Marketing Resource Management

Drive Higher Response with the Right Mix of Creative, Data and Technology

Direct mail is just as relevant now as it was in the pre-digital era. Today’s most successful modern direct mailer goes beyond superior creative strategy and execution to get response. They succeed with sound data practices, efficient technology and a multi-channel strategy to maximize outreach and results.

Use these 12 tips, and banish the generic stand-alone mailer that gives recipients no reason to open or act.

Design and Copy: Creative Formats that Capture Attention

  1. Get Creative with Size, Shape, Color and Paper Selection
    Possibilities abound to help achieve strong visual presentation: textured paper, oversize mailers, bold colors, embossing, dye-cutting. The more the piece can pique curiosity, the more likely recipients are to open it. Formats such as the Iron Cross or a 3-dimensional “box” mailer are modern approaches that stand out. (Make sure your piece adheres to postal regulations, however.) While these elements might cost more up front, the investment often pays off in terms of a response.
  2. Include Elements that Add Perceived Value
    Give recipients something to keep – e.g., a magnet, sticker, wallet-size card – to keep your brand and URL within reach. And remember to tease the included item on the outer envelope.
  3. Create a Compelling Outer Envelope
    Make opening your mailer irresistible. Tease the offer, and also consider including copy that signals something of value is inside. For example, labeling a mailing as a “kit” or including a “Do not bend” line can result in higher open rates.
  4. Include a Strong Offer
    Promote an offer that entices recipients to connect with your brand. Maybe it’s the opportunity to obtain a free sample, discounted service or complimentary consultation, or an invitation to a private brand event. Remember, a direct mail piece alone may not be sufficient to sell your product or service … but if you can sell an offer, you’re a big step closer to winning a customer.

Data: Engage the Right Audience at the Right Time

  1. Segment and Target
    Analyze your data to identify niche segments among overarching demographics. For example, perhaps you’ve broken out a list by household income. Segment that audience into subsets based on life stage – e.g., single, household with young children, approaching retirement age – and hone your message and imagery accordingly to drive relevance.
  2. Personalize
    Create a more authentic connection with individual recipients. Tailor offers and coupons according to previous purchases, shopping habits (e.g., in store or online?), and anything else useful you can glean from your data. Personalization matters, and it works.
  3. Use Software for Purchasing Data and Managing Direct Mail Lists
    The degree of success among purchased lists varies widely. Software is out there that can help you make the best decision regarding the lists you purchase, and also to help you maintain clean lists – essential to direct mail success.

Technology and Digital: Streamline and Track Efforts

  1. Use Variable Data Printing (VDP) to Produce Highly Personalized Pieces
    If you’re going to create data-driven, personalized pieces, you’ll need a printer with VDP capabilities. With VDP, artwork and text can link to predetermined data points so you can tailor the printed piece to an individual recipient.
  2. Incorporate Landing Pages and PURLs
    Landing pages are a great tool to drive lead generation, and they also provide a way to track response. Personal URLs (PURLs) – personalizing the landing page address with the recipient’s name – can dramatically increase response rates.
  3. Achieve a Sleek-running Campaign with Marketing Resource Management (MRM) Software
    MRM provides a more streamlined way to create and distribute direct mail. With centralized storage of assets and automated workflow management, MRM increases consistency and efficiency. MRM helps speed time to market, standardizing campaigns and reducing costs.

Go Multichannel: Amplify Reach and Impact

  1. Carefully Select Additional Channels
    Direct mail should not be an isolated effort. Determine the channels that will be most effective for the campaign goals and your audience, and use them to complement your direct mail campaign.
  2. Incorporate Several Touch Points
    Remember that it can take more than 10 touches for your message to break through and inspire action and brand engagement. Use your direct mailer to encourage social media interaction, or to drive recipients online to learn more. Supplement with a series of email touches. Consider wrapping digital advertising into the media mix.

Need Help with Your Next Direct Mailer?

Plymouth Meeting, PA-based Strata Company specializes in data-driven direct marketing and technologies that help companies create more relevant, personalized marketing. A leader in direct mail marketing for nearly two decades, Strata has experience helping businesses create highly targeted multichannel marketing campaigns. Contact us to learn more.

