It’s no secret that what happens behind the scenes at an organization impacts the experience a customer receives on the front end. Any operational flaw — be it an inefficient workflow, disorganized content library, or lack of data transparency — affects the speed, quality, and consistency of a customer’s experience with a brand. Now, of course, no organization is perfect (and getting the right marketing technology (martech) stack in place certainly takes some work), but it’s often the organizations that leverage marketing resource management (MRM) tools that have the advantage.
Table of contents
|What is MRM?|
|Who needs MRM?|
|What does MRM do?|
|Benefits of MRM|
|Differentiating between various solutions|
What is MRM?
Marketing resource management (MRM) is a category of marketing technology that focuses on helping organizations consolidate their resources — their processes, operations, content, workflows, and information — into a single system to better support their marketing campaigns and programs.
MRM emerged as a solution to address the complexities and operational strain that digital, multichannel marketing environments place on organizations. Marketers must produce large volumes of quality content in a short amount of time. On top of this, they must manage, optimize, and deliver it to their audiences (integrity intact). MRM technologies help marketers achieve this by taking workflows and content off desktops and into a shared platform.
At Widen, we recognize that marketers work at their highest potential when software eliminates their busywork, bottlenecks, and silos. Marketing professionals want to focus on things that no machine can do: creative work, problem-solving, and human interactions. That’s why leading brands around the world turn to our MRM platform, the Widen Collective®, to simplify their content operations:
Centralize content, strategy documents, brand standards, information, and processes so everyone involved in a marketing initiative is aligned.
Organize project requests, reviews, proofing, approvals, and communication in one place for clearer feedback and greater efficiency.
Streamline workflows to improve processes, minimize oversights, and help teams move from production to execution and optimization faster than the competition.
Democratize access to approved, on-brand photos, videos, graphics, and templates with self-serve, branded portals.
Enforce brand guidelines during new content creation
Crunch the numbers on content so marketers have insight into what worked, what didn’t, and what content should be created, repurposed, or retired next.
Who needs MRM
Anyone involved in the planning, creation, execution, or optimization of a marketing campaign, project, or effort can benefit from the efficiency, productivity, and accountability that an MRM solution brings. With that said, there are a few key user types that are likely to benefit the most from an MRM solution.
The last thing creators want is to get sucked into endless email chains with out-of-context and disorganized critiques. Creators rely on MRM tools to stay focused, eliminate inefficiencies, and streamline feedback. With an MRM tool, creators get all revision requests and communications in one, visible place. This way, they can listen to their colleagues and improve creative projects in the fewest number of versions.
Marketers are the orchestrators behind product launches, campaigns, and strategies that span a wide range of online and offline channels. They want to empower creators, colleagues, and collaborators to do their best work in a timely, cost-effective way. With the help of MRM tools, they can realize these goals without the worry and busywork that comes with overseeing a brand or executing a marketing initiative.
Behind every martech stack is a team of IT wizards working to ensure all systems play nicely together. In their world, MRM software is a welcomed technology that minimizes manual handoffs between people and systems. They look for secure MRM tools that integrate flawlessly with other systems for product information management (PIM), customer relationship management (CRM), content management, collaboration, and beyond.
What does MRM do?
