The growing field of marketing resource management is transforming the way marketing departments and marketing firms organize their assets, structure their work, and allocate resources. This important discipline is still in flux and can mean different things to different audiences — and vendors.
In this guide, we’ll define marketing resource management in a way that makes sense for creative agencies and marketing teams. Plus we’ll cover the benefits of adopting this approach and discuss six of the top marketing resource management software tools.
Let’s jump in with a definition!
What is marketing resource management (MRM)?
Marketing resource management is a wide-ranging term, including both marketing project management strategies and specific software tools that facilitate resource management and other functions important in a marketing context. MRM helps organizations and their marketing teams better manage their various marketing initiatives.
As a discipline, marketing resource management brings together all the elements needed to make marketing happen, including processes, operations, workflows, content, customer data, and more.
As a set of software tools, marketing resource management software (MRM software) helps businesses streamline and optimize several or even all these areas, pulling sometimes disparate data into a centralized information hub and breaking down silos and barriers within an organization. MRM software serves as a nerve center that handles planning and production of marketing assets along with governance, analysis, and even reporting.
The key benefits of great marketing resource management
Admittedly, marketing resource management is an extremely broad and somewhat fluid term, and implementing it will look different at every company. Whatever your implementation looks like, you’ll gain benefits like these by implementing a solid marketing resource management strategy (along with the right MRM tools).
Not sure if your organization needs marketing project management software? Check out our five reasons why you probably do.
Makes planning marketing campaigns easier
As the number of marketing channels has ballooned, the process of planning and executing marketing campaigns has grown exponentially more complex. Resources that used to be created once now must be refinished and reformatted dozens of times, and each version needs to be perfect for its platform and that platform’s audience.
This environment makes it hard to keep marketing teams on the same page, and even planning campaigns sometimes gets out of hand. MRM software tools bring multiple functions into one place, making it easier to see the scope of campaigns and plan them out in a way that works for the entire team.
Is better planning and resource management the missing link in your marketing stack? Teamwork solves challenges from campaign planning to content production. See how and try for free today.
Creates a smooth workflow (and reduces busy work)
With marketing resource management strategies and tools in place, your teams no longer have to worry about versioning, emailing files back and forth, wondering what steps are next in a workflow, etc. If you choose a software solution that includes a content management or digital asset management system, all your creative resources will live in one place, too.
Less busy work tracking down files and emails and requirements and project documents means more time for your creators to create.
Helps with monitoring and tracking campaigns
As your marketing content and campaigns grow more complex, so does tracking the progress of various marketing activities. As your campaigns grow beyond what you can keep track of mentally (or in Excel templates), you need a better strategy for monitoring and tracking the progress your team members are making on various brand assets. When something stalls, you need to know (bonus points for automation that alerts you when this happens!).
Increases branding consistency
When your creators are all working on their own desktops, they can tend to flex their creativity in ways that may not be helpful. Sometimes it’s well-meaning and deeply creative — it just doesn’t adhere to brand standards.
The problem can be especially difficult for designers working on multiple accounts with separate brand identities: Mixing up a color scheme or font choice is embarrassing and can lead to costly rework.
Branding consistency is a notable concern worldwide, with 83% of marketers identifying the task as a significant challenge.
By syncing resources within a centralized resource management platform, your team can keep marketing collateral on brand, following your (or your clients’) brand guidelines (and keeping clients’ digital marketing assets separate from one another).
Already convinced that your marketing team needs a better resource management tool? See Teamwork’s powerful resource management capabilities, which are already supercharging marketing departments across the globe.
The 6 best marketing resource management tools
Here are 6 of the best marketing resource management software solutions leading a $3.18 billion market that’s growing fast.
Teamwork is a powerful project management, task management, and resource management suite built for the needs of marketing teams, creative agencies, businesses that do client work, and professional services teams. It includes powerful tools for managing resources on projects of all sizes and levels of complexity.
With Teamwork, you can map out projects over the coming months and years and forecast resources out into the future. And you can also execute day-to-day capacity planning, making sure you have the right resources available for the right projects at the right time.
While not necessarily a full-scale marketing resource management solution, Teamwork offers powerful functionality across many of the areas covered by MRM platforms:
Monitoring team workload
Visibility into all projects and campaigns (from planning to execution)
Ability to lay out and measure employee workload across projects
Powerful tools for organizing tasks and assigning them to resources
When used in combination with a digital asset management tool or content management system, Teamwork is a powerful component of the marketing resource management approach.
Intuitive platform is easy to learn and dashboards are easy to use
Provides powerful tracking across the content creation and planning lifecycle
Serves as a central hub for your marketing operations
Focused on project and resource management but doesn’t contain all components within the MRM bucket (no CMS, for example)
Impressively strong at what it does, but may require the use of companion martech tools
Widen Collective is a suite of six integrated applications that handle marketing resource management, digital asset management, and product information management. The flagship product, Widen, is primarily a digital asset management platform.
Widen was one of the first software companies to bring a digital asset management solution to market (way back in 1997), so they have a deep and rich history to draw from.
