The world of marketing resource management (MRM) is changing. Once considered a huge overhaul capable of soaking up months of management time, the emergence of cloud-based solutions now offers marketing teams a more rapid return on investment.

Early MRM systems failed to fulfill their promise to organise, orchestrate and optimise marketing programs, according to analysts like Gartner. Which is not to say that MRM itself was the problem. The issue was that marketers struggled to overhaul their systems and processes in order to get the improvements they required.

Perhaps that is why Gartner concluded that adoption and usage are critical success factors.

For marketers, this starts with a clear understanding of the benefits that can accrue from a successful approach to MRM. Being able to identify, define and measure these benefits accurately is an essential part of building a business case based on a rock-solid ROI.

Here are nine ways contemporary MRM systems make life simpler for marketers.

1. Realise: Marketing processes, approvers and timeframes

Marketing teams often lack solid documented processes for getting their work approved and out to market.

The adoption of MRM can act as an impetus to teams to think about, streamline and document their workflow processes. By doing this they can remove uncertainty from the way people work and streamline the approval process and simplify compliance hoops.

Ideally, campaign approvals should be tiered, so that the CMO is only signing off on the most important work. Legal and compliance turnaround times should be built into marketing team workflows. And everyone who needs it should get access to a documented and up-to-date approver matrix — so that one person’s absence doesn’t bring the whole show to a grinding halt.

2. Standardise: Objectives, briefs, plans and guidelines

Everyone in the marketing department needs to understand the objectives of the business. An MRM system should enshrine goals for each activity, ensuring they align to the marketing team’s overall objectives in a transparent and accessible way.

Briefs in an MRM system should not only be able to communicate objectives but require requests for marketing work to contain all the information necessary for that work to be completed from the outset, saving time and effort spent tracking down marketing requestors.

Contemporary MRM recognises that marketing plans are not static. They are living documents, offering broad (and tailored) views of all the work that has been completed or is coming up, trackable and viewable by whichever metrics a marketing team requires.

And to make sure all work is done the right way the first time, teams should be easily able to access and disseminate crucial documents such as brand guidelines, style guides and even up-to-date legal directories.

3. Prioritise: The work that matters

The ability to prioritise work is essential in a dynamic marketplace where new competitive threats or opportunities can emerge at short notice.

Marketers need to be able to triage marketing requests and do so in a way that ensures the company’s resources are most effectively utilised. That means assessing and assigning degrees of urgency to ensure your team is always working on the most essential items.

An effective MRM system should help marketers prioritise the many requests they get to balance long-term strategic brand initiatives with urgent tactical activity. A key goal should be to limit the amount of work that starts and stops along the way each time an “urgent” task emerges.

4. Templates: Processes, campaigns, briefs, and playbooks

Templates are an essential tool for producing brand-consistent marketing materials at speed. This is just as important for work processes as is it for creative options. After all, if one workflow process is working well for one team, this learning can be-be rolled out to other teams via an MRM system.

Similarly, briefs can be standardised to include relevant information that has already been entered into the system for particular target personas.

If a marketing initiative works particularly well for your marketing team, templatise that in your MRM system and turn it into a playbook you can use again and again.

There are big productivity gains to be had for marketing teams that can establish repeatable playbooks, removing ineffective and unnecessary steps, processes and channels and enshrining best practice as part of your standard operating procedures.

5. Centralise: Single source of truth, planning, assets, feedback

A modern MRM system should provide a single source of truth for all marketing content and operational matters. A centralised marketing plan that everyone can access means that all those guides and guidelines are accessible to all. And there are cost savings to be made from avoiding all those excessive resupply charges from your agencies.

Another tangible benefit of an MRM system comes from consolidating the feedback and amendments required to get marketing campaigns completed and signed off.

Who in marketing hasn’t wasted hours looking for one file, email or message — “I know it’s here somewhere, I just can’t remember where” — or trying to get access to someone else’s files and folders to access feedback from the CMO in order to get work signed off.

In an MRM system, all of that feedback is collected and stored with the latest version of your creative asset.

6. Automate: Compliance, approvals, WIP reporting

As the news in recent months attests, major financial institutions regularly fail to follow their own internal compliance procedures, or make simple errors and unwittingly cause compliance breaches. Insiders already know they regularly flunk their own spot-checks. Even when they pass, those internal audits can take weeks to complete.

A modern MRM system should automate things such as the application of particular disclosures and disclaimers, assigning the correct approver for each type of campaign, and obtaining legal and risk sign-off — speeding up the process, and ensuring correct procedures are always followed.

7. Re-use: Assets and information

As a repository for all of an organisation’s creative assets, an effective MRM saves time and creative resources, and also maximises output and effectiveness.

An MRM should facilitate the intelligent re-use of corporate information in marketing, becoming a central repository for information and a source of insight as well as assets.

8. Analyse: Track your marketing activity and measure outcomes

Can you quickly see which have been your most successful campaigns?

Marketers need dashboards of all their campaigns. And they need to be able to set up dashboards for each campaign, of information identifying what’s working and what isn’t.

Those dashboards should reveal whether you’re on track, and where the bottlenecks occur that might be slowing progress.

9. Optimise: Improve for speed and results

Modern MRM systems should be able to learn from what’s working, and generate best-practice playbooks and workflow templates that enshrine the things that are performing best for your brand and disseminate that information.

With work process improvements, they should help to eliminate unnecessary work and rework, and underpin a culture of continual improvement in your marketing team.

Bonus 10. Integrate: Everything

To be really successful, MRM software should integrate with other mission-critical marketing technologies. This brings everything into one place and reduces workload. Most importantly, the MRM can then function as the control room, enabling marketers to orchestrate the optimal end-to-end customer experience across all touch-points.

Marketing resource management helps enterprise marketing teams to plan, review and optimise their marketing activity to create exceptional customer experiences across all channels. Book a Demo to see how it works.

About the author

Lara Sinclair is the Head of Content at Simple, which is a member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members contribute their insights and expertise for the benefit of our readers. Membership fees apply.

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