Utilizing MarTech to Correct Inconsistencies and Save Time

Human error is estimated to be one of the single biggest risks for many businesses. Global analyst firm IDC estimated the cost of human error in UK pharma alone to be over 27 million dollars in their ‘Counting the Cost of Employee Misunderstanding’ report. Additionally, 89% of companies claimed they saw productivity levels drop due to human error and 85% said their reputation among peers and clients suffered as a direct consequence.

In today’s constantly evolving marketplace, avoiding human error is key to staying competitive but has become more challenging than ever.

Marketing Resource Management (MRM) is one of the ways to fix that.

If you want to remain competitive in a national or global marketplace, your operation cannot lose time, money and resources managing and executing redundant processes, and fixing the mistakes that inevitably occur under such circumstances.

Human Error in the Workplace

A recent “P-Touch Means Business” survey suggests the average employee wastes nearly a full work week every year looking for lost or misplaced materials. Risk Management Magazine says enterprises are losing around 37 billion dollars due to “employee misunderstanding”.

Human errors in proofing, lost materials and inefficient (or incorrect) business processes can be measurably—if not completely—diminished by employing marketing resource management software as your intelligent solution to streamline your company’s efforts.

Just like the spellcheck on your word processor, MRM can help correct inconsistencies and lost time or delays throughout all of your marketing processes. Utilize MRM solutions to streamline communications between stakeholders, manage data and marketing materials from a central location, and ensure brand compliance.

MRM can improve your marketing processes by eliminating entire areas of potential human error, such as:

  • Data and marketing list management
  • Brand and regulatory compliance
  • Proofing of marketing materials
  • Misuse of images and photos
  • Consistency of general business processes

Marketing Resource Management in Practice

Below are two examples of how marketing resource management can be utilized in your business. The following are based on the experiences of one or more companies:

  • Company A is a national chain of retail stores. They’ve allowed their regional branches to promote their business via local advertising campaigns. Unfortunately, because the local branches bypassed the appropriate chain of command and did not proof the marketing materials correctly, brand integrity and reputation were negatively impacted. Since implementing a MRM solution, Company A was able to allow autonomous regional marketing campaigns while maintaining national brand consistency.
  • Company B is a food services provider for a variety of organizations, from university cafeterias to corporate catering events. Costs and pricing can vary significantly from location to location; when menus were being created manually, it became harder to ensure correct pricing. So how do you eliminate or minimize the mistakes that can happen across thousands of locations with infinite variability in menu items, costs and local market conditions? To balance this critical strategy, Company B utilized a marketing resource and operations solution to allow corporate to lock in pricing based on location and uphold contracts.

These are just a couple of real life examples of how MRM has helped businesses in the past. No matter the diversity of industry or the problems faced, marketing resource management software can be customized to work for you to improve profits by eliminating human errors and the dramatic consequences those errors can have.

Strata’s Cloud-Based MRM Solutions

As the business world becomes more complex, daily challenges demand smart, sophisticated solutions. It’s time to stop writing off human error as a cost of business and take your marketing efforts to the next level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness with marketing resource management.

Learn more about how Strata’s innovative marketing resource management solutions can help you – download our free guide on How MRM Helps Streamline Marketing Processes or contact us directly at any time.


How a Shared Central System Helps Reduce Errors in Marketing Content

The MRM systems space will grow 15% each year for the next five years, with expectations to reach $9 billion by 2020. The growth is attributed to the desire for cloud-based platforms that better organize brand assets, allow marketing teams across an organization to stay consistent with brand guidelines and retain compliance, and help streamline approval processes. The gains in speed, efficiency and cost savings through Marketing Resource Management systems also benefit business marketing materials themselves.

