How to Hire a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for your Business
Here's how to find the perfect Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for your business. Top stratgies, skills, job description, interview questions, and a salary guide.DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE
Imagine this - your business is not scaling, you’re stuck on the same strategy, and you don’t know what you’re doing wrong. You desperately need outside expertise but don’t want to waste more money on consultants that don’t get you results.
Do you know what you need? A top-notch CMO.
In this post, we outline exactly what a CMO can do for your business, what their duties are, and how to find and hire one with proven experience in your industry.
Let’s dive in.
What does a Chief Marketing Officer do?
A Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a C-level executive responsible for all the marketing activities in the organization. They oversee customer acquisition, and brand positioning, and manage the marketing budget. They oversee all of these functions across all company product lines and geographies.
That's quite a handful. A CMO is expected to run the entire marketing department in a company, what do they actually do? Here's a quick breakdown of a CMO's roles.
4 Roles of a CMO
According to Deloitte, every CMO has these four roles:
Growth driver - the main job of a CMO is to increase the revenue in a company. Deloitte conducted some interviews and found that 95% of CMOs say that revenue is the top measure of growth in a company.
Innovation catalyst - the marketing landscape is always changing and it's the CMO's job to find new marketing technologies and platforms to use new innovative tactics, and create new partnerships for the brand.
Brand storyteller - the CMO is responsible for crafting memorable brand stories that will connect with the customer. Storytelling should be woven throughout the marketing strategy.
Capability builder - A CMO is responsible for growing a variety of marketing channels, launching profitable marketing campaigns, and constantly optimizing the marketing strategies of the firm.
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Ok, those are some fancy titles, but what does a CMO do day-to-day?
Day-to-day tasks of a Chief Marketing Officer
Here is what an average day of a CMO may look like:
Managing the marketing team
Most CMOs have a marketing team that they manage. The team could have any number of roles usually email marketing, social media, paid advertising, content, and more. It could be a diverse team of people, either in-house employees or freelancers.
The CMO usually looks at marketing plans, and the growth strategy of each channel, and makes sure that everything is going smoothly.
Reporting to the CEO & executive team
Another important job of a CMO is to report to the chief executive officer (CEO) and the executive team. They should have at least a weekly if not biweekly meeting with the team to assess overall company growth and marketing performance.
Building new partnerships
The CMO is often the Chief Evangelist of the brand and they are responsible for creating and managing new partnerships. These could be affiliate partnerships, joint webinars with other brands, profit-sharing relationships, public relations, and more.
A lot of CMOs schedule regular podcast appearances, video interviews, and speaking engagements at conferences.
Analyzing marketing campaigns
In smaller companies, the CMO would also be looking at the actual data and analyzing specific marketing campaigns. If it's a tiny startup, the CMO may even get their hands dirty and run these campaigns directly.
Wait, so how is that different from a VP of Marketing? Let's take a look.
CMO vs VP of Marketing
These two marketing roles sound pretty similar but they are in fact different. And again, it depends on the size of the company. If the company is large enough to have both of these positions, then this is how they would differ:
CMO - the CMO is a business leader in the C-suite and the VP of marketing is a marketing expert that reports to them.
VP of Marketing - the Vice President of Marketing is responsible for planning and managing all marketing activities to increase brand performance while the CMO approves everything they do.
So what if a brand is small enough, would it make sense to hire a remote CMO?
The benefits of having a remote CMO
Not all companies need a full-time CMO. Startups, technology companies, and eCommerce brands that are just starting out may only need a part-time or fractional CMO.
Tips on hiring the perfect Chief Marketing Officer for your business
1. Identify your goals and needs
Your first step is to get really clear on what you're looking for. What are your goals? Do you want a CMO to create a market strategy for your business? Or do you need them to manage specific channels? Get really clear on the type of business growth you want to have, and your desired marketing spend and get all of your expectations out in the open.
2. Update your CMO job description
Now take those goals you outlined and update the job description. Write in how many years of experience in marketing the person needs to have, and the specific channels they need to know (performance marketing, affiliate marketing, growth marketing, social media, etc.)
3. Look within your professional network
Start your search for the ideal candidate within your own professional network. Ask your friends, colleagues, and business partners.
4. Use online networks, LinkedIn, Slack groups
Then, branch out to online communities. Hit up your LinkedIn connections, post on online groups and forums, and on the various Slack channels you're a part of. You might consider advertising with related newsletters, they often promote job positions.
5. Hire a CMO on Mayple
Last but not least, skip the headache of looking for the best candidate on your own and use Mayple. We're a platform with over 600 marketing experts that we vet and hand-pick to grow your business. There's no interview process and no drawn-out trial period. Fill out our quick form and meet the perfect candidate in 72 hours.
