Guides and Templates

Digital Marketing Centre of Excellence best practices

Learn techniques for launching or improving a Digital CoE

How will this guide help me and my business?

The role of a Digital CoE is to maximise the potential opportunities of digital media and technology to meet the multichannel marketing goals of an organisation. A DCoE or Marketing Centre of Excellence is often a key part of digital transformation projects since it encourages adoption of best practice in deploying relevant digital media, experiences, insight and technology across an organisation.

This guide will inform how to launch, manage and improve a digital CoE and you to make the most of it right across the business.

A digital CoE can increase efficiency, develop skills and have drastic improvements right across the business.

Is a digital CoE for you?

Gartner recommends using this checklist to gauge if a CoE is right for your organization. COEs are worth exploring when these conditions exist:

  • Specific capabilities are needed
  • Specialized knowledge is required
  • Knowledge is difficult to acquire
  • The capability is important to the business
  • Central oversight is required
  • Organization culture and size align to the CoE model
  • The capability is relatively homogeneous

Although many of the examples of DCoE we include in this briefing are global mega-brands like 3M, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever we believe and know from members we talk to who have a DCoE that the 18 techniques we explain in this briefing are relevant to all types of businesses where multiple people need to be developing their skills in managing and optimising digital marketing.

Who is this guide for?

This briefing is aimed at businesses setting up a digital marketing CoE for the first time or reviewing how their CoE is run. It is most relevant for current heads of marketing or heads of digital marketing in larger organisations who are making the case for a DCoE and want to know how to shape it. It will also be useful for more senior managers who want to review the case.

The guide gives a checklist of all the potential challenges involved in managing the process for creating a running a digital marketing Centre of Excellence and gives recommendations on best practices.

It may also be useful for larger agencies with larger clients who may be supporting them through a transformation process. Agencies will also often be undergoing their own digital transformation and will have similar challenges of knowledge sharing and training from the most digitally savvy to the least digitally savvy team members.

How is the guide structured?

The guide explores best practices and includes:

  • What is a Digital CoE?
  • What are the functions of a DCoE?
  • 18 success factors for a DCoE
  • Creating a business case for a DCoE
  • Examples of a DCoE
  • Alternatives to a DCoE

Latest updates

This guides has been restructured to better illustrate the purpose of digital centres of excellence, what makes them successful, and what could be used as an alternative if your business case is not successful.

Resource Details

About the author

Dr. Dave Chaffey

Dave ChaffeyDave is co-CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Business members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing.

For his full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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