Chief marketing officer is a senior role and h/she will usually form part of the executive team and report directly to the chief executive. Chief marketing officers have a wider role than marketing directors, who usually head only the marketing department. They help decide the overall strategy of their organisation, are responsible for its growth and financial performance, influence many departments, and help determine business decisions such as mergers and acquisitions. Chief marketing officers are most commonly found in the private sector, especially in large corporations.
Typically a chief marketing officer will:
- Research the experience of the customer in interacting with the organisation and drive improvements
- Drive change across the organisation with regard to elements such as social media or digitisation
- Build brand awareness and ensure that all communications align with the brand
- Meet with the chief executive regularly
- Attend board meetings as a member of the board and take part in discussions
- Take responsibility for the look and content of the website(s) and social media outlets, maximising visitor conversion
- Acquire reliable and comprehensive data on sales and customer experience from different departments
- Use CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems
- Drive investment in digital marketing and roll out technological upgrades
- Establish the marketing budget and track return on investment
- Commission market research and understand how markets are changing
- Communicate regularly with other departments and executives, reporting on marketing activity
- Build a marketing team and mentor them
- Build relationships with creative, digital and media agencies
- Contribute to product development
- Use analytics to drive product development
- Set KPIs and report to the board on progress
- Spot opportunities in the market and drive growth of the business
- Leadership and influencing skills: As chief marketing officer you will, in conjunction with the CEO, drive the strategy of your organisation. Key to the role is the ability to inspire, motivate and persuade others across the organisation.
- Strong research and benchmarking skills: Marketing has become much more data-driven in recent years and an effective chief marketing officer must able to use big data and analytics to optimise marketing strategy.
- Writing skills: Easily overlooked, perhaps, but one of the attributes of a successful CMO is the ability to write compelling, crisp copy for a variety of marketing channels. This need does not disappear with advancement.
A good first degree is deemed essential. Marketing or a related discipline is most apt. Some employers are also seeking a Masters degree or an MBA. But experience is key here.
At least three, and maybe more than five years’ experience, in a senior marketing role is the benchmark here. This means management experience in the form of marketing director, marketing manager or insight director.
£40,000-£150,000 per annum.
Headline hours of 9:00am-5.30pm but a chief marketing officer will invariably be part of the executive team and, in practice, working hours will be more demanding.
Your next steps may include:
- Chief strategy officer
- Managing director
- Chief executive
A chief marketing officer’s perspective
"As chief marketing officer for Deloitte, I am charged with overseeing go to market strategy across the firm. Whether it’s corporate brand positioning or building communities, I provide direction for a wide range of activity, from sponsorships to targeted client relationship development. It’s this variety that I love in my job – no two days are the same.
"I also enjoy the wide network that comes with it, both internally at Deloitte and within the wider marketing industry. However, the best thing about my job is working with talented people. Whether it’s a challenging conversation with a business leader or developing a high potential marketer, I work with the brightest minds in the business."
- Annabel Rake, chief marketing officer, Deloitte