Here are four ways MRM improves marketing materials:

    1. Improve Consistency in Marketing Materials
      From distributed marketing networks with multiple franchises across various geographic locations, to companies with one main marketing team executing a variety of campaigns, all businesses benefit from having a centralized digital location where assets and marketing materials can be housed. By utilizing MRM software, your company can keep marketing materials consistent by:
      • Using pre-approved stock photos or designed graphics
      • Standardizing branding colors and pallets
      • Repeating core messaging to the correct audience

      Wells Fargo is a great example of consistency with marketing materials. They keep their branded communication bold and traditional, aligning with their proud history of more than 150 years of banking success. Wells Fargo’s marketing materials and campaigns focus on their core values: strong ethics and customer satisfaction. You can easily find references to these values in their marketing materials and slogans, such as “Together we’ll go far” and “The next stage”.

      Using consistent marketing materials allows Wells Fargo to use the same font, color, and logo across all marketing platforms. Their symbolic stagecoach is recognizable and the message is clear. Today, Wells Fargo is the 23rd largest company in the U.S.

      With MRM systems, sometimes also referred to as MAM (marketing asset management), marketing materials are produced more quickly and disseminated for testing across markets. This improves the speed and efficiency in gleaning insights that can provide valuable feedback for marketing materials to be improved in the future.

      Marketing resource management software makes it easy for marketers to organize their marketing materials any way they want, so they can see trends in marketing successes based on specific materials used. MRM systems also allow marketers to return to past campaigns and improve and refine them based on current needs.

      Local markets and independent vendors won’t be creating marketing materials that fall out of line with corporate brand standards, providing a seamless brand experience that still allows for localized messaging.

    2. Improve Marketing Materials for Local Messaging
      Because marketing resource management gives local and independent arms of a corporation clear expectations about brand guidelines and compliance standards to uphold, local marketers are better able to focus on using those specifications to support targeted messaging. They can save time on having to go through approval processes because they’ll already have access to corporate-approved templates and begin to market to local audiences. By utilizing templated materials, marketers at a local level can drop in pre-approved images, customize copy and insert offers aligned to the nuances and preferences of customers in their area. MRM enables a brand to maintain its core look and feel while addressing the demographic differences in age, culture, etc., appropriately.

      Target is a great example of a large brand utilizing marketing materials to appeal to a local audience. The brand realizes that guests may not know the full impact of their community efforts, so they are creating marketing campaigns directed toward locals in the communities.

      Jeff Jones, Target’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer states, “We want our guests to see and feel that when they shop at Target, they’re part of something bigger than a transaction,” said Jeff. “We knew an authentic campaign, that builds brand love and shows the real stories of how our team members are changing lives across communities and areas of our business, could make that happen.”

      From its sleek store designs to its popular commercials and other promotional spots, Target works to establish themselves as the only high-end discount store for locals. With their consistent color scheme and charming commercials that humanize the large company, customers begin to develop a bond and sense of loyalty with the brand.

    3. Decrease the Probability of Costly Legal Issues
      Every business has compliance standards that must be met in order to protect its product, employees and customers. Especially for industries such as those related to healthcare, government and banking, compliant messaging is of utmost importance in order to remain in business. MRM software helps businesses follow legal regulations.

      MRM systems allow businesses to not only upload brand-compliant templates to a centralized portal, they give businesses a space to share the latest versions of brand guidelines, compliance trends related to the industry, and ensure marketing materials abide by legal standards. Marketing resource management could save some businesses potentially millions of dollars related to legal issues by using marketing materials with the wrong imagery, wording, etc.

      With greater visibility into marketing operations because of a shared central system, mistakes in marketing materials are reduced. Approvals are more efficiently managed, and help guarantee errors that could potentially damage the brand, including messaging that is not compliant to regulations, are not disseminated in marketing materials.

      The availability of branded templates that have already been edited and approved gives marketers the peace of mind to know what they’re distributing is corporate-endorsed and designed within brand standards.

    4. Bolster More Creativity Among Employees
      Because of the cost savings accrued through improved efficiency and the elimination of slow and outdated tasks, marketing teams are able to be more creative when devising marketing materials and new campaign ideas. They don’t have to worry about mundane duties involving approval and compliance. They can focus their skills on crafting engaging messaging, graphics, videos and more.

