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How to be an effective Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)?

Based on a McKinsey research study, 83% of global CEOs believe marketing is critical to most or all of a company's growth strategy. However, reaching and engaging customers in a market that is already saturated is a monumental task.




This is where marketing comes into play. Without marketing, a brand would have no recall value and would thus become irrelevant. The Chief Marketing Officer is at the forefront of an organization's marketing efforts (CMO). But, before we get into how to become a CMO, let's define what a CMO is.


What exactly is a CMO?


A company's marketing function is led by the CMO. They are C-suite executives in charge of the marketing activities of the entire organization. They collaborate closely with other executives to plan the company's marketing strategy and positioning. Furthermore, they are in charge of the planning, creation, and delivery of internal and external marketing materials.


Leslie Berland of Twitter, Linda Boff of GE, and Chris Capossela of Microsoft are among the world's most powerful CMOs.


Furthermore, they are responsible for instilling in the minds of consumers a consistent perception of the brand and its products. Becoming a CMO is a difficult task that necessitates years of education and experience. We'll walk you through the process of becoming a CMO, but first, let's look at what a CMO does on a daily basis.


What Is the Role of a CMO?


1. Plan of action


A CMO's primary responsibility is to strategize the creation and delivery of creative marketing materials that position the company favourably in the marketplace. This is frequently a 360-degree marketing approach that includes multiple channels and touchpoints.


2. Conduct research


CMOs are in charge of conducting market research, product-related research, competitor analysis, and other tasks. They then use this data to help them meet business objectives.


3. Task Assignment


They form and manage teams to achieve marketing objectives, as well as streamline their operations to meet targets and maintain a consistent cadence of updates.


4. Cooperation


Marketing is not an activity that can be done in isolation. It includes a variety of other functions, such as sales, which is closely related to or results from marketing. Furthermore, the CMO must collaborate with other teams such as finance for budget allocation, human resources for hiring new talent, operations for dealing with customer complaints or feedback, and so on. In short, one of the pillars of a CMO's role is collaboration.


5. Consistent Messaging


A CMO's primary function is to provide a bird's-eye view of marketing efforts. With so much content being distributed in the form of campaigns, social media posts, blogs, and so on, a comprehensive approach is required. CMOs ensure that the company's messaging is consistent with the messages it sends to its customers.


How to Become a Chief Marketing Officer


To understand how to become a CMO, you must first recognize that everyone's path to this position is unique. Someone may have graduated from a prestigious business school, whereas another CMO may have risen through the ranks. The size of the company also plays a role. People in their 30s, for example, are increasingly becoming CMOs in startups or small businesses. In a more traditional large organization, this role may be reserved for more experienced candidates. For your understanding, the following step-by-step guide on how to become a CMO captures a standard path:


Step 1: Obtain the Necessary Education


Obtaining a CMO position necessitates a strong marketing background. A Bachelor's degree in Marketing Communications or Public Relations is the bare minimum. A Master's Degree in Marketing Management would be a good addition to your education. The key to becoming a leader, however, is to commit to lifelong learning. Emeritus has partnered with some of the best universities to offer courses designed to help leaders transition into CMO roles, such as:



Step 2: Acquire the Required Experience


The majority of CMOs have at least 10 years of marketing experience. Formal marketing education alone is frequently insufficient to gain the necessary skills for this position. Gaining experience in other marketing roles teaches you the technical skills needed for this position.

Furthermore, a CMO's work profile should include a variety of marketing roles so that he or she has a solid understanding of how each arm of marketing works. Working with a variety of different teams also teaches them how to communicate effectively and allows them to develop leadership skills.


Step 3: Sharpen Your Leadership Skills


Any c-suite executive must have strong leadership abilities. CMOs collaborate with a large number of people from various teams. As a result, they must always keep their employees motivated and productive. Furthermore, they are the public face of the marketing division, making them thought leaders who drive the brand's perception among audiences.




The important thing to remember here is that leadership is a skill that can be learned rather than a natural trait. Emeritus offers leadership courses from some of the world's most prestigious universities.


Step 4: Improve Your Technical Skills


Technical abilities are essential for a CMO. They ensure that the appropriate message is communicated to the appropriate stakeholders. CMOs must have a solid understanding of sales and marketing, as well as, more recently, a complete understanding of digital marketing. As a CMO, you will need to be well-versed in a variety of topics, including marketing campaign planning, content creation, email marketing, data analysis, target audiences, market research, and so on.


Your team will include a number of talented individuals. However, unless you have the same technical knowledge as your team members, advising them on how to perform their roles effectively will be difficult.


Step 5: Increase Your Influence


A CMO position will not fall into your lap. To increase your influence, you must be able to network effectively. Building strong, mutually beneficial relationships will help you advance faster and add more value to your organization. A network of professional confidantes across the industry can provide insider information and open doors to various open positions. Your college peers are your first-tier network. Aside from that, you must attend conferences to meet and network with other leaders. Most importantly, over time, cultivate what we call executive presence in order to stand out.


Step 6: Improve Your People and Team Management Capabilities


A leader is only as effective as their team. As a result, a CMO must thoroughly understand the business and each team member's role in achieving marketing goals. This will assist you in better structuring and managing the teams that work for you. In addition, you must:


  1. Lead and communicate effectively with your team.

  2. Provide appropriate feedback to assist members in completing their tasks.


Step 7: Identify a Mentor


Never be ashamed of learning from others. You can only learn so much on your own. As a result, you can accelerate your skill development by learning from the experiences of others. Connecting with a mentor allows you to benefit from their experience by learning techniques that worked for them and avoiding the same mistakes.

Furthermore, your mentor can provide problem-solving advice based on years of experience. Forming strong bonds with industry leaders will also make you more appealing to companies that want to benefit from your connections.


A CMO is in charge of which teams?


The CMO must coordinate and manage the operations of multiple teams. Each of these teams plays a unique role in assisting the company in meeting its marketing objectives. As a result, the CMO must be familiar with how each works. The following are some of the teams they manage: Webinar on Digital Marketing Trends


  1. Brand Management: They assist in the development of the brand and ensure that all branding decisions benefit the company.

  2. Marketing Communications: They assist in the conceptualization and creation of creative assets used to deliver the company's marketing to the public.

  3. Sales management is responsible for developing a strong sales force, tracking demand, setting sales goals, and developing strategies to help sell product/s.

  4. Market Research: They survey the market and track the brand's positioning in the marketplace, allowing the company to gain insights.

  5. Product Development: They understand the needs of customers and work with them to develop, upgrade, and release products that meet those needs.

  6. Pricing: They assist product teams in effectively pricing their products. They develop processes to track the market value of the product and assist in determining an acceptable price.

  7. Customer Service: When customers require assistance, they represent the organization. Customers are guided by them by answering their questions, collecting feedback, and ensuring that they are satisfied with the company's products or services.


Is a Master's Degree Required for CMO Position?


While a master's degree is not required to become a CMO, employers have high expectations of those seeking such a senior position. A Bachelor's Degree in Marketing is required at the very least to become a CMO.




Furthermore, candidates must have at least 10 years of work experience. In the market, CMO positions are in high demand. Making your resume appealing to recruiters is critical to landing such a position. A master's degree will undoubtedly benefit your cause.


Many Chief Marketing Officers have secured their dream jobs by leveraging industry connections made during their tenure in the industry. After all, there are many things that only experience can teach you that a degree cannot. However, if you pursue the position without a master's degree, you may want to brush up on specific skills. Online marketing courses to master these skills are an excellent way to advance your career, particularly if you are seeking a leadership position.

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