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By Pica9 on April 11, 2017

How to Choose the Best Marketing Resource Management Tool

As a brand manager, you understand first-hand how much work can go into keeping your entire team on the same page. You've got the spreadsheets to prove it. But even the most beautifully-designed Spreadsheet with complex macros isn’t perfect.

You've probably found yourself wondering: Is this version of the spreadsheet an up-to-date look at this campaign’s status?

While cloud-based documents have come a long way from yesterday’s emailed spreadsheet updates, they’re still risky and inefficient. “Contrary to popular belief, opening another tab in a workbook doesn't bring greater efficiency,” writes MarketingProf’s Len Shneyder. What if your edits are overwritten by another member of the brand management team? More importantly, how much time do you spend reconciling budget, project, and workflow information that’s distributed across multiple applications?

Managing marketing activities for a distributed brand or enterprise is tough. The enormous number of moving pieces in a single campaign has created a need for a single system that can track project statuses, link to your budgeting, and enable access to your representatives around the world. Luckily, major brands that face these problems can turn to MRM.

Marketing resource management (MRM) software provides all the information brand managers need to balance production, improve productivity, and enable execution of campaigns on a global scale. There’s simply no spreadsheet in the world that can compare to using the right MRM tool for your organization’s needs.

What Can The Best Marketing Resource Management Software Do For You?

For enterprise organizations adopting MRM tools for the first time, there’s a potential for enormous gains in cost savings, productivity, and smarter allocation of resources. Benefits can vary immensely, but research by Aquent attempted to build a model of the “average” enterprise to measure the impact of MRM. This report found that, on average, companies can achieve:

  • 33% Fewer internal resource costs
  • Agency spend reduction of 50%
  • 12.5% lower costs on media, production, and materials

While this data may seem unrealistic at first glance, it’s all within the realm of possibility. Head office and local marketers can drive better results with centralized, up-to-date information access, which results in less wasted effort, minimal outsourcing, and other gains in efficiency.

Over the past decade, the concept of MRM has evolved from clunky behemoths of enterprise software to nimble-cloud based apps designed for specific industries and business models. Organizations are increasingly opting for lighter-weight, cloud applications that fit specific workflow needs. In many cases, they’re using open APIs to integrate multiple apps into a comprehensive MRM system. In this blog, you’ll learn what you need to know to navigate the increasingly complex MRM technology landscape, and how your brand’s needs should shape your selection.

Want to jump right into what the world’s leading enterprises are using? In that case, you can check out The 4 Best MRM Tools for YOUR Enterprise Needs: MRM Software Reviews.

Is My Company a Good Candidate for MRM Software?

MRM software isn’t the right tool for every organization. Building a business case for MRM requires your organization to have a large amount of content and assets that need management and production. MRM will drive the most significant results if your average project or campaign involves dozens of people and a lot of different requirements for your budget, assets, and workflow. Most organizations that really need MRM are either enterprises or large agencies.

If your organization fits the criteria listed above, your business case for MRM could be built around the following goals:

  • Create a one-stop system of record for all of your brand’s marketing activities; including uploading, storing, and sharing digital assets.
  • Streamline your marketing processes, even if you’ve got a complex network of global contributors, franchisees, or associates.
  • Achieve smarter budget allocation and obtain a better measurement of marketing results, with tools for budgeting and campaign analytics.

Is MRM the Right Tool for Solving My Brand's Problems?

If your brand has a “comprehensiveness” problem, you may need MRM. If you have a problem getting campaigns completed by deadline, you may need project management software. If you need to store your digital assets, you may need digital asset management tools (DAM). You may not need MRM, but you probably do need a comprehensive tool if you’re having trouble keeping track of the various aspects of your marketing program, or analyzing campaigns after the fact.

MRM tools excel at acting as a system of record for complex marketing organizations. They literally keep notes on the activities that go into each of your initiatives, from a national rebrand to a local franchisee's request for a custom direct mail piece.

For a more in-depth look at the most important features of this technology, we recommend 7 Critical Features Your MRM Software Must Have.

What should I take into consideration when selecting MRM software?

There are hundreds of options for MRM software. Your company’s size, budget, and business model should all play significant roles in helping select the best choice. Questions to ask as you begin evaluating vendors could include:

  • Is this MRM a cloud application or software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool that can be accessed from anywhere?
  • Does the tool include custom workflows, or workflows that can be easily modified to fit our processes, compliance requirements, or business model?
  • Does the tool support marketing execution? Any MRM tool should support helping your users do what’s necessary to turn campaign concepts into live advertising - whether that means simple templates for local marketers or complex compliance features for highly-regulated brands.
  • Is the platform so easy-to-use that our least-sophisticated marketer can learn it? At the end of the day, MRM isn’t only for brand managers. It’s also for graphic designers, agencies, and in some cases, local marketing representatives. By understanding who will benefit the most from the tool, you can select an option that meets their needs.

Why Does My Business Model Affect My Choice in MRM?

A distributed brand that operates a global network of hospitality franchises has very different MRM needs than a financial institution. Business model speaks to variations in your structure, like your status as a corporation. It also acknowledges variations in your geographic distribution, and whether you’re working with a local team or stakeholders around the world. Finally, it can also address variations in your organization’s compliance requirements. All of these factors should play a significant role in guiding you to the right MRM software.

Financial companies, insurance companies, healthcare providers, and any other firm in a highly-regulated industry have more specific and restrictive requirements than companies in other verticals. These include things like required disclosures to avoid sanctions by the SEC or other regulatory bodies. If your organization is highly-regulated, your MRM needs to provide specific mechanisms for complying with your regulatory requirements, or you could actually be increasing your risk exposure.

Distributed brands face particular challenges in keeping everyone on the same page, as they coordinate a massive network of brand marketers, local marketers, and other stakeholders. This can create a real need for standardization of language and asset versioning for efficiency, local brand compliance, and quicker time to launch campaigns. Your MRM needs to support asset segmentation, sensitive user permissioning, and extensive integrations to meet your local marketers’ needs.

To learn more about how distributed brand managers can solve some of their greatest challenges with technology, we recommend The Best Digital Asset Management Software for Distributed Marketing.

MRM Benefits Your Business

If your organization needs a tool for comprehensive campaign oversight, you could stand to benefit immensely from adopting the right approach to MRM. With a tool like CampaignDrive by Pica9 for distributed brands, or other specialized SaaS options, you can revolutionize the way you drive marketing results.

Marriott and Polaris are just two examples of highly successful distributed enterprises who’ve achieved huge gains with a modern approach to MRM. To learn more about their successes, check out our free eBook: Distributed Marketing on Steroids: The Brand Manager's Guide to Designing and Managing Local Marketing Assets Without Breaking a Sweat.New Call-to-action


For many industry-leading brands, marketing resource management (MRM) tools enable teams to track, plan, and execute marketing. Which MRM solution is right for your brand?

Published by Pica9 April 11, 2017