The suite of applications covers an array of functions, including:
Cataloging, managing, and delivering media-heavy assets
Connecting product data to marketing assets (and vice versa)
Insights into asset performance
Setting up portals to keep collections or brands distinct
Using powerful templates for on-demand web-to-print collateral
Workflow tools for streamlining work and content approvals
Overall, Widen Collective is extremely powerful and will certainly do everything you could need if you’re a creative agency. The question is whether the suite is too much for your needs: too complex, too bulky, too expensive.
Very powerful, wide-ranging suite of tools
Decades of history leads to superior service and a more mature platform
“Pay for what you use” pricing structure
Designed for midsized and enterprise organizations primarily for internal asset and resource management: may not be a good choice for creative agencies
Pricing is quote-based, not transparent
3) Adobe Campaign
Marketing teams are already deeply familiar with some of Adobe’s tools, so the company is capitalizing on that familiarity and ubiquity by offering a campaign management suite of tools. Adobe Campaign combines CRM tools with campaign management, allowing companies to create deeply personalized multichannel marketing campaigns.
Campaign offers centralized workflow management, marketing automation, personalized email marketing, customer data management, and a managed cloud experience.
Campaign isn’t a fully featured MRM system; in fact, its resource management and project management capabilities are light to nonexistent.
But if you’re looking for data-driven personalization, Adobe delivers something with Campaign that you may have a hard time finding elsewhere.
Personalized campaigns across all channels (print and digital)
Prospect search is a widely loved feature
Pricing: Campaign is part of the Adobe Experience Cloud, which creative firms may already be paying for
More an ancillary MRM technology platform than a full MRM solution
Designed for enterprise businesses with robust in-house IT resources
As a marketing automation platform, Campaign seems dated compared to modern cloud competitors
4) Image Relay
Image Relay focuses on the digital asset and product information piece of the marketing resource management pie. The company calls itself the “world’s first fully integrated marketing solution,” but unfortunately, that tagline may be an overstatement.
Image Relay is a fantastic tool for organizing photos and other visual marketing content, along with product information. If you’re a consumer-packaged goods brand, Image Relay might be near priceless in terms of value.
But as a marketing resource management platform, Image Relay is pretty sparse. You won’t be tracking campaigns or building out projects. You probably won’t use it to actually build complex campaign content, either. It can (usually) help you find the right images and content quickly, but turning that content into what you need to create? You’ll probably want to do that elsewhere.
A great solution for businesses with large catalogs of products (with associated image and product information)
Brings order to often chaotic image-based workflows
Maintains brand consistency by creating a single source of truth for images, design elements, and product information
Combination of hierarchical folder structure and weak search tool makes surfacing content a challenge for some users
Features very limited in scope
High price tag for limited feature set
MediaValet is a digital asset management tool designed primarily for marketing and creative teams. The cloud service allows your entire distributed team, including vendors and partners, to access, manage, and collaborate on any and all digital assets.
MediaValet boasts high-quality support and training and can support an unlimited number of users, making it ideal for large corporations as well. The service includes simple navigation and easy-to-use tools and supports assets and files of any type and size.
MediaValet is highly scalable and very flexible, but it doesn’t claim to be anything more than a digital asset management tool. It’s similar to Image Relay in this way: Both tools are great at what they do, but they can’t assist with anything resembling project management.
That said, pairing the capabilities of Image Relay or MediaValet with a robust project and resource management tool like Teamwork could give you the best of both worlds.
Supports files uploads of nearly any type, with tagging and detailed metadata
Allows you to easily invite external users to the files you choose
Gives users the freedom to manage content however they want (yet keep it centralized and accessible)
Another limited solution that may require using multiple tools for full-service marketing resource management
Dated user interface (no dragging and dropping or click and drag to select multiple files)
Lacks robust access controls (such as download-only rights)
Aprimo categorizes itself as a content operations platform that contains multiple offerings, including digital asset management, work and productivity management, and marketing budget management. The operation’s stated goal is to give CMOs and marketing groups a more intelligent way to produce more marketing campaigns faster and on plan.
The suite boasts AI-powered workflow enhancements and “content atomization.” Forrester includes the suite in its 2020 Forrester Wave™ report as a leading full-service MRM platform.
Though Aprimo offers a wide range of capabilities, implementation takes work if you want to get the most value out of it. Be prepared for tech-heavy implementation and integration with your systems, which may require support over time.
Tracks task and campaign progress
Offers a wide range of features and functions if you have the ability to custom-build
Very well integrated with many of the apps and services you’re already using
Out-of-the-box functionality is limited; requires implementation support
Fairly unintuitive UI and UX
Some users find the built-in workflows much less flexible than Aprimo claims
Manage your marketing efforts & resources effectively with Teamwork
Marketing resource management is a deep discipline, and organizations embracing an MRM approach require numerous digital capabilities and functions. Due to the technical complexity involved, there aren’t many full-service solutions that make sense for smaller companies or creative agencies.
One useful approach is combining the power of a digital asset management platform with a robust project and resource management suite.
For the latter, Teamwork is a fantastic choice: Teamwork is the project and task management platform built for creative teams. It’s perfect for marketing project management — powerful enough to do everything you could need, but user-friendly and intuitive for marketers and creatives to use and enjoy.