Managing your Brand in the cloud

Marketing Resource Management is getting more attention every year. The definition of MRM is somewhat controversial, since each and every solution provider creates its own. In short MRM is the set of tools and processes that enable organizations to fully support all marketing and communication activities by means of a software platform.

Leading MRM providers in 2012 are – according to GartnerTeradata (Aprimo), BrandMaker, SAS, SAP, IBM (Unica) and Orbis Global. They all provide platforms that help marketers to do their job more efficient and effective.

MRM consists of many functions to do so. For a true holistic MRM, you’ll need support for the following activities:

  • Plan and manage your campaign and budgets
  • Start your activities from your campaigns
  • Follow up all activities and budgets
  • Enrich your product- and service data with specific content for target groups
  • Create your marketing and communication messages
  • Publish your marketing to all channels
  • Evaluate your marketing activities
  • Enhance your marketing based on integrated KPI’s

A true MRM solution
gives you some essential extra functions, such as the ability to create a full Corporate Identity Portal or creating a Brand Management Platform.

Old school Marketing Management

Managing your Marketing is a tedious job and requires a constant focus on what you plan, define your message, create your communications, broadcast the message and evaluate the impact. Over and over again.

Although MRM is getting more and more attention, many large enterprises are still handling their marketing activities via e-mail, PDF, meetings, hardcopy, snailmail and so on. It takes weeks for retail organizations creating their marketing collaterals the old way:

  • You plan your campaigns months before
  • 8 – 16 weeks before a specific campaign should run, you start the creative part
  • Your agency creates a briefing with you
  • Your agency draws the first concepts
  • Your marketing department checks the needed media assets
  • Your marketing department sends requests for new photo shoots
  • Your agency sends you another concept
  • You’re having a meeting with the category managers for sending the product details
  • Your marketers are editing the spreadsheets with all the promotions
  • And so on and so on

It might seem old-school but it is still common practice in most large marketing organizations. I’ve talked to numerous enterprises, only few marketers were in some way supported by advanced tooling, leaving most of them unsupported (no, spreadsheet and/or e-mail is not supporting..) . Most of them face enormous pressure being responsible for managing all communication channels, all target groups with a 10 – 20% reduced marketing budget.

MRM -> the new way

MRM is – when fully implemented – the new and far more effective way to plan – create and maintain all of your marketing activities.

With MRM you:

  1. Create your marketing campaigns online and share them with your coworkers
  2. Create activities based on your campaigns and schedule those
  3. Invite agencies and coworkers to work online on all of your activities
  4. Track progress of your activities and your team efforts
  5. Watch how your budget is affected
  6. Get notifications on progress, watch them on your KPI cockpit
  7. Work together with your team on marketing collateral, online
  8. Review, adjust and approve all collateral
  9. Execute and measure execution

With MRM you bring repetitive work to the bare minimum and you’re able to focus on what your paid for: targeting the right message to the right customer and prospect, establishing an ever better brand experience in your community, getting more done for less money.

MRM in the cloud?

OK, now we’re getting a bit technical and maybe too much IT based, but yes, you’re able to manage your brand completely in the cloud. For marketers this – in the meetings I have – is something new. I still need to explain that I’m not talking about frequent flyer miles activities but the virtual cloud. Simple stated: without any software installation, manage all your marketing activities and get rid of the overload from e-mails and spreadsheets.

BrandMaker for example, is one of the major platforms that has every single marketing process supported in its platform without any software installation at the marketing department. With your web browser your able to plan and manage all of your campaigns, assign tasks, maintain budgets, create high resolution marketing collaterals, maintain all of your media assets centrally and so on. With only your browser. Reviewing and annotating your collaterals (e.g. the PDF’s your agencies send you) is also done within the platform.

So what about the cloud? When it’s accessible via the browser and it fully works within the browser, than it can be hosted and served anywhere in the world, without having the burden of complex on site installations with ditto talks and agreements with your IT staff. You’re able to be up and running in weeks or months instead of a year. It makes your marketing efforts accessible from all over the world, from your workplace, your home, from your agencies offices. With all the security you need. Your sensitive marketing data can only be accessed on the most secure way you want it.

Time to Payback

Marketers not often mention the terms “Business Case” or ROI or Payback period. But their CFO’s do. And CFO’s are knocking on the doors of marketing departments and demanding that things should be done more cost effective. In numerous projects and cases I’ve seen payback times of 6 – 9 months from the date going live. That means that the savings from implementing MRM will exceed the initial investment after already 6 months! Numbers that will make your CFO smile.

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