What is a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)?
A chief marketing officer is a corporate executive who is tasked with overseeing the marketing activities of an organization. Other terms that are used to refer to the chief marketing officer include Marketing Director and Global Marketing Officer.
An individual appointed to the CMO role is expected to lead the company’s advertising activities, brand management, market research, product development and management, marketing communications, pricing, and customer service. The CMO manages a team of marketing professionals, and in turn, reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.
Responsibilities of a Chief Marketing Officer
The main function of a chief marketing officer is to help the company increase its revenues by creating a marketing plan that gives the company a competitive advantage over its competitors. To help achieve the company’s objectives, the CMO is required to possess both graduate and postgraduate qualifications in business and marketing, as well as previous marketing experience in a similar industry.
Some of the roles and responsibilities that a CMO is required to perform in the corporate world include:
1. Brand management
Brand management refers to the practice of creating a relationship between the company’s products and the target market. A company aspires to create and maintain a good relationship with its customers because it’s the only way to build brand loyalty.
The elements of brand management may be tangible (such as the product itself, pricing or packaging) or intangible (personal experiences of customers with a specific brand). The CMO uses different strategies to increase brand awareness of the company’s products, as well as boost the perceived value of the brand vis-à-vis what competitors offer.
2. Market research
Market research refers to the process of gathering crucial information about the target market of the company’s products. The CMO uses various techniques to collect important information about the target market that helps identify the needs of the market, the competition, as well as the popularity of the company’s products among consumers.
Some of the techniques used to conduct market research include customer surveys, focus group discussions, distributor surveys, in-depth interviews, etc. The collected data is then analyzed using statistical methods, and the results organized in the form of graphs and charts for easy interpretation. The CMO uses the results to make a presentation to the CEO and other executives on the findings regarding the target market.
3. Marketing communications
Marketing communications involve managing the way the company communicates important information to the target market. The CMO is required to manage all the company’s channels of communication by ensuring that the intended message is clear and consistent, and is made to the desired market. Marketing communication tools may include things such as advertising, direct marketing, personal selling, sponsored events, etc.
All the communication tools are intended to allow the public to know about the brand, and understand what it does. With businesses going global and customers showing greater internet access, CMOs are faced with a new challenge of finding the most effective communication tools that allow them to communicate the required information to the intended audience without getting the information distorted in the process.
4. Product management
Product management involves new product development and product marketing, which are two complementary roles geared toward maximizing revenues, as well as the market share of a company. Product development involves building new products to be offered to consumers alongside other existing products sold by the company.
Some of the CMO’s roles in the product development phase include conducting feasibility studies of proposed products, identifying customer needs, identifying possible products, testing, as well as ensuring that the products meet the required specifications and price margins.
Product marketing, on the other hand, involves launching new products, creating promotions and messaging, monitoring the competition, and receiving customer feedback.
Qualifications of a Chief Marketing Officer
One of the basic qualifications for the CMOs= role is a bachelor’s degree in marketing or related fields. An MBA in Marketing or Business is also preferred by most companies, if not required. They are also required to have at least 10 years experience in marketing, with a preference for professionals who have worked in a similar industry as the recruiting firm. Further, CMOs are required to have held a managerial role, with direct supervision of seven to ten marketing staff.
The following are other qualifications for being a CMO:
- Strong leadership skills
- Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
- Proven understanding of data analysis tools
- Ability to lead in a constantly evolving environment
- Experience working with various marketing tools relating to market research, data analytics, website development, product branding, visual communication software, written communication, and public relations
- Proven ability to design and coordinate marketing campaigns of different brands across the traditional and modern channels
- Expert in digital and social media marketing, with an emphasis on popular social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
CMO Salary and Pay Structure
Chief marketing officers can expect to earn a more than decent salary, depending on their qualifications, experience and geographical location of the job. According to PayScale January 2019 figures, the total compensation of a CMO in the United States ranges from $87, 819 to $312, 310, with a median pay of $169,370.
In the UK, the total compensation of a CMO ranges from £41,442 to £204,435, with a median pay of £105, 038. The total compensation takes into account the annual salary, executive bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions.
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