July 27, 2010

Enabling MRM Success, Preventing MRM failure (Marketing Resource Management)

I met with 3 clients in the past eight weeks interested in implementing Marketing Resource Management (MRM).  So, I started kind of where I usually do – and asked why they thought it would be valuable to them.  More specifically, I asked them what kind of problem they wanted to solve with MRM.

Because it’s not about the technology.  Sure – the technology can solve all manner of problems.  However to make it successful – to have a great and rapid ROI on an MRM system that is welcomed and actively grown by the users requires something that should not wait for the business case to be proven out.

Simple reality – most organizations will hire outside help for their MRM implementation.  Most systems integrators (SI) can do the basic plumbing and set up.  Without damaging my credibility, I can say much of this work, if not planned and effectively controlled, is highly commoditized.  It’s not where the big value accrues to your organization.  That value you should obtain is defined in well articulated business needs, a solution that is well matched to your organizational structure and executed to grow with you.  These are often buried under the mountainous requirements and the IT- but not business – friendly approach in which they are articulated.  We want to save you from that rocky and overly difficult path.

We want to put you on the fast path to obtaining MRM value.

This series of posts on Marketing Resource Management will help you make better decisions about ANY system you are examining and even the one you have.  If you have had an MRM approach for more than 16 months, it can help you evaluate how to tune it, update it and get even more value from it.

Working with my eloquent and direct-speaking colleague Tripti Ahuja (one of our MRM experts with a background in multiple tools), we’ll discuss the strategic questions and practical approaches for implementing better marketing planning and resource management – starting from the beginning and staying with it straight through a 10 question optimization test for those of you who already have an MRM solution.  In other words, she will be helping you put into practice our advice – so having her as a resource earlier rather than later will save you time and money.  When last I checked, those two things are fixed commodities worthy of protecting.

Here is what we will cover:

Post 1:  You’re evaluating MRM, let’s make sure you’re well prepared (you are here…)

Post 2:  Getting more out of your MRM selection process

Post 3:  Building an MRM business case that management and the team can embrace

Post 4:  Preparing the organization for MRM

Post 5:  MRM user adoption that really works

Post 6:  Making the Marketing Planning knowledge you have grow and work for you

Post 7:  Tuning what you have – the post MRM implementation tuning questionnaire.

POST 1: You’re evaluating MRM, let’s make sure you’re well prepared


Step 1: what is the  problem, challenge or opportunity you want MRM to solve? This seems so basic, so obvious that we find clients can skip it.  You shouldn’t – because it contributes deeply to EVERY step that comes after it.  Having this understanding is your litmus test for priorities, options, approaches, and even where to begin in the organization.  So, all I am asking for is some deep thought and a slide or two in your presentation that indicates why.  Don’t worry, slides are free, so having them doesn’t cost anything but adds specifically to the ways you will quantify your benefits.

Is your challenge around…

PEOPLE: Whether internal to the organization, spread across one or multiple departments, working with agencies or external vendor partners, the organization has a need to better coordinate the human aspects of what is done.  We’ve seen a shrinking pool of marketing resources tasked with more work.  We also see the work of marketing spread across a number of people with different goals – such as finance, creative, channel management and manufacturing.  A people-focused solution is needed when a lot of various hands have a part in getting the work done.  It focuses on freeing up people’s time to focus on higher quality work.

PROCESS: Marketing processes are complex at the best of times, sometimes encompassing as many as100 steps.  Process-focused solutions introduce consistency and flexibility, autonomy and automation.  They are designed to handle the increased velocity all marketing professionals are encountering.  They dramatically improve the timeliness and quality of efforts. They prevent workarounds, rework, missed deadlines and encourage reuse.  Process focused solutions tend to include multiple channels, recognizing the need for closing the loop.  When management keeps saying they want a single view of all of marketing, that’s a clear indicator around a process focused solution.

REVENUE: If the organization’s primary MRM goal is to increase revenue – and that is the foundation of the business case, then data access, consistency and program queuing rise to the top of the requirements (these are not generally indicated as requirements but they should be).  If the goal is to improve cross-sell, basket size, follow-on purchase, or even my favorite – customer experience – you want a revenue-focused MRM solution.

Step 2: Prioritize the goals listed above for implementing an MRM solution. Assign 50% to your first goal, 30% to your second and 20% to your third.  It also helps you prioritize the metrics by which you will measure your success.  We’ll talk more about metrics in posts 3 and 4.  For now, you’re simply getting your act together.

Step 3: Consider 5 key areas of questions:

1. Organizational Expectations How does this project fit with your organizations and your marketing department’s goals?  Where does it accrue the  greatest value?

2. Desired OutcomesHow will success be measured?  How quickly do we need to get from pilot to demonstrated success?  And across what threshold of people, campaigns, programs, departments and geographies?

3. Change ToleranceHow good is the organization at absorbing change and new concepts?  How quickly can we ramp up and still have a quality approach?  How can we get stakeholders onside early and effectively?  How can we create champions that drive adoption?

4. Project ExperiencesHow can we define an approach that uncovers current and evolving needs?  How much future emphasis should we have in our project?  How many current projects have an impact on our success?  What obstacles do we have?  How can the project contribute to our ability to rapidly advance?  How do we mitigate risks?

5. Knowledge Enhancement How good is our current documentation of the business, partners, processes, data and channels?  How do we best share this knowledge across the organization – before and after the implementation? How do we enable users to contribute to a thriving environment by building, growing and sharing what we know including templates, techniques, governance, reporting and collaboration?

Once you’ve completed the three steps above, find a room, whiteboard and people  who will provide valuable input into organizing and understanding the needs and wants of the organization. Start by sketching out three rows down and 5 columns across and put what you know about each category into each box on the grid.  Add reference documents via post-it notes, so you can begin to capture what you know in one place that is easy to add to and is less space constrained.  Use another color post it note to indicate experts and resources and sponsors and potential champions.  Add another color post it to indicate current technologies and data sources – even if they are Excel-based, online or even external to your organization.  It’s important that they are represented.  Focus 50% of your time on your most important category and work down from there.  Place your time and attention on the things that matter most.  Now, mark the whiteboard “do not erase.”  Get the people who know the work and the organization and the truth about how things get done to come in and provide you feedback.  Collect as much of it as you can for as long as you can.

Now document it.  You’ll be far more ready to have highly targeted, outcomes-focused, performance driven conversation on what you want MRM to do for you.   This leads to a much better requirements approach and selection process – which is what we’ll cover in our next post.

Good luck – and reach out if you need any help.  That’s what we’re here for.

Cristene (aka Hermione1) and Tripti Ahuja

You can also find the blog post on Cristene’s blog by clicking here

PS – You’ll note, I did not say anything about how well an MRM solution fits into your existing IT architecture or how well it fits into your current enterprise marketing management platform.  Those are important secondary considerations.  I also didn’t ask if your data is in good order.  Since I have yet to find a great marketer who does not see at least some challenges with their data, I am not expecting data perfection.  I am expecting we’ll all have wrinkles and bumps and data warts to deal with.  It’s not just you.  Aim for very good.