Last updated on January 10th, 2020 at 11:00 am
Modern marketing is complex, requiring multiple teams with different complementary skillsets to come together to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Keeping up with competition, meanwhile, means that marketing must get content into market faster than ever before.
To help with this, marketing resource management (MRM) solutions have become a must-have for marketing teams today. But to make the most of this technology, it’s crucial to have a strong pulse on the insights that MRM can bring, as well as the metrics behind them. In turn, you can better understand how MRM systems fit into your business’s ecosystem.
Alignment of Work to Marketing KPIs
Marketers around the world want visibility into what’s going on in every one of their marketing regions. What many marketing leaders actually have is the feeling that there’s a good chunk of “rogue marketing” happening because of a lack of an approval process. On the other hand, some marketing departments don’t have issues with rogue marketing, but instead they have to ask themselves “who knows what’s going on?” In this case, marketing team leads are relying on email, which can get buried pretty quick in the Inbox during a busy day, or even less efficient tools to track initiatives resulting in things falling between the cracks and costing the company money in unaligned spend.
Here are the metrics that can help seal the cracks and save your company money:
- Marketing Projects by Strategies Run a simple report that pulls a list of activities that are pending, in-process, or completed and organizes them by the core marketing strategies of the company.
- Expected Outcomes by Strategies: Ask work requestors to put in a measurable expected outcome that drives the business forward for their request, then summarize these outcomes by strategy so you can see if your marketing is on-track to meet its goals.
- Actual Return vs. Expected Returns by Strategies: Before a project is closed off, capture outcome metrics and compare them to the expected outcome. Are you seeing trends? Are requestors accurately scoping their work and expected outcomes?
Real-Time View of Marketing Budget
Once the budget is assigned and the fiscal year starts, most marketing leaders lament the inconsistency of spend management across team leads. Some leaders are very detailed and track their spend as they make commitments. Others only keep vague records. MRM solutions make it easy to track spending in real-time across the entire marketing department, so any budget owner knows exactly where they stand. Not only that, marketing leadership can easily view a summary of budgets to see where the department spend stands at any point in time.
- Spend-to-Date: How much of the forecasted marketing budget has been spent? Which initiatives have been allocated the most spend? Is it the right mix?
- Forecasted Spend: We all know marketing works months and even years in advance of when final spend actually happens. Start tracking forecasted spend to avoid budget surprises.
- Committed Spend: Unlike forecasted spend, which is what you think might happen but could still change, committed spend represents immovable spend (things like your recurring SaaS technology contracts). Know what’s committed from your overall budget at any time so you can avoid making overspend decisions by assigning the budget another time after it’s committed.
- Unused Spend: Not all money, though, is committed, even if it sits in a budget. This helps you identify those unused funds and fuels proactive conversations with budget owners.
All marketing teams want to get content into market faster. The challenge is putting new policies into practice that accomplish this goal without burning out your teams. The way to accomplish this is by ensuring your decision makers are equipped with real-time workload data at the department level down to the individual level.
- Department Capacity Utilization: It’s popular in marketing to say that you’re “at capacity.” But what if you could point to the data and all the underlying projects in one simple view and show peers that you actually are? It would bring new meaning to being data-driven!
- Individual Workload: Every company is concerned about losing workers to burn out, but without data, you can’t anticipate when someone is going to hit their tipping point. Using task management in an MRM solution allows you to aggregate assignments to see how much work an individual has at any time and then adjust tasks as needed to relieve the pressure.
- % On-Time Delivery: How effective are your teams at delivering projects on-time? Identifying projects driven by processes that are constantly late allows you to find improvement opportunities such as getting more information earlier in the process, process bottlenecks that haven’t been smoothed, or to see if expected time assumptions are simply wrong.
Content Return on Investment (ROI)
Most projects managed in an MRM solution are geared toward developing a piece of content. Modern MRM solutions now encompass the entire content lifecycle, making it possible to easily tie internal expenditures and efforts to external outcome metrics and to calculate a holistic content ROI.
- Internal/External Usage: Once content is created, track how often it’s used internally and externally. Compare that usage against internal efforts to help determine whether the project was ultimately worthwhile.
- Content Reuse: Track how often an asset is reused in different contexts or settings. Reduce one-off work by using product imagery, stock imagery, or unique diagrams in different contexts.
- Holistic Content ROI: Aggregate actual spend from your budget metrics and your worker’s time invested on a project, then bring back external engagement metrics to calculate a holistic ROI on content. The more advanced and comfortable you get with your data, the more granular you can get in measuring your pieces of content.
The Innovation Pipeline
Innovation is something every marketer wants to spend more time developing, but because it’s such a gray area, it just never seems to happen. Capturing innovative ideas is a newer capability in MRM solutions, but it’s very powerful. Many great ideas are lost because of timing or required resources not being in alignment. But this loss of innovative thinking doesn’t need to happen if ideas are captured in a single place that’s also tied into execution. Now marketing leadership can go into a repository of ideas with accompanying expected outcomes and pick and choose to back innovations that could help reach their targets.
- Expected Outcomes and Efforts from Innovative Ideas: As the title of this metric suggests, quickly identify a mix of innovation to invest in that carefully balances effort (small, medium, large, for example) and expected outcome that is aligned to strategy.
Now that you have a better understanding of the insights you can get out of an MRM solution and the metrics that drive them, you’ll be better equipped to understand how MRM can fit into your existing ecosystem.