Who is the CMO of the Future? Our Take

Marketing plays a key role in today’s data driven business reimagination. With technology driving the significant transformation of countless organizations and companies, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are redefining and growing their role like never before.

The CMO of the future will need to break the status quo of the past. Today’s CMOs are still required to be proficient marketers, but they’re also asked to “build bridges across multiple business functions, keep up with rapidly evolving technology and trends–and deliver consistency across the entire customer experience,” according to a recent report by Deloitte. While they can’t know everything, the CMO of the future needs to be well versed in a wide range of areas, including Digital, Media, Branding, Social, Innovation, Customer Marketing and Data Science to name a few.

In this blog, we’ll explore the characteristics that will define the CMO of the future and what to look for if you’re on the hunt for C-level marketing talent with the power to transform your organization.

The Six Roles of the 21st Century CMO

The CMO of the future has multiple roles and will need to be able to wear multiple hats within an organization. In some cases, the person in this role could be more of a generalist with highly skilled specialists reporting in. However, in other cases they may be an expert in a few areas but need assistance in other.

The CMO of the future will play following six critical leadership roles, according to Deloitte:

1. Customer Champion

CