Share this content

CMC Focus on: Marketing Resource Management

13th Oct 2006
Share this content

In this article:


  • Introduction - Marketing Resource Management
  • White paper downloads
  • Market forces - Analysis of the MRM industry
  • Market Makers - Exclusive commentary from the people at the top
  • MRM in practice - Case studies from the real world
  • Vendor Listing - All the players in the market
  • Vendor Case studies - Examples of MRM


    Marketing Resource Management (MRM)

    Think about a typical company and the technology on offer to support its activities. The CEO has business information applications to support his or her decisions, the chief financial officer has accounting and payroll system while the chief technology officer has knowledge management systems. What does the chief marketing officer have? PowerPoint!

    Marketing is still a relatively vague and uncharted area of the corporate ecosystem. Everyone knows how much is spent on marketing, but no-one is entirely certain how much value they derived from that spending, other than in a loose, touchy-feely sort of way. Expecting marketing to provide demonstrable results, statistics, return on investment analysis and so on is seen as either not appropriate or as something that would stifle creativity on the part of the marketing team.

    Except, the world doesn't work that way any more. Research reveals that up to one third of marketing dollars are spent managing the two-thirds that actually delivers value. That's simply not good enough today. Some 80 per cent of chief marketing officers report that this is a major issue within their organisation.

    This latest 'CMC Focus On' industry report looks at how marketing is becoming the latest frontline in applications and where it interacts with CRM.

    Stuart Lauchlan
    News & Analysis Editor
    [email protected]


    White Paper Downloads

    Transforming central and local marketing through MRM technology
    An MRM solution enables an organisation to plan, execute, coordinate and analyse all marketing operations efforts holistically.

    What is Marketing Resource Management? Why are Marketers Investing in this Software?
    MRM has emerged to address marketers' requirements for better planning, budgeting, process management and tracking of marketing initiatives.

    Achieving more with MRM
    Download this document which describes the constituent modules of an MRM solution; from a marketers perspective.


    Market Forces

    According to a study by Accenture, 55 per cent of companies lack a single view of their customers – that age old CRM problem! But there's an even bigger issue: 68 percent of companies can't measure the return on investment of marketing campaigns.

    Further figures from International Data Corporation suggest that the global top 1000 spend in excess of $100 billion a year on marketing and advertising with a typical expenditure on marketing being around 4 per cent of total revenues. That is a significant sum to be spent with little or no capabilities of measuring its effectiveness

    Marketing needs to be able to document the costs of their programs and campaigns and measure the impact on the marketplace as measured by awareness, leads, purchases, and referrals. Post-Enron this is all the more important as legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley also requires marketing to document and execute their processes in a highly transparent fashion.

    "Having full accountability and the ability to track marketing spend against the value it derives is invaluable in today’s highly competitive and dynamic business environment," said Andrew Yates, Aprimo, "If projects aren’t tracked effectively, deadlines start to slip and there is a danger of something becoming a rushed job, where the business ends up haemorrhaging money."

    MRM was posited as the answer to that. The basic idea is simple enough. MRM software is a combination of workflow and knowledge management technologies. At their most basic, MRM applications help marketing departments to create strategy, define objectives and draw up budgets. Marketing resource management applications improve an enterprise’s ability to plan, coordinate execution, and measure the impact of marketing efforts.

    Gartner Group defines MRM as, "a set of processes and capabilities that aim to enhance an enterprise's ability to orchestrate and optimise the use of internal and external marketing resources." So, MRM aims to enhance an enterprise's ability to orchestrate and optimise the use of marketing resources, both internal and external in the form of creative agencies and media buyers and so on.

    "Consumers are increasingly difficult to reach. They want offers and communications that are relevant and timely for them. While marketers are under increasing pressure to deliver results, they frequently lack the tools to manage resources, campaigns and investments across product lines, divisions and geographies, leading to duplicated efforts, conflicting marketing messages and wasted investments on activities that aren’t aligned with goals," said Kimberly Collins, Ph.D., research vice president, Gartner CRM. "Enterprise Marketing Management suites offer solutions that can increase marketing’s effectiveness and return on investment."

