What to Look for in a Chief Marketing Officer

After determining when to hire a CMO for your company, you’ve started the search for a new chief marketing officer. But how do you know what to look for in a CMO?

As a purpose based executive search firm, Y Scouts seeks executive candidates who share a company’s reasons for working. A shared purpose is important, but there are many personal attributes you should consider when hiring for your company. To help you know what to look for in a CMO, here are six characteristics a chief marketing officer needs to succeed.

1. Versatility
The best CMO needs to be able to use different online and offline marketing tools in order to execute campaigns. By understanding several ways to spread your company’s message, a chief marketing officer ensures that anyone interested in your company can find whatever information they are looking for – no matter where they look for it.

2. Industry involvement
The world of marketing changes quickly, and it’s important that your CMO keeps track of new innovations in the field. Sometimes new ideas can make your business’ current practices obsolete, and learning new techniques can keep your company on the cutting edge.

If the candidate is heavily involved in the industry – be it through social networks, associations, or continuing education – there is a good chance that her or she will be on top of industry news. An involved CMO can prevent your company from falling behind the times.

3. Creativity
Innovation requires creativity, and innovation is critical in marketing. A chief marketing officer needs to be able to think “out of the box” to create new ideas and drive your company forward. By looking for a CMO with demonstrated creativity, you encourage innovation and set up your company for success.

4. Analytical ability
While creativity is necessary to drive innovation, analytical ability is necessary to ensure ideas can potentially succeed. If a CMO can look at company data and figure out what it means for the business, they can determine which practices need improvement.

Once the chief marketing officer identifies what areas need to be changed, they can set goals for the company. Then, they can use their creativity to meet these goals. Creativity drives innovation, but figuring out where to innovate requires the ability to look at numbers and analyze what they mean.

5. Top-notch communication skills
Since marketing requires spread your business’ ideas with the public, a chief marketing officer must be able to communicate effectively. He or she needs to be excellent at conveying ideas both verbally and in writing. This quality ensures that people understand all of your marketing messages.

In addition, a CMO needs to be able to communicate effectively with his or her colleagues. As one of your company’s executives, the CMO is one of your company’s primary leaders. In order to be an effective leader, they need to be able to communicate with employees at all levels of your organization.

6. Growth potential
As with any executive, a CMO needs to be able to help the company grow. Similarly, they need to be able to grow as employees and better their skills in order to keep your company’s marketing efforts up to date. The ability to better oneself and the company is a critical asset, and an important attribute to keep in mind when determining what to look for in a CMO.

You might be interested in these other posts about hiring a CMO:
When to Hire a CMO
How to Hire a CMO
15 Amazing CMO Interview Questions
What to Pay a CMO

How did you decide what to look for in a CMO? Let us know in the comments.


Y Scouts is a purpose-based, performance-proven leadership search and development firm focused on transforming how people and organizations connect to work that matters. When you’re ready to hire a new leader, Contact Y Scouts. If you are looking for your next leadership role within a purpose-driven, performance-focused organization, please join the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

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How to Find a CMO

What to Look For in a CMO

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