What to Look for in a Chief Marketing Officer | What Does a CMO Do?

      What to Look for in a Chief Marketing Officer

      When it comes to hiring a new chief marketing officer (CMO), you have to make sure you’re picking the right person for the job. After all, CMO is one of the most critical positions in a company, organizing your business’ marketing efforts and ensuring you can meet the growth goals that spell long-term success in an increasingly competitive environment. 

      This is easier said than done sometimes, of course. There are many capable people out there, some even more than qualified on paper. But being a good CMO isn’t always about checking off all the boxes on a list of specific skills or qualifications. There are also some qualities that are essential to the job, ones that those doing the hiring may not even know to look for. Not quite sure yourself? Keep reading to learn what characteristics separate good potential CMOs from great ones. 

      What Is the Role of a Chief Marketing Officer?

      A chief marketing officer’s job is to develop a marketing strategy that all-around improves their company’s metrics. They’re accountable for reaching out to completely new audiences, expanding influence and the customer base, and increasing generated profit and current customer engagement. 

      However, the CMO role can entail significantly more than this already packed list of responsibilities, depending on the individual business’ needs and company type. For example, companies more focused on enterprise will require something very different from those focused on the consumer, with most typically expecting CMOs to be heavily involved in lead generation and pushing customers through the buyers’ cycle versus the advertising side of things favored by consumer-focused business. 

      Likewise, these two very different approaches also call for significantly different chief marketing officers. Getting to the heart of what your business is centered around and needs is thus by far the easiest way to determine what to look for in a CMO. In the end, a firm grasp on this will help narrow down your marketing executive candidates and guide you in the best direction possible. 

      CMO Role: Characteristics of Great CMOs

      While each business’s individual nuances will determine the qualities and specialties that a good CMO should have, it’s not actually this complicated or involved in reality. The details certainly matter, but they aren’t everything. They may aid in crafting a more complete picture of the best fit; however, some characteristics are simply universal to all fantastic CMOs. Here are the most significant for which you should keep an eye out. Find someone who encompasses all five, and they’re almost certainly perfect for the CMO role. 

      Market-Conscious Chief Marketing Officer

      Perhaps the most obvious of the bunch, a successful chief marketing officer needs to have an abundance of market insight. They need to thoroughly understand what drives it, how it operates, and how trends both near and far influence customer decisions. 

      On top of this, they also need to understand just what these trends are and how to use them – something that has never been more crucial than now in our ever-connected, social media-addicted world. Any potential CMO candidate who doesn’t should immediately be glanced over. But for those who seem to intuitively “get” it? They’re worth far more than a passing interest. 

      Finding a Creative CMO

      Contrary to what some might believe, marketing is an inherently creative industry/task. It’s all about understanding your customers’ needs and responding to them in an innovative, compelling way, offering them increasing value that they can’t get anywhere else. And CMOs are at the very head of this, forced to develop a figurative plan of attack that’s genuinely unique amongst a (likely) crowded market. It takes more than just a pinch of creativity to get there. Thus “out of the box” thinking is a true necessity. 

      Analytically-Inclined Chief Marketing Officer

      It might sound contradictory after stressing the importance of creativity, yet an analytical mind is just as critical of a characteristic for any CMO worth their professional salt. The combination of innovative and analytical thinking unlocks several doors that would otherwise be closed, guaranteeing a certain balance with which most typical marketing officers struggle. 

      They can then more easily identify problem areas or those that could use improvement or change while also developing exciting and new strategies and solutions. Ideal from a business perspective, this makes for a CMO that’s ideal for the entire marketing process, from gathering information all the way to direct customer outreach.  

      An Adaptable CMO is a Must

      Business ventures are many things, but they’re not necessarily particularly stable. They see dramatic fluctuation daily, not to mention month-to-month and year-to-year, with constant changes to engagement, profit, and more. These natural ups and downs have only been further exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, evidenced by the many companies forced to shut their doors, scale back production, or completely change their sales and marketing tactics to meet customers’ understandably evolving needs. 

      Chief marketing officers who truly know what they’re doing respect this and allow themselves to adapt rather than become resistant to change or – on the flipside – overly reactive. They know how to appropriately respond, shifting marketing strategies to meet with the situation at hand and somehow turn the ever-fluctuating tide in their favor. Any venture will see tremendous, positive results because of this and will (ironically) become more stable thanks to a CMOs adaptability. 

      A CMO Should Have Humility

      Last but certainly not least, one of the biggest characteristics you should look for in a new CMO hire is humility and humbleness. It may sound odd, especially considering the attitudes usually held by those in leadership positions, but it’s beyond invaluable. Humility pushes CMOs to recognize they are not perfect and don’t have all the answers figured out, encourages them to rely on their marketing team and pull from available resources rather than go it alone. You ultimately see better results from this than a lone-wolf attitude and your business flourishes. 

      Marketing Salary Guide: How Much Should You Pay your Marketers?

      Marketing is the lifeblood of every business. To get customers for your business, you have to first attract them to your business. The way to do that is through marketing. However, before you attract customers to your business through marketing, you have to first attract marketers to your business. 

      What better way to attract marketers to your business than by paying them the right price for their services? 

      If you’ve been looking to flesh out or revamp your marketing department, then this marketing salary guide is right for your business.  

