The Evolution of Marketing Resource Management

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
November 29, 2022
evolution of marketing resource management

Marketers have an undeserved reputation for just “making things pretty” when really we do so much more than that.  

Enter: marketing resource management (MRM). A category that has been around for over a decade, but is now changing and becoming even more important to today’s marketing executives. MRM is the process marketers use to manage all their marketing assets and better plan and budget for marketing initiatives. MRM systems unify the entire scope of marketing planning and execution so leaders can streamline operations and gain visibility into all marketing investments, and their impact.  

As MRM processes continue to mature, they help marketers move from a chaotic, reactive state to a proactive and predictive state. In fact, Peter O’Neill, a Research Analyst who has worked with companies like HP, Gartner, and Forrester, has been studying the transformation of MRM and predicts that MRM will replace marketers’ classical lead generation paradigm. Instead, marketers will use MRM to understand and impact the full customer experience. 

He recently conducted a research report with 1,500 marketing leaders around the world about what MRM means to them today, why they’re utilizing it, the biggest challenges for deploying it, and what tools are leading the pack in the MRM tech space.   

We caught up with Peter at the B2B Marketing Expo in London for his key takeaways on the evolution of MRM and what it means for marketers.  

The Evolution of Marketing Resource Management

Traditional MRM used to focus on what the name implies—how marketing teams are utilizing their resources at hand, mainly digital asset management. But today, MRM is much more than that. When Peter and his Research In Action team asked marketing leaders what processes are seen in the context of MRM, almost 80% said “financial management,” followed by “marketing calendar management” and “marketing performance management.” Last on the list was “collaboration support” and “brand management.” This shows the evolution of MRM from pure asset management to the operational and business side of marketing.  

He also found that how companies define MRM depends on the complexity and maturity of the marketing work being done. For example, one company’s DAM consolidation project may be another company’s MPM project. For others, MRM is used interchangeably with marketing project management, campaign management, or even work management.  

His research found three broad types of MRM projects:  

  • Resource management: managing resources such as assets and people.
  • Spend management: building transparency with how the marketing budget is spent and reporting on that spend.
  • Workflow management: setting up internal and external workflows for project management, and helping to predict and forecast resourcing requirements for marketing projects.

Major Drivers for Marketers to Use MRM  

When asked what the top three expected benefits were for using MRM, the top response was to demonstrate their overall marketing ROI, followed by reduce overall marketing operations costs, and increase brand consistency. When you compare this data with a similar study they conducted in 2020, it’s clear that MRM is now much more about operations and financial management than just asset management.  

With CMOs under more and more pressure to prove the impact of marketing, leveraging MRM can help brands highlight the financial contribution that marketing has on the overall business.  

Today’s savvy CMOs are looking for a complete MRM solution that allows them to forecast, measure, model, analyze and even predict their business outcomes. This process will only continue to advance in the years to come.  

Three Things CMOs Should Look for with MRM Tools

Peter and his team spoke to marketing leaders and asked them about the criteria they look for in MRM platforms. These are the three most important checkboxes to fill:  

  • Takes inputs from all players in the marketing ecosystem—for many companies this can include geographic entities or subsidiaries and even business partners 
  • Collects live data in real-time to support decision-making 
  • Provides recommendations and insights based on AI 

See what matters most to marketing leaders selecting an MRM tool

Read Research In Action’s report on why marketers need to invest in MRM, what CMOs need in their MRM solution, and a review of the best tools in market.

Read now

The Biggest Challenges When Deploying MRM 

Despite the enthusiasm and best efforts, deploying an MRM tool is not a quick solution. Two-thirds said data consolidation is the biggest challenge—noting, “we have a lot of data sitting in different siloed systems and struggle to get a single customer view.” Another key challenge was integrating their martech processes and data with other business systems in the company. Finally, another hurdle was the lack of time and resources to use the technologies effectively. 

To overcome these hurdles, marketing leaders need to choose the right MRM software that can connect to the systems they already use, provide a single source of truth, provide confidence in the data that’s being generated, and be a real partner to assist with internal adoption and change management.  

How Different MRM Tools Stack Up 

Marketing’s need for financial reporting is driving MRM investment. There are currently a variety of platforms that market themselves as MRM tools.  

Research In Action conducted their 2022 global survey of MRM, interviewing 1,500 buyer companies and has released the top vendors, based on product, company and service quality. Uptempo was the number one solution (at the time, BrandMaker and Allocadia were two separate companies; and they took the number one and two slots. Since then, we have rebranded as Uptempo.)

The study found that Uptempo “bridges marketing strategy and execution to bring transparency into all aspects of marketing work,” and that we “promote a concept of marketing business acceleration instead of the more-static MRM problem, enabling CMOs to be responsive to market disruption and to new opportunities.”  

Overall, the marketing leaders surveyed found that Uptempo was “the preferred vendor for companies requiring consistent marketing fulfillment functions across hundreds of dealers, franchises or country subsidiaries.”  Which is how we received the top value recommendation index of 98% and high scores for our vision, go-to-market, and innovation.

What to Expect for MRM in 2023 

Marketing is constantly evolving—and the way it’s measured and managed does too. It’s never been more important for marketing leaders to understand MRM and think about how to gain full visibility into everything that’s happening in your marketing organization. The result is getting a single source of truth about marketing’s financial impact on revenue. Now that’s a line we’d want to make pretty in a slide deck.   

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Interested in learning how 625k+ marketers around the globe are using Uptempo for their MRM needs?

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