When you start a company, marketing can mean the difference between being a resounding success or a dismal failure.
That's because marketing can build brand awareness, so your enterprise stands out among a sea of competitors. It can also boost sales by convincing buyers to part with their hard-earned money.
That's why finding an exceptional individual to inhabit the CMO role can be such a crucial part of operating a successful company.
What's a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)?
A CMO oversees all the marketing activities of a company. Sometimes enterprises give this role an alternative name, such as Global Marketing Officer or Marketing Director.
The CMO directly reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The CMO oversees marketing and advertising activities across all company product lines.
The primary function of a CMO is to help a business boost its profits by creating a marketing plan that'll give the company a competitive advantage. Also, a CMO needs to effectively communicate that strategy to internal marketing and sales teams, the board of directors, and external stakeholders.
A CMO leads the marketing team in developing, implementing, and delivering marketing campaigns to prospective customers. They’re also responsible for customer outreach via social media. CMOs promote brand recognition through comprehensive planning of targeted and direct advertising.
Typically, CMOs are able to spot emerging trends in consumer behavior. This helps them provide the best possible experience for their customers. These days that usually involves an intimate knowledge of all the latest technological tools for data gathering.
Here are some other CMO responsibilities:
Brand management is a strategic approach to marketing that seeks to boost the perceived value of a product line over time. This increases brand awareness, which helps build customer loyalty.
There are tangible brand management elements (product packaging) and intangible ones (customer experiences).
Market research is collecting critical information about the company's target market. This includes identifying the market's needs, competitors trying to woo it away, and the level of enthusiasm for a brand's products.
Some of the techniques a CMO uses to conduct market research include customer surveys and focus group discussions. The CMO analyzes the data they collect using statistical methods.
CMOs need to be able to effectively quantify customer interactions to cultivate the right kinds of insights. This will help drive the type of decision-making that boosts profitability.
They organize the results in the form of charts and graphs to make interpretation easier. This way, CMOs can present their findings to the CEO and other C-suite members to aid company decision-making.
Otherwise known as MarCom, marketing communications involve how the organization conveys essential brand information to its target market to persuade them to buy.
The CMO's job is to ensure the intended message is clear, consistent, and laser-focused on the audience they want to reach.
Here are some marketing communication techniques:
- Direct marketing
- The company's online presence
- Printed materials
- PR activities
- Sales presentations
- Trade show appearances
Product management is a set of processes that optimizes every part of a product's lifecycle, ensuring that the end result is something the customer is pleased with.
Part of product management is creating new products a company can offer its customers. To help accomplish this objective, a CMO will typically conduct a feasibility study of products the enterprise is considering launching.
Product management consists of launching the actual product and creating promotions and messaging for it. It also involves analyzing customer feedback so the business can make its product better.
CMOs typically have bachelor's degrees in marketing or a related field.
Many companies prefer that the individual in this role have an MBA, plus 10 years of experience in marketing and advertising. Most enterprises prefer that candidates have several years of managerial experience.
Additionally, having a good understanding of economics, accounting, and data analysis is helpful for an individual in this position.
Here are some other qualifications a CMO probably should have:
- Strong leadership skills
- Excellent verbal and written communication proficiency
- Thorough knowledge of data analytics
- Ability to lead in a constantly changing workplace
- Experience working with market research tools
- Data analytics, product branding, and public relations expertise
- Proven ability to create and coordinate marketing campaigns
- Digital and social media marketing knowledge
- Devise innovative marketing strategies that result in increased brand recognition and profitability
- A proven track record for eliminating organizational inefficiencies
- Ensure that marketing initiatives are aligned with corporate objectives
The evolving role of the CMO
CMOs are evolving from their traditional roles of merely being brand caretakers to becoming energetic builders of an enterprise's success.
CMOs only concerned themselves with basic functions such as branding, advertising, and customer communications in days gone by. Today, the CMO needs to be a strategic partner to the CEO. This is a person who intimately understands every aspect of the business landscape so they can formulate a robust marketing approach that'll maximize growth.
In these days of tight budgetary constraints, a CMO must learn how to do more with less. This differs significantly from the marketing leaders of yesteryear, who were often given unlimited cash to create exquisitely crafted ads. Today's CMOs need to figure out how to not only reach customers but do it in the most cost-effective way.
This often involves getting other C-suite members to see marketing as something that generates profits instead of merely taking them away.
Why today's CMOs need to be customer-centric
The expectations consumers have for companies are increasing at a seemingly exponential rate. This requires CMOs to put the customer at the heart of everything they do.
Nowadays, buyers expect an experience that's highly personalized to their needs and preferences. That's why CMOs need to develop processes and approaches designed to meet buyers' needs in every interaction they have with their companies.
Lately, there's been a profusion of technological tools created to drive predictive analytics, model data, and fuel machine learning. All of these scientific advances are in the service of optimizing marketing efforts.
However, a CMO shouldn't merely accumulate data and leave it at that. They should use this mountain of information to cultivate keen insights into consumer behavior.
That way, they can make the customer experience better. This includes personalizing what an enterprise delivers, so the right individual gets the right offer right when they need it.
Also, customers are increasingly looking for brands to be purpose-led. This means that they gravitate towards companies that embody values they consider essential.
Creating a sense of mission around a brand allows CMOs to establish an emotional connection with customers. It also reassures them that their companies are building a better community. Doing this helps build brand loyalty.
How much does a CMO earn?
According to Salary.com, the average CMO makes $249,790 per year.
However, you will likely need to consider factors such as location, experience, education, and other benefits when deciding upon your CMO salary package.
Job interview questions to ask a CMO candidate
When interviewing for a CMO role, try to get the candidate to not only discuss their qualifications but the creative vision they have for your company. That's because a creative mindset is crucial to making a brand's story captivating.
Also, see if you can get the candidate to talk about how they'll increase positive brand awareness. These days, with so many customers switching to online platforms, brand recognition is critical.
Have them review your company's previous marketing efforts before the interview by asking them to look at corporate websites and your enterprise's presence on social media channels. That way, they can offer recommendations you can use to evaluate their marketing expertise.
Here are some questions you can ask:
- How can marketing help a business thrive in a weak economic climate?
- How would you define success as a CMO?
- What skills do you bring to the CMO role that we probably don't already have?
- How would you ensure you're using your limited financial resources to engage the right audience?
- How do you leverage marketing analytics to create better results for an enterprise?
- Can you discuss a time when you were responsible for changing brand strategy that had a measurable positive impact on revenue?
- Is differentiation enough, or should a company also rely on innovation to gain a competitive edge?
- What organizations and individuals do you look to for inspiration?
- How do you leverage the latest technological tools to elicit the best results?
Find your next CMO with Hunt Club
If you want to be ready to meet the hiring challenges of tomorrow, it's a good idea to build a robust pipeline of high-caliber candidates. Hunt Club can help you do that with our proprietary processes and keen expertise.
Schedule a discovery call today!