    But in a world of acronyms, MRM never really caught on the way it was supposed to. If you do a Google search on MRM, you’ll find the Moral Regeneration Movement, the Mormonism Research Ministry and more information than you're ever likely to need to know about mechanically recovered meat! And a few mentions of marketing resource management.

    Yet by 2005, more than 30 per cent of Global 1000 organisations were supposed to have implemented MRM at least at business unit level and that hasn’t really happened.

    One issue might be the emergence of marketing modules and marketing functionality within mainstream CRM packages, although there are clear differentiators between CRM and MRM. CRM systems have traditionally focused on the tracking of leads generated from various marketing programs and tying those leads back to the sales that occur from the marketing efforts.

    Most obviously CRM is customer focused and thus is the 'need generator' for MRM. CRM determines when a marketing campaign is needed. MRM then manages all aspects of creating and delivering this campaign, while CRM is used to determine who receives it. In addition marketing is still – rightly or wrongly – regarded as a much more strategic function at corporations than the marketing components of CRM.

    Campaign management vendors such as Unica and SAS are offering MRM functionality that can support the design and execution of marketing campaigns and allow for the selection of customers for inclusion in a campaign, filter other customers, decide which customers get which offers, decide the timing of when a customer receives certain offers, and which channel the customer will receive the offer through.

    The other element that CRM and MRM share is that before implementing a system you need to address the underlying processes. If you don’t do that with CRM, then you simply automate existing, potentially bad practice. With MRM, you need to address processes that will be largely documented already. Implementing MRM is about putting a tool in place that serves as the framework against which your organization consistently delivers.

    "Having to manually gather data from innumerable spreadsheets, external reports, and individual project plans has hamstrung marketers’ execution and hampered their ability to easily encapsulate marketing performance for upper management," said Yuchun Lee, co-founder and CEO, Unica. "MRM offers an alternative way."

    AS MRM gains in importance, so the established CRM vendors are likely to start incorporating ever great levels of marketing-specific functionality in their base products. Gartner’s Marcus says: "As CRM solution providers strive to build greater functionality into their suites, it is a logical next step for them to offer MRM capabilities with their own product sets to extend their reach and drive new revenue streams."


    Market Makers

    "Marketing precision replaces 'creative chaos' - The role of MRM and how it relates to CRM"
    Carol Meyers, Head of Marketing, Unica

    Marketing directors often find themselves asking the same questions over and over again. Are we working as efficiently as possible? Are we spending money as planned? Would we make better decisions if we had better information at our fingertips? How can we accurately measure the return on investment from our campaigns? As the pressure to justify marketing expenditure and demonstrate results has grown, such questions have become more pressing. The answers lie with marketing resource management, or MRM.

    MRM has emerged in response to the need for more efficient planning, budgeting, execution, tracking and measurement of marketing initiatives. It gives marketers time to think; streamlining processes and freeing up time to spend on strategy, as well as customer and business analysis. It manages the marketing "back office" which oversees the allocation of budgets, the management and deployment of creative assets, and project management. It stops short of the CRM processes associated with carrying out direct customer contact, but plays an invaluable role in supporting and feeding those processes by capturing, storing and managing the intelligence behind them.

    Marketing has become a much more tangled web than it was even a few years ago. The department formerly known for its 'creative chaos' is being called upon to take responsibility for the entire customer experience. Most companies now realize that branding is much more than a flashy ad campaign and a whizzy slogan; it's the sum of all the experiences – good and bad – that a customer has with a company. 'Creative chaos' is being replaced with higher levels of marketing precision and performance, as marketers plan, design and direct all interactions with the brand, regardless of channel. Every interaction must be designed to provide value for both the customer and the company. But this is not all. As we all know, customers are more demanding and campaigns are more complex. Variations on a single campaign can mount into the hundreds. Combine this with the range of response mechanisms – telephone, email, SMS, direct mail, the web - and the challenges of better marketing execution and performance seem insurmountable. Even more daunting seems the prospect of taking responsibility for every customer’s encounter with your brand.

