The Evolution of the Role of the CMO in Marketing Recruitment

4th February 2019

Chief Marketing Officer is a relatively new job title having made its workplace debut during the 1980s. However the decade of power dressing and giant mobile phones is long gone and the very nature of marketing has changed drastically. That’s thanks in part to technology and digitalisation – but if marketing itself has changed, surely that means that the role of the CMO has evolved too? What does that mean for those working in marketing recruitment? Is it time to redefine the role of the CMO?

While some companies may begrudingly hire a CMO, not really understanding the role that they play and viewing marketing as an abstract concept, more forward-thinking organisations recognise the need for CMOs to play a broader part, embracing all aspects of the business.

What Does the CMO Do?

Traditionally a Chief Marketing Officer’s role included advertising, market research and brand management, however these days the position is more fluid and far more likely to encompass everything from implementing social media campaigns, managing digital marketing efforts, and public relations. The CMO’s role has broadened largely due to the way the internet has changed the way consumers research, search for, and purchase products and services. We are no longer customers in the traditional sense: we demand more from our providers or vendors – and the CMO needs to understand and adapt to that.

A CMO needs to place more emphasis on connecting with customers in an emotional context – these days we expect our brands to be more than just an outlet for making a transaction: we want to be engaged, we want to buy from companies that make time for us, who offer us products, ethics and back stories that we can connect with. We want to be looked after! A good CMO will understand that – and, more importantly, know how to execute a strategy that converts that emotional connection into sales.

Employers are increasingly asking their CMOs to widen their skill sets and adopt a company-wide reach. Drawing up a marketing plan is no longer enough: today’s Chief Marketing Officer is expected to drive revenue across the entire organisation by working with all departments to approach customers from every angle. Not surprisingly, this means that data, particularly data concerning customer behaviour, is of huge importance when it comes to empowering CMOs to make decisions.

How to Recruit the Perfect CMO

However, one common complaint voiced by CMOs is that, despite their efforts, they frequently find it difficult to justify their worth. The Chief Financial Officer, for example, may struggle to see the correlation between marketing and financial performance. This means that those working in marketing recruitment need to be looking for candidates who not only possess traditional marketing skills, but who are also tech-savvy, have excellent research skills, a keen understanding of data and analytics, and who can empathise with the business’s customers. CMOs can no longer hide in the the marketing department devising strategies; they need to be visible and willing to instigate change throughout the organisation by inspiring all departments to put the customer at the centre of everything they do. This will help create a positive experience for anyone who interacts with, and therefore (hopefully) purchases from, their business.