HomeBlog Determining Whether to Automate Marketing Processes

Determining Whether to Automate Marketing Processes

September 05, 2012 | By Craig Moore

B-to-b marketers, who've become more comfortable with procurement, implementation and use of automation technology, are increasingly interested in implementing tools that optimize processes and enable new marketing operations efficiencies. Many are identifying processes that are candidates for optimization and deciding whether marketing resource management (MRM) applications would be a good choice to improve operational performance.

B-to-b marketers, who've become more comfortable with procurement, implementation and use of automation technology, are increasingly interested in implementing tools that optimize processes and enable new marketing operations efficiencies. Many are identifying processes that are candidates for optimization and deciding whether marketing resource management (MRM) applications would be a good choice to improve operational performance.

Defining MRM

MRM is a set of software applications that help align people, process and technology to support marketing activities and improve marketing effectiveness. Early MRM systems were centralized command-and-control platforms that frequently met with resistance from marketers because they forced process onto creative, process-averse organizations. However, MRM vendors have made great strides in usability, leading to fewer challenges from marketers.

Three Perspectives

Many MRM applications are sold in a suite, but not all potential MRM customers enter the evaluation process with a suite solution in mind. Instead, they approach it from the perspective of a single problem they would like to solve, including:

  • Budget. It is difficult to keep track of the budget with a spreadsheet, unless the process is carefully managed with a version-controlled repository. Tracking planned spending is hard enough in a busy and distributed marketing organization; managing spending commitments, purchase orders and invoices is even more difficult. Having everyone email updates to a central person is tedious and seldom results in an up-to-date view of what has been spent, when and by whom.

  • Asset management. Some marketers try to solve the problem of a proliferation of assets with no central means of management. No one knows where to go for the latest version of a logo, image or presentation. File shares and collaboration applications are not effective, and consistency is hard to enforce. Maintaining information about assets (e.g. where an asset was last used, when the usage rights license expires) isn’t easy.

  • Project management. Organizations with many simultaneous projects find it difficult to keep track of who is working on what and predicting when each project will be completed. As resource utilization reaches capacity in some areas, bottlenecks form in other areas. Without a specifically designed tool for the task, project team members who want to share information and collaborate end up creating email-based workflows that are difficult to understand and untangle.

Once marketers dig into MRM options, they often see the value of integrating different applications. For example, project management functions can use the assets from the asset management function. The budget management function can track purchase orders and personnel costs to get a better picture of the cost of the marketing tactics being developed.

Scope creep can get in the way of quick, efficient problem-solving, so marketers should check their enthusiasm as they discover the possibilities. But it is prudent to consider a solution that has the capacity for growth, through the integration of best-of-breed standalone applications, or through the expansion of application capabilities within a suite.

 

Craig Moore

Craig Moore is Service Director, Marketing Operations Strategies, at SiriusDecisions. His three decades of experience span such areas as marketing operations, partner marketing, strategic alliances, product marketing and management, software development and entrepreneurship. Follow Craig on Twitter @cramoore.

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