CMO stands for Chief Marketing Officer. It is an executive, C-suite position that typically reports directly to an organisation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Executives in this role are responsible for all aspects of a company’s brand, marketing and communications functions.
The CMO has become increasingly influential in the digital age, helping an organisation increase its brand awareness, attract and retain customers, and drive sales growth. CMOs are helping CEOs bring together two previously separate functions: marketing and sales.
A good CMO understands how to shape, improve and protect the reputation of a brand and its products or services.
What is a CMO – in a nutshell
The CMO is naturally responsible for marketing, which is a function that is becoming increasingly fragmented. CMOs control a marketing budget that encompasses a wide range of activities including advertising, public relations, events and activations, digital marketing services, social media, content marketing, inbound marketing, marketing collateral, branding, and customer engagement programs. The CMO is responsible for allocating budget to each of these areas, delegating responsibility for execution, and measuring the results of marketing spend.
At the board level, CMOs are held to account for the performance of marketing spend and the performance of the marketing team. They will typically report on marketing Return on Investment (ROI), improvements in brand reputation and salience, contribution to sales and revenue growth, and marketing’s contribution to innovation and productivity programs.
Other CMO responsibilities can include orchestrating market research programs to help an organisation create, design and sell products and services that best meet the needs of customers.
The broad range of professional skills required to deliver such a wide variety of programs and outcomes in an organisation places a unique set of pressures on a CMO.
The CMO must understand business strategy and execution, be adept at stakeholder engagement, while also retain the creative flair needed to develop and lead unique campaigns that capture market interest.
An additional demand is the ability to analyse and interpret data to ensure that creative campaigns are informed by the best available customer insights.
In many cases, CMOs turn to internal or external experts who can bring this data-driven approach to marketing to ensure resources and budgets have the greatest impact.
A flair for innovation is also required, as the CMO will often be the person most responsible for competing against rival organisations. In order to achieve sales growth, monitoring and evolving an organisation’s marketing strategy is essential.
With technology at the forefront of almost all areas of these interfaces, an inerrant level of comfort with the latest software, platforms and hardware is arguably also an essential requirement of the modern CMO.
A sign of the CMOs rising status in the c-level ranks, it has been said that a CMOs technology budget will rival (and even exceed) the budget of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
Overall, CMOs are one of the most important and influential positions in any organisation due to their responsibility for driving sales, growing a brand’s reputation, and telling stories that connect the brand with its customers.
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