The Digital Frontier of Marketing Resource Management

December 12, 2013 Neil Ingalls

Marketing Resource Management has typically been used within the context of print, direct mail, and premium items. However, as marketing campaigns have adjusted to consumer behavior and entered the digital world, MRM software has adapted to target the medium.  To achieve a greater understanding of MRM software in the context of digital marketing, let’s take a page out of the journalism playbook and examine the 5 W’s and one H.

The 5 W’s and One H

Who Benefits from Digital MRM? – This is all about business priorities. Some larger brands and manufacturers take a backseat to their local partners. They create online directories and/ or websites that highlight local businesses, sometimes at the detriment to their national brand presence. Think of this as an inverted pyramid, where online traffic is driven to the local guys at the base of the pyramid instead of the brand’s homepage. The exact opposite is also a strategy. Brands build out local pages, and provide software resources for local business to add their own information, all to drive consumers to the brand website. Depending on the national business priorities (and how the channel is organized) both of these options are excellent comprehensive digital strategies.

Why Use MRM for Digital Marketing? – This is a simple question to answer. If you are a brand that is looking to facilitate online presence for 500 local partners, scalability is key. MRM software is a perfect tool to facilitate the creation of the online properties en masse through brand designed templates and store database integration.  After the properties have been built, what happens if your brand changes direction either in products or something pedestrian like store hours? Without a MRM software solution you will have to update 500 websites. With the MRM solution, all you need to do is change the template, or mass update a database, and those changes can be pushed to all websites.  The centralization allows you to make changes to all of your member sites by updating one page in the system.

Building the local websites one at a time, or depending on the local businesses to take the initiative, creates a wild west of online presence that will not be easy to tame.  By providing a platform, you are creating an infrastructure by which your partners must use and comply. They are simply coloring within the lines that you have drawn, enabling your brand to have a massive presence with consistent look and feel.

When Should I Use Digital MRM? – From the beginning… As mentioned above, allowing local partners to create their own web presences with your brand information can lead to a wild west scenario. This can lead to needless in-network competition (think friendly fire of the online type) and can create larger brand inconsistencies.  “From the beginning” is not often an answer as many local partners usually have a presence before they become partners with the brand.  It is important to work towards consolidation, cooperation, and consistency to bring order to the situation. A MRM platform that provides template consistency and brings local partners under your corporate online strategy is the perfect solution.

Where Do I Use Digital MRM? – Everywhere...  All of your local partners will benefit from a web presence, social profiles, mobile sites, landing pages, local search, and local PPC, etc. You benefit by having control over the content, imagery, and the analytics that can flow back to your corporate marketing department. The more network members you can get onto the MRM solution that provides the branded-templated websites, and then all the other digital marketing products I mentioned, the better.

What is the Local Partner Going to Do? – The MRM software should have brand approved templates that can be selected by your local partners.  The local partners can then customize pieces of content that will appear on their websites (or other customer facing digital communique), as well as metadata and NAP information (Name Address and Phone Number).  Create an approval process so that your corporate marketing department can ensure quality BEFORE the local website is published.

How Do I Educate Local Partners? – Technology can be difficult, especially for business owners that are busy actually running the store.  To tackle this issue, ensure that the MRM platform is easy to understand and intuitive.  Also provide detailed instructions with screenshots to walk local partners through the tricky parts. The last and final resource that can solve this problem is a dedicated local marketing coordinator that will assist your local partners when they are really out of their realm. 

It is also important to provide the local stores with a guide to creating their own content, and instructions as to what keywords they should sprinkle into it. This is key to implementing the coordinated digital marketing strategy mentioned above and avoiding needless competition between your partners for the same keyphrases. 

Final Notes on Digital Marketing Resource Management

The implementation of any large scale software solution can be tricky, but as the 5W’s and one H above show, it has the potential to save large organizations time and money while maintaining consistency.  It allows for large scale changes from a centralized hub, meaning less work for you at the brand level.  By adding Google Analytics or tracking code to the local websites, you will be able to glean insight into your consumers and your local partners that can change strategy, products, and ultimately your bottom line.  The comprehensive nature of Marketing Resource Management lends itself to digital marketing because of the need to control your messaging and brand image, in a difficult arena, and also in a scalable way. Providing your local stores with an easy to use marketing resource management software to build themselves a web presence (and subsequently other digital marketing initiatives) empowers both you as a brand and them as business owners. 

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