Build a Center of Excellence (CoE) to support your Digital Marketing activities

Build a Center of Excellence (CoE) to support your Digital Marketing activities

A Digital Marketing CoE is a team, a shared facility or entity that provides leadership, best practices, research, support and/or training for your digital marketing efforts. You’ve spent squillions on your digital marketing solution – nurture it!

What is a CoE and why do i need one?

A CoE keeps internal momentum and drives adoption of Marketing Automation & Digital Marketing activity. It breeds success and gives a common language to speak. It empowers team members and ensures discussion and communication. Quite simply – if you spend more than $40k on your digital marketing systems per annum – then you need a CoE.

To build an effective Digital Marketing CoE you need 4 things:

1) Strategy – define your customer experience vision which spans across marketing, sales, finance, OPs and beyond. Then align corporate objectives with marketing objectives with the end goal of ensuring your customers’ experience is just awesome. Once this is done, it needs communication. Documenting is half the job – the communication and education is significant here.

2) Technology – you need to select a technology stack which incorporates all customer touch points including: email, mobile, social, web, apps, paid search, paid display, sales teams (direct & channel), call centre teams, field operations etc. It is important to document how all of these touch-points are relevant to each other. Even if its just a simple infographic – the communication and education is significant here.

3) Resources – you need to invest internally and externally at a factor of 2.5:1 (for every $1 you spend on technology, you need to spend $2.5 on enabling). If embarking on digital transformation, you need to invest in an external services partner who can support you with best practice strategy – such as defining a vision and aligning objectives, marketing automation technology implementation and CRM integration (e.g. Salesforce and Marketo) and campaign execution (campaign design, building, testing, execution and reporting). You need to invest significantly internally in acquiring new talent as well as up-skilling and re-training existing staff; providing the right environment and the time to develop their skills.

4) Campaigns – map out the campaigns you are running across acquisition, on-boarding, engagement, retention and re-engagement stages of the customer lifecycle [the “present state”]. Then map out future state campaigns using your new technology stack [the “awesome state”]. It is important to document – keep track of when, who and why you made changes.

You may have noticed I’ve mentioned documentation a fair bit… nothing is quite so important as communication on supporting the adoption of systems and procedures.

Digital Marketing CoE Make up

The CoE should consist of both external and internal resources. External resources from a partner such as RMS provides objective best practices and also knowledge across a range of verticals. Internal resources can provide industry domain knowledge and be empowered to serve your customer and deliver a positive experience.

So what type of resources do you need?

  • Strategy – Digital Transformation Manager, Lifecycle Campaign Manager, CRM Manager, Marketing Automation Manager.
  • Technology – Multi-Cloud Technical Architect, Multi-Cloud Solution Architect, Multi-Cloud User Experience Architect, Data Analyst.
  • Resources – Program Manager, Project Manager, Change Manager, Culture Manager, Account Director, Account Manager, Account Executive.
  • Campaigns – Creative Design Manager, Web Designer, Web Developer, Quality Assurance Architect, Campaign Analyst.

So who should own the CoE?

The CoE should be set up as a shared services group. Each division (Marketing, Sales, OPs, Service, IT etc) should all be required to co-invest and have co-ownership of the group. Remember the customer doesn’t care who pays for it and who owns it … the customer just wants a frictionless customer experience across all touch points and divisions.

The skinny of it

Every organisation should have one customer experience strategy and vision across Marketing, Sales & Service. The vision should be supported by IT as part of the shared services group within the CoE. There should be one technology stack. These days all the leading vendors have very similar Marketing Automation and CRM capabilities. There should be one group of shared services resources which support multiple business units and divisions. There should be one enterprise-wide campaign strategy e.g. number of contacts per month, subscription management, etc. but the tactical execution (content, channel), etc. will differ across business units and divisions.

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