It’s quite a time to be, or hire, a CMO. As the consumer takes a more active role in driving the relationship, the CMO role is getting more complicated. This dynamic, coupled with technology changes and the resulting CMO role changes, is making hiring and integrating the CMO into the C-suite a significant challenge.
What qualities are you looking for?
In a CMO, you should look for an analytical mind and someone who is genuinely invested in the brand and customer. Sounds simple but it’s not.
On the analytical side, it’s more than just problem solving. As you add more channels and your customers are figuring out and adapting ways to use new platforms, your CMO has to be ahead of – or at least keep pace with – that evolution. It’s going to be a constant effort, which will require strong analytical skills and the ability to see the shifts before it’s too late.
And to that end, your CMO has to be naturally inquisitive. This isn’t just benchmarking the competition, but it’s a willingness to learn from outside of the organization – to outsource ideas that fill skill sets and core competencies they don’t have. They have to be able to think across channels – and across teams – to achieve outcomes and be able to flip from the brand view, to the consumer view, to the company view – on a dime.
What’s their impact on the team?
It’s crucial to consider your internal stakeholders and their greatest needs when it comes to marketing – long term and short term. Does your CMO have experience seeing and addressing these needs? Can they plan for it?
Ask the question directly: “what kind of problems do you see for our firm and our industry?” S/he needs to be able to look at the consumer behaviors and trends to help identify those problems, and participate in creating solutions.
And think about your other team players. It’s easy to say the marketer should have more influence or control because they are closest to the customer – but frankly, everyone is responsible for the customer experience and marketers aren’t necessarily in the best position (over the CIO, for example) to be in total control. Has the CMO earned the right to represent the customer within the organization? Just saying they’re in charge isn’t going to make the rest of your C-suite buy in – the CMO has to back it up.
What’s their impact on the organization?
Sure, you can ask yourself “what problems are we are solving with this hire?” But the better question is “what’s the best experience for my brand – and are we driving that experience?” It’s important to know how s/he has driven that experience for other brands, and what it took to get there. That’s a very specific conversation where the new hire has to be able to show his/her deep knowledge of the entire brand and customer experience.
It’s important to recognize that CMOs are in a reactive space, trying to wrangle flatlined infrastructure support while everything else is growing. How are you adjusting your internal systems and organization structure to support external customer needs that are constantly changing? Looking for a CMO who can navigate those waters and redirect as needed will help keep your customer experience – and your brand – afloat.