      The 2014 State of Enterprise Work Report study conducted by Harris Poll found employees spend less than half of their workday on primary job duties. Excessive email, conflicting priorities, lack of communication, lack of standard processes for workflow, and ineffective team collaboration were all cited as distractions that decreased productivity. MRM systems eliminate these distractions so that marketers can focus on what should be their core objectives.

      With MRM systems, the sharing of ideas throughout corporate and with local markets and independent reps is increased because various key stakeholder have access to marketing materials and are able to contribute their input. Employees from departments including operations, legal and finance may all be able to improve marketing efforts if they’re involved in the process, and MRM software better enables their participation with quick access to various assets.

      Markets may get inspired by local campaigns in other markets and use those techniques to apply to their own marketing materials. Improved collaboration allows all markets and representatives to get on the same corporate page while also feeling empowered to share and improve on ideas.

Upgrade Your Marketing Materials with Strata’s Cloud-Based MRM Software

Strata’s MRM systems are the industry leader in helping businesses gain greater control of their brand, content and operations. We help mid-sized businesses to global enterprises operate more quickly and more efficiently, saving money while improving products so businesses can better satisfy their customers. Our flagship solution, MarCom On Demand, has helped hundreds of businesses just like yours improve their marketing materials with the help of marketing resource management.

With custom solutions to fit any business need, call us for a free consultation on how we can help you, at 610-941-6100. Or, contact us for more information.


Optimize Local Marketing, Centrally Manage Content, Track Spend and Automate Workflow

From physical mail and email, to flyers and in-person sales, spending on marketing is expected to increase in 2016, as marketing consulting firm Winterberry Group predicts a 6.4% growth to $163.7 billion. Email marketing is considered the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States, yielding a whopping average of 4,300% return on investment for businesses, according to CMOCouncil.org. More than 62% of the top performing organizations use marketing resource management (MRM) systems to elevate direct marketing programs, and streamline efforts to make them more efficient and cost-effective.

MRM systems allow marketing team members throughout an organization to have anywhere-access to the materials they need to better optimize marketing efforts. From spurring more personalized interactions, to responding more quickly to needs and changes in the market at a local level, here are some quick reasons why your business should utilize MRM platforms to improve direct marketing processes:

Optimize Local Direct Marketing Programs

For enterprises or mid-size business with multiple geographic locations, a marketing resource management system improves local efforts since marketing assets are contained in one centralized area. Successful local direct marketing relies on visuals and messaging that resonates with various target audiences, but it also needs to align with the corporate brand and strategies.

Varying types of direct marketing programs may also have more success locally versus on a larger scale. For example, direct mail is the preferred channel for receiving marketing from local retailers and banks, while email was preferred for events and competitions. Keeping assets for a variety of campaigns in a central location benefits both individual markets and the whole enterprise, which can learn from other markets. This creates an integrated, efficient process for enterprises juggling national and regional programs.

Centralize Brand Assets

For businesses with multiple locations in different geographic areas, and for corporations that have franchises, field sales, distributors or channel partners, MRM platforms allow your business to store approved, compliant digital assets and customizable, branded templates that can be used in direct marketing programs.

With the ability to set user permissions and view past creative for inspiration and guidance, marketing resource management ensures consistency among all branded materials including graphics, videos and copy.

Manage Workflow with MRM

Having cloud-based MRM systems enables streamlined production since content can be downloaded, customized, ordered and distributed in real time. Proofing and approvals can occur within the tool including getting feedback from management and monitoring version history.

Executing direct marketing programs can happen instantly, allowing stakeholders to take advantage of timely and localized events and better connect with prospects and current customers. As an added benefit, different permissions profiles allow for certain access and usage among different departments.

Maintain Brand Control and Compliance

Web-based brand management systems like MRM help ensure companies follow best practices, business rules and regulatory and legal requirements in their direct marketing programs. These solutions allow easy access for management to review materials as needed. Once assets are approved, they may be stored and accessed by users based on authorization.

Important brand guidelines may also be stored as resources in MRM systems, to save time on training a marketing team and ensure the creative team develops compliant content from the beginning of any project.

