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The Role Of The CMO


The Role Of The CMO

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from executives and marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Richard, a CEO in San Diego, California who asks this about the role of the CMO…

“My organization is creating a new Chief Marketing Officer role. What should that entail? How should their performance be measured?”

Thanks for your question Richard. First, this is the role of a corporate officer reporting to the president or the CEO. They previously should have been the Vice President of Marketing for at least one organization before becoming CMO. While they do not need to have experience in all aspects of marketing, the more experience he or she has in each marketing discipline the better. Ideally, the candidate would have experience in the following areas:

  • Product management
  • New product development
  • Brand management
  • Brand licensing
  • Advertising
  • Promotion
  • Social media
  • Big data analytics
  • Marketing research
  • Pricing strategy
  • Distribution strategy
  • Public relations
  • Trade marketing
  • Trade relations
  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Sales support
  • Retail merchandising (depending on the industry)

In general, the CMO would have responsibility for each of these areas except maybe the following, depending on how the organization is structured:

  • Sales
  • Trade relations
  • Corporate communications (including public relations)
  • Product management
  • New product development

Any individual assuming the CMO responsibility would need to possess these personal qualities, at a minimum:

  • Outstanding communicator, orally and in writing
  • “Big picture” thinker
  • An understanding of how the various marketing elements are successfully integrated
  • Assertiveness
  • Likeable, approachable
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Intuition regarding human motivations
  • An understanding of financial management
  • Good budgeting skills
  • General management/P&L management experience is a plus
  • Strong people development and mentoring skills
  • Strong ability to quickly adapt to change
  • Strong leadership qualities

CMO metrics might include any of the following:

  • Sales/revenues
  • Market share (dollars/units)
  • Brand “share of wallet”
  • Brand awareness
  • Brand preference
  • Brand loyalty
  • Successful product launches
  • Return on marketing investment

A large part of the CMO’s job is to develop a strong marketing capacity for the organization. This includes establishing the right mix of marketing disciplines as well as staffing them with skilled professionals and providing the proper levels of resources. It also includes succession planning and professional development opportunities for the marketing staff. Further, the role includes championing the marketing function on the leadership team and throughout the organization and weighing and balancing the needs of the marketing function against other organizational functions and investments. Ultimately, this person is responsible for increasing revenues and building and leveraging brand equity.

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