A Gartner report on Marketing spend once stated “with power comes great responsibility. By taking custody of these dollars, CMOs are promising more and more back to the business.” In investing these dollars CMOs are expected to increase the bottom line, drive growth, and champion the end-to-end customer experience. They achieve this by developing and executing Marketing plans/strategies that enhance the customer experience, serving as brand ombudsmen, and delivering customer insights and competitive intelligence to their organizations. Insights derived from data using analytics has become the lifeblood of Marketing and business decisions, and critical to improving Marketing’s effectiveness, and proving Marketing’s value. Use these tools to enable your Marketing to be a center of excellence.

marketing center of excellence to be growth driver

68% of senior management expects Marketing to be a growth driver

In the right on-target words of James Thomas, when he was Allocadia’s CMO, “the latest tactical trend isn’t nearly as important as continually focusing on how best to optimize Marketing’s contribution to revenue and business goals. After all, regardless of the tactics they employ, CMOs are measured on their ability to drive growth for their company.”

If data is the lifeblood, Marketing Performance Management (MPM)—which Forrester describes as “a discipline that governs goal setting, monitoring, and continuous optimization of marketing’s contribution to revenue and other priority business goals” – is the heartbeat. Performance measurement and management requires Marketing organizations to connect investments to results. MPM success isn’t achieved haphazardly. It requires optimizing operations and adopting best practices. It takes Marketing operating as a Center of Excellence (CoE), transforming the function into a center of competency focused on value creation, customer-centricity, outcome-based planning, and the related analytics to achieve these goals.   Those CMOs who survive and thrive are able to prove the business impact of Marketing investments and demonstrate stewardship over their Marketing investments. These will be the CMOs who sit at the table.

If you want a seat at the table, change your focus from budget management to performance management and operate Marketing as a Center of Excellence.

strive for marketing center of excellence

Strive for Excellence for Your Marketing organization

What Does it Mean to Excel?

Excellence suggests a level of superior quality. The attributes associated with excellence need to be clearly identified so you know what to strive for and when the target is achieved. In the same timeframe and in another Forbes article, In Search of Marketing Excellence: Ten Differences Between High-Performing and Low-Performing Companies, Dr. Christine Moorman identified attributes that distinguish Marketing organizations that are perceived as achieving Marketing excellence based on results from her ongoing CMOSurvey. Since 2001, VisionEdge Marketing’s annual Marketing Performance Management Benchmark study has explored what Marketers who earn high marks from the C-Suite do better and differently. The results indicate that Marketers who earn the high marks are more likely to strive for excellence. Marketing Excellence is key to Marketing serving as a value creator to the organization.

Here’s how to get your Marketing CoE up and running.

customer-centric, planning, pan, accelance, framewprl

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Your Marketing Center of Excellence Up and Running in 3 Steps

  1. Make yourself ready. Transforming into a Marketing CoE (MCoE) takes resources. You will need both the critical mass of talent and the financial resources. You will need processes in place to develop a high-performance Marketing team. That means you will need a culture that can attract and retain people Marketing talent as well as people with data, analytical, modeling, strategy, and process skills. It also means that you will need a clear and meaningful career path for MCoE members.
  2. Secure an executive partner. A fledgling MCoE doesn’t stand a chance without a strong executive partner. You may be the CMO or VP of Marketing, but you need a partner from among the executive ranks, such as your CEO, COO, CFO or CIO.
  3. Embrace tools and processes. A MCoE at its most fundamental level drives and achieves business results and encourages innovation. They leverage proven practices and methodologies across all their areas of responsibility. This requires tools and processes. A MCoE team must be able to tie the work of Marketing back to business results, identify any gaps and close these gaps. It must be able to address business-critical issues, like linking customer insights to business strategies.

The Marketing organizations under the auspices of these CMOs will operate as a CoE that produces long-lasting benefits. Don’t take our word for it. A Conference Executive Board study on the topic of Marketing Excellence revealed that those companies focused on Marketing excellence achieve nearly 10% higher growth rates than their competitors.

focus on operational center of excellence

CMOs need to focus on Operational Excellence

Because creating a MCoE involves functional and organizational change, we recommend taking an incremental approach. Research reveals that successful implementations focus on specific problems that need to be solved. Marketing Performance Management (MPM) provides an excellent focus for a MCoE. By addressing MPM, the MCoE begins with the purpose of providing and proving bottom-line value. To learn more, download our complementary white paper, What You Must Know About Marketing Centers of Excellence: A Why and How Primer.


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