      The following are the people who will fill C-level and senior executive positions in your marketing department: 

      • Chief Marketing Officer
      • Chief Sales Officer
      • Director of Marketing
      • Marketing Manager
      • Director of Brand Marketing
      • Director of Product Marketing
      • Social Media
      • SEO/ SEM/ PPC

      So, let’s discuss how much you would have to shell out to retain top talent for your marketing department. 

      Chief Marketing Officer  

      The Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for creating and executing the broad sales and marketing strategy for your company. Chief Marketing Officers are usually utilized in large corporations that are usually publicly listed. 

      Your Chief Marketing Officer is also responsible for managing and organizing the sales and marketing team for your company or organization. This means that he’s where the buck stops when it comes to hiring and firing members of these teams. He/she should be able to evaluate senior executives in the marketing and sales departments. 

      According to Payscale, the average salary of a Chief Marketing Officer is about $174,662 per year. When hiring a Chief Marketing Officer, ensure that he has had a minimum of between 6 to 8 years of experience. 

      Chief Sales Officer  

      The Chief Sales Officer is a position that happens in companies that want to separate the marketing and the sales departments at the C-level. The Chief Sales Officer is the equivalent of the Chief Marketing Officer, but he is in charge of sales. 

      The Chief Sales Officer crafts the broad sales strategy for your company and would evaluate senior sales executives on their sales performance and metrics. He should also be able to evaluate prospective employees during interviews

      The median salary for a Chief Sales Officer is about $170,567 per year. This is just the average, as the CSO salary ranges from a low of $97,000 to a high of about $250,000. Of course, if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you should expect to shell out more money for the hiring of a Chief Sales Officer. 

      Director of Marketing  

      The Director of Marketing is the head of the marketing arm of the company. Small businesses, private and medium sized companies make use of a Director of Marketing. In larger companies that have a CMO, the Director of Marketing could be in charge of marketing for sub-sections of the company. This could be different regions, or different products. https://cowenpartners.com/marketing/embed/#?secret=eCdfwycxOR

      The average salary for a Director of Marketing is usually around $107,332. When hiring a Director of Marketing, you should ensure the person has a minimum experience of 6 years.  

      Director of Brand Marketing   

      The Director of Brand Marketing is responsible for crafting the brand image for your company. This is something that requires subtlety and as such, you need to have someone who is refined enough to carry out a task like this. 

      The Director of Brand Marketing is usually in charge of ensuring that there are smooth brand to customer interactions, and oversees the success of brand campaigns. 

      The average salary for a Director of Brand Marketing is about $121,759 per year. This is a point from a low of $63,000 to a high of $156,000 per year. While you can always use the average salary as a benchmark, the realities of your industry and unique brand position would also play a huge role in determining how much you pay. 

      Director of Product Marketing 

      The Director of Product Marketing is the alternative to the Director of Brand Marketing. While the Director of Brand Marketing is focused on ensuring that the brand gets a good image, the Director of Product Marketing is more concerned with the marketing strategy for the goods and services of your company. 

      The Director of Product Marketing handles things like product pricing, product strategy and analysis, developing your sales messaging, and so on. In essence, your Director of Product Marketing handles the pricing , positioning and packaging experience for your product. 

      The average salary you can expect for a Director of Growth Marketing is about $144,097 per year. 

      Marketing Manager  

      The Marketing Manager is one or two steps below the director of marketing. The Marketing Manager is responsible for the narrow marketing strategy connected with specific products and campaigns. 

      This means that the marketing manager handles things like positioning, and selling a specific product in your product line. If you’re a company that offers one product or service, the marketing manager is usually the person in charge of different marketing campaigns for your company.  

      The Marketing Manager is usually broadly responsible for supervising employees handling: 

      • Website Management 
      • Social Media Management 
      • SEO 
      • Copywriting 

      The average salary for a Marketing Manager in the United States is about $65,834 per year. Of course, how much this will finally be depends on your industry, location, and the specific needs of your business. 

      Social Media Marketer 

      Social Media Marketing should be a very important part of your marketing strategy. However, while it might seem straightforward, it isn’t. It goes beyond creating an account and asking your customers to follow you. 

      To truly harness the power of social media, you need to hire a Social Media Marketer. This would be the person responsible for crafting your social media campaigns. They would also be in charge of ensuring that you grow your social media following and engage your customers. 

      The average salary for a Social Media Marketer is $53,460 per year. 

      SEO/ SEM/ PPC Specialist 

      Search Engine Optimization is a way for your company to get free traffic from Google by providing great content for users. However, you can always up the game by paying for Google Ads. This is what your SEO/SEM/PPC specialist would be doing for your company.  

      This is a very sensitive part of your company’s operations. If your SEM/PPC Specialist isn’t skilled enough, you’ll essentially be throwing money at Google and Facebook. Well, with the right salary, you can be sure to get the right SEO/SEM/PPC specialist for your company. 

      Generally, the average salary for a SEO/SEM/PPC specialist is $49,202 per year.  

      Easily Get Top Talent 

      Trying to find the right talent to fill in the marketing roles at your company could be overwhelming. You can make things easy with Cowen Partners. At Cowen Partners, our knowledgeable executive recruiters connect companies with top C-Level and Senior Executive talent who contribute their fair share to the growth of your company. 

      Leading Sales, Marketing & Demand Generation Recruiting Firm

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