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How to Transform Marketing Into a Center of Excellence [Infographic]

by Laura Patterson  |  
July 13, 2012

Nearly everyone understands that the marketing function is vital to an organization's success. However, not all folks understand the various components that must work in unison to achieve the desired organizational results. Those components include everything from proper use of data and analytics to alignment and measurement—all a part of marketing operations.

A successful marketing operations department integrates processes, technology, and performance management to help run Marketing as a fully accountable part of the business. Moreover, Marketing Operations is necessary for ensuring that Marketing operates as a center of excellence (COE).

How, exactly, can Marketing be a center of excellence? By promoting collaboration and using best-practices to drive business results. 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. By using outcome-based metrics, a center of excellence justifies the Marketing team.

So, how far along are you in making Marketing a center of excellence? Check out the following infographic to see what makes for a successful marketing operations function.

Find out more by reading our whitepaper, Marketing Operations: Enabling Marketing Centers of Excellence, at VisionEdge Marketing.


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Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM

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  • by Albert Fri Jul 13, 2012 via web

    I do enjoy reading your articles, but a lot of times, they are the obvious. However negative this sounds, not so. It at least reinforces thoughts of "is my idea on track" that I'm sure marketers have.

    What I do find somewhat annoying is your introduction of so many new phrases or acyonyms. I understand we are all marketing people and creativity keeps our jobs, but the jargon contradicts the topics you write of avoiding this or that. Also, as marketing profs, we keep our work simple and easy to understand, your graphic above, you lost me in three seconds for reasons I'm sure you already know.

    Either way, keep being a helpful resource.

  • by Chris Mon Jul 16, 2012 via web

    hmm, can't see the infographic.

  • by Carol Wed Jul 18, 2012 via web

    Definitely agree with all of the statements above, and I'm not surprised that only 41% of those surveyed have a marketing ops team. At Marketo, we have a team called the Demand Center, which our marketing ops team is a part of. This demand center is full of SMEs who really know what they're doing and are able to empower others to be more agile in their marketing by providing best practices.

    I'm glad that this sheds some light on the importance of the marketing ops team to those who may have not considered a COE as an essential part of the business.

    - Carol Tang at Marketo

  • by Michael Kelly Thu Aug 2, 2012 via web

    So looking at sections 2 and 3, it appears I can leverage marketing ops by getting rid of most marketing people, leaving just me, then move the fulcrum closer to a center of excellence. How do I do that? Also, it seems to mean something like 'a lump of COE is worth more than any amount of marketer people' Have I got that right? Seems strange.
    Also, in 4, what is the relationship of how companies approach MPM with how effective it is? Also, what is the difference between Effective and Completely Effective?
    In 5 it appears most companies using MPM are not tackling many important things. So what ARE they getting from it?

    What do I take away from this whole thing? I'm confused... Maybe its just me.

  • by Laura Patterson Fri Aug 3, 2012 via web

    Michael, thanks for your comments. We are glad to know that the word is getting out about the Marketing Center of Excellence! Infographics while catchy aren't intented to replace full blown text, hope you'll read the Marketing Ops white paper. In the meantime, perhaps these answers will provide some clarity.
    - The point of the panel two is that there are opportunities for marketing organizations to better leverage their marketing ops function. In panel two, the pictures is desighed so that each person in the cluster of people represents one marketing team, rather than the different people involved in a single team. The location of the fulcrum represents how effective the marketing teams are in leveraging their Marketing Ops to achieve the Center of Excellence.

    - In panel three, we move the fulcrum to illustrate efficiency. Metaphorically speaking, the team has shifted their Marketing Ops initiative to better achieve the Center of Excellence.

    - Panel four illustrates the different approaches a business can take to tackle Marketing Ops. Our research reveals that a team effort is more effective than a single-person effort.

    - As far as "Completely Effective MPM" versus "Marginally Effective MPM," those statistics are from the 2011 survey where we asked companies to rate their MPM effectiveness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being completely effective and 1 being completely ineffective.

    We hope this clears a few things up! Let us know if there is any more we can do for you. For more information on this topic, you can visit our website

  • by S.Aamir Ali Tue Oct 9, 2012 via web

    Its very informative. It is my observation that in our region that is Middle East most of the small n medium scale business are Human Driven which is main hurdle in Organizational growth.

    If we follow above Statical Tools,A's and create Data which turns the organization from Human to "System Driven".

    Hence result will be incredible effect not only the Organizational Growth but the Bottom line as well.


    Sultanate Of Oman

  • by Laura Patterson Tue Oct 9, 2012 via web

    S. Amir Ali, a well put insight:) Thank you for the comment.

  • by Felicia Brych Wed Jul 31, 2013 via web

    Stumbled by your infographic today and totally agree with the concept. A Marketing function can't plan to transform in any way without a solid marketing operations foundation.

  • by Jesse Hopps, CEO - Demand Metric Wed Sep 10, 2014 via web

    Great article and infographic Laura.

    Demand Metric recently wrote report on building a Modern Marketing Center of Excellence (including lots of recent research) that can be accessed directly (PDF Download) here:

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