MRM – Passing trend or absolute necessity?

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Marketing Resource Management (MRM) software, as defined by IT research organisation Gartner, is a technology that facilitates the planning and strategic coordination of all marketing activities. Thus increasing the efficiency and the effectiveness of the marketing effort.

This software is playing more and more of a role in how CEO’S  manage and appraise their marketing  departments, where results can be measured and quantified with a reasonable degree of accuracy.

In this first blog, I would like begin to answer the question: is MRM a passing trend or absolute necessity?

It is evident that the marketing machine for MRM Solutions is getting up to full speed. Respected players such as Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and IBM are using recent market developments to reposition their value propositions in this new playing field. Like software solutions in Finance, Logistic and Sales and Manufacturing, Marketing is now becoming an exciting  fast developing segment to watch.

Established software companies typically market and sell their solutions as a cure to all problems. These solutions in a lot of cases  are deployed before analysing the customers  process sufficiently. This can prove to be a long, complex and expensive implementation in most cases. The result of this technology push is the processes and systems of the software vendor dominate and have little effect to improve and streamline specific existing customer business processes. In my opinion, this is certainly true of  implementations in the MRM space.

This does not detract from the fact that many organisations have a need for MRM solutions as many firms miss a clear organisational structure for operational marketing related activities;

  • Dependence on Third Party Organisations is high: Advertising Agencies, Media planners, Printers etc.
  • Few clear documented process relating to brand- identity
  • End Users are too dependent on the Marketing department, who in turn are highly dependent on other parties
  • Visual and Corporate identity  is often advised by third parties, or in several different applications. Assets are out dated and in different formats
  • Due to tight deadlines, marketing collateral is produced that does not comply with the corporate identity, brand identity and lacks consistency
  • There can be a perception that the costs of design, DTP and advertising are high. As there is no measurable method of comparing cost versus effectiveness

In my opinion  no organisation can avoid to automise their marketing activities. My advice is to begin with the area where quick wins can be realised, for example by implementing a basic brandportal. Results of surveys have detailed that the possible savings by automating marketing activities can result in :

  • 30% saving on outsourcing outlay for creative design of marketing collateral
  • 25% on external purchases (different types of media)
  • 25% saving on internal FTE

These are significant savings which accelerate the ROI on a MRM solution. However this is not the single reason to procure a MRM solution. In my opinion , the CEO (and the Marketing Director) should always focus on optimising the marketing function eliminating as much as possible the dependence on external resources (like IT), producing a measurable dashboard to provide direction.

Niels Bouwman is an experienced marketing and sales executive. He is an international marketing management graduate  with a passion for transforming and streamlining organisational processes. Bouwman is CEO at Sabern while his blog expresses purely personal views.