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What is a Digital Marketing Centre of Excellence and why do you need one?

Author's avatar By Robert Allen 15 Mar, 2017
Essential Essential topic

How brands can use a Digital Marketing Centre of Excellence to improve their results from digital

Since digital marketing is so complex and changes so fasts, many businesses can be left floundering in their use of digital marketing if they don't have the right investment in digital marketing skills and best practices. It's challenging since 'change is constant', audiences move to new channels, platforms change their algorithms and consumers start using ad-blocking tech or become 'banner blind'. Because of the pace of change, many brands lack experience in dealing with the kinds of problems posed by digital marketing in 2017.

This often leads to disappointing results from digital marketing, which can then create a suspicion of digital and a failure to properly invest in the new emerging technologies and channels which will be powering growth in the years ahead.

These challenges have led to many brands utilizing a Digital Center/Centre of Excellence in order to concentrate knowledge and learn important lessons which can be applied across the business. This article explains what they are and gives some reasons why you might need them.

In order to understand how many businesses have a Digital Centre of Excellence in place, we asked our readers to fill in a poll. We found that currently, 74.41% of our participants do not have a digital centre of excellence and 13.95% are looking to launch one within 1 year. Only 13% didn't think a centre of excellent was relevant to their business, meaning a massive 60% of businesses wanted a Digital Centre of Excellence but hadn't yet created one.

What are Digital Centres of Excellence?

The Digital Centre of Excellence (DCoE) is an organisational design response taken by an ever-increasing number of businesses. 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 by encouraging adoption of best practice in deploying relevant digital media, experiences, insight and technology across an organisation.

Accenture recommends that a digital center of excellence should bring together the following attributes:

A digital centre of excellence should be versatile and will be useful for a number of functions. We've marked out some of the key functions of DCoE will be useful for across the Smart Insights RACE framework.

Smart Insights Business members can learn more in our guide on Best practices for a Digital Marketing CoE.

Why do you need a Digital Centre of Excellence?

There are many reasons why your business may benefit from creating a digital centre of excellence.  Here are 10 we think are important. A DCoE can...

  1. Define and own overall digital strategy across business and manage projects to build new features into the site.
  2. Build up a detailed knowledge of the businesses audience, and help channels better target their key market/demographic.
  3. Focus on strategic projects which marketers working on BAU campaigns may not have time to - e.g. setting up a contact sequence for marketing automation
  4. Run structured tests / AB multivariate which are a specialist job
  5. Encourage adoption of digital marketing - evangelise
  6. Update whole business on changes in digital marketing - like our cheatsheet - and test some of the latest techniques
  7.  Audit all your martech platforms and break out of channel-based group think to concentrate on business goals.
  8. Align the marketing strategy with the brand purpose, rather than letting brand purpose be lost in the day to day work of the marketing department.
  9. Home in on the brand's unique selling point and better align the strategy to enhance the brand's USP.
  10. Prevent digital teams wasting time by charging off to use every new marketing channel, and can instead make strategic decisions about where to invest resources, i.e. proper digital governance.
Author's avatar

By Robert Allen

I was the Editor of Smart Insights between 2015-2017. I managed the blog and you will find blog articles on a range of subjects- Marketing Technology trends and latest tech developments are a regular focus, as well as exploring key marketing concepts. You can get in touch with me on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn. The new Editor is Carolanne Mangles.

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