Track Direct Marketing Spend

Eliminate over-spending and misspending by tracking usage and orders more precisely with marketing resource management. MRM systems give businesses the ability to report on direct marketing programs spending, purchases made from direct marketing efforts, and return on investment from both work conducted and price discounts offered.

Businesses may use budget spending to derive analytics that allow them to refine the direct marketing strategies that are working and discontinue or improve others. Without accurate budget tracking provided by MRM systems, accurate analytics to improve processes are more difficult to obtain.

Scale Your Direct Marketing as You Grow

As your brand assets evolve and your company expands on marketing efforts, MRM allows for fluent scalability. Scalability is vital for organizations because it allows for:

  • Ability to adapt to changing strategy
  • Easy adoption as businesses change and grow
  • Agility to evolve with your customers
  • Expansion of new product offerings to existing customers
  • Capability of focusing on new targets and reaching new goals

Strata’s MRM platforms seamlessly evolve with your business, allowing you to retain historical data and add to your assets without the need for purchasing new marketing resource management software. Using customized technology to manage direct marketing programs makes rapid growth easier to prepare for and adjust to.

Improve your Direct Marketing Process

To evolve adroitly with the times, your company’s direct marketing programs should be driven by technology and create more personalized experiences with your target audience. MRM platforms allow your marketers to execute campaigns more quickly and easily, and with greater accuracy, leading to significantly more efficient direct marketing campaigns at a regional and national level.

Contact us to learn more about how Strata’s innovative marketing resource management solutions can help you.

The History and Evolution of MRM Systems

The term marketing resource management (MRM) began gaining popularity after the dotcom bubble in the late 1990s. It refers to a class of software that streamlines processes and cut costs for marketing departments from all industries. Since its arrival, the largest brands in the world began adopting MRM solutions for content sharing and creation, print on demand (POD), inventory management, project management and other processes in their marketing departments.

Today, marketing resource management is essential for effective marketing efforts due to the number and type of channels (smartphones, tablets, phablets, etc.) consumers utilize to get their information about a product or service. MRM simplifies these complexities, accelerates processes and ultimately increases business’ bottom lines.

Evolution of MRM Systems

The earliest MRM systems were focused on business efficiencies and cost savings. The industry saw increased competition by 2008, with more providers offering email integration, budgeting and asset management. Software as a Service (SaaS) and social media capabilities were added in the latest stage, and MRM adoption rates grew six-fold from 2005-2012.

Some of the early features of marketing resource management became obsolete as free services began saturating the market, particularly Google Calendar, Dropbox and various free flowchart apps. These back office functions don’t necessarily make your company money, but their administrative purposes proved to be vital to a company’s marketing process.

The goals of a good marketing resource management system at the turn of the millennium were efficiency, simplification, connectivity and speed in business’ marketing operations. The idea was not to completely scrap what you already have in place, but to make it all work in a more organized, productive fashion. MRM has continued to evolve as the world becomes more connected, dispersed and demographics’ needs expand for different companies.

The purpose of MRM is to ultimately strengthen an organization’s marketing proficiency. Every company can benefit from the centralization of marketing assets and streamlined processes that are conveniently administered via the cloud. Effective MRM solutions shepherd projects from conception to execution, and alleviate labor-intensive processes so your staff can save the company time while focusing on what they do best.

How Your Company Can Benefit from MRM

New technology has driven demand for MRM higher than at any other time in its short history. In fact, it’s predicted that the MRM market will double from a $4.6 billion enterprise to over $9 billion by 2020. Companies that wish to incorporate evolving technologies like automation in marketing asset management, content creation and distribution, and reporting into their project management workflows will rely on MRM to keep them up-to-date on these offerings and help with execution. MRM providers act as a valuable resource within marketing departments and offer scalable, customizable software to meet each clients’ particular needs.

The 2014 “High Cost of Low Performance” report by the Project Management Institute found that only 56% of company initiatives across the board meet their original objectives. Lack of strategy implementation and support from executives were cited as two of the primary causes of the high failure rates. MRM solves these and other problems that impede on market campaign success.

