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Developing digital centers of excellence

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Given that my marketing role at Intel, is global in nature, I decided to join the Global Marketing Operations group on LinkedIn. The following was posted to this group:

"I'm responsible for global digital marketing at J&J Vision Care. Does anyone have experience developing digital centers of excellence for global orgs? Would love to hear lessons learned," by Robert Manning.

This is a topic which is dear to my heart, so I let Robert know that I would be more than happy to share what I've learned at Intel. 

Robert's challenges are very similar to those at Intel. We are constantly striving to create the right balance between global vs. local. Both are multinational companies with corporate and geo marketing groups. Both regional and country marketing groups report to local sales organizations. While corporate tends to focus on branding and marketing goals, regional and country focus on sales quotas. Here is some advice on Digital Centers of Excellence:

The Digital Center of Excellence (COE) needs to reside within headquarters.

I love this definition from How to Transform Marketing into a Center of Excellence: "A center of excellence consists of subject-matter experts and uses methodologies and tools that enable shared learning and encourage the building of a performance-based team." In a global company, the role of headquarters is to provide clear strategic guidance, set up processes, source the right tools and share best practices so that geos can execute campaigns on the marketing front.   Therefore, it makes sense to build a COE within corporate, not at the geos.

The Digital Center of Excellence's role is to guide and influence

Robert and I both agree, if a COE has the power of budget and headcount, it can directly "control" geos' marketing campaigns. In reality, a COE typically does not control budget and headcount. The way to work with geos is to show "value-add".  Let geos know that the COE exists to help them. It's also important to demonstrate subject matter expertise. Geos know they can count on a COE's expertise and guidance on new technologies and marketing innovation.

The Digital Center of Excellence is customized based on organizational needs

Digital is a broad term. Digital marketing can mean online creative, online content production, company website, media buy, social media, on-line training etc. Depending on the company, industry and organization structure, a Digital COE may need to be broken down into several sub groups such as digital content production, social media, media, on-domain website, creative services, search engine marketing and possibly others.

After a COE is established, it is critical to focus on communication, communication and communication. Weekly COE and geo calls are extremely beneficial to drive close collaboration and best practice sharing.

It was wonderful talking to Robert. It highlighted that the challenges facing global companies are generally similar and enabled us to share our strategies for making the most of our digital marketing efforts.

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