Chief Marketing Officer Job Description

In order to evolve in your career in marketing, a lot of things change over time.  The biggest growth development opportunity is developing the skills and knowledge to grow from an entry level position marketing job, where you’re responsible for performing the day-to-day execution of a marketing plan, to being the person developing the plan and creating the strategy to grow businesses.

Developing that skillset is perhaps the biggest difference between being the marketing coordinator on the ground making things happen for $40,000 a year and being the consultant or CMO making more than six figures annually.  There’s a big difference between the marketing coordinator job description and the chief marketing officer job description.

Yesterday I attended Day 1 of the 2021 Search Engine Journal eSummit, where my favorite presentation of the day was by Wil Reynolds at Seer Interactive.  He gave a lot of great advice about why paid search campaigns fail and how to evaluate disconnect in your marketing campaigns, but the way he started his presentation was perhaps my favorite.  He highlighted the role a CMO or marketing consultant plays in a company.

A pyramid describing what the CMO gets paid to do.

He started by presenting the pyramid shown on this page entitled “I pay you to…”

To be honest, the pyramid could be applied to any career path when discussing the salary discrepancies between entry-level and executive level leadership roles.  At the entry level, you’re being paid to execute on a marketing plan that is already in place.  At the leadership level, you’re being paid to help the CEO see around corner the competitors don’t see and unlock value to grow the business.

Chief Marketing Officer Job Description

So what exactly is the role of the CMO?  Wil recommended three specific things.

  1. Be the voice of the customer at the leadership table.
  2. Know how to use customer data and analytics.
  3. Have an enterprise-wide business mind-set.

The CMO is a long-term advisor who can think strategically about the business and create what Reynolds described as “Oh snap moments” for the CEO or leadership team.  The CMO’s job is to find ways to make others on the leadership team say, “I never would have thought about it that way…”.

CMO as Advocate for New Ideas

One of the challenges CMOs often face at the leadership table is presenting for and advocating new ideas.  In a lot of companies, where change isn’t celebrated easily, ideas are turned down before they get a chance to incubate and grow to success.

Wil had a great piece of advice for this, too.  Look at how you presented the marketing idea to the team.  When you can’t get approval, go back to the drawing board.  Realize the problem may really be the fact that you didn’t explain the idea to the team in a way they understand the value you believe the campaign will bring.

The CMO Job Description Revised

There are a lot of great CMO job descriptions on the internet that you can pull from.  At the end of the day, I really thought the three points Wil laid out were the best.  The only thing I might add to them is 4. Hire, Coach, Train & Hold Accountability a Marketing Team.

Too often I think job descriptions are written by well-intentioned people with no experience in marketing and communications who recognize they need help in their business and just start creating a laundry list of responsibilities.  Perhaps the job description for a Chief Marketing Officer should be much more simplistic, with the goal of hiring the right person who can execute on the strategy and develop the marketing plan needed to grow your business.  That plan can then be used to hold the CMO accountability in a position agreement developed once they’re onboard.  Something to ponder…