With multiple brand names, stores in several countries and an omnichannel customer relationship, MRM plays a key role in the Retail sector.
Two thousand photos per day and hundreds of visuals with several variants: this is the volume of content that a French mass-market sports retailer adds to its MRM (Marketing Resource Management) platform every day. These figures are not particularly surprising given that an average consumer views a dozen pieces of visual content on their journey to complete a purchase. To manage such volumes of content in the magnitude employed by mass distribution companies, which often have outlets in every corner of the world, the need for an MRM solution is indisputable. Nevertheless, interest in MRM is not limited to its ability to centralise large-scale assets. In practice, the value of such a solution rests on 3 essential attributes to meet the challenges faced by big retail players.
Attribute #1: Communicating with the information system’s key applications
Although, in everyday language, we often refer to MRM ‘solutions’ or ‘platforms’, it would undoubtedly be more apt to use the concept of ‘MRM architecture’. In fact, the value of MRM is proportional to its level of integration within an information system. Yes, MRM feeds the usual digital channels (websites, mobile apps), but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Upstream, the MRM initially talks with the PIM (Product Information Management) solution – and for good reason! Asset categorisation must be derived from products, among other things, to ensure relevant indexing and subsequent productive exploitation. Different product variants need to correspond to the relevant content variants (images, videos). Information from the PIM therefore provides structure for proper management of MRM assets, hence the need to ensure the reliability of this pairing.
Another key integration is that of design solutions. Digital channels are, in fact, not the only ones fed by the MRM. The production of all printed material (brochures, POS, labels, etc.) represents a key channel which the MRM must be able to permeate.
Finally, let’s not forget the other side of information architecture, which concerns prospects or customers and relies on a DMP (Data Management Platform), a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, a Marketing Automation solution or even a CMS (Content Management System) for this purpose. It is these solutions which activate referenced content within the MRM at the right moment, through the right channel, to the right people. Without these systems, the content has little chance of reaching its target audience. Moreover, MRM integration broadens knowledge about users (for example, the precision of their segmentation) based on the content they actually consume and its influence on the type of purchases they make or the value of their shopping carts.
Attribute #2: Securing the role of the brand content frame of reference
Once fully integrated into the product and customer information architecture, the MRM is able to fulfil its role as content frame of reference – hence its association with the notion of the ‘Single Source of Truth’. It is an essential attribute for maintaining the coherence of brands used in several countries across multiple mechanisms, both online and offline.
In such contexts, when the MRM is firmly embedded into colleagues’ methods of working, it limits the all-too-common divergences: local interpretation of a visual chart, use of logos outside of set rules, reliance upon unapproved visuals, and so on. In essence, the MRM prevents ‘Wild Versioning’. It doesn’t necessarily prohibit variations or adaptations, since it is able to define the rules of the game for all available material (visuals, web pages, PDF documents, etc.). For example, the page layout of a brochure may be frozen, as may logos, whereas texts boxes (for translated content) and certain visuals remain editable so they can be integrated into local images.
The MRM solution ensures the ubiquity of content on a daily basis. In other words, it ensures that content can be integrated appropriately into a wide array of mediums in keeping with the brand’s style.
Attribute #3: Support Performance Marketing
The integration of the MRM into the information architecture and its ability to coordinate a distributed marketing campaign directly serve performance marketing. The good news is that technological development, and particularly advances relating to Artificial Intelligence (AI), are providing further efficiencies in this field. Firstly, in respect of media enrichment: whether image-tagging or video sequencing, generating résumés or various other tasks, AI is now able to automate so many time-consuming yet crucial activities that guarantee content is used appropriately.
Another field in which AI support is eagerly awaited is moderation of UGC (User Generated Content). This is content which is increasingly preferred by brands who apply the principle of “Our customers are the best people to speak about our products”. Without completely substituting human moderation, AI provides a first level filter and significantly speeds up the process.
AI also represents a distinct asset for capitalising on data garnered by the MRM solution and collated with data from the e-commerce app, the CRM and even the DMP. Asset search data feeds predictions for future content performance (and therefore for targeted production), but also for the development of sales themselves. As it is linked to a wealth of historical data, AI is able to detect patterns and correlate changes in content searches with changes in resulting purchases. This prospect is another reason to ensure the MRM is fully integrated with product and customer information.