    Visibility and measurement are the answers to these challenges, and both are provided by MRM. Marketers can see the entire scope of marketing activities underway and planned. MRM creates a single record of marketing activities, data, decisions and tactics. Armed with such information, planning, budgeting, managing and tracking the performance of marketing campaigns becomes standard practice. Templates can be created for developing campaign logic and creative materials, automating approvals, maintaining audit trails and even re-using successful programmes. At the same time, precision, efficiency and return on investment improve as decision makers have easy access to accurate and timely information. MRM is used to cut cycle times, execute more programmes with existing personnel and lower costs by streamlining workflow.

    However, efficiency means nothing if marketing activities are not aligned with the original objectives and business goals. Companies can set marketing plans and budgets but then veer off on a different course when it comes to actually doing the work. MRM alleviates these misalignments. Plans, budgets and objectives are entered into the system and the execution of programmes and campaigns is assessed against them. Resources are allocated to the right projects at the right time, eliminating discrepancies.

    The end user - the customer - is directly affected by all of this. MRM means that companies are better informed, allowing them to make superior decisions about the marketing activities, from the budgeting process to the allocation of spend by media and channel, and ultimately, improving customer strategy. By streamlining processes and improving efficiency in production management and planning, MRM give marketers more time to focus on what’s most important - empowering the whole organization to deliver value to customers in the form of relevant interactions and experiences. In addition, MRM captures the facts and information that underpins marketing decisions, allowing them to be stored, aggregated, analysed and accessed in when they are needed.

    MRM enables a culture of marketing performance and gives marketers the tools that they need to drive the customer experience, but the transition does not happen overnight. Success has to be built incrementally. As with CRM, it must be part of a process - a process that requires the involvement of the right people. Marketers need to believe that what they do can be measured, and that value exists in that measurement. Most importantly, executives not involved with marketing must understand the value of marketing investment and build that value throughout the business.

    "Marketing automation: Looking in or looking out?"
    Jason Mittelstaedt, VP of Marketing, RightNow Technologies

    MRM solutions were designed to help marketing departments better allocate resources and manage projects by essentially providing them with their own version of ERP. This isn’t a bad idea, but it has little actual impact on business performance. After all, there isn't much value in making your marketing department more efficient when it really needs to be made more effective.

    What differentiates effective marketing from ineffective marketing? Effective marketing gets the right message to the right people at the right time, and then captures an actionable response. Ineffective marketing doesn’t. So the primary challenge for marketers is how to connect with customers and prospects.

    In other words, marketing automation delivers the greatest value not when it looks inward as MRM does, but when it looks outward to the customer.

    That’s why the big wins in marketing automation are being gained with solutions that empower marketers to craft better messages, more intelligently create distribution lists, accelerate campaign execution, and generate responses that can be turned into sales.

    Such solutions are characterised by a variety of capabilities that are quite different from what MRM typically provides. These capabilities include:

    Development of engaging messages

    Marketing departments need tools that make it easy for users at different skill levels to create compelling messages. A good marketing automation tool will also streamline and document the collaborative review-and-approval process. It should also facilitate message testing by making it easy to experiment with message variables (wording, layout, images, etc.), distribute test messages to small representative lists, and track results.

    Intelligent segmentation and list management

    Marketers must be able to flexibly define and generate lists based on any appropriate parameters. That's why high-value marketing automation software must tap the full potential of existing CRM data. This means more than pulling names from a specified demographic. It also means being able to select recipients based on purchase histories, attendance at events, and responses to previous communications.

    Accelerated campaign time-to-execution

    Time is of the essence when a company needs to beat the competition to the punch or respond to a competitors move. Marketing departments therefore need tools that help them quickly lay out the logic of a multi-stage campaign and translate that logic into executed deliverables. Ideally, this should be done with a drag-and-drop interface that empowers marketers to act without depending on IT.

    Response capture and management

    Ultimately, marketing is judged based on the level of response it generates and the rate at which responses convert into sales. In a B2B environment, for example, marketing shouldn’t just notify sales that they have a lead. To optimise both conversion rates and the customer experience, marketing must also be able to tell sales about the specific need that triggered the prospect’s interest—as well as any other relevant data about the prospect. In a truly integrated B2B CRM environment, these data-rich leads can be automatically routed to sales—so that their conversion to opportunities and then to orders can be accurately tracked.

