On Message: The Maturing Market for Marketing-Specific CM

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Marketing Resource Management
The new wave of marketing professionals manages by the numbers, and technology companies have emerged to serve their needs. However, the market is mostly fragmented into products that serve specific marketing niches. According to Forrester's Anderson, Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM), as a vision of managing the entire marketing process in an organization, is considered ideal. "But nobody has the EMM Holy Grail yet," she says. "There is no single technology that puts it all together." However, Anderson says that Marketing Resource Management (MRM), the tools and applications to manage marketing process and resources including creative assets, strikes a chord, particularly with large firms. Her research shows that in firms greater than $5 billion in revenue, half indicate that they will adopt MRM technologies that enable them to better manage the marketing process and resources including dollars, creative assets, and people.

Todd Piett, senior segment manager at Unica Corporation, developer of the Affinium Suite marketing management software, sees technology helping with the concept of making marketing more service-like. "Marketers can take advantage of when clients call you, understand customer life-cycle triggers, and have visibility into and measurability of everything on the creative and analytic side," he says. Unica offers MRM products that help address marketers' requirements for better planning, budgeting, process management, and tracking of marketing initiatives with the ultimate goal of streamlining processes and freeing up marketers to spend more time on strategy and understanding customer needs. 

Lenox, a marketer of tableware and giftware, had relied on a proprietary, homegrown solution that often required the company's technical programmers to profile customers. "At Lenox, we are always looking for ways to gain deeper insight into our customers and understand their needs," says Jen Semrow, director of customer retention at Lenox. Company marketers wanted to bring in a technology to enhance its customer segmentation capabilities and increase the speed and efficiency of its marketing campaigns. They chose Unica's Affinium, which allows Lenox marketers to segment customers and execute marketing campaigns without IT support, decreasing their time-to-market and improving overall marketing productivity. "Using Affinium we can leverage our extensive customer datamart quickly and efficiently to deliver very targeted offers to different customer segments," Semrow says. 

An important end result of effective MRM is that it helps organizations establish standard, repeatable processes for developing campaigns and creative materials, cutting down on wasted resources. Unica's Piett says that with many marketing programs, there are multiple stages of customer interaction. "In some cases, people register their name and contact information but don't buy anything. This is a valuable prospect, but many companies don't target those customers well." Piett says MRM helps make marketing more of a service because of what marketers know about a customer based on the offers they've responded to. 

Costs for Unica's Affinium Suite range from about $100,000 to seven figures, depending on the size of organization, type of installation, and features. "Some clients such as Capital One want to have the servers on-site," says Piett. "Other companies prefer hosted solutions." With any database-driven product, implementation can take many months. "The must-have for implementation is the data to get going," says Piett. "Often customers end up making changes to the database at the time of implementation—that makes it more complicated." 

Right-Sized Technology
Marketing Resource Management isn't just for large companies prepared to invest hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in a product. Technology companies have emerged to fill the needs of the smaller organizations. For example, MarketingPilot is a marketing information system company that specializes in products for marketing service firms and the marketing departments of medium-sized businesses. "Our clients come at us with specific problems," says Ken Kornbluh, CEO of MarketingPilot. "The most common one is process management—they may not be sure where each project is in the pipeline. Symptoms of a problem are missed deadlines, working long hours, and not accomplishing much." Kornbluh says many marketers don't know where the marketing budget goes and they don't have metrics to manage the business. "There's a lot of opportunity to help people save money and to get more for the money they do spend," he says.

"When we were smaller, we could keep track of everything using paper files, Microsoft Outlook calendars, and Excel spreadsheets. But even then, some important items never made it into the folders, and doing things like comparing vendor costs took a lot of time," says Joel Lazar, VP of marketing at Transeastern Properties, a Florida-based homebuilder. "With our growth, it was clear we needed a better system. In the past, it might have taken an hour to do this kind of analysis, and that's assuming we had the necessary information." Lazar implemented MarketingPilot to capture the data and provide answers. "I can instantly see whether our home sales in a given community were what we expected, how I spent my budget, and whether spending more or less might have changed the outcome. It helps me think strategically to maximize our performance." 

According to Kornbluh, the cost of a MarketingPilot implementation is between $1,000 and $3,000 per user to purchase the application and about $100 per month, per user on an ASP basis. Kornbluh says a phased implementation approach works best. "Take it slow," he says. "You will benefit from it, but it will take some time to get used to."

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