How to Find the Perfect CMO?

What does a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) do?

This coveted role is integral to any business. A chief marketing officer is in charge of creating company strategies, increasing earnings through various marketing initiatives.

As with any C-level position, it’s not easy to find the right person for the job. The value you want this individual to add to your company is substantial to your business success. Therefore, you must bide your time to ensure you find the perfect person to fulfill the role.

Here are a couple of attributes to look for when on the lookout for your company’s CMO:

Sufficient Practical Experience

A master’s degree is all well and good. In any career pathway, this will come in handy. But even a mere bachelor’s degree is enough, so long as your potential CMO has the marketing experience to back him up. When hiring a CMO, you should sift through your candidates’ experience. They should have about ten years of relevant experience if they don’t possess an MBA. If they do, a good couple of years is still necessary.

Moreover, you should only choose people who have leadership experience. Be sensitive to any indications of soft abilities. Someone who has CMO potential should know when to ask for extra responsibilities and have expertise in all marketing functions. You can talk to your candidates’ references and hopefully find someone who can vouch for their performance in their previous job positions.

A promising CMO must know about the ins and outs of marketing. He or she should not be bound by the limits set by their prior company.

Understands the Role Fully

All CMOs play a particular role. But just because a candidate has served as a CMO in another company does not mean he or she can assume the role. For instance, working as CMO for a local business has a more limited scope and less knowledge requirement than working as a CMO for an international company.

Factor in the industry and business you are in. These elements will tell you what your CMO’s capabilities should be. As mentioned before, checking their background is necessary because this can tell you if a person is well-suited for the role. Your top candidates should consist of individuals with experiences in a similar or specific industry.

When it comes to an MBA degree, there is one instance that having one will matter more than not having one. Take a look at your company culture. Is everyone geared with an MBA or a master’s degree? If so, your CMO should be in possession of one, too. In line with this, continuous learning should earn credits also. Go over your candidates’ list of attended courses and programs, too.

A Perfect Mix of Soft and Hard Skills

Each candidate will have their own strong suits. However, there is a list of ever-reliable characteristics that can help you gauge if a candidate has what it takes to be your company’s CMO. 

Your candidate should have the following hard abilities:

  • Management
  • Expertise
  • Financial understanding
  • Logic
  • Information analysis

Your candidate should also have the following soft skills:

  • Public speaking skills
  • Passion
  • Innovative
  • Social competence
  • Big picture thinking
  • Ability to recognize information

If you find a candidate you like lacking a few of these skill sets, you shouldn’t dismiss them. Hard abilities come from work experience and learning. Training resources, drills, and preparation provided by knowledgeable experts are the key to developing anyone with potential. Missing soft abilities can be remedied by healthy feedback, practice, and offering mentorship. 

The truth is, it will be next to impossible to find a candidate who can tick all the boxes. If you are leaning toward a specific candidate, you should assess if they are worth giving a shot. On the flip side, if your prospect will need to work through more than half of the necessary hard and soft skills, that individual may have the potential, but is not ready for a leading role just yet.

A Distinct Personal Brand

Your CMO should have a brand of their own. This is something he or she has developed over the years in the industry. How can you gauge someone’s personal brand? These days, you have the internet to thank. Pay close attention to your candidates with a blog site, an active and engaging Twitter account, have given talks and speeches at conferences, or anything along these lines. These individuals have a lot to offer and a good grasp of what marketing approach can put your business on the map.

When looking for a C-level leader, be prepared for a journey. The marketing industry is always evolving. You need a leader that can adapt to these changes, be it in terms of technology or strategy. However, the long wait is often worth it. When you do find the best CMO for the job, your business will grow exponentially.

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