Four crucial considerations before hiring a CMO

By Christy Vogel

Congrats! Your business survived the pandemic. Things are going well at your company. Revenue is steady, a niche has been established and you’re ready to take things to the next level. You want to further distinguish your brand from your competitors and grow market share, so you and your leadership team decide it’s time to hire a chief marketing officer. Before you start interviewing candidates to fill that position, here are some things to consider.

  1. Think about what a CMO’s responsibilities are. A CMO is a C-level executive responsible for promoting brand recognition and facilitating growth by helping to develop the overall company strategy. In companies large enough to support the role, the CMO typically reports to the chief executive officer or chief operating officer and oversees all marketing efforts within the organization. The CMO leads the marketing team in creating, implementing, managing and tracking the marketing plan.

If this sounds like just what your company needs to surpass the competition, take a look at the cost of doing so. The annual salary for a CMO with five years of experience or more runs well into six figures. According to Salary.com, the median salary for a CMO in the Tampa Bay area is $233,590. Furthermore, the CMO will typically need to hire a team—adding even more expenses—to execute company initiatives, because a CMO alone cannot possibly carry out all the duties associated with both developing and implementing a marketing plan.

  1. Hiring a CMO is only one element in building your marketing team. CMOs are responsible for researching, strategizing, accountability and brand consistency. The marketing team is executing the plan by writing content, managing social media, keeping the website current, designing and deploying campaigns of all types from eblasts to direct mail, managing Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, conducting research, negotiating and buying media, tracking metrics and more. A CMO without a team results in a disconnect between strategy and execution.

At some point, your organization may require the expertise of a CMO. However, chances are, unless your company reaches more than $100 million in sales annually, a full-time CMO, plus a full-time marketing department, may not be necessary.

  1. Outsourcing key marketing activities to fractional professionals may be beneficial. Fractional professionals are highly experienced and/or subject matter experts who can provide assistance with everything from strategy to marketing plan development to content writing, graphic design, social media, search engine optimization, etc. Today’s marketing effort is a complex mix of traditional, and digital, channels and knowing the ins and outs of all of them—in addition to actually being able to execute on all of them—is a near impossible task. The days of marketing generalists are long gone. Most importantly, specialists are dedicated to ensuring your marketing projects are completed efficiently and on schedule. In many cases, you can retain the services of an entire team of marketing specialists for what it typically costs to cover one full-time CMO’s salary and benefits.
  1. If your business has some marketing team members in place, but not a seasoned leader, a fractional CMO may work best. A fractional CMO can help you accomplish the same things a traditional CMO would but in a way that makes more sense for a company of your size and budgetary needs. This is the ideal solution for companies who need an experienced marketing strategist to elevate their company, renew or redefine their brand, and launch a new product or meet growth goals, while managing a marketing team of specialists that are already in place.

Whether you’re looking for a team of fractional marketing professionals or a fractional CMO, be sure to check out their credentials. Marketing is critical to your company’s success, so also make sure the candidate is a good fit for your organization. Being thorough in the vetting process to help ensure a good match—posing the tough questions and asking for strategic thinking—are worth it to help your new marketing effort get underway efficiently and effectively.

 Christy Vogel has more than 25 years of marketing experience. She has served in executive leadership roles for both agencies and corporations at a variety of companies and has worked with hundreds of business owners throughout the United States and on projects at Amazon, Chewy, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Walt Disney Pictures and Nascar.

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