If you are like most of us, 2020 is already off to the races and you are busy putting your marketing plans into place. For most marketing leaders that means taking a hard look at budgets, people, vendors, and tactics. In high-performance cultures, the adoption of a Marketing Center of Excellence (COE) is at the forefront of what is driving technology adoption, team alignment, and efficiency gains.

Gartner defines a COE as “a physical or virtual center of knowledge, concentrating existing expertise and resources in a discipline or capability to attain and sustain world-class performance and value.”
Most enterprise marketing teams are under enormous pressure to show a return on their investments and find creative ways to do things smarter and cut costs. This puts more pressure on internal teams to be more agile, rethink their vendor relationships, adopt best practices, and eliminate silo’s. However, it takes more than just centralization and agency consolidation to be successful. It also means developing a performance mindset and becoming a laboratory for innovation that continually strives to improve the status quo.

As we all know, digital marketing is in a constant state of evolution and changes so fast that many organizations are left floundering vs. seizing the opportunity. It’s challenging since ‘change is constant’, audiences move to new channels, platforms change their algorithms, bot technology improves, and buyers become numb to all the noise. Because of the pace of change, many organizations lack experience in dealing with the kinds of problems posed by digital marketing. This often leads to disappointing results, which can then result in failure to properly invest in the new emerging technologies and channels which will be powering growth in the years ahead.

These challenges directly contribute to the increasing adoption of a marketing COE in order to concentrate knowledge and learn important lessons which can be applied across the business.
In order to see the rewards of a marketing COE there has to be shared knowledge, goals, and outcomes across all departments. It’s exciting when it all comes together, and teams are aligned for growth. These are some of the top benefits that support the move to a COE model:

  • Establish visibility and focus: Having a dedicated team means that the entire organization can align on priorities and goals. COEs also demonstrate that an organization is committed to excellence and innovation. Resources (internal and external) can extend their value by serving the broader organization and sharing valuable lessons learned.
  • Optimize technology investments: Get more from your technology stack with better communication, risk prevention, time savings, and intelligent automation.
  • Increase Adoption: Gartner estimates that enterprise martech investments are only being utilized at 61%, which leaves a lot on the table in terms of value. Organizations that adopt COE’s have a much shorter learning and adoption curve to best practices and can realize the ROI benefits much sooner than traditional models.
  • Flexibility: COEs are not limited by all the process overheads that typical Marketing teams may have to deal with and can more easily adopt agile methodology. They have the flexibility to innovate fast, fail fast, and become a laboratory for success.
  • Repeatability: Drive repeatable and predictable marketing performance. A COE facilitates operational transformation and serves as a way to develop, test, deploy, discover, and measure performance. Build repeatable frameworks that can be applied across the business.
  • Monitor Costs: COEs make it easier to control and track costs. They help organizations measure KPIs and outcomes, and double down on what’s driving growth. Resource and staffing budgets can be maximized with smart outsourcing and cross-functional teams.


When deployed correctly, a marketing COE can give a Brand a huge competitive advantage by allowing you to continually improve the methodology at which your company builds and develops customer relationships and leverages technology advancements. And by working with the right select partners you can extend the knowledge and capabilities across the organization. As Marketers, we all love to create and drive growth, but more often we are in firefighting mode. By having a marketing COE in place, we can put more of our energy into well-orchestrated marketing strategies that are aligned with company outcomes and goals, and up-level the entire marketing organization to best practices. Hive five to ROI in 2020!!!

Has your company moved to a marketing COE model?

If so, what are some of the challenges and successes you have experienced?

If not, what are you waiting for?