6 Essential Skills to Become a Successful Chief Marketing Officer



Previously, chief marketing officers performed traditional job responsibilities. These encompass constantly monitoring the brand messaging, conducting thorough market research, and collaborating with the sales team to increase revenue growth. And while these are still the CMO’s job duties. However, ever since the rise of the internet and a wide array of applications available to both organizations and customers alike, the sphere of CMO’s job responsibilities has expanded.


Besides conventional advertising, today, product development, CRM, data management – all of these come under the modern CMO’s remit. Moreover, more technologies are on the verge as the mega-trends of virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, and artificial intelligence become mainstream.


And while all these technological advancements sound promising, CMOs need to ensure that they don’t overlook the human touch. That’s because consumer needs and interests are also evolving at the end of the day.


Many have grown blind or become unreceptive to traditional marketing approaches. And in today’s fast-paced consumer empowered era, both B2B and B2C consumers, specifically millennials, crave an emotional engagement with the brands. They seek a compelling story that helps them better communicate with the brand and not just the product.


So, the following are some of the core skills vital for CMOs to succeed in this modern marketplace. These skills, not by any means, are exhaustive. Instead, the CMO’s remit may vary considerably from one organization to another, contingent upon the leadership styles.


Continuous learning

The modern marketing world is continually evolving. Meaning CMOs should always be keen to learn new concepts and ramp up their strategic, financial, and technical skills. They must increase their education credentials to stay on top of marketing and technological developments.


Imagine waking up every morning to a prominent and prestigious job that leverages every principle that you have learned about marketing. If you wish to actualize this dream, pursue an online degree and become eligible for the topmost position in the marketing world.


An MBA degree with a core emphasis in marketing imparts the most-sought after business skills and knowledge required to land a position at the executive level. Additionally, a rigorous and well-regarded MBA program can help you connect with high-caliber and influential contacts in the marketing industry.


Apart from advanced marketing education, marketing leaders should continuously lookout for ways to acquire new information. For instance, competitive analysis is a great method to appraise personal strengths and weaknesses.



Humility is a crucial skill for leaders. However, it’s even more critical for business leaders, specifically chief marketing officers. In simpler terms, CMOs should be empathetic by nature and lead the team members through motivation.


Whenever a marketing campaign turns out to be a great triumph and yields positive outcomes, the CMO often receives acclamation. Yet, a great CMO always remains humble in situations like these instead of feeling conceited. That’s because they know this success isn’t solely the result of their efforts.


They acknowledge the fact they are just the microphone of a brainy crew. And the success of the campaign bound up with team members and other departments that collaborated.


Humbleness empowers CMOs to catch a glimpse into the factors that motivate their teammates. This human element is paramount in today’s digitally connected world, where every professional has become so engrossed with screens and dashboards. Therefore, to become a successful CMO, you must know the art of humanizing the brand.



Marketers are well-aware of the importance of staying ahead in the contemporary marketplace. Today, all the more so, CMOs should lead their team members like CEOs. No longer should they take on a traditional role. Instead, they should go the extra mile, ditch the authoritative position, and undertake an innovative and influential leadership role. Modern marketing leaders must have a clear vision of the future and bring the employees on the same page when executing any marketing idea.


Without being dedicated to the organizational mission, all marketing campaigns are more likely to turn lackluster. The most effective CMOs are the ones who are more geared towards the future and plan the next significant move rather than dwelling on the past.


And while the capability to view the big picture ahead, such as resources, market trends, and campaigns, often comes inherent to people. However, it’s not something that you can’t practice. By closely monitoring market trends and understanding customer behaviors, you can commit to the organization’s vision.



To make a splash and earn people’s loyalty, CMOs should understand customers’ pain points. They must also continually strive to make customers’ lives easier by proposing solutions to their problems. Instead of concentrating merely on closing the deals, marketing leaders should establish a relationship of trust with customers and act as their devoted and trustworthy advisors.


Great CMOs always keep customers front of mind. They always consider them the true north to develop better and more creative marketing campaigns.


If you aspire to be a successful CMO, first, you must fully comprehend the customer lifecycle. You should know what it takes to captivate customers, keep them engaged, and make them satisfied over the long haul.


Remember, every stage of the customer journey requires a different method of communication. Today, customers are the ones that own the conversation. And being a CMO, it’s your responsibility to think about the next horizon. Therefore, ensure you know how to be fluent and provide a positive experience irrespective of which communication medium customers use to connect with your brand.


Collaboration skills

Chief marketing officers work collectively with various departments to develop the best marketing campaigns. For instance, one day, they discuss the forecast and budget with the finance teams. And the next day, they translate the product deliverables to the project leads. They also often collaborate with chief information officers (CIOs), who, similar to CMOs, focus more on customer experience.


Given this, it’s crucial to master the art of cross-department collaboration and communication. And since there’s no denying that the best decisions are often the ones taken collaboratively. Therefore, marketing leaders should connect with everyone to accomplish organizational objectives.


Aside from inter-departmental communication, it’s imperative to communicate effectively with team members. You should set workable timeframes, manage workflows, and receive feedback. Of course, listening is something every one of us could do a bit more. However, being a CMO, you should be an active listener.


When you listen intently to your team members’ concerns, you may provide appropriate solutions and better understand every member’s strong suits and weaknesses. That way, you can rally the troops and forge into unchartered waters more smoothly. Also, if you hone and use your active listening skills properly, you can even coach and lead your team better.



To remain ahead of the curve in this immensely competitive business world, you need to remain apprised of the latest marketing tactics and MarTech. Now, that doesn’t imply that you need to be familiar with various codes. But it does mean you should have comprehensive knowledge about different coding languages and their frameworks.


With the proliferation of MarTech for engaging customers, consistently delivering a positive experience, and providing value to them, CMOs should evolve in the role of chief marketing technologists. Artificial intelligence, AR/VR, and machine learning are crucial tools that help derive valuable insights from data and make well-informed decisions. Further advancements in these technologies may provide promising opportunities for predictive marketing.


However, modern chief marketing officers are also fully aware that technology empowers, but doesn’t replace, strategy. That’s the reason why, being a CMO, you must have an intimate understanding and solid grasp of the organizational strategy. You must also know the gaps in the strategy and integrate technology to fill those gaps smartly.


Final Words

Chief marketing officers utilize a diverse assortment of skills to expand the reach of their brand. To become a successful CMO, individuals should no longer solely zero in on the traditional methods of brand management, advertising, and market research. Instead, the modern digital realm requires CMOs to be hawk-eyed recruiters, long-term strategists, innovators, and data adepts. They must roll with the tidal waves of change and embrace technology to execute organizational goals.


Admittedly, it’s next to impossible for any CMO to embody all the above-discussed qualities. However, if you observe some of these skills within yourself – even slightly – try to hone them. And if you don’t have any, work on developing them.


Learning the customer needs and preferences and relating them to the C-suite executives can help you cement your position and keep organizations moving onwards and upwards. In other words, every CMO should be well-versed in identifying market trends, figuring out solutions, and managing the right people to lead organizations to unparalleled heights.



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