HP Builds Brand with Marketing Resource Management

According to a study by Accenture, 55 percent of companies lack a single view of their customers. CRM may be able to solve that problem, but the study found an even bigger problem that traditional CRM doesn’t touch: 68 percent of companies can’t measure the return on investment of marketing campaigns.

Something called marketing resource management may be the answer. MRM aims to enhance an enterprise’s ability to orchestrate and optimize the use of both internal and external (creative agencies, media buyers, etc.) marketing resources.

Unified Message

When HP began its adoption of MRM in the fall of 2003, following its merger with Compaq, it had 86 marketing departments, each with its own budget and other resources. There was no single view of the company, let alone of its customers, who included individual consumers, small and midsize businesses and huge multinationals.

“We asked each marketing team to ante up one senior marketing staffer for a year to man the program management office,” said Deborah Nelson, the HP executive responsible for the worldwide marketing of personal computers, technical workstations, personal digital assistants and handheld products.

This ensured that the businesses involved in marketing to HP’s varied customer segments had a voice in the process of unifying marketing activities.

It also meant that marketers from across the organization learned the best practices of other business units under the HP umbrella. These best practices gave disparate marketers proven benchmarks for success and creative approaches to market challenges. When it was time to roll out the new marketing structure, a year after the 86 senior marketers came together, these people went back “and evangelized their businesses,” Nelson said.

Defining Metrics

“It was not just about reining in marketing, but [about] optimiz[ing] your marketing resources for efficiency and effectiveness,” said Kevin Colosimo, group director of marketing for Siebel Systems Inc., which provides HP with its MRM solution. “A comprehensive approach looks at requirements of processes, people and technologies first and foremost.”

MRM seeks to consolidate marketing, making sure the language it speaks — internally in terms of goals and externally in terms of messages to customers — as well as the processes it uses and the tools it relies upon conform to a single standard.

“HP realized across the globe, people use different marketing terms or the same terms with different definitions,” Colosimo told CRM Buyer. “It needed consistent metrics to use as an organization to define its success” and tally up worldwide marketing expenditures.


“One of the reasons MRM is so hot now is [that] marketing has been viewed as the last bastion of creative spending, building squishy” — that is, hard to measure — “brand awareness,” said Colosimo.

Whether marketers like it or not, however, “‘Trust us’ is no longer working,” he said. “CEOs and CFOs are demanding accountability and key drivers of shareholder value and profits and revenue growth. What can marketing do to optimize efficiency, to do more with less, to grow value from existing customers?”

“MRM is a process discipline, not just a tool set,” added Nelson. And as companies learned the hard way with CRM, it’s best to mold minds around the strategy solution rather than the technology.

“MRM really is about bringing structural process and tools to an organization working on intuition and the creative process,” said Colosimo. It helps organizations focus on tactical plans, stick to their budgets, track response to their marketing campaigns, establish metrics for marketing success, receive reports related to these and coordinate all means of marketing and messaging on a central calendar.

Technology Matters

This new technology of comprehensive marketing management has become integral to the functioning of HP’s marketing machine. “Technology does matter,” Colosimo said. “It’s much more difficult to figure out ROI if you have a hodge-podge of point solutions. It’s tough to make that work. You only get efficiency and effectiveness with insight-driven, closed-loop marketing strategy and a consolidated system to measure activities, budget, etc.”

Spending on the MRM platform at HP is less than 1 percent of the $3 billion the company spends annually on marketing, but it has helped the company cuts its relationships from 106 external ad agencies to just two. MRM also reduced total marketing spending by more than 10 percent while doubling the resources it used to expend on branding.

And according to brand-valuation expert Interbrand Corp. of New York, this new approach has helped HP improve its brand by 21 percent.

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