    It’s important to note one other key difference between internally and externally driven marketing departments. Internally driven marketing departments think in terms of how they can get customers to buy what the company wants them to buy. Customers don’t like this. They don’t like to get calls in the middle of dinner or get reams of junk mail offering them things they don’t need or want.

    Marketing departments that are truly focused on the customer—and that deploy solutions which support this customer focus—instead provide a useful form of service. They let the customer know about something the customer wants or needs based on specific knowledge about that customer, and they make it easy for the customer to take appropriate action. This is a vastly superior approach to customer relationships and the customer experience. And in today’s hyper-connected marketplace – where customers can easily take their business to whoever understands and treats them best – companies that adopt this service-centric approach to marketing will always come out on top.

    "Marketing can do anything"
    David Arrowsmith, Head of Customer Intelligence Strategy, SAS UK

    The functionality arms race in the CRM/MRM/Customer Insight market rumbles on like a family feud at a party. In this stifling atmosphere, marketing departments have to get to grips with THE fundamental question:

    Can they change the way they market, profitably, in line with the newly acquired knowledge they will have at their disposal? If they can, will they be able to influence and convince the rest of their business that this is not just the next snake oil cure?

    Someone has to say this - 'Current available technology can deliver virtually anything which has been predicted in marketing terms - right now.'

    There it's said. Now for all those choking on their Chardonnay, let's get that thought in perspective. There are precious few organisations which are prepared to commit unlimited budgets to creating a marketing led organisation which puts the customer’s needs and wants at the centre. In reality most businesses remain product and function led and there is a serious case of COMMUNIACTION (not a typo) ongoing in business. COMMUNIACTION in my view is the talking up of a good story but betraying that vision with the actual actions.

    We have become adept at distinguishing between brightly coloured, fully incorporated, integrated, enterprise wide, customer centric, scalable, multi dimensional, future proofed, market focused & driven powerpoint slides, and the more mundane reality of functionally based systems, multiple data sources stitched together with ETL tools producing a 60% view of an aggregated customer segment. A view which ignores data that seems too difficult or costly to use, overlooks inconsistency, disregards the customers’ latest requests or actions, drives delivery through a pre-purchased or predefined delivery channel and is then used in an inappropriate way by the marketing group. Insight that can only be used for a single purpose does not support wider reporting. It creates its own metrics and perversely reinforces the stereotype of marketing departments being spendthrift, ill informed and a little out of control.

    Sadly the majority of marketing departments that have made considerable progress, using what has been available to them, have received precious little recognition of their successes. The slow shift from product to customer centricity is stalled by the lack of clear metrics to define the success, and where these metrics do exist, the vision to define and achieve the way forward are often disjointed, badly costed or at odds with corporate strategy. Marketing finds itself unable to influence mainstream thinking at an infrastructure level, effectively preventing itself from marketing in the manor it intuitively knows it should.

    It is time for marketing to grasp this metaphorical nettle. In technology terms marketing arrived at the party late. Our colleagues in finance, operations and even HR were much quicker to embrace the possibilities of the new technology twenty or thirty plus years ago. This has meant that we have ended up with their legacy systems, their infrastructure, their preferred suppliers and their view of what we in marketing need. Unfortunately IT people have had more in common with finance and operations. Their language is common, their view constrained by compliance and regulatory issues, and we in marketing have not been able to articulate exactly what we want and need with the same precision.

    Our fight back in the 90’s and early 00’s has involved going our own way with marketing datamarts, salesforce automation, marketing software, outsourcing of data and to agencies for analysis and using operational, transactional and finance data to enhance our sales and marketing data to create the customer insight which we need to remain competitive.

    Our marketing world continues to develop apace. Real-time decisioning, RFID linking of our movements in stores, our purchases, our web interaction, predictive modelling, our credit transactions, text messaging, interactive TV, attitudinal/transactional segmentations, all are available at a price.

