Is it a CMO You’re Looking For?

Is anyone else puzzled by searches for top marketing talent? I am often approached by brands and search professionals who excite me with amazing roles. From time to time, I have assisted in searches. This piece is not solely about lofty titles like CMO and CRO and CGO, it is more concerned with the fact that executive marketing jobs now carry unrealistic expectations (whatever happened to VP Marketing and a VP Sales?).

The grandiosity assumed by super CMO’s has hurt marketing. For years, marketing demanded a seat at the executive table, now most marketers fall short on deserving to sit there. It has had another impact. Many organizations want a CMO or so they think. Take into account these searches found online this week. These are the first paragraphs of three different searches, I have given them headers.

Change the World

We are seeking a dynamic CMO to join us in developing a brand funded by people who are passionate about improving the way humanity interacts in the modern age. This is not your typical, everyday corporate work environment. This is not another 10¢ job opportunity. This is a chance to literally change the world as we know it and to build something people around the globe will cherish for decades to come. It is likely that your past pursuits have been leading you here all along… to do this… with us… at this very special moment in history.

Save Us, Please!

YYYYY is seeking a Chief Revenue Officer to drive strong, profitable revenue growth ($100M+) by building on our customer-focused organization and effectively implementing go-to-market strategies. The CRO will work closely with the President, Leadership Team and Owner/Board to expand business development and company brand recognition and value. This role will have a strong understanding of SaaS-based cross-channel sales and marketing in the tech market space, as well as the ability to use a premium brand value proposition to create powerful community engagement, and a sales strategy that delivers rapid and robust sales growth across the following channels: direct sales, consumer business development, distribution/resale, international rights, and licensing. The CRO will act as role model, motivator, team leader, and culture builder, inspiring strong support of YYYYY’s core values. 

Just Do It All

XXXXX is looking for an SVP, Chief Marketing Officer. As chief steward of the brand, this executive will retain overall responsibility for all marketing activities including, collaborative strategic leadership and planning with the product and sales teams, aligning marketing efforts across multiple channels. The CMO will be directing all marketing, branding, PR and communications for all products & services, to increase brand awareness, grow revenue and drive revenue, and build relationships among our target and prospect audiences. We are looking for a marketer with strategic, creative and financial/business acumen who possesses the agility to flourish in a matrixed team environment and the diplomacy and navigational skills needed in a larger organization.

These opportunities are undeniably attractive. Each would occupy a place on the executive team, the roles would gnaw on all things strategic, and that the position will be respected company-wide. Then you scroll down to Skills and Experience. You must have:

3-5 years in Marketing

Bachelor’s degree preferred

Previous graphic digital design experience

Organized with the ability to prioritize workload

Very good attention to detail

Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)

Proficient in Adobe Creative Suite: InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop

Expert in Word and PowerPoint

Ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines

Strong knowledge of media types, file types, standards and documentations

Team Player who is highly analytical, motivated, self-starter with strong problem-solving skills

Photography and videography experience is a plus!

This actually matches one of the three jobs above. Incredible. Steward all marketing. Change the world, save us, and do it all on three years of experience and a salary comparable to working two jobs in college. And this happens all the time!

This shows the yawning chasm between grand title and remit and what a company is actually sourcing and willing to pay for. Another search went like this, “Successful candidates must have deep expertise with marketing principles, best practices, and growth and branding strategies with proven experience in scaling a national business.” Yet, that candidate need only 5 years-experience and a valid driver’s license.

Let’s stop searching for Chief Marketing Officers when we are really looking for an Assistant Manager, SEO. Is it really a Chief Growth Officer you need when that person is actually in charge of trade shows and social media? Of course, I found some very smart, logical and clear ones. Autodesk’s search for a VP, Industry and Portfolio Marketing was clear, concise and called for the requisite experience. You will know in one reading, if you qualify. Searches for Vice Presidents are usually clearer.

We have to repair this disconnect. Marketing professionals are known to be creative but we need a strong dose of the practical when it comes to searches, job titles, descriptions, organizational design, and performance expectations. Otherwise, we will continue to produce poor fit and have our colleagues at the big table question why we have seat.

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