Then there are evolving industry-specific challenges. For instance, tougher regulations have forced big-box corporations to adjust their approaches in small communities. A 2014 Harvard study noted an increase in smaller Walmart Neighborhood Markets and Tesco Express stores to circumvent regulations meant to protect small businesses. This reality forces businesses to customize marketing campaigns and ramp up customer loyalty efforts at a local level in order to compete. Through the use of a personalized MRM portal, small and enterprise level companies can keep their target demographics engaged while distinguishing themselves from the competition.

Getting Started with Marketing Resource Management

Many companies have all the ideas in place and the brand assets created to launch marketing campaigns that increase profits and better disseminate their brands. What’s typically missing are well-defined processes and the vehicles to get the most out of your efforts. Personalized, scalable MRM solutions provide companies with all the necessary tools and efficient processes on a cloud-based portal that adjusts seamlessly as your needs evolve.

Contact Strata to see how a customized MRM system, specifically designed for your business, can help you improve processes and reach a greater level of success.

Moving Beyond DAM and Why It May Be Crucial to Your Success

As technologies develop, digital assets proliferate, and channels increase, the need for centralized marketing management systems has never been more important. With so much on their plate, it’s no wonder that 70% of CMOs feel they are not prepared to manage the explosion of marketing data and lack true insight into marketing performance.

That’s one key reason why Digital Asset Management (DAM) is so HOT these days.

DAM is one example of a centralized system for marketing that provides a great way to manage the storage, ingestion and decisions surrounding digital assets. DAM, however, does not manage all the deliverables and decisions surrounding marketing’s broader mission. For many marketers, particularly those with distributed marketing networks, DAM represents just the tip of the iceberg in technology-leveraged management tools.

DAM is actually part of Marketing Resource Management (MRM). You can think of MRM as a broader system to manage much of the rest of what you do. Whereas DAM serves as an easy and accessible platform from which to distribute and manage digital assets, a marketing resource management system serves as a platform to easily manage, access, purpose and distribute your marketing content and deliverables.

Adopting DAM can eliminate the time-suck involved in managing and distributing assets and fix a qualitative weak spot to optimizing brand compliance. Businesses face increasing pressure to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time; having a system in place to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible is a must.

Marketing Resource Management: Bridging the gap

In distributed marketing, inefficiencies cut across marketing, sales, purchasing and business management when managed through “traditional” methods of marketing distribution. Marketing resource management seeks to resolve these inefficiencies by delivering functionality in a similar way as DAM to these other areas of the enterprise.

Decreasing marketing costs is the best reason to implement a marketing resource management platform, said 61% of respondents to a 2013 Gleanster survey (pdf). The larger your distributed marketing needs, the bigger the opportunity to recapture wasted time and money that can be better invested in improved performance and more effective distribution of marketing initiatives, leading to better return on investment and increased profitability.

MRM accomplishes this through a technology deployment, generally via the cloud, which connects marketing at its hub to an array of stakeholders and distributed connections such as sales, franchises, offices, branches, distributers, etc. Under best practices, these connections would extend to stakeholders in business management, accounting, purchasing and perhaps others.

Though the core purpose of the MRM application may be to connect marketing more directly and fluidly to its distribution network, in most organizations there are stakeholders who contribute business strategies, approvals, vendors and more in the broader view of creating marketing initiatives and deliverables. In many organizations these stakeholders often exist in silos, and “handoffs” are made across disparate processes and workflows, frequently leading to inefficiencies and delays. MRM implementation presents a great opportunity, through a seamless marketing solution, to change this dynamic and benefit everyone involved.

Go big, win big

Although deploying MRM is certainly more complex than initiating a DAM application, it is a manageable effort that can pay huge dividends across multiple groups within an organization. Those dividends can range from improved organizational management to noticeable savings on internal labor spend.

With an estimated 780 new MRM implementations in the past year (Gartner), it’s clear that many marketers are beginning to notice these benefits as well. In our experience, marketers who successfully deploy MRM solutions never look back. Inevitably, they grow and refine those systems to achieve continuous improvement — the kind of marketing performance improvement that is mandatory to compete and thrive.