What is a CMO and Why Do You Need One?

August 15, 2023

by Lara August, Founder and CEO

What is a CMO? 
CMO stands for Chief Marketing Officer. They are a member of the C-suite and report directly to the CEO or COO.

What is the function of a CMO?
The CMO participates in top-level strategy and planning as part of the executive team. They are responsible for the brand, positioning, marketing and advertising.

They are in charge of critical top-level KPIs for the organization

  • generating awareness
  • generating leads
  • improving lead quality
  • shortening the sales cycle
  • reducing the cost of acquisition

They are responsible for

  • developing a marketing plan and budget to help the business meet its goals
  • monitoring your competition to make sure that your positioning isn’t slipping
  • keeping your branding and messaging relevant to your audience
  • researching and setting pricing for the company’s products and services
  • launching campaigns for new products, services, geographic locations
  • overseeing specialized vendor areas such as media buying, PR, SEO, and more
  • supporting the sales team with collateral, event marketing, drop campaigns, demos, and more
  • recruiting, hiring and growing your marketing team
  • developing tools, systems and processes to run marketing
  • and so much more…

What is the background of a CMO?
CMOs can come from a variety of educational backgrounds. They will typically have an undergraduate degree in business, marketing or something related. Many will have an MBA or Masters degree in marketing. They will definitely have 10+ years of experience in a variety of roles where they have had the responsibility to develop marketing plans, build the marketing team and oversee the marketing vendors.

Why do you need a CMO?
In short – they are the major force behind the awareness creation and growth of the business. You may ask, “Isn’t everyone focused on the growth of the business? What about the CEO, the COO, the VP of Sales?” It’s possible to operate a company without a CMO, and many small companies do. However, you won’t find a middle market company without one. Most small businesses are missing this dedicated person with a specialized background and education who is focused 100% on the growth of the business.

The most common thing we see in smaller organizations is a VP of Sales and Marketing. While this combined title may require oversight of both sales and marketing departments, the background and experience of the person leading is typically coming up through the the sales career path. They rarely have the experience to effectively lead effective marketing campaigns, run a marketing department or to update branding and customer experience.

How can you find a CMO?
You can hire a full-time CMO, but if your organization isn’t in a position to bring someone on full-time, there are other ways to gain the marketing guidance and experience that your organization needs. Here are some ways to grow your marketing without hiring a CMO:

  • Fractional CMOs (part-time availability)
  • Create an Advisory Board
  • Industry Peers may share Marketing Insights
  • Consultants – Hourly or Project-Basis
  • Give a Marketing Director Opportunity, Access and Training

Do you need help?
Robot Creative has been providing fractional CMO services for more than 25 years and has created hundreds of marketing plans. If you are looking for marketing help, please reach out for a consultation.