By Bridget McCrea, Contributing Writer
Microsoft's 2012 acquisition
of MarketingPilot has the potential to put a full spectrum of integrated
marketing management (IMM) tools into the hands of Dynamics CRM customers this
year. According to Microsoft, the provider's second
quarter Gemini release will introduce the "Microsoft Dynamics
Marketing" branding and will begin to integrate some of MarketingPilot's
features into Dynamics CRM Online, including collaborative project and digital
asset management, social media, analytics, and campaign management.
But with IMM tools still so
new to so many, will users be ready to take advantage of the capabilities?
Key IMM Drivers
IMM focuses on planning,
budgeting and spending by marketers with
a goal of executing campaigns that directly tie marketing investment to
business results. IMM and its related
competency of marketing resource management (MRM) are becoming a "mission
critical area for most enterprises," says Brad Koontz, director of product
marketing at CustomerEffective
in Greenville, S.C. "Most people in the CRM space have heard the claim that
either now or in the near future, a CMO's IT budget will exceed that of the
Kim Collins, research
vice president, CRM, at Gartner in
Stamford, Conn., says the firm is seeing more interest in MRM and that
accountability is a key driver of that trend. "Many marketing organizations are
starting to realize that they have to be more accountable," says Collins. "Gone
are the days when you could just keep spending and spending on advertising and
get away with it."
Increased use of mobile
and social are also pushing companies in the direction of MRM, according to
Collins, who sees it becoming a bigger priority for firms of all sizes and
across nearly every industry. "While large enterprises definitely have more
complexity in their marketing organizations, along with more resources and
people and budgets to manage," she points out, "sometimes the fewer resources
you have the more careful you have to be about how you allocate them."
In a recent article
in his CRM Watchlist series, CRM analyst Paul Greenberg compared
MarketingPilot and Teradata Aprimo, the latter of which he identifies as a
market leader in the IMM space. "MarketingPilot, a small competitor of [Aprimo's]
who somewhat mirrors what they do," Greenberg writes, "is now part of Microsoft
and thus has the resources that Microsoft can bring to bear." Greenberg also
points to Infor (which recently acquired Orbis) as another key market player.
The Low-Hanging IMM Fruit
Koontz says companies
that are currently using manual distribution of marketing assets or
inconsistent messaging and branding are the top candidates for an MRM solution.
"Really, it's anyone who needs to increase productivity of their marketing
departments," he says. "This includes automating processes and approvals and
using collaboration tools to streamline the creative process."
Beyond the functional capabilities,
MRM ought to play a role in winning over the CMO and making a real case for
ROI. In many cases, that ROI is driven by increased internal efficiencies,
either in sales automation or some type of xRM process (like fundraising, loan
applications, or claim processing, as in the case of a financial service firm),
according to Koontz. "Once you have realized success in internal process
improvement, the next logical step is better customer engagement," he says.
"That's where marketing automation comes in."
To companies that will be
getting their first taste of MRM as part of Microsoft Dynamics CRM's Gemini release
this year, Collins says the technology itself is fairly straightforward but the
change management that goes along with it tends to pose challenges. She sees
project management as one of the "lower hanging fruits" for companies that are
starting to use MRM, and says automating that function alone typically results
in shorter production cycles, faster go-to-market times, and quicker product
"A process that took
20-24 weeks to complete can be whittled down to 4-8 weeks with an MRM," says Collins,
"depending on the type of programs that the company is using." Collins says
MarketPilot's core competency in MRM will give Microsoft Dynamics CRM users "a
prepackaged solution that they didn't have before - and one that is best
integrated with the CRM set."