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Marketing LeadershipRole Profile

Everything you need to know about a Marketing Leadership role.

What does a Marketing Leadership role entail?

The main goal of a senior marketing leadership role is to oversee all growth, marketing, and advertising initiatives. Depending on the size and needs of the company, these roles can be  called anything from the VP of Marketing to SVP of Marketing to Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). 

Out of all of the leadership roles in a company, the CMO position has undergone the biggest transformation in the last decade. Some even refer to it as the most dangerous role in the company. 

Because of that, the modern CMO may go by more creative job titles in some companies such as Chief Transformation Officer, Chief Experience Officer, Chief Creative Officer, and Chief Storyteller. 

One of the primary differences between VPs and CMOs is in the level of leadership and strategy that they have. VPs of Marketing tends to be more tactical and specialized (such as digital marketing, demand generation, product marketing), and they may still be doing some of the day-to-day work. 

On the other hand, CMOS are expected to operate like modern-day visionaries. They should oversee all aspects of growth from brand messaging and product marketing strategy to distribution and pricing. Because of this, they typically work closely with the VP of Sales and CEO.

When should you hire your first CMO?

VP and C-level roles require a significant investment, which usually involves a six-figure salary. Hiring one too early or when it doesn’t make sense can be a costly mistake that sets you back months – if not years. 

Here are some signs that it may be time to think about hiring one:

  • You have an established brand with clear product-marketing fit.
  • Demand generation is not the one and only goal of your marketing department.
  • You have at least 3 full-time marketers.
  • You are looking to rapidly expand into additional marketing channels and grow the marketing team. 
  • You are doing at least $20M ARR. 

Typically, companies will start by hiring a VP of Marketing. Then, as the company continues to scale, they’ll bring on more VPs for specific divisions as well as a CMO later on.

CMO Compensation

According to our report, the VP of Marketing in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City earn the most.

San Francisco, CANew York, NYAustin, TXChicago, ILLos Angeles, CADenver, CO
Base | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTE
$180-250K | (+30%)$180-250K | (+30%)$180-225K | (+30%)$180-225K | (+30%)$180-225K | (+30%)$180-225K | (+30%)

What are a CMOs responsibilities?

A CMO’s day-to-day responsibilities include: 

  • Creating the marketing vision and then leading the marketing team to execute it 
  • Hiring, interviewing, and onboarding marketing team members
  • Providing sales enablement tools and leads to the sales team to help them identify big opportunities, close more deals, and remove obstacles 
  • Managing direct and indirect reports including the VP of Marketing, any Marketing Directors, and Marketing Managers
  • Build out growth forecasts, team planning, and the overall department budget 
  • Direct any market research and competitive analysis 
  • Make sure all marketing channels are acting in sync from PR, content, and creative to product, demand gen, PPC, and social media.  
  • Identify and manage any big, third-party partnerships 
  • Oversee brand messaging, pricing, and positioning

What does success look like for a CMO?

Success metrics will look different depending on if the CMO is working at a B2B or B2C company. 

For B2B CMOs, here are some typical KPIs:

  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Customer Acquisition Cost
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) 
  • Customer Lifecycle 
  • Total Marketing Spend 
  • % of MQLs that results in sales
  • Website Traffic (visitors, time on site, etc.) 
  • % of traffic from organic search
  • % of traffic from paid acquisition channels (i.e PPC, Facebook ads, etc.) 

While there is some overlap, here are some examples of good B2C KPIs: 

  • New revenue 
  • % of site traffic that results in sales 
  • % of customers who buy again 
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Customer Acquisition Cost
  • Total Marketing Spend 
  • Website Traffic (visitors, time on site, etc) 
  • % of traffic from organic search
  • % of traffic from paid acquisition channels (i.e PPC, Facebook ads, etc.)

What skills does a CMO need to possess?

In our experience, while your CMO needs to have extensive marketing experience, there are many leadership traits and soft skills to consider including their leadership style, personality type, communication approach, and how they mesh with the VP of Sales.

Here are some skills to look for: 

  • Critical thinking skills – One of the primary goals of a CMO is to set the strategic marketing vision for the company. You need to be able to think critically, not just about your brand’s positioning but also where you sit in the market. 
  • Intrapreneur – They need to innovate, experiment with new ideas, and have a willingness to figure things out on the fly. 
  • Natural leader – They need to be comfortable leading the entire marketing department. 
  • Extensive marketing experience – Most CMOs have general knowledge about all marketing facets and deep expertise in one or two skills. 
  • Data-driven – While you are conducting market research or putting together next quarter’s budget, a great CMO is analytical. 
  • Customer-centric mindset – Customer experience and marketing are increasingly intertwined. 
  • Great people manager –  A CMO will be directly managing any VPs and likely Directors. They need to be able to coach and delegate effectively. 
  • Tech-savvy – Marketing technology and tools change quickly. If you aren’t willing to stay up-to-date and try new things, you’ll quickly become a tech dinosaur.

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