Businesses operating in fast-evolving markets and engaging in multichannel marketing have to cope with high levels of uncertainty and unpredictability. This is aggravated by the changes in the labour market due to the impact of the pandemic (such as the multiplication in the number of teams working remotely), which have further increased the degree of complexity to be dealt with.
Much more than in the past, today access to reliable, organised systems for the coordination and reciprocal updating of the people involved in marketing projects is a priority. What is required is software that enables a clear vision of the entire project.
In this context, MRM – Marketing Resource Management – tools provide valuable aid to people who manage marketing campaigns and projects. But how do they work? How do they relate to other tools that are gaining a larger and larger role in the daily operations of the marketing (and other) departments of large corporations and brands, such as DAM and PIM?
- Defining an MRM tool
- What are the benefits and who are they for?
- DAM, PIM, MRM: what are the differences?
- THRON is one of the MRM tools recognized by Forrester
1. Defining an MRM tool
MRM tools are one of the pillars of MarTech solutions. They are software packages that simplify the management of marketing campaigns and projects. An MRM tool enables the planning, organisation, management and optimisation of the various steps necessary for the performance of activities.
For companies needing to produce large amounts of contents, for distribution to different targets on a variety of channels, the use of MRM software is essential. In fact, these tools help businesses to reduce the risks arising from complexity and make both communications and operations smoother and more effective.
In detail, what does an MRM tool do?
Very briefly, it centralises the processes involved in the execution of a marketing campaign. Its aim is to improve the efficiency of the company’s marketing.
Workflow organisation is a key function of MRM tools. Solutions of this type enable workflows to be organised efficiently, assigning specific projects and tasks to colleagues and external associates and effectively involving every member of the team.
Thanks to the scheduling of activities and the centralisation of communications, the people involved in marketing activities at various levels always have the situation under control. Project leaders can verify the progress of every activity and approve or request changes to tasks very quickly. This avoids lengthy email chains or messages spread across various tools.
Thanks to streamlined, well organised workflows, MRM tools also ensure better control of results. In fact, these tools allow tracking of the various phases and the working status of each process, as well as monitoring of the performances of the team and every single project.
In particular, the best MRM solutions enable verification of the results of activities and calculation of the ROI, so managers can monitor the progress of processes and take action if they stray too far from their economic targets.
Another factor to be considered is storage capacity. MRM tools are able to aggregate the resources involved in a campaign.
Having shared, constantly updated resources and guidelines eliminates the risk of having multiple versions in circulation, or of time wasted informing teams regarding the resources or formats to be used.
NB: It should be emphasised that the centralisation logic of an MRM tool is restricted to collaboration and working process management: in this context, only a digital asset management (DAM) solution provides control of all the company's contents.
An MRM solution also enables management of other factors related to marketing campaigns, as well as tasks and workflows as such. For example, it allows the integration of third-party systems, the automation of file conversion, and the management and allocation of the budget.
The benefits of this type of organisation are obvious, especially for the people whose job it is to manage marketing campaigns. Concentrating resources and communications speeds up workflows and frees time, which can be used to focus on campaigns’ more strategic and creative aspects.
2. What are the benefits and who are they for?
An MRM system offers various benefits:
- Improvement of workflow management so everyone knows exactly what they must do, and how and when they must do it.
- Optimisation of use of resources because they are centralised and available to everyone contributing to the realisation of the campaign or project.
- Greater productivity and reduction of inefficiencies. Information is exchanged smoothly, because there is a single reference point for everyone in the conversation.
In general, workflows are created and managed in low code mode, so they can be configured without knowledge of programming codes. The most user-centric solutions offer simple but powerful drag & drop interfaces.
Everyone in any way involved in launch, communication or product development campaigns and projects benefits from the use of an MRM tool. All those taking part in activities linked to the marketing campaign work on a single tool, in every phase of the process.
