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Executive Search

Beyond Branding: The Chief Marketing Officer Job Description

Morgan Lichtenstein
8 min read

Just Do It.

Think Different.

The Happiest Place On Earth.

What do Nike, Apple, and Disneyland all have in common?

Exceptional marketing.

And to lead an exceptional marketing team, you need an exceptional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). A CMO helps shape your brand’s identity, drives marketing strategies, and has a direct impact on your organization’s growth and viability. 

Whether your company is a startup, a large enterprise, or somewhere in between, there are few key players with more influence on its long-range success than a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

That’s why hiring the best CMO for your organization is essential. But getting this executive search right is easier if you have an in-depth understanding and appreciation of the role.

We’ll look at a complete CMO job description so you can better understand the value a CMO brings to the table and the traits and competencies required to excel in this dynamic role.

Hunt Club specializes in sourcing top marketing executives through a powerful combination of trusted introductions and cutting-edge technology. Get started to learn more.

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About the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

The Chief Marketing Officer is a C-suite position, and the role's primary responsibilities can be broken down into the following three main categories. 

Oversee Marketing and Advertising Initiatives for an Organization

The term “Chief Marketing Officer” accurately suggests that the role is equal parts leadership, marketing, and direction. The CMO is responsible for spearheading all marketing and advertising efforts, ensuring they are aligned with your organization’s short-term and long-term goals.

Report Directly to the Chief Executive Officer

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking position at most organizations, responsible for making final decisions on the organization's direction. 

The Chief Marketing Officer reports directly to the CEO and is ultimately responsible for buying into the CEO’s vision and implementing strategies that will help the company achieve its long-term goals.

The CEO-CMO relationship is integral, as these two roles work together to drive much of the change, growth, and culture at an organization.

Leverage Market Research, Pricing, Advertising, Public Relations Expertise To Drive Business Forward

The CMO should be comfortable and knowledgeable in multiple areas, from market research to pricing to advertising and more. They should understand how to leverage each of these realms to influence your company’s success, growth, and revenue.


At What Point Should a Company Look To Hire a Chief Marketing Officer? 5 Signs It’s Time To Bring One On

Some startups hire their CMOs at the beginning, while other organizations may do business for years without anyone in the role. Ultimately, you should put a CMO in place at any point you believe they would help your company achieve its long-term business and revenue goals.

Here are 5 common scenarios where an organization would benefit from hiring for the CMO role.

Scenario 1: You’re planning on entering new markets or expanding your offerings.

Anytime you move into uncharted waters, having a professional on your side improves your chances for success. Increasing your company’s geographical footprint or widening your product offering is a big challenge. A seasoned CMO can help navigate the journey and alleviate potential pain points along the way with their expertise and team influence.

Scenario 2: Your company needs better brand management or wants to focus on brand to unlock growth.

A company’s brand makes it memorable to customers and sets it apart from the competition, and successful branding is one of the biggest vehicles for growth. A CMO can help create powerful brand awareness, align branding across channels, and achieve consistency in messaging that translates into customer loyalty and increased sales.

Scenario 3: You’re undergoing a digital transformation.

Where are you now, and where do you want to go next?

A CMO can be a perfect executive addition to your team that streamlines your organization’s digital transformation efforts as it relates to all things marketing. Adept CMOs use data analytics and customer insights to craft a well-aligned digital marketing strategy that both moves the needle and folds right into your innovation efforts. They’re familiar with current digital tools and trends in order to best support a digital transformation within your company. 

They can also ensure your brand aligns with its digital goals by monitoring your website, social media channels, and other digital channels. 

Scenario 4: You want your company to grow faster.

Sluggish revenue growth can be a frustrating prospect for business leaders. How can you get over the hump? 

A CMO can implement new marketing strategies that re-energize your organization’s efforts and put it on an upward trajectory. 

Establishing campaigns that target, engage, and convert new customers and executing customer retention strategies to increase repeat business are two examples CMOs help grow your business. 

Scenario 5: Your marketing team needs a leader.

If you have a small marketing department, or a marketing department that is floating the waters without a designated captain, they may benefit from the strong leadership of an experienced CMO. 

A CMO can provide clear direction, keep team assignments aligned with company objectives, lead by example, and show appreciation for a job well done.

And those are just a few ways CMOs keep their teams productive and engaged! CMOs can also effectively guide marketing efforts by adding new technology, integrating creative processes, and proactively responding to market trends.

Chief Marketing Officer Responsibilities & Duties

While responsibilities and duties may vary widely depending on the company’s size, a CMO handles much of the heavy lifting for a marketing department. Their long list of duties and responsibilities includes incorporating overall company initiatives into marketing efforts in various ways. They include but are not limited to:

  • Define the company's marketing strategy: Use company initiatives to craft effective marketing campaigns. Digital marketing, social media, email campaigns, trade shows, PR, and print advertising all fall into this category.
  • Develop a marketing plan: Conduct market research and evaluate current company performance to pinpoint the highest priorities and find creative, measurable ways to achieve results.
  • Build and manage the marketing team: Hire, onboard, train, and manage marketing team members who are creative, driven, and work well together. Conduct consistent reviews and provide coaching for continuous improvement. 
  • Drive revenue: Leverage all marketing activities to ultimately increase sales, improve customer loyalty, and drive company growth.
  • Establish interdepartmental partnerships: Work across the aisle with other departments (Sales and Product teams) to ensure marketing initiatives have the right focus and are aligned with the organization’s most important initiatives.
  • Develop and oversee successful marketing campaigns: Plan, execute, and evaluate marketing campaigns across various channels, including digital marketing, advertising, social media, and email marketing.
  • Set key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success: Establish key metrics that measure the level of success of every campaign. Translate these into easily-absorbed reports and share them with stakeholders. 
  • Manage public relations: Manage the company's public image, which includes handling media relations, crisis communication, and PR strategies.
  • Oversee digital marketing strategies: Take a holistic approach to optimizing online marketing activities, including building and executing content marketing strategies and managing SEO and SEM efforts.
  • Establish external partnerships to expand market reach: Identify strategic partnership opportunities with companies and brands that align with the company’s goals and target audience, craft partnership proposals, and negotiate terms.
  • Oversee brand management: Work alongside the Chief Brand Officer (if applicable) to manage the company's brand image, ensuring consistency in messaging, branding, and visual identity across all marketing channels.
  • Maintain regulatory compliance: Ensure the organization’s marketing activities comply with all relevant industry regulations and standards.
  • Identify emerging marketing technologies: Stay on top of current and emerging tech trends to stay competitive and leverage innovative tools and platforms.