Chief Marketing Officer hiring process
Alright, so you got a few candidates applying for that head of marketing job. Now what? How does the process work? Here's a step-by-step breakdown.
Step 1 - Understand the role
First, you need to decide what exactly you want your CMO to do.
- How much marketing leadership experience should they have?
- Are they managing your in-house team or do you want them to hire new freelancers?
- Do you need them to develop a business strategy or do you already have one and want them to take over from here and execute it?
- Do you need a full-time or a part-time CMO?
- Would they be helping out the sales team / creating sales enablement docs?
Step 2 - Source applicants
Next, find your applicants. As we mentioned above, look within your network, on online platforms, and advertise your job in various online communities.
Step 3 - Skills assessment
Now that you have a few candidates it's time to test their skills. Give them a test assignment. It could be a multiple choice quiz, it could be about a specific online marketing channel, or it could be a situation where they have to show their people skills.
Step 4 - Interview top performers
Pick the candidates that passed your test assignment and interview them. Prepare interview questions ahead of time, ask them about specific situations that may arise between employees, and see how they answer. Determine if they would be a good fit for your company culture.
Step 5 - Make an offer
Finally, it's time to make the offer. Look online for the average salaries for similar positions in your city and determine a fair amount to offer.
Top skills needed for a Chief Marketing Officer
Ok, but what do I want my CMO to do? What else do they need to be good at? Here is a comprehensive list of all the various skills a CMO needs to have under their belt.
Every great CMO needs to be an expert in market research. They need to know what competitors are doing, they need to know how to do a SWOT analysis like the back of their hand.
This skill is more applicable to B2B companies where there's a product R&D team. The best candidate needs to build the market plan in conjunction with the product development capabilities. The two have to work together, and if that's the case at your company the candidate will need a strong background in product marketing.
Content is one of the best ways to generate demand and grow your online community. It's an absolute must for any marketer hire, especially in a leadership position.
Influencer marketing is heavily used in eCommerce campaigns, CPG brands, as well as B2B startups. You can't become a unicorn without some good social proof.
Speaking of social proof, PR is a sore spot for a lot of business owners. It's expensive, hard to procure naturally, and takes a looooong time. So get a CMO that has some ties to influential people in your industry, use an automation tool like PressHunt, and get going.
T-shaped marketing skills
We've all heard of the t-shaped marketer. It's the idea that a good marketer should have a basic working knowledge of a variety of marketing disciplines and be an expert in a few key traffic-generating channels like - growth marketing, ads, or SEO.
People skills are essential in any marketing effort. Advanced knowledge of marketing strategies is not going to help you when you have to deal with people. CMOs often have to negotiate with new vendors, follow up with franchises and partners, and manage in-house employees.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is by far the most powerful organic channel for any business so it's important that your marketing leader will have extensive knowledge on it. They need to know the basic tactics and strategies and know how to lead an SEO team to successfully hit those goals.
Now that we spoke about the specific marketing disciplines and skills a CMO needs, let's talk about their main job functions at a high level.
Marketing functions for a typical CMO position
User acquisition/lead generation
The most important job of a CMO is to grow the business. They would normally create a market strategy and then execute it via the company's various channels. They often have a pivotal role to aid the sales department increase revenue.
Marketing communications (marcom)
Marcom used to be a big part of a CMOs job. It refers to how businesses communicate their message to consumers across different media. The role of the entire marketing department is to position the brand as a leader in the space through timely communication across many different platforms.
This is an essential function for B2B companies where a lot of lead nurturing is required. Nowadays most of this is done by the sales team but this could also happen through live and virtual events, webinars, podcasts, and partnerships.
PR and brand positioning
CMOs are responsible for growing brand awareness and making sure the brand stays top of mind for their ideal consumers. PR includes press releases, podcasts, interviews, conferences, and speaking engagements.
Growing revenue is not the only job that CMOs have, they are often tasked with engaging with customers and decreasing churn. And a lot of this ties in with the various inbound marketing campaigns they launch to delight existing customers and overlaps with customer service.
CMOs need to have extensive knowledge of the latest marketing trends so they often go to the top industry events, conferences, and meetups.
Another big part of the role involves market research, competitor research, doing a SWOT analysis, and knowing what's trending in the market and how to retain a competitive advantage for the business. CMOs also do an analysis of their own efforts, reporting on key metrics and constantly improving campaign performance.
Find the perfect CMO on Mayple
Looking for some help with your marketing strategy? Wish you had access to a leading CMO who could consult with you on a part-time basis? Well, now you do. We have 600+ expert marketers that are vetted and hand-picked to help you scale your business. We will match you with a fractional CMO that has a proven track record of growing similar brands in your industry.
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