Using the tools made available by the platform, it is possible to manage various people’s accesses, associate resources and assets to each of them, and allow the consultation of specific guidelines or informative materials. Therefore, every phase enjoys optimal organisation and everyone is provided with exactly what they need to do their job.
From a strategic point of view, it is invaluable for CMOs and marketing directors, for process supervision and marketing purposes. From an operational point of view, an MRM tool simplifies the work of both the company's in-house creative team and external partners (such as photographers, illustrators or advisors).
3. DAM, PIM, MRM: what are the differences?
MRM tools are just one part of the galaxy of technological solutions for marketing. Within the panorama of MarTech solutions, DAM and PIM are also hot topics. What are the differences between these tools and when is each of them the appropriate option?
DAM, PIM and MRM tools are all marketing software systems with various common features, but each of them has its own clearly defined function. MRM tools are designed for the overall management of a specific project or campaign. An MRM solution therefore provides functions needed for optimal organisation of the people and resources needed to achieve the campaign’s objectives, and to organise the various phases of the project from start to finish.
A DAM (Digital Asset Management) platform, on the other hand, is a tool for the overall management of a company’s digital assets, meaning documents, images, videos and audios distributed on websites, e-commerce platforms and marketplaces. A DAM tool is therefore a single source of reliable information for management of the whole company's digital assets.
PIM (Product Information Management) software is designed for the efficient management of product information (such as categories, colours, sizes, etc.). A PIM tool collects and organises all product information and enables its flexible, speedy management and distribution on every channel, such as e-commerce.
Some of these tools’ functions overlap and they are often used simultaneously to improve the management of marketing activities for channels such as websites, e-commerce platforms and marketplaces.
Management of processes (MRM), contents (DAM) and product information (PIM) enables marketers to create complete, satisfying purchasing experiences, reduce time to market and guarantee the efficient management of resources in general.
However, another fundamental factor for consideration is that when choosing these solutions, a company must have its needs and objectives clearly in mind. Although each of these software tools offers potentially useful functions, a global vision is necessary to avoid integration costs, duplications and the creation of information and functional silos.
In other words, the technological answer to a company’s problems (including marketing) is not multiple software packages but the choice of a versatile solution able to incorporate functions that embrace MRM, DAM and PIM.
4. THRON is one of the MRM tools recognized by Forrester
Exactly this versatility is one of the key characteristics of THRON, which within the ecosystem of MarTech solutions reaches beyond the “traditional” concept of DAM and represents a true DAM Platform. In fact, as well as the creation and management of ALL the company’s digital assets, THRON is strongly oriented towards their optimised distribution on any final touchpoint.
To achieve this, our platform provides centralised, synergic management of not only digital contents but also product information (the function usually provided by PIM tools). What’s more, through functions that simplify the distribution and use of content and allow the construction of coherent, flexible workflows, THRON supplies real support in the organisation of marketing activities and rationalises campaign costs, key features of the most commonly used MRM tools.In particular, THRON:
- Provides integrated management of creation processes, through both product photoshoot functions and integration with creative suites.
- Manages approval processes. Workflows are designed directly by users, independently and simply.
- Allows analysis of the progress of activities and the team’s productivity.
We believe that due to our positioning and a set of key functions that enable companies and brands to perform activities typical of Marketing Resource Management software tools, Forrester has included THRON in its “Now Tech: Marketing Resource Management, Q1 2022” report, an overview that recommends 28 MRM solution providers at the global level.
This is major recognition, because we think it confirms the versatility of THRON and its expansions. As well as providing the management of digital assets – like any DAM package – THRON also enables workflow management to maximise the collaboration between colleagues, the key objective of MRM tools.
In other words, THRON fully embodies the versatility that the best marketers require of solutions, by eliminating the silos, inefficiencies and licence and integration costs arising from the joint use of different systems.
To put it very briefly, THRON extends beyond DAM and to us, Forrester’s recognition confirms this.