MarTech CoE – Every Transformation Needs One

Digital Transformation and MarTech

Digital is the lifeblood of any organization to stay relevant today. And many organizations across industries have embarked on a digital transformation journey over the past few years. One of the essential functions that is critical to the success of these transformation journeys is Digital Marketing.

While Digital Marketing has been in existence for more than two decades, there has been a paradigm shift in the way the business is conducted in the last 10 to 15 years and has led to the creation of a new function, MarTech, that continues to evolve. This, combined with a need to accelerate digital adoption post-covid, and with a digital-first approach, has been even more daunting for businesses.

Do MarTech based transformations need a CoE?

Marketers and technologists need to keep pace with the continuously evolving products and technology stacks that power end-to-end marketing capabilities, all the way from brand awareness and identity, through acquisition and retention, to lifecycle value. One of the foundational steps in this transformation is to audit, consolidate, and optimize their marketing technology stacks. The MarTech stack is composed of multiple products and vendors that need to work together cohesively. This warrants the need for a dedicated cross-functional team of subject matter experts across business and technology, who connect the dots from the vision and the roadmap to rolling out the capabilities with agility.

So, what is a MarTech CoE?

This dedicated cross-functional team of subject matter experts is what forms the MarTech Center of Excellence (CoE). A MarTech CoE is an enterprise-standard solution which aims to standardize and operationalize marketing best practices by leveraging best-of-the-breed products and technologies that are relevant to the type and size of the business.

There are four main components of a MarTech CoE to drive effective adoption and implementation of Digital Marketing functions:

  1. A Cross-Functional Operating Model that enables business and technology agility throughout the marketing lifecycle. This is composed of a set of small, focused teams that represent each function through the entire marketing journey with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The operating model should include participation from the relevant lines of business, marketing department, product vendors, marketing operations, analytics and insights teams, shared services, and external agencies/AdTech firms.
  2. Deep Product and Technical Expertise for each function of the marketing lifecycle to prescribe the relevant capabilities, products, and solutions in alignment with business needs and goals. This team of experts will define the digital marketing strategy, roadmap, and a feasible solution to implement the roadmap. This includes careful evaluation, validation, and selection of products for each desired capability that is in alignment with the organization’s purpose, mission, and vision.
  3. Implementation of Architecturally Significant Use Cases to ensure that the set of MarTech products work together to address the key business objectives for digital marketing.
  4. Metrics for Continuous Measurement of the implemented capabilities against the intended business goals, and ability to course-correct as needed.

What is the “Tech” in a MarTech CoE?

The technical components of the MarTech stack define the core teams required in the CoE. Some of these are listed below:

  • Creative – Content and Asset Design Tools
  • Experience Management Content and Asset Management
  • Analytics Analytics, Insights, and Personalization
  • Audience Management Customer Data Platforms, Audience Management, CRM
  • Campaign Management Campaigns, Loyalty

Depending on the size of the organization, the CoE is responsible for individual or consolidated functions to provide MarTech excellence across all functions.

Key Benefits of a MarTech CoE
A Marketing CoE yields several invaluable benefits to an organization,

  • Rationalization of the ROI in a MarTech stack.
  • Risk mitigation in adopting new products.
  • Validation of business drivers and technical feasibility.
  • Increased speed to market through agile pilots.

Considerations for a MarTech CoE
Some key aspects of the MarTech CoE that need to be kept in mind:

  • There is a minimum scale in the transformation that is justifiable.
  • Well-established metrics to measure the value of the CoE.
  • A pitfall of the CoE becoming the delivery team – a CoE is neither staffed nor funded to build enterprise applications.
  • Need for strong governance to ensure that guidelines, processes, best practices, and reusable assets/components are adopted across the IT and business teams.

A Marketing CoE is a must for a MarTech transformation. Failed initiatives and technical debt have manifested in organizations that have not considered investing in this foundational component of a digital marketing transformation.

Author Details

Kalyan Madgula

Kalyan is a customer-centric and data-driven Digital Product and Technology Leader with extensive experience in helping Organizations in their digital transformation journey

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