    Marketing has to know which of these available technologies will give value to their business. Marketing will have to engage with IT in defining their requirements for the future; this is already beginning to happen with a new breed of IT savvy marketers, who are as at home talking product and market strategy, as they are debating system integration and database design. Marketing has to have access to all available data so we can no longer ignore the decisions on IT and infrastructure being made in our name in sales, operations and finance. Marketing will have to engage with all the functions to standardise metrics and reporting, moving towards the goal of customer centricity positively, via an evolutional route, and actively championing and understanding the technology infrastructure that is right for marketing.

    It should NOT matter what the technology is but in reality IT DOES and therefore marketing must understand and contribute to decisions made. Bitching after the event helps no one. Marketing must be able to contribute to the ROI debate and must deliver a vision that is both pragmatic but achievable, building towards an infrastructure that meets the requirements of other functions while retaining the flexibility to develop in marketing terms. As latecomers to this particular party we have to demonstrate that the investment we require is proportional and will generate value for the business.


    MRM in practice

    Norwich Union

    Norwich Union is the largest insurer in the UK. It is also the largest general insurer with an overall market share of 14 per cent and 4.3 million customers. Norwich Union insures one in five households, one in seven motor vehicles and more than 800,000 businesses in the UK. It is the leading long-term savings provider with a life market share of about 12 per cent and more than 6 million

    Historically, staff managed marketing ideas, plans and financials using a myriad of different methods such as spreadsheets, databases and word documents. The company’s recent acquisition of motoring organisation RAC prompted it to rethink this approach and adopt a new marketing strategy that reflected the combined requirements of both organisations.

    Norwich Union has rolled out the Aprimo EMM solution to support its large marketing department and provide greater visibility of marketing spend and the ability to track results. The solution will also provide Norwich Union with a full audit history of each campaign and deliverable. This will aid internal governance and regulatory compliance.

    By establishing standardised processes and a central repository of relevant data, marketing teams can effectively plan, finance, and collaborate. In addition, they can execute marketing campaigns, removing waste and adding value to the bottom line.


    HBOS was formed in September 2001 following the merger between the Bank of Scotland and the Halifax Group plc. It |is now one of the UK’s largest companies and the UK’s largest lender with £120 billion in mortgage assets.

    The central CRM and Direct Marketing department of HBOS provides support to nearly every part of the company, promoting both Halifax and Bank of Scotland products. Approximately 100 direct marketing campaigns are currently executed each month.

    The HBOS direct marketing campaigns make a substantial contribution to the acquisition and retention targets of the relevant business areas. For example, approximately 20% of personal loan business and 30 per cent of general insurance business is being driven by direct marketing.

    Affinium from Unica has been implemented and is operational across the Halifax / Bank of Scotland customer base. The number of marketable customers Affinium reaches is a total of 20 million. In addition to managing marketing initiatives across mail, email and the call centre, Affinium will be used to supply branch-based campaigns that provide internal information so that employees can better advise customers on financial services products. The 20 per cent of personal loan business and 30 per cent of general insurance business that is being driven by direct marketing will be planned and executed through Affinium.


    Vendor Listing



    Vendor Case Studies

    Case study - MRM at Chevrolet Europe

    Case study: Streamline corporate marketing & increase marketing visibility

    Managing the production, sign off and storage of all marketing materials for Prudential

    Omniture makes time for


Replies (5)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By Tomcogswell
16th Oct 2006 13:49

I get your point Jeremy, but aren't you looking at MRM/Marketing automation etc software in the wrong way?

Its the whole CRM vs. Customer Relationship Management debate gone slightly awry (and back in time five years) again.

A piece of software is never going to be able to help you develop your own business processes, or decide on your strategic marketing for you. It will however provide the tool that allows you to deliver the best processes you have identified every single time, and provide you with all of the information you need to make the right strategic decisions.

MRM is in a very similar position to CRM software, but only in that if end-users expect it to be the complete panacea to all of their marketing issues they will be severely dissapointed - be sensible in what you expect the software to be able to achieve, and you will be happy.

Thanks (0)
Dr. Graham Hill
By Dr. Graham Hill
16th Oct 2006 14:03


MRM tools like those provided by Unica provide easy-to-use applications to help companies with large numbers of different campaigns targeted at large numbers of different customer segments to achieve an optimised return on marketing.

