Given that my marketing role at Intel is global in nature, I decided to join the Global Marketing Operations (GMO) group on LinkedIn. Two weeks ago 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 and I had a great conversation on 4/26. His challenges are very similar to that of 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.

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.

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 the 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.

Digital Center of Excellence is customized based on organizational needs.

Digital is a broad term because digital Marketing can mean on-line creative, online content production, company website, media-buy, social media, online training etc… Depending on the company, industry and organization structure, a Digital Center of Excellence (COE) may need to be broken down into several subgroups 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 pointed out 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. Does your organization utilize both corporate and geo-marketing groups? How does your company find the right balance?

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