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How to Become a Chief Marketing Officer

If you have a passion for marketing and a solid managerial background, becoming a chief marketing officer (CMO) is a great way to take your career to the next level. As a CMO, you will be responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s marketing and branding activities. You will have a deep understanding of brand management, customer service, marketing communications, and market research. A successful CMO requires creativity, the ability to motivate marketing teams, and solid leadership skills. 

To be successful in this role, you will need exceptional leadership qualities, strong written and verbal communication skills, and considerable knowledge of current and emerging marketing trends. A chief marketing officer develops marketing strategies that complement the organization’s objectives. 

Sample job description

[Your company name] is in need of a knowledgeable and devoted chief marketing officer to lead our marketing department. Our office is a fast-paced environment with a need for accuracy and meeting strict deadlines. If you have a passion for sales and brand marketing, along with strong leadership skills and experience in marketing, this job could be a good fit for you. This position requires a B.S. degree in an applicable field. Experience and an M.S. degree in a related field are a plus. The ideal candidate will spearhead the development of our updated brand and consumer strategy to enable us to continue to inspire fierce consumer loyalty while expanding to new product categories, audiences, markets, and channels.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Campaign planning and execution
  • Market research
  • Create and maintain a competition-crushing, differentiated approach to our market
  • Determining consumer market and pricing guidelines
  • Campaign media selection
  • Handling advertising contracts with third parties
  • Oversee teams responsible for brand identity, brand reputation, and brand marketing activation, including packaging and graphic design, brand content & assets, social media activation, and PR
  • Product management
  • Motivating marketing team members to boost productivity
  • Establish a vision for a broadened consumer-facing brand proposition

Education and experience

  • 10 years of marketing experience
  • 5 years of management experience
  • B.S. degree in Marketing
  • M.S. degree in an applicable field a plus

Required skills and qualifications

  • Demonstrable success with marketing campaigns and programs
  • Specific areas of expertise such as targeted marketing
  • Advanced knowledge of data analytics
  • Ability to stay organized in a fast-paced work environment
  • Effective market research skills and experience
  • Team leadership skills
  • Resume of marketing success
  • Excellent business administrations skills
  • Superb decision-making skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong understanding of both the creative and analytical side of traditional marketing channels
  • Above average competency in the use of technology

Preferred qualifications

  • M.S. in Marketing

Typical work environment

Do you enjoy getting to the heart of a topic? Are you an expert troubleshooter and instructor? A position as a chief marketing officer will work in offices or from home, spending most of their time on a computer. They can also expect to run meetings and travel to meet with clients or attend conferences. They will be meeting with the other top executives in the company on a regular basis and serve as a liaison between the marketing team and the executives.

Typical hours

A typical CMO work week consists of 40-hour workweeks. Chief marketing officers may also be expected to spend time traveling for seminars, conferences, or client meetings, which will require weekends and some holidays. Meeting strict deadlines is a huge requirement in the field of marketing, so overtime may also be required from CMOs from time to time.

Available certifications

It goes without mentioning that certifications are one of the best ways to increase marketability and demonstrate professional dedication. Seeing as how there are numerous certification programs to choose from, here are just a few of the most reputable certifications that are worth obtaining.

  • Professional Certified Marketer (PCM). The PCM program meets national professional certification criteria. There are two levels, the regular certification and the expert certification. The regular consists of 30 hours of coursework, and the expert consists of 120 hours. Candidates are required to pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is required every 3 years. 
  • Project Management Professional (PMP). Due to CMOs always needing to manage projects, this is a great certification to obtain. The PMP requires at least three years of work experience and a bachelor’s degree. On top of that, you’ll need 35 hours of continuing education. Candidates are expected to pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is required every 3 years. 
  • Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS). This certification teaches you about advertising and promotional projects. The CAS requires a minimum of 2 years of education or training after high school along with at least 2 years of work experience. Candidates are required to pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is required every 3 years. 
  • Certified Management Executive (CME). Because CMOs are chief executives, this certification will teach them everything they need to know about senior level management and leadership. CME certification requires at least 2 years of education or training. Candidates are required to pass an oral or written exam. Recertification required every 3 years. 
  • Certified Sales Professional (CSP). Marketing is all about selling, and knowledge in sales is knowledge in marketing! The CSP requires at least 2 years of education or training after high school along with a minimum of 2 years of work experience. Candidates are required to pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is required every 3 years.

Career path

The most logical first step in becoming a chief marketing officer is obtaining an applicable bachelor’s degree. Many hopeful candidates then go on to pursue a master’s degree in marketing. Experience in marketing is also a necessary requirement for prospective chief marketing officers. Certifications are always a smart addition to one’s resume, no matter the choice of career.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-1011

2020 Employment292,500
Projected Employment in 2030275,700
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 6% Decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift16,800 Decrease

While the projected number of chief executives is decreasing by 6% over the next 10 years, it is still a very promising career to invest in. Marketing is getting more popular, and with the introduction of fast product-to-market items, experienced marketers will always be needed.