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Buyer's Guide

by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 24, 2017

These days, marketers are faced with a growing number of digital channels they can use to engage with customers at a much quicker pace than ever before.

Because of this, there are more moving parts to track over shorter periods of time when organizations are planning and measuring marketing campaigns. To keep pace in today’s digital environment, marketers must use their internal resources wisely.

This is where marketing resource management (MRM) comes in. MRM acts as the "administrative backbone" for day-to-day marketing operations by helping companies track and use their marketing resources more efficiently.

This guide will help you learn more about MRM software systems so you can make the right purchase decision for your business.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Marketing Resource Management Software?
Common Marketing Resource Management Software Functionality
Benefits of Marketing Resource Management Software
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Marketing Resource Management Software?

In a nutshell, MRM software helps users manage the back-end process of marketing. It allows companies to more efficiently plan, manage and execute on marketing programs and campaigns. It also helps companies make sure they maintain a consistent brand image across marketing and communication channels.

An MRM system typically includes capabilities for planning, budgeting and tracking marketing activities, as well as tools for managing digital brand assets, workflows and approval processes.


Microsoft Dynamics' marketing resource management interface


Microsoft Dynamics' marketing resource management interface

Common Functionality of Marketing Resource Management Software

MRM software typically offers functionality for strategic planning and financial management, asset and project management and, to some degree, reporting and analysis. The exact functionality offered may vary from vendor to vendor.

Common Functionality of Marketing Resource Management Software

Financial planning Tracks expenses, schedules and resources needed to execute campaigns. Users can link marketing objectives to expected results for each program and campaign.
Project management Organizes the marketing production process and allows users to report their progress and view upcoming activities.
Workflow automation Automates common tasks, such as content approvals and cost and expense tracking, to help organizations work more efficiently.
Calendaring Offers a shared view of marketing activities with associated time frames.
Digital asset management Stores and provides shared access to marketing assets, such as images, videos, documents, marketing materials and logos.
Reporting and analysis Provides reports on marketing efficiency, campaign performance, resource allocation and more.

Benefits of Marketing Resource Management Software

There are many benefits to using an MRM system, including the following:

Brand asset consistency. MRM systems often provide asset management to ensure that all marketing content is brand-compliant and meets usage specifications. It also helps marketing teams avoid inconsistencies in brand image and communication by allowing them to share materials and keep them out of silos.

Illumination of bottlenecks. A common challenge in any organization is identifying and eliminating bottlenecks. MRM software improves efficiency by tracking the resources used and their effectiveness at supporting a given campaign. This helps companies identify and resolve bottlenecks.

Shortened cycles. With functionality for shared planning and visibility, MRM software helps companies spend less time managing communications between different departments and functions. This shortens campaign cycles and helps launch marketing campaigns more quickly.

Reduced costs. MRM software helps companies see where their marketing team is overspending or under-investing so they can quickly reallocate marketing dollars to the best-performing initiatives. This reduces spending on media, production and materials that have a low return on investment (ROI).

Nuanced view of ROI. MRM software tracks every dollar spent and each resource allocated to marketing campaigns, showing how each contributes to the overall ROI. This helps companies make real-time adjustments and assess how to improve resource allocation in future campaigns.

Businesses will see additional benefits by combining an MRM system with marketing automation software and other marketing tools, such as:

These tools reduce time spent on manually managing people, assets and content and help create a holistic, integrated view of marketing operations and campaign health.

Market Trends to Understand

Here are a few market trends you should consider before selecting a marketing resource management software platform:

Trend toward of cloud-based solutions. Cloud-based solutions, also known as software-as-a-service (SaaS), provide flexibility in terms of investment in the digital infrastructure, which further reduces strain on the IT budgets of small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Cloud-based software is usually available on a subscription basis with monthly or annual billing models.

Marketers in SMBs prefer cloud-based solutions, as they provide data security and disaster recovery modules at prices that suit their limited budgets. Cloud-based models enable organizations to embrace technology initiatives, such as bring your own device (BYOD) and bring your own phone (BYOP).

Integration of reporting and analytics tools. Advanced analytics solutions generate real-time dashboards and reports to enable data-driven decisions. As a result, marketers are gaining interest in using analytics tools to monitor customer behavior, track campaign performance and draw insights. They are also looking for intuitive data visualization capabilities to create data summary reports and presentations. Software vendors are responding to these requirements by providing analytics tools that are easy to use and require no external IT support for data analysis.

Use of mobile devices. Marketers are seeking solutions that offer mobile access, which helps organize processes and review campaign performance from anywhere. Moreover, advanced applications offer live chat collaboration features that help team members communicate on-the-go. This functionality also enables team managers to review documents and share feedback from remote locations.

Social media marketing. Successful use cases involving social media as a marketing tool have created demand among marketers to use this channel to promote products and services. Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter enable marketers to filter their audience into niche segments and target each segment based on their distinct tastes and preferences. Software vendors are updating their solutions with social media marketing functionalities or integrating them into existing tools.

It is important to keep the messaging and branding consistent across social media marketing campaigns to spread awareness and engage customers. In addition, social media tools enable marketers to organize promotional campaigns to retain customers with regular brand communication.

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