Defining CMO: What Is a CMO, What CMOs Do & More | CMO Recruiters | Marketing Executive Search Firm

      Defining a CMO

      What Is a CMO?

      A CMO is a C-level executive position in the corporate sector who is responsible for all the activities related to the creation, communication, and delivering the offerings in an organization to value for the clients, customers, and business partners.

      The main objective of a CMO is to accelerate growth and increase sales with a comprehensive marketing plan development to promote the brand and gain competitive advantages. For achieving the goals and effective public profile of the company, a CMO is a leader across the company (that’s true for new CMOs, startup CMOs, private equity CMOs, manufacturing CMOs, and CMOs across nearly any industry).

      A CMO reports to the COO or CEO and holds an advanced degree in marketing and business.

      Here’s a CMO job description, from our top marketing executive recruiters, that you can customize and use for CMO recruitment.

      Why Has the CMO Role Gained Prominence?

      The advancements in technology in the 21st century have been elevated, and they have increased the importance of the CMO role in different businesses. The ubiquity of mobile computing, the internet, analytics, the Internet of Things, social media platforms, and artificial intelligence has brought new ways to approach customers and understand how they think of different services and products.

      This has improved customer opinion sharing as they can instantly speak about their thoughts to reach out to hundreds and thousands of people. So, at this time, CMOs and their teams can make use of those technologies and reach out to the customers and influence them, but the products on display and challenge the competitors at the same level as the consumers.

      Just like other C-level executives in the new business paradigm, which is technology-driven, a CMO has to collaborate extensively with the executive peers to keep up with the pace in the market. CMOs should be able to bring in innovations and be open to adaptation to those new ideas because the technologies evolve with time, and in response to that, market shifts. 

      What Does CMO Stand for?

      CMO stands for Chief Marketing Officer. The CMO is responsible for planning, managing, developing, and supervising the marketing department and its components.

      What Is an Outsourced CMO?

      An outsourced CMO, also referred to a contractual CMO, is a professional who works as a chief marketing officer on a contract basis. The outsourced CMO role:

      • May not staff a full-time employee: Unlike full-time W2 staff, outsourced CMOs usually work between 10 to 40 hours a month during their contract period.
      • Hires and maintains management in the marketing sector: This includes overseeing technician coordinators, setting goals, and leading the charge to accomplish those goals.
      • Has the same responsibilities and duties as a CMO: Many organizations do not need a CMO on full-time or 40 hours a week, so they hire a CMO on a contract basis.
      • Require marketing expertise: The outsourced CMO has to be an expert in all components of marketing, as well as a specialist in the technical matters of those tasks.

      With a contractual CMO, companies get the financial benefit of having top-level support and help for the organization and marketing, along with being able to have some capital left for reinvesting in the marketing sector. That capital is spent on getting the campaigns built, implemented, and tested.

      An Outsourced CMO comes on the executive level of the organization and coordinates and works closely with the CEO and board to help in making decisions and for bringing their dreams come true.

      So, with the marketing role in an organization, the Outsourced CMO needs to understand all the aspects of the marketing, including lead acquisition, branding, content marketing, and paid marketing channels like Google Ads and Facebook. Print marketing, social media, radio, television, and many more.

      How Much Does a CMO Make?

      On average, total CMO compensation in the U.S. ranges from about $85,000 to $700,000.

      In terms of salary alone, the average CMO salary is $170,000. These salaries are part of an annual compensation package, which can include individual bonuses, benefits, commission, and/or profit-sharing.

      Keep in mind, however, that a few factors impact the compensation package, including (but not necessarily limited to):

      • Experience level
      • Qualifications and skills
      • The size of the organization
      • Geographic location of the company
      • Specific role responsibilities

      What Does a CMO Do?

      A CMO is responsible for managing and overseeing the marketing activities all over the company. A CMO requires to have a broad and comprehensive understanding of sales management, brand development, customer service, product, and distribution management. The CMO needs to puts in the effort into pricing, brand marketing, advertisement, marketing communications, market research, public relations, and project management.

      A Chief Marketing Officer wears multiple hats within an organization. They should have specific skills set and traits to take the lead in the brand management and marketing activities of the company for getting growth as an outcome.

      CMO Responsibilities & Duties

      1. Marketing Expert
      2. Driving Growth
      3. Customer Champion
      4. Innovation & Creativity

      The following shares more about each of these CMO responsibilities, why they matter, and how they are carried out by experienced chief marketing officers.

      1. Marketing Expert

      Normally, a CMO does not work too much with the granular level tasks for marketing teams, they need to be experts in the marketing of all things. The CMOs are responsible for every activity within the marketing department, so that is why they should have sound knowledge and understanding of all the marketing functions.

      2. Growth Driving

      A CMO has more focus on the growth driving. It is the main responsibility of a CMO and needs to have knowledge for that. Being a CMO is not simple at all, as many marketing activities are unpredictable in the social media and digital era. So, the strategic decision in marketing is vital for driving growth, and it is important to make them responsibly.

      3. Customer Champion

      A CMO is responsible for acting as the customer champion and making sure that every marketing activity is served for creating the loyalty of the brand and making sure the user’s experience is successful and pleasant.

      4. Creativity

      With all the business-related work and responsibilities, a CMO is responsible for leading the creativity in a company. A CMO should have the ability to sustain the creativity of the marketing department and come up with innovative ideas to help in attracting and retaining more customers for increased sales.

      CMOs play an important role in the growth of the company and carry important responsibilities from business strategies and creativity.

      CMO Recruiting Firm | Cowen Partners Executive Search


      The experienced CMO executive recruiters at Cowen Partners have a long-standing reputation for excellence when it comes to connecting companies with the brightest marketing minds in their industry. We are up to date on the latest marketing strategies, as well as executive search trends, best practices, and technologies, and we take exceptional care while applying deep expertise to identify the best candidates for our clients’ needs.

      That is why the marketing executive headhunters at Cowen Partners are the CMO recruiters and marketing executive headhunters who companies trust and rely on for their marketing and demand generation recruitment needs. It is also why Cowen Partners is one of the top marketing recruitment agencies in the U.S.

      Check out our marketing executive search resources to see why Cowen Partners is a top sales and marketing executive search firm in Atlanta, St. Louis, Anchorage, Denver, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and beyond:

      Cowen Partners Executive Search provides marketing recruitment and executive search services to all major and minor industries including:

      Accounting, Advertising, Aerospace & Defense, Biotechnology, Banking, Credit Unions, Board and CEO Services, Computer Hardware, Construction, Consulting, Consumer Products, Computer Software and Hardware, Education, Energy & Utilities, Entertainment & SportsFinanceFinancial Services, Food Products, Government, Human ResourcesHealth Care, Hospitality & Tourism, Insurance, Industrial, Internet & New Media, Legal, Tax, Crypto, Bitcoin, Private Equity, Journalism & Publishing, MarketingManufacturing, Medical Device, Non-Profit, Pharmaceutical, Private EquityReal Estate, Retail & Apparel, SalesTechnology, Telecommunications and Transportation.

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