If you manage a marketing department of 20, or you're a CMO that's an army of one, the traits of a great chief marketing officer remain universal—only the circumstances and application of these characteristics change.
Put more directly, any marketer in a leadership position at any size organization can learn something from the characteristics of other high performing marketing leaders.
Let's take a look at 5 traits of a great CMO:
- A Willingness to Delegate.
No micro-managers here. A CMO that can empower an organization sets the strategy and then trusts his or her team members to do their jobs at a high level, encouraging countervailing opinions, inspiring innovation and letting staff do what they were hired to do.
- They Welcome Ownership and Accountability.
It starts at the top. A great CMO not only takes ownership of marketing performance, but also holds themselves accountable for meeting sales goals. A great CMO understands that though marketing and sales might require different skill sets, they are inextricably linked and mutually responsible for generating revenue. A great CMO owns this, and since he or she is leading the marketing team, this legitimizes efforts to delegate to the team and hold them accountable when they underperform.
- They're Driven by Data, Not Ego.
A great CMO will formulate a strategy, delegate its implementation and then track performance. If you'll find any micro-managing by a successful CMO, it will be in the area of data. The high-performing CMO will set ego aside if the numbers tell a story that's anathema to the original strategy they blessed; they'll change course, let the program run and change course again, to ensure a successful campaign. Whether we're talking Big Data at a Fortune 500 company, or excel workbooks at a small business, the great CMO uses data thoughtfully to continually improve results, even if it contradicts his or her original, approved plan.
- They Don't Dictate, They Communicate.
CMOs that thrive and play an integral role in building amazing enterprises are great communicators. As the captain of a complex ship, they can speak the language of sales, tech, design, content and customer service fluently, while never losing sight of the big picture. While the team knows who's boss, an effective CMO constructs an atmosphere of mutual ownership and shared success. The respected and innovative CMO doesn't talk at the team, he or she talks with them.
- They Understand the Customer Like No One Else.
Great CMOs are customer advocates. They deeply understand customer pain points and desires; they know how they make decisions; they get why and how customer behavior is changing in real time; and they can forecast how these behaviors might evolve in the future. Impactful CMOs deftly advocate for the customer to the wider business, so that the enterprise keeps its eyes on the prize: alleviating pain points for their customer base.
Well, there you have it. Five traits of a great chief marketing officer.
Even a great CMO needs help at points throughout their career. If you feel your business is at a critical inflection point and you need additional marketing assistance, contact us.
We'd love to talk with you to learn more about your business, your goals and the challenges you face.