Chief Marketing Officer Qualifications

The CMO position requires a unique and versatile skill set to perform the job properly. When hiring for this position, keep these important qualifications in mind.

Balance of the Scales: Analytical & Creative Thinking

Marketing is both science and art. The CMO should understand human psychology, be able to analyze and apply data, and identify problems and their solutions. 

At the same time, they also need the creativity to conjure up new ideas, develop better strategies, and build on what has already been done.

Deep Understanding of the Brand, Product/Service & Industry

There’s a reason why CMOs need a wealth of expertise and years of experience to take on the responsibilities of the position.

CMOs should possess a deep understanding of your organization’s brand, its products and services, and also your niche and industry as a whole. Without this knowledge base, you can’t expect your CMO to lead a team with confidence or influence your customers.

Natural & Proven Leadership Abilities

A CMO needs advanced communication skills, high emotional intelligence, and other interpersonal skills to inspire and motivate their team. This quality can be leveled up over time, but it should appear as if innate. People should listen to them when they’re speaking, and they might exude a certain level of confidence or influence that seems a part of their natural demeanor.

Commitment to the Customer Experience

CMOs need to understand, care about, and want to constantly improve how marketing engages with and persuades the target audience.

Awareness of Legal, Finance, Marketing, Production, and IT Disciplines

While your CMO’s day-to-day responsibilities might not always involve disciplines such as law, finance, and IT, they need to at least exhibit cross-functionality — which is perhaps the CMO’s most important skill.

Deep Knowledge of Marketing Principles

Your CMO will need to be highly knowledgeable about modern marketing principles and practices like SEO, content marketing, social proof, the customer journey, and the marketing funnel. They develop this expertise through a marketing or business educational background and hands-on experience in past marketing roles.


Chief Marketing Officer Education and Experience

Keep in mind that the requirements for a CMO can vary quite a bit depending on the industry a company operates in, how long it’s been in business, and its size. 


Most businesses require their Chief Marketing Officer to have a bachelor’s degree in marketing or advertising, or another business-related field, as well as an MBA or a master’s degree with a specialization in marketing. 


As for experience, there are two factors to consider — marketing experience and leadership experience. You should look at candidates who have roughly 10 years of combined experience (or more) in marketing, advertising, or business development. 

They should also have at least three to five years of experience in a senior leadership role — whether it’s in C-suite positions or other upper management roles like a marketing director.


Chief Marketing Officer Certifications

While certifications aren’t typically required for a CMO position (if the candidate holds an MBA and has the right experience) there are some that are applicable to the role. 

Chief Marketing Officer vs. Chief Brand Officer: What’s the Difference?

It can be challenging to differentiate between two roles that seem as similar on the surface as a CMO and a Chief Brand Officer (CBO). However, some foundational distinctions set them apart from each other.




Key Focus

Typically oversee all marketing activities — planning strategies, executing campaigns, and analyzing trends.

Their objectives are always directed toward generating revenue, customer acquisition, and driving business growth.

Concentrate solely on developing and enhancing the company's brand identity and reputation.

Their primary goal is to create a consistent and memorable brand image across all channels to drive sustainable business growth.

Strategic Orientation

CMOs focus on understanding market trends, identifying target audiences, and optimizing campaigns to make the most impact.

CBOs protect the brand’s DNA. They establish brand values, positioning, and messaging that forges connections and builds long-lasting customer relationships.

Functional Collaboration

CMOs collaborate cross-functionally with various departments, including sales, product development, and finance.

These efforts are geared toward driving revenue and achieving marketing objectives.

CBOs work closely with creative teams and marketing specialists.

Again, their main goal is to ensure consistent brand representation in all communications to elevate brand recognition.

Measurable Outcomes/KPIs

  • Revenue growth
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Lead generation and conversion rates
  • Website traffic and engagement
  • MQLs and SQLs
  • Social media metrics
  • Channel performance (PPC, SEO, content, etc.)
  • Customer retention rate

A CBO’s outcomes and KPIs are sometimes more challenging to determine. This is because of the nature of branding and its ability to resonate personally with people.

However, there are still impacts we can attach to a CBO, such as:

  • Brand awareness
  • Brand loyalty
  • Employee brand advocacy
  • Market share


Who Does a Chief Marketing Officer Report to?

Most of the time, CMOs report directly to the CEO of an organization, but sometimes, the CMO will report to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) instead. They will work closely with the individuals in both of these roles, as well as with the Chief Sales Officer (CSO).


Is Your Organization Hiring a Chief Marketing Officer?

A qualified CMO is essential to your company’s growth and competitive viability. By gaining a deeper understanding of the skill set, education, and experience the role demands, you can craft an accurate job description to help you acquire the right talent.

Need help reaching the right talent?

Hunt Club can help you attract and land the talent you need for your CMO position. We leverage cutting-edge technology to optimize our processes, enabling us to connect with top talent 6–8x faster than traditional recruiting methods.

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