The goal of MRM software is to help organizations improve the day-to-day efficiencies of running their marketing campaigns, programs, and initiatives. It focuses on fine-tuning backend operations, so marketers can spend their time and energy on more creative and strategic aspects of their job. Some MRM systems are better than others, but every quality solution will (at a minimum) provide the following functionality:
- Online proofing and approval to simplify review processes
- Creative review stages and project timelines to keep collaborators organized
- Project management and file-sharing integrations to sync and share files across systems
- Adobe Creative Cloud integration to pull approved assets directly into design tools
- Robust search capabilities to connect people with the best assets for the job
- Automatic file conversions to eliminate bottlenecks and free designers from one-off requests
- Share links and embed codes for easy content distribution and updates
- Collections and portals to curate subsets of assets and information for anyone
- Customizable metadata, categories, and collections for flexibility, no matter the business need
- Image recognition and auto tagging to make files available faster
- Batch uploading and editing for time-savings
- Version control and auditing for historical data and accuracy
- Do-it-yourself automation for custom notifications
- Asset-level analytics, system reporting, and dashboards for smarter content planning
- Rights management to prevent copyright violations
- Secure, scalable cloud infrastructure via a quality provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Global content delivery network (CDN) for reliability
- Enterprise governance controls for brand consistency and compliance
- Granular roles and permissions so only the right people have access to the right assets
Benefits of MRM
MRM tools provide organizations with a better way to streamline their backend marketing operations, empower their teams to do more — and, ultimately, add some all-powerful jet-propulsion fuel to their marketing campaigns and programs. The right MRM tool can also help organizations:
- Clean up busywork so that creators can get into a flow and get clear feedback without worrying about version control and the all-day grind of triaging emails
- Track content through every stage of development so marketers know what to expect, when to deploy it, and how best to use it
- Sync and deploy assets across the martech stack, eliminating the integration headaches, licensing mess-ups, and custom coding projects that often haunt marketing technologists
- Secure assets in a central source of truth where permissions, roles, and metadata ensure that content is used in consistent, brand-approved ways
- Curate portals with content tailored to retailers, distributors, PR partners, social media marketers, salespeople, and other collaborators
- Measure content downloads, views, shares, embeds, searches, and more to determine where to shift efforts, budgets, and other resources
Differentiating between various solutions
With over 8,000 marketing technologies available, it’s no wonder marketers are often confused about which solutions do what, where they overlap, and which acronyms (we mean technologies) actually deserve a place in their martech stack. To help, let’s take a quick look at what makes MRM technology unique from some of its closest martech relatives: digital asset management (DAM), product information management (PIM), and media asset management (MAM) technologies.
We’ve talked a lot about what MRM technology is and what it does. But to truly understand what separates it from other related solutions, we need to remember that (at its core) MRM technology is about people and processes. By providing marketers (the people) with the infrastructure needed to refine workflows and consolidate all pertinent assets (e.g., budgets, strategies, data, content, and information) into one location, an MRM solution drives more effective resource management. In other words, it helps organizations get more out of their resources — and in turn their marketing initiatives.
Sounds like the foundations of a DAM solution, right? Well, that leads us to our next point...
A DAM solution often serves as a substitute for an MRM system. An MRM platform fine-tunes workflows and centralizes assets; so does a DAM solution. The biggest difference is that organizations typically use an MRM tool to unify and manage assets specifically related to a marketing campaign or project. Alternatively, they use a DAM solution to house their entire digital asset library — including campaign and project-related marketing assets, as well as a wider range of content like technical guides, product spec sheets, organizational charts, general brand assets, and beyond.
Let’s recap. An MRM solution puts people and processes at its center. A DAM solution centers around digital assets, or content. And now, as its name suggests, a PIM solution is all about products. PIM technology is big for e-commerce marketers. It helps them manage the product information they use for marketing and merchandising purposes (think: product descriptions, skus, colors, dimensions, and other specs that show up on sites like Amazon). A PIM system is not (we repeat, not) a replacement for a DAM or MRM solution. Rather, the tools work together to sync digital assets like product videos and images from the DAM or MRM tool with the rest of the information about a product. In turn, this creates a more comprehensive, enticing shopping experience for customers.
MAM technology differs from MRM tools in much the same way as a DAM solution, except it’s used specifically to house, manage, and distribute video and multimedia files. When MAM tools first came onto the market, they were filling a gap that existed with DAM solutions, which initially struggled to support the workflows and complexity associated with rich media. Fast forward to today and DAM tools have evolved to support video, audio, and multimedia files (in addition to all the file types people typically associate with them). And now as rich media processes have come to involve more than video and audio, organizations are quickly turning to DAM software for a more robust, scalable alternative to MAM technology.