterprises to have dozens of different marketing agencies and consultants on its payroll. And while two heads are better than one when it comes to courting customers, a distributed marketing team can be a logistical nightmare.
Fortunately, MRM helps companies coordinate programs, monitor spending, allocate resources and manage approval processes across the board. Vittal offered Hewlett-Packard as an example. Following the acquisition of Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard had hundreds of marketers scattered across 86 different marketing organizations. However, by implementing an MRM system from Oracle, Vittal said that the company was able to coordinate programs and streamline goals throughout the enterprise. As a result, Hewlett-Packard eliminated ineffective programs and reallocated $100 million of its marketing budget to profitable areas.
Does MRM sound like a solution your marketing department should consider? You'll want to look into the top vendors and what they're currently offering, then. Here's a list with which to start:
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