SAP Marketing Resource Management: What is it? And how can you get the most out of it?

28 March 2015

Simon Griffiths

Simon Griffiths

Consultant

You’re a marketing manager, you’ve worked out your strategy, you understand your target customers and the sectors you want to work in, and you have your products all sorted out. Now it’s time to plan your programmes.

What are your goals? How much are you going to spend? What programmes are you going to deliver? And how will you schedule them? At the same time, how will you also manage your suppliers, resources and digital assets to get your programmes executed across multiple communication channels?

This is an ongoing challenge faced by marketing departments across organisations of all types and sizes. This challenge becomes even more acute in the face of CEO’s demanding more from marketing departments whilst slashing marketing budgets.

So it has been no surprise that I’ve had many customers approach me to enquire about SAP Marketing Resource Management and the growing trend towards these technologies. In fact, I’m currently working with a $5b Consumer Products company to implement SAP Marketing Resource Management. We’ve just delivered a successful prototype and are getting ready for an implementation and global roll out. Customers are no longer simply asking “what is Marketing Resource Management?” but rather “how can I get the most out of it?” This is a shift away from exploring whether Marketing Resource Management is the right approach, towards a realisation that it is needed and a desire to understand how best to use it. This is what I will address in this post.  

What is SAP Marketing Resource Management?

For those who aren’t yet sure, Marketing Resource Management is essentially a toolset underpinning the alignment of people, process and technology to support marketing activities and the measurement and subsequent re-alignment of those activities to improve marketing efficiency and effectiveness.

The kinds of things you'd want to see in the toolset are the ability to:

  • Plan and budget for marketing activities and programs (strategic planning and financial management)
  • Create and develop marketing programs and content (creative production and project management) 
  • Collect and manage content and knowledge (digital asset, content and knowledge management)
  • Fulfil and distribute marketing assets, content and collateral (marketing fulfilment)
  • Measure, analyse, and optimise marketing resources (MRM analytics).

What is SAP's Marketing Resource Management offering?

SAP Marketing Resource Management is positioned as leader in Gartner's 2014 MRM magic quadrant. It is built on a platform of:

  • SAP CRM. For scenario planning, campaign planning (with the marketing calendar), budgeting (Marketing funds management), couponing and campaign execution
  • SAP BPS/IP. Integrated with SAP CRM for planning
  • SAP ECC. For purchasing, cost collection and financial controlling
  • SAP BW. For reporting with standard pre-packaged reports for Marketing Funds Management

How does SAP Marketing Resource Management fit together?

Here's a pretty picture to give you a general idea of how SAP Marketing Resource Management fits together.
 


SAP MRM currently lives in the On-premise world and the Digital Asset Management part is provided by OpenText (or an API for other 3rd party providers). From a licence perspective this really limits it to existing SAP houses as I'm not convinced you'd want purchase all of these products just to implement MRM. However, most customers with SAP ECC will have BI and many will find that their ECC business suite licences already have CRM thrown in.

What’s the fuss? How can I get the most out of Marketing Resource Management?

The idea of Marketing Resource Management might not seem all that ground-breaking, after all haven’t most business units been striving for efficiency and effectiveness by aligning people, process and technology for years? Well maybe they have, but the difficulty with understanding marketing effectiveness in particular is summed up in the old adage "we know that 50% of our marketing budget is effective, we just don't know which 50%".

So to get the most out of SAP MRM we have to use the toolset to drive a number of key benefits:

  • Create a collaborative and organised environment with easy self-service access to resources and re-usable digital assets. This is particularly true for distributed marketing organisations with local offices supporting local markets and enables more control at a corporate level
  • Use automation to eliminate the repetitive and redundant tasks which hold many marketing departments hostage, free up your stakeholders to focus on marketing and not admin
  • Create end-to-end control and transparency of where resources are used and funds are allocated/ spent, improve the accuracy of your budgeting process
  • Streamline processes and accelerate time-to-market of your campaigns. This will also allow you to delivered a benchmarked service

The bottom line is that there is an increased expectancy of accountability and this accountability requires transparency. Accountability and transparency can be achieved using a Marketing Resource Management tool-set.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race