Digital marketing centre of Excellence (DCoE)

Creating a Digital Marketing Centre of Excellence is a useful technique to support digital transformation in larger organizations. It’s also commonly known as Digital Services Unit (DSU)

The goal of a Digital CoE team is to exploit the potential opportunities of digital media and technology to meet the multichannel marketing goals of an organization. This is done by encouraging adoption of best practice in other teams in the businesses to improve their use of relevant digital media, experiences, insight, and technology.

I define a DCoE as:

“A core digital group in an organization encouraging adoption of digital media, technology and techniques. Involved with delivering training; strategic guidance, support and central implementation where needed, e.g. co-ordinating Google Ads campaigns”.

Because it is increasingly said that ‘all marketing is digital’, creating a DCoE can be seen as short-term. Expanding the frame of reference more widely can help with this. Alternatives used include:

  • Marketing Centre of Excellence
  • Multichannel marketing CoE

These broader scopes have the benefit that they can encourage integration and reduce the feeling of a separate ‘digital silo’. Broader initiatives around other activities such as branding, segmentation or campaign management processes fit more naturally here.

Centre of Excellence functions

Shyam Prasad Reddy when working at consultants Accenture recommend in his LinkedIn post that a Center of excellence or ‘Digital Services Unit’ should bring together the following attributes:

I recommend using the RACE framework for reviewing how different functions of RACE are divided between a central team and other parts of a business, i.e. different country marketing teams or business units.

Smart Insights Business members can learn more in our guide on Best practices for a Digital Marketing CoE.


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Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of digital marketing advice site Smart Insights. We’re a publisher and learning platform that helps our 150,000 active members in over 100 countries plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing activities by applying the actionable advice in our planning templates, guides and interactive e-learning tools.

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