Marketing Resource Management market heats up

BrandMaker's decision to partner with a local integrator to bring its MRM solutions to the Australian market shines light on growing demand for marketing management technology solutions

Marketing resource management (MRM) vendor, BrandMaker, is looking to tap into growing demand for marketing management software and extending its reach into the Australian market.

The vendor has struck a partnership with nMerge to bring its Marketing Efficiency Cloud solution to local marketers, offering a raft of software-based marketing planning, budget and workflow capabilities. The platform is used globally by more than 300 brands including Bayer, Volvo and Commerzbank.

MRM solutions are gaining ground within the marketing technology landscape as CMOs look for better ways to manage and optimise increasingly complex marketing programs and strategies. In a survey published last year by MarketsandMarkets, MRM spend was expected to reach US$4.46 billion in 2015 and climb to $9 billion by 2020, an annual growth rate of 15 per cent.

Analyst firm, Gartner, defines MRM using five key capabilities: The ability to plan and budget marketing activities and programs; creating and developing marketing programs and content; collecting and managing content and knowledge such as digital asset, content and knowledge management; fulfilment and distribution of marketing assets and collateral; and the ability to measure, analyse and optimise marketing resources.

According to Gartner’s February 2016 Magic Quadrant Report for MRM, BrandMaker is a leading solutions provider in this space and posted 30 per cent growth in revenue between 2014 and 2015. Key software investments over the past year have been around connectivity into other systems and platforms, and include online/offline integration, Salesforce and Adobe Marketing Cloud integration, and better connections with social media channels.

“As a ‘pure-play’ MRM vendor, BrandMaker is an attractive option for clients who favour best-of-breed vendors and are seeking alternatives to large vendors,” the Gartner report stated. However, the analyst firm flagged some issues identified by clients around functional depth of the platform, especially around workflow flexibility.

BrandMaker isn’t the only vendor investing in MRM platform capabilities, either. Gartner’s report also highlights the strengthening competitive vendor market for MRM solutions, including the rise of enterprise software giants IBM, Infor, Microsoft, SAP, SAS and Teradata in the marketing capabilities arena. This has also raised questions about whether BrandMaker could be an acquisition target for a larger player.

Raab and Associates founder and principal analyst, David Raab, told CMO that MRM is coming to the fore as marketers use more channels and target to smaller, more refine segments.

“The number of channels, programs per channel, and content per program, have all increased. This makes MRM more important as a way to manage the increased volume and to facilitate reuse of materials to keep costs under control,” he said. “The larger number of digital messages also favours MRM, since it’s easier to manage digital materials than print or events.”

For Raab, key features of any MRM platform include tight control over which users can perform which tasks and change which programs, “to reflect greater division of labour by function within marketing and sales, and greater control by geographic region and product line”.

“Collaboration features are important as larger numbers of marketers must interact, comment upon, and approve materials,” he continued. “Look for project management features such as task assignments, view of resource workloads, notices of overdue tasks, and automated scheduling for new projects. Marketers need tight integration with financial systems to record budgets, estimated costs, and actual expenses, and to track committed funds through contracts.”

Raab noted several enhancements coming to MRM platforms that marketers should also be aware of, and said the most important enhancements involve tight integration with marketing automation and similar systems.

“This is so that libraries of materials managed in MRM are easily accessible for use in programs created in those other systems,” he said. “Specialised systems help coordinate use of materials by sales people, channel partners, branch and franchise marketers, and others outside the corporate marketing department. Some systems can easily reformat materials for reuse in different channels or create versions such as different sizes in the same channel.

“There is some progress in automatically tagging materials based on product, message, positioning, and other attributes; this supports richer analysis of results without the need for more manual effort.”

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