Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Maturation of MRM: Marketing Resource Management Is Growing Up-And Adding Muscle to ROI-As Companies Seek to Codify Strategies and Track Marketing Budgets

Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Maturation of MRM: Marketing Resource Management Is Growing Up-And Adding Muscle to ROI-As Companies Seek to Codify Strategies and Track Marketing Budgets

Article excerpt

"HALF the money I spend on advertising is wasted--trouble is, I don't know which half." John Wanamaker, father of the American department store (and creator of the first copyrighted store advertisement), made this quip more than a century ago. His observation, however, continues to resonate with CMOs and marketing managers. A great deal of time and money is spent researching which marketing practices work most effectively.

At its base marketing is a suggestion, a method of appeal and proposition that plays to our rationality and delves into our subconscious. With the number of channels that advertisers can now select and deploy, gaining clear insight into best marketing practices has become even more challenging. Questions arise: Was it the emails or the billboard that prompted the sale? Was it the low-end graphics or dull slogan that failed to garner the targeted interest?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Marketing resource management (MRM), sometimes known as marketing operations management, was created in part to help companies get a better gander into how marketing dollars are spent and to what extent they are returned. MRM solutions have enabled companies to see more clearly into their marketing processes and to better hone their practices. A decade ago most marketing was not automated, but as the economy began to climb the call for high-level marketing grew louder. Marketers began to make use of campaign management and database software to process customer analysis, but there was little capability for marketing to execute repeatable business processes, to easily find out what was working, and to continue to do so.

Now MRM product offerings compensate for this inability, and companies are able to plan and budget, track campaigns and projects, and manage performance through an accessible, collaborative framework. MIRM streamlines the marketing value chain by automating the tracking of costs and projected budgets, connecting all numbers and information through a common platform. Companies are better able to coordinate their resources, and with the constant increase of channel availability, managing all the coordinates that marketers must deliver can be daunting. MRM provides the capability to bring together these channels--be they email, traditional mail, telephone, social networks, text messaging, television, print, or online ad marketing.

But again, strategic questions crop up as MRM software continues to expand in use and popularity: Will the market expand too quickly for processes to fill? Will MRM be either swallowed or stagnate in the larger sea of management software?

A GOOD COVER STORY

The recent growth of MRM can be understood by taking a closer look at the market in which it is used. "In the last couple of years there's been a return to growth within the economy and the market at large," says Kimberly Collins, a research director at Gartner. "This has placed a huge emphasis on sales and marketing." The greater attention focused on marketing has called for more sophisticated performance and a better response to pressures coming both from within and outside the company.

Elevated marketing expenditure levels created a desire for better financial accountability, a need mapped out by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in 2002, which imposed regulations on corporate activity. Gareth Herschel, a research director at Gartner, defines SOX as a "good cover story for a widespread desire to be accountable in any case." The act's provisions, which include the certifying of financial reports by CEOs and CFOs, the publication of annual audit reports, and severe criminal penalties for misstating financial reports, demand that companies be able to closely monitor all numbers in all business segments. In the absence of automation, the process of accessing these numbers can be nearly impossible. Collins explains that if you ask corporations operating from manual processes about their marketing spending, "they have to pull together 60 spreadsheets to answer that question. …

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