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In our new blog series at AMA Boston, we’re aiming to break down some of the most in-demand marketing roles across various industries. There’s a decent amount of confusion around what some of these job titles actually encompass, so we’re choosing to focus on one per entry. First up, the C-suite position sought after by many, it’s Chief Marketing Officers, or CMOs!

What does a CMO do?

The chief marketing officer is generally an individual position whose primary role is to facilitate growth and sales with marketing plans aimed at brand recognition. To break this down, CMOs make plans for their team that will succeed at bringing eyes and sales to their product. Generally, a CMO job description includes several bullet points. They include:

  • Superb analytical skills
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and inspire a team
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills
  • Flexibility
  • Passionate customer advocacy
  • Thorough knowledge of marketing principles, brand, product and service management
  • Deep understanding of changing market dynamics
  • Extensive knowledge in a variety of disciplines such as production, information technology, legal and finance
  • Entrepreneurial spirit

These bullets emphasize that a CMO can see a problem, see a box of tools (their team), and quickly, effectively come up with a game plan that is easy to understand and execute.

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How does one become a CMO?

Since CMOs tend to be towards the top of their organizational structure, it is not considered an entry level position. There is no one route to becoming a CMO, but a common route is: Social Media Manager -> Director of Content -> VP of Marketing -> CMO. To break this down a bit, you are escalating through the people-facing parts of a marketing team. Social media is a great way to start, but it can also branch off into other executive and non-executive positions within a marketing department. When hiring for a CMO, it is important to see growth within one or multiple teams so you know the client is highly qualified and growth-oriented.

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What should I focus on when recruiting a CMO?

To dig deeper into the recruiting side of this position, let’s look at some key things you want from candidates. Day to day, a CMO is active, invested, and outgoing. They need to be the face of the marketing department as represented in the C-suite, so prioritize candidates with technical skill, outgoing personalities, and an eye for detail. That last one is CRUCIAL! A CMO who only sees big picture things will never seem relatable or approachable, but a detail-oriented CMO (think: someone who loves to plan things out, delegate work, and set deadlines) will be more approachable. This is also why it’s important that your clients have lower-level work experience, as it helps ground them in the work being done by the rest of the team.

A CMO can super-charge marketing teams by being an effective organizer, team player, and a throughline between your sales and marketing groups. These two often do not interact enough, so make sure your CMO candidates have a solid foundation with sales teams as well! These tips should help recruiters to bring on the best possible candidates for the position of CMO.