Effective marketing practices well implemented can help a company better connect with its target audience, understand competitor activity and find new technologies capable of improving efficiencies and performance. Establishing a marketing center of excellence (COE) can be very beneficial for companies looking to improve their current processes. Learning more about the work and importance of these centers can help you decide if incorporating one into business operations is a good choice for the organization at which you work.
In this article, we define what a marketing center of excellence is, explain the benefits of implementing one, list steps for installing one effectively and provide helpful tips.
What is a marketing center of excellence?
A marketing center of excellence, or marketing COE, is a centralized collection of marketing-focused resources, expertise and knowledge. COEs help lead others within an organization, providing guidance, support, information and training. Implementing a marketing COE can help support business alignment and efficiencies. It can also facilitate transitions and make it easier to explore new technology solutions or marketing strategies.
Why is a marketing center of excellence important?
Marketing centers of excellence are important because:
They help centralize expertise
With a designated COE, companies can create resources and support networks that are more accessible and sustainable. Starting with a powerful center may help expand operations and capabilities, resulting in a more advanced and productive team. Because of the COE’s confidence and knowledge in areas like customer satisfaction, market activity and best practices, others within the company can turn consistently to leading experts for all their marketing needs.
They help monitor competitor activity
One of the primary duties of a marketing COE is to research competitor activity and market changes. Staying on top of industry developments can help organizations stay innovative and relevant. Having research efforts located centrally within a business can also free up valuable time for other professionals. Rather than having to perform their own research, they can turn to the COE for timely advice and support.
They encourage the transition to digital marketing
Moving into a digital marketing space can take careful time, research and experience. Having a dedicated team of professionals focused on the transition can ensure companies can make necessary operational changes successfully. This can save them valuable money, time and effort and facilitate a smooth shift in focus.
How to implement a marketing center of excellence
If you’re interested in implementing a marketing COE, here are some steps you can take:
1. Build your team
Having a successful COE depends on having a strong team of people to create it. As you build your team, focus on hiring diverse individuals with valuable skill sets and experience in digital marketing and in incorporating new technologies. Reward them for remaining in the company so that you can continue to grow from their expanding expertise. Try to create a collection of roles, using both specialist positions and hybrid roles to form your team. Doing this can facilitate agile teams with a useful knowledge basis and the ability to grow.
2. Define your goals
With clear goals and defined processes, you can better support your team. Try to focus on delivering consistent value for the company, and direct your COE’s attention toward your most important goals. Strong leadership can result in more agile, informed and flexible teams capable of positive collaboration and smooth technology integration. You can also create groups within your COE with special focuses and skill sets, like content development, customer retention or competitor research. Encourage these groups to work together. By creating clear expectations and facilitating company-wide alignment, you can better support your marketing team members in their roles.
3. Incorporate new technology
Investing in new technology can ensure a business stays relevant and supported. Your COE can focus a lot of their time and energy on discovering the best technologies to pursue. Try to find technology vendors that offer enhanced functionality with automated processes, an emphasis on analysis and special focus on production. Finding the best vendors for your technology needs can ensure your integrations and transitions are more smooth.
The marketing COE can test these technologies to understand their capabilities fully. This can help with training efforts and it can also help companies build models that emphasize performance and smooth integration.
4. Prioritize comprehensive analysis
It can take careful time and strategic effort to create an effective COE. Ensure you’re monitoring the effects of your efforts by tracking important metrics. Define these metrics early so you can measure the performance of your team and articulate their positive impact on the company. The key performance indicators, or KPIs, you decide to track can depend on your specific goals and the type of company you have.
Often, these metrics focus on measuring improvements in time to market, customer experience, team efficiency and quality. Try to use your metrics to articulate how the COE adds value in terms of competitiveness, reduced costs and increased performance.
Tips for determining if you need a marketing center of excellence
Here are some additional tips that can help you decide if the company you work for would benefit from incorporating a marketing COE into business operations:
Measure your current marketing capabilities
Assessing the strength of existing business operations can help you determine if the company you work for could benefit from a COE. If your team needs help meeting important goals like improving revenue growth or incorporating new processes, then they could likely benefit from more centralized resources. If you’re currently experiencing obstacles, then improving your processes is important for generating critical business results.
Determine where you want to lead
A marketing COE can also be useful if you want to improve a particular area of your operations. Creating a special focus and developing a team devoted to expanding your efforts in a specific direction can help you emerge as a leader in that space. For example, marketing COEs can help incorporate new technologies or transition toward a digital marketing approach.
Assess the impact of a centralized marketing process
Finally, try to visualize the effect a centralized group could have on the organization for which you work. Consider if it would help streamline processes or promote alignment and determine if your current organizational structures could support that type of team. If a centralized process would improve performance, it’s likely a good strategy to pursue.