Chief Marketing Officer Definition

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is the top executive responsible for planning and implementing a company's marketing and advertising strategies to promote its products or services and reach its target audience effectively.

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What does a chief marketing officer do?

The primary function of a chief marketing officer is to facilitate growth and increase sales revenue by developing a comprehensive marketing strategy. This plan involves promoting the brand and helping the organization gain a competitive advantage within the industry. 

The day-to-day management responsibilities of the chief marketing officer are strongly dependent on the type of business or industry and the other staffing resources within the company. 

Who does the chief marketing officer report to?

The chief marketing officer is a C-level executive position. This role usually reports to the chief executive officer (CEO) or chief operation officer (COO). A CMO could also operate under a different name depending on the organization. 

Chief Marketing Officer Examples of Duties

There are a lot of different areas where a CMO can focus their energy. Here are some common areas where the chief marketing officer is in charge:

  • Customer acquisition and retention
  • E-commerce management
  • Advertising strategy
  • Sales and promotions
  • Average order value 
  • Management of director-level staff
  • Brand continuity

Duties may vary depending on the needs of the individual business.

Chief Marketing Officer Benefits

There are a number of benefits to hiring a CMO. This person will take responsibility for the success and failures of your marketing efforts. Having someone dedicated to overseeing the entire marketing department will help streamline efforts and make sure that all components of marketing are accounted for in company analytics.

High-level oversight allows other executives to focus on their specialized areas without having to understand the details involved with intricate marketing campaigns. Having a CMO can help you strategically increase growth in a way that is sustainable for your business. 

Chief Marketing Officer Disadvantages

This is an executive level position. If you have a small business that is just starting, you may not be ready to have a chief marketing officer on staff. In this case it would be a disadvantage for you to allocate a large amount of payroll funds in this area. 

Skills and Traits of a Chief Marketing Officer

CMOs have a lot of responsibility in a business. Though skills and traits for an effective chief marketing officer can vary across industries and business types, here are some general skills and traits a CMO should have:

  • Experience managing a team of professionals
  • A relevant degree and often an advanced degree
  • Project development skills
  • Effective and detailed communication 
  • Technical aptitude
  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Innovative mindset

It’s important that a chief marketing officer is dedicated to researching market trends and looking for ways to improve. Keeping up with the competition is crucial to the success of any business. 

When should you hire a chief marketing officer?

Many companies have found that it’s a good idea to have an existing marketing department with a staff that is qualified to execute the solutions of the CMO. This allows the chief marketing officer to focus on strategy and implementation, rather than executionary tasks like creative graphics and writing scripts. 

A general rule of thumb is that you want to have at least 10 other people on staff. Another way to look at it is how much funding your business has a acquired. You want to have the necessary resources to support a competitive salary and expand or build a solid team to support your CMO. 


The chief marketing officer definition pertains to an executive-level business professional who specializes in orchestrating marketing strategies for a company. 

We can help

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Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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