What Is A Chief Marketing Officer? (With Duties And Skills)
Updated 30 September 2022
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C-level marketing leaders administer the entire marketing function of a company and develop all its communication strategies. This role typically requires extensive knowledge, expertise and professional experience in marketing and communications. Learning about the role of senior marketing leaders in a company can help you develop the right skills to advance in your career. In this article, we define a chief marketing officer, discuss their primary duties, explain how to become one and outline some important skills for this profession.
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What Is A Chief Marketing Officer?
A chief marketing officer or CMO is the senior-most marketing leader in a company. This is a C-level executive role, and the CMO is responsible for all marketing and promotional activities of the company that result in business growth. This includes, but may not be limited to creating, publishing and promoting marketing content for customers, clients and other stakeholders. The CMO works with other C-level executives, such as the chief executive officer and chief technology officer to ensure the company's growth. These marketing leaders help build the company's brand value by deciding the editorial, visual, design and brand guidelines.
Related: What Is A Marketing Manager? Definition, Roles And Skills
How To Become A Chief Marketing Officer
Follow these steps to find out how to become a CMO:
1. Pursue a relevant educational degree
The first step to becoming a CMO is to obtain the right qualifications and knowledge. While most companies may expect candidates to have an MBA in marketing or communications, some may make an exception in the case of a skilled candidate. Leaders in fields like advertising or public relations are also usually eligible to become CMOs. Professionals with educational degrees in different disciplines, such as technology, can also be eligible to become CMOs, provided they have the right training, certifications and experience.
2. Select your specialisation to gain relevant training
Once your education is complete, you can select a specialisation to develop expertise in different fields of marketing. You can choose between digital marketing, product marketing, direct marketing, inbound or outbound marketing. While CMOs usually require experience in various marketing domains, they typically specialise in one or two disciplines. Selecting a specialisation as per your interest and skills can help you choose the right certifications and diploma courses to pursue. For instance, if you are interested in understanding the impact of marketing on the audience, pursuing a course in marketing analytics can be beneficial.
3. Obtain professional work experience
Companies may require candidates to have several years of experience, with a minimum number of years working in a management or leadership position. As your progress in your career, try to select opportunities that help you learn new skills and enable you to strengthen your expertise. Further, you can also gain professional experience by working on freelance projects and building your portfolio. Try to gain leadership experience by supervising other team members and volunteering for projects that require inter-departmental collaboration.
4. Complete specialised certifications
As you advance in your career, continue learning new skills and tracking marketing trends by completing specialised certifications. You can also complete training and courses in different business disciplines, such as accounting, sales and business development. This can help you develop comprehensive business acumen and contribute to the company's growth effectively. Besides adding value to your job application, completing these courses can also help you demonstrate a passion and commitment to learning and career advancement.
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5. Update your resume
It is essential to update your resume to showcase your strengths, skills and professional achievements effectively. Use a suitable format that highlights your career achievements and marketing expertise. Update information about your work experience to convey quantifiable and accurate accomplishments in previous jobs. Ensure you send a customised cover letter with each job application focusing on why you wish to join the company and what you hope to achieve.
Related: List Of Skills To Include On A Digital Marketing Resume
6. Look for a suitable job opportunity
To look for a suitable marketing leadership role, consult senior leaders in your company to explore if any relevant opportunities exist in the organisation. It can be easier to prove your capability to existing supervisors and company leaders than to apply to a new company. If there are no suitable roles, connect with your colleagues in the industry to check if they are aware of any openings. Next, look for opportunities on online job search websites and job boards. You can contact the senior leaders of companies that are looking for CMOs directly with your job application.
What Are The Primary Duties Of A Chief Marketing Officer?
Most CMOs report to the company's chief operations officer or COO. They are usually responsible for the following:
Developing the company's brand value and guidelines
Supervising the marketing team and tracking progress
Ensuring seamless collaboration between the marketing department and other teams
Managing the company's public image and public relations initiatives
Giving interviews to media companies to promote the company's product or services
Participating in the hiring process by interviewing marketing managers and team leaders
Sustaining positive client relationships
Collaborating with other senior leaders in the company to set business growth goals
Conducting market research for the latest trends
Analysing competitor strategies
Creating and managing marketing budgets
Building the company's network
Appointing contractors and third-party service providers to outsource marketing activities
Performing market research
Measuring campaign performance and engagement rates
Preparing reports, presentations and pitches
Skills Required To Become A CMO
Here are some essential skills that can help current and future CMOs advance their careers:
Supervising and managing large teams of marketers, managers, writers, designers and contractors requires strong leadership abilities. CMOs are also usually responsible for leading teams through challenges, making it essential for them to stay focused, motivated and determined. Leadership skills include delegation, organisation, self-motivation, goal-setting, integrity and self-awareness.
Related: Leadership Roles (With Examples And Functions Of Leadership)
Communication abilities such as written, verbal, non-verbal, active listening, interpersonal and business communication skills can be essential for CMOs to fulfil their role effectively. Communication skills help CMOs design marketing strategies, write reports, develop pitches and supervise team members. Strong communication skills are usually one of the first things many companies assess in candidates applying to become a CMO.
Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits
CMOs usually perform a variety of crucial business tasks simultaneously. Besides helping develop the company's overarching marketing strategy, they often track progress, conduct meetings, ideate solutions, research marketing technology solutions, attend conferences, give interviews and oversee the hiring of new marketing team members. Knowing how to prioritise tasks according to their urgency and utilise the workday most efficiently can help CMOs manage their time effectively.
Related: Time Management Skills: Definition And Examples
There are several technical abilities that CMOs require, such as research, data analysis, copywriting and designing, but chief among them can be digital marketing skills. Understanding concepts like search engine optimisation, social media marketing, customer relationship management, email marketing and influencer marketing can help CMOs develop modern promotional strategies. Demonstrable experience in implementing these strategies with measurable results can add significant value to the job application.
Related: Important Digital Marketing Skills And How To Improve Them
CMOs generally work alongside other company leaders and set business goals in collaboration with other senior leaders and department heads. Further, they also implement marketing campaigns by working with departments such as finance, product, sales and IT. Similarly, intra-department collaboration in the marketing team occurs when writers, designers and managers work together. Knowing how to collaborate with others and facilitate collaboration between team members can be crucial for CMOs.
Related: Collaboration Skills: Definition, Benefits And Examples
Being creative can help CMOs conceptualise and implement unique marketing strategies that benefit the company's brand. Knowing how to use different tools and resources effectively to meet business requirements can help CMOs improve the effectiveness of campaigns and the efficiency of resources. Creativity is also essential for marketing leaders to help team members innovate and find unique solutions to setbacks.
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