Just take a look at a credit card company like Capital One, which runs tens of thousands of marketing experiments per year. The enormous number of potential combinations of campaigns, campaign treatments and customer micro-segments, not to mention the wide range of business rules that control their execution, means that you cannot do this type of experimental marketing effectively without an appropriate MRM tool.

Using an MRM tool like Unica in no way rules out all of the customer-oriented, sense & response, discovery processes that are also part & parcel of modern marketing. These processes simply feed the MRM tools with further marketing experiments to try out.

As far as Strategic Marketing Management goes, I can't help but think that many companies would do a whole lot better with less marketing strategy, more marketing management and many more marketing experiments. The proof of the marketing is in the sales leads.

Graham Hill
Independent CRM Consultant

Thanks (0)
By Jeremy Cox
16th Oct 2006 16:56

Graham - as far as campaign management goes that's all fine and dandy.

If the organisation is blowing £millions on campaigns then providing some discipline is no doubt beneficial.

For more advanced organisations looking to keep ahead - MRM as it is today barely scratches the surface.

Tom - There is so much more to marketing than lead generation activities. You wouldn't think so though when terms like
'Marketing Resource Management' are used.

To my mind, MRM today doesn't go wide or deep enough for firms that already have effective marcoms budget disciplines in place.

Today MRM is really 'Marketing Communications Resource Management. It only deals with one element of the marketing mix.

Thanks (0)
By AnonymousUser
16th Oct 2006 17:27

Jeremy, I am intrigued to see that you think MRM today doesn't go wide or deep enough for companies like the Global 1000 that have Marcom budgets. Are you talking about MRM applications like Aprimo and SAS or do you mean more of a MRM thought leadership?

I have been watching the MRM space for a little while now. With the exception of Aprimo-who is the clear leader in the MRM space (according to Gartner) I haven't found any other providers that come close to Gartner's MRM visionary statements of today. Tom, since you mention Unica (as an MRM provider rather than a CRM provider with some lite MRM capabilities) I am interested in hearing your thoughts too.

I am also curious about where you all see the MRM space moving? Will it be viewed as a 'logical' linkage with something like CRM or ERP and positioned by vendors as such? Does MRM really have enough presence to stand on its own?

Thanks (0)
By Tomcogswell
17th Oct 2006 10:09

I think I should have made myself clearer in my previous post!

Jeremy, it seems you are talking about Enteprise Marketing Management (EMM) - not MRM.

If you have a look at Unica for example (you can see a brief description of the affinium suite here) they have one module which is MRM, and it does exactly what it does on the tin - it is a tool to be used to manage the resources available to marketing.

IMHO, this does match the gartner description, and possibly where some of the confusion comes from is that usually this module is sold as the core product for a total marketing suite. However, it is the other modules that you need to look at for the more in depth/strategic marketing issues:

Affinium model provides the insight needed to help making strategic decisions; Detect tells you when to contact customers/prospects for maximum effectiveness; Affinium Campaign; Affinium Leads; and Affinium Web Analytics (the last three are self explanatory).

Aprimo break their product suite down in exactly the same way, and call the total package "Marketing Enterprise Edition"

What I'm driving at is that I think that part of the problem is that in the same way that we can be lazy with CRM vs Customer Relationship Management, we are all guilty (including the CMC) of using MRM as a description of EMM - certainly looking at the content of this "focus on" it has been the case.

In answer to your question though Sharon, I can definitely see EMM as having enough presence to stand on it's own. Marketing is becoming more and more complicated, the internet being one of the major reasons for this.

When you have to manage customers and prospects that not only demand an interaction with a brand (rather than the historical passive "reception" of a brand), that choose when and how they interact with a brand, but also have become more fickle than ever before, marketers not only have to become more clever, but need tools available to make sure that they have the informaiton and support neccessary to make these decisions.

But Sharon, what is your/NCR's view of the EMM space? I know that you provide CRM, Self-service, and data (to name but a few!), all of which would seem to me to have the potential to work hand-in-hand with EMM?

Thanks (0)