[New year, new blog. I'm cross-posting here from a blog I started called "Do You Have A Second?" It's a career-related blog; in my time as a manager, mentor, peer, and employee, I received my fair share of good and bad advice. The name comes from the phrase that you often hear when someone wants to share a piece of candid feedback with you.]
Back in October, I was a privileged fly on the wall of Forrester's CMO Leadership Board meeting in Chicago. The guest speaker was Greg Welch from Spencer Stuart, talking about what makes a good CMO. Greg should know - he handles some of the highest profile searches around.
Some things you may know already:
- CMO tenure is way down - almost 23 months, about half of CEO tenure.
- These are $1mm jobs that are really general manager roles that come with high stakes and expectations.
- New chief marketers need to build bridges and prove that marketing delivers value, doesn't just spend money.
- A key question: does your marketing team look like your customer base?
CEOs are looking for a fit at the intersection of job (i.e. responsibilities), organization (i.e. cultural elements), and personal qualifications (i.e. competencies). The top skills required for success?
- Leadership - influence and impact.
- A track record of results - no excuses.
- General management and P&L experience.
- Innovation experience.
So how do you get there?
- In the short term, create a list of your 100 goals in life.
- Develop a personal board of directors.
- Gain experience with a blue chip company in an industry that you like.
- Network now.
- Get an international assignment.
- Go through a sales rotation.
- Participate in an acquisition.
- Manage your career aggressively.
- And finally (maybe the toughest one for this day and age) don't change companies too frequently - loyalty counts.
Thinking through this advice, I feel it's important to figure out WHY you want to be a CMO. If you like creating ads but don't like numbers, shoot for VP of Advertising and love your job. If you enjoy focusing on a single market, work towards managing a regionally-focused subsidiary company. If you have brilliant ideas but don't want to manage people...become a consultant!