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Marketing Resource Management (MRM) systems control the administrative processes that support
customer-facing marketing programs. This distinguishes MRM from marketing execution systems
that store customer databases and deliver marketing messages through email, Web ads, and
other channels. MRM may be sold independently or as a component of comprehensive marketing
management systems that also provide execution.
MRM functions fall into two primary clusters. The first involves functions related to company-level
marketing management, including program planning, scheduling, budgeting, and cost reporting.
The other cluster relates to program management, including task lists, purchasing media and
materials, content creation, approvals, storage, and distribution. Some MRM systems specialize
in a few of these functions. Others specialize in additional functions such as customizing content
for local offices or dealers, or in marketing reporting and analysis. Systems may also be tailored to
specific industries or companies of a certain size.
Companies buy MRM systems when their marketing programs become too complicated to run in
a less systematic fashion. This, along with the systems' high cost, originally meant that MRM was
used almost exclusively by large marketing organizations with hundreds of marketers in multiple
offices. More recently, the growth of digital marketing means that even small marketing organizations
need to manage many different programs and content versions across multiple channels, and
to quickly introduce new versions. This expanded complexity has rarely been accompanied by a
corresponding expansion of staff, adding to the pressure for more efficient operations. At the same
time, costs have decreased as MRM capabilities were added to integrated marketing suites and as
stand-alone MRM products became available as vendor-hosted services (Software as a Service, or
SaaS). The result has been increased use of MRM systems among companies of all sizes.