There are more than 68,763 Chief Marketing Officers employed in the United States. 32% of them are women, and 68% are men. The average age of the CMO is 38 years old. How to become a CMO? How much does a CMO make? Read and find out.

How to become a CMO? – table of contents:

  1. What is a CMO?
  2. CMO skills
  3. CMO education
  4. CMO experience
  5. CMO role
  6. How much does a CMO make?
  7. Summary

What is a CMO?

A CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is an executive who is responsible for creating and implementing marketing and sales strategies in a company. CMOs should possess several competencies such as communication and cross-functional leadership skills. You can learn more about this position in a separate article.

CMO skills

The CMO role requires being versatile. CMOs ought to have both analytical and soft skills. Some of these come from their education, others from professional experience and personality.

Key skills of the CMO:

  • Leadership skills. The CMO organizes and motivates the entire department to function properly, but also frequently trains and collaborates with employees outside their team.
  • Data analysis. Marketing efforts should produce key performance indicators (KPIs). CMO’s analytical skills are essential in this case. Understanding the data is critical to implementing the marketing strategy correctly. CMOs should also be able to draw relevant conclusions based on the acquired information.
  • Market research. CMOs should have a sound knowledge of the market. To this end, daily observation and market research are necessary. That’s how CMOs learn the customers’ needs, their habits and preferences. These factors are essential for developing effective marketing strategies.
  • Strategic thinking. Understanding data has a big impact on the strategy development. CMOs must use data to support their marketing activities.
  • Creativity. In order to create effective marketing plans, CMOs need to have a lot of creative ideas. An innovative marketing strategy increases the chances of capturing the end user’s attention.
  • Team player. CMOs must collaborate with other employees, both in a team and across the whole organization, in order to meet their strategic goals.
  • Technology. Currently, it is difficult to imagine CMOs who are not able to use the latest technologies. It is a prerequisite. The CMO role requires a high level of technical skills necessary to make the most of the social media platforms that are essential to marketing efforts today. One of the CMO’s responsibilities is to use analytics platforms to understand customer preferences, priorities and characteristics. With this data, CMOs know how to drive sales.
  • Flexibility. It is vital for CMOs to know all communication channels. It is expected from them to supervise marketing campaigns and reach customers using both social media and traditional methods.
  • Communication skills. CMOs must be able to reach their audiences, and this involves understanding the best ways to connect with them. They also must be able to communicate objectives, strategies and ideas to their teams.
  • Self-development. Marketing is constantly changing, and this means that CMOs must continously develop and learn to outrun the competition.

CMO education

72% CMOs in the USA hold a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is held by 18% of them, and 5% of CMOs are holders of other higher education degrees. Indeed Hiring Platform informs that CMOs must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in the field of marketing.

However, most companies prefer MBA graduates with 10 or more years of experience in marketing and advertising, as well as a few years of managerial experience. What is more, individuals with degrees in creative disciplines such as journalism, communication, advertising and public relations, are often chosen for CMOs.

The ability to have a practical understanding of economics, accunting, and data analysis may be also necessary for people holding this position. It’s also worth adding that the most popular foreign language that CMOs speak is Spanish (37.8%), then French (15.1%), and German (6.7%).

how to become a cmo

CMO experience

How to become a CMO? Usually, in order to become a CMO, it is necessary to have at least 10 years of experience in marketing or business development, especially in leadership positions.

Importantly, according to Forbes Insights, only 35% of CMOs got their experience in marketing departments. It means that it is enough to excel in any business role to become a CMO. With a very good understanding of the target customer and deep marketing knowledge, you can easily earn your promotion.

Several specialists participate in online marketing courses to develop their skills. Acquired certificates confirm their qualifications to current and future empoloyees.

CMO role

More and more company managers recognize that the company’s success depends on the efficient brand communication strategy. Thus, the importance of the CMO role is constantly increasing. As many as 53% of surveyed business directors claim that their current CMO might become the CEO one day.

Many CMOs, however, think that the role itself is their ultimate goal. Those, who would like to become CEOs, should take the following steps:

  • communicate with other departments and business units to get a wider perspective,
  • develop leadership skills outside marketing to help in strategic planning, and put the customer’s perspective at the core of their business strategy,
  • bring a considerable profit to the company.

How much does a CMO make?

CMOs earn an average annual salary of 182,607 US dollars. Statistically, the highest salary in the United States goes to a CMO in Chicago, which amounts to 211,711 US dollars.

In contrast, the average starting annual salary for a CMO is 112,000 US dollars. 10% of the highest paid CMOs earn as much as 295,000 US dollars or more. Let’s add that in 2021, women earned 94% of what men earned.

How to become a CMO – summary

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is an exciting role full of challenges and prospects. How to become a CMO? In order to become a CMO, you need to have years of professional experience, a thorough education and several interpersonal skills.

You’ve now read how to become a CMO. Other resources: What is a CSO?

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How to become a CMO? How much does a CMO make? andy nichols avatar 1background

Author: Andy Nichols

A problem solver with 5 different degrees and endless reserves of motivation. This makes him a perfect Business Owner & Manager. When searching for employees and partners, openness and curiosity of the world are qualities he values the most.