While much focus is given to the money marketers invest in new customer-facing campaign technology, often what is missed is that behind the scenes – the marketers themselves are still pursuing inefficient work practices.

Even in some of the largest enterprises, many marketers are using a plethora of personal productivity tools such as email, messaging, Word documents and spreadsheets to try and manage very complicated resource allocation and control requirements.

That creates significant inefficiencies in work practice and constant headaches around version control, which in turn makes it harder for creatives to be creative, and for managers to comply with regulatory frameworks.

It generates more work for marketers and their peers, and makes it harder for companies to measure and report on the return on their marketing spend.

But perhaps worst of all, the disconnected reality inside the brand means it is almost impossible to deliver fully connected and contemporary experiences for customers and consumers.

To address these issues marketing leaders are turning to a new generation of marketing resource management platforms.

In part this is because the challenges facing modern marketers have evolved.

In its recent Wave research, Forrester identifies what it says are four modern marketing operations that it says spur a renaissance in modern marketing.

These include;

  • Money management which includes the ability to manage, approve, optimise, reallocate, and adjust spending in a single, shared environment.
  • People Management where MRM is used to reestablish visibility into how skills are deployed in large, complex marketing organisations.
  • Content and asset management where MRM is used to support the production, approval, publishing, and analysis of their content.
  • And finally brand management. Forrester says MRM gives this distributed marketing activity a single, governable environment.

The benefits are clear and definable, according to marketers who have pursued this approach.

According to the authors of the Forrester report, “The MRM market is growing because more B2C marketing professionals see MRM as a way to address organisational and operational challenges. This market growth is in large part due to the fact that today’s MRM solutions offer marketer-friendly alternatives to unwieldy legacy applications.”

These are issues that would all be familiar to Kerry-Ann Benton, a senior Melbourne based marketing executive with stints at brands such as Australia Post, Bank of Melbourne and NAB.

“First of all, there are some savings in time, starting with the effort required to compile an enterprise plan,” Having been deeply engaged with a recently concluded MRM project that included an implementation of the Simple platform, Benton has deep practical knowledge of the kinds of benefits that can accrue to an organisation from the approach.

This includes the creation of a living, changing central marketing plan and a workspace that overcomes organisational silos to get marketing working across an enterprise more effectively.

“You have all your information consolidated into one place and it can be updated and owned by all the different teams working off of one platform,” Benton said.

An important and positive consequence of this is that teams feel empowered to update that information themselves. “There is greater transparency and that brings a real increase in integration between teams,” she said.

“They quickly learn that by working together they can save time and save resources, and deliver a much stronger and combined outcome.”

All of a sudden the organisation is talking as one and communicating as a single entity, and for the customer that means a much better experience

An effective MRM also delivers much more clarity around the objectives as well, she said.

“It really shines a light on why we are doing what we’re doing.”

During a time when there is more scrutiny than ever on the investments marketers make and the returns they yield, Benton says that one outcome of the most recent MRM implementation she worked on – at Australia Post – was that it was much easier to prove and demonstrate ROI.

“You can easily see how much you are looking to invest in a particular activity, and you can easily determine the exact return that you are looking for. Whether it be a hard or a soft metric there is now an absolute. There is nowhere to hide, that is complete illumination on that data.”

The other key benefit from her most recent project concerned reporting. According to Benton, the MRM helped generate the required reports to the level individual organisations and campaigns require.

Engaging with Partners

Marketers typically work closely not just with their own teams or others in the business, but often with a network of partners, such as agencies, whose contributions are critical to success.

Benton saw first-hand how the new MRM platform also helped on this front. “When it comes to agencies, rather than having multiple stakeholders giving them a variety of versions of what can be very similar material, they now have much greater clarity.”

The new single way of working also helps brands and agencies better coordinate on timing, she said.

“There are always issues around timing and managing resources. And clearly on the media side having a much tighter handle on the timelines and deadlines that need to be managed comes in very handy.”

Benton said the MRM  system provided a clearer view of the return on the efforts of the marketing teams, but just as importantly it helped them to better understand the actual experience of the customer.

“We could see the marketing activity being delivered and we knew we had absolute alignment between all the different touch points for the organisation,” she said.

About the author

Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which Simple is a member. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefits of our readers. Membership fees apply.

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