The Role of a Chief Marketing Officer

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Mad Men 2.0: The Changing Role of the Chief Marketing Officer

Anyone in the marketing industry (or TV fanatic) can tell you that AMC’s Mad Men offers some startling insight into how the marketing industry has changed over the last five decades. For one, most marketing execs don’t scribble their best ideas onto a cocktail napkin after a night of binge drinking: Modern marketing is all about the data.

Sure, Don Draper might have been the Chief Marketing Officer of the swinging ‘60s, but today’s CMO needs to be less smooth operator and more data operations. See how the best-quality information affects the ever-advancing role of CMO in today’s marketplace.

Gathering Data

Consumer insights are only as good as the data from which they’re gleaned, so one of the most important roles the CMO steps into is that of a data miner. With consumers holding all the cards, big data alone won’t be enough to dial into consumer opinions, actions, and tendencies. Therefore, CMOs can’t only be concerned with the breadth of data, but also the quality.

Whatever the type of data, it’s up to the CMO to strategize on how to best gather and mine that data to produce usable insights. Superior data makes for superior decision-making, so it starts at the ground level for most successful CMOs.

Creating Insights

Armed with data and analytics, CMO must transition from miner to refiner. According to the Harvard Business Review, “30 percent of companies believe they understand their customers’ needs well enough to identify what initiatives will drive growth.”

That leaves 70 percent of CMOs with the data, but not the actual insights to create a clearer picture of consumer activity. Even the most sophisticated intelligence on the planet is useless if the CMO can’t then develop an analysis strategy that extracts the most important insights from the information. It’s true that CEOs can help create a complete customer profile, but it’s the CMO who knows the most about consumers and their experiences. By leveraging data with a CMO’s natural understanding of human behavior, he or she plays a vital role in enhancing customer service, driving sales, and ultimately, the overall success of the organization.

It is with these insights that a CMO can truly utilize market research, by gathering data from various demographics. If you are interested in seeing what data you can glean about your own company, feel free to download a custom free market research report courtesy of Upfront Analytics.

Improving Experience

Somehow, the last decades of marketing have gone from freewheeling decisions to hard-and-fast data, to something in between. Today, CMOs recognize the need for a human development, despite the complete and accurate nature of hard data. To properly use science-driven intelligence to create customer profiles, CMOs often have to ignite a marketing revolution within the organization.

A survey conducted by McKinsey & Company found that 75 percent of CMOs agreed that the skills they needed to be successful have become so specialized that a fundamental change in the way their organizations operate and do business would be required to be successful going forward.

The glamorous, fictional world of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce may have you yearning for the instinct-driven years of marketing yesteryear, but today’s CMO is wiser, better prepared, and more insightful than others. Superior data means that 2.0 version of Mad Men (and women) can do their jobs more effectively—and that’s hardly business as usual.

CMO Salary

You might not be surprised to hear that chief marketing officers have a rather wide range of salaries. The most authoritative report on the matter, published by the CMO Council, has data that correlates to a roughly $500,000 range.

  • 12% earn less than $100k
  • 39% earn between $100,000 – $199,000
  • 30% earn between $200,000 and $349,000
  • 6% earn between $350,000 and $499,000
  • 4% earn over $500,000

The study indicated that the highest earning CMOs have the best relationships, the most access, and constant communication with the C-suite. Another interesting note, though not altogether surprising, is that B-2-C CMOs earn more money than B-2-B.

Job Skills:

  • Ability to lead a team
  • Communicate effectively with all departments: c-suite, managers, and employees
  • Knowledge of core marketing principles and brand evangelism
  • Analytical skills
  • Macro level understanding of the industry

CMO Education & Experience

It is preferable for a chief marketing officer to have attended university. We discussed 5 great colleges for starting a market research career, which could lay the seeds to become a CMO. In order to be considered for any CMO position, it is a near universal requirement for a CMO to have 10 years of professional experience, ideally with 2-3 years of managerial experience, and at least 3-4 years in a true leadership position. Enrolling in an MBA program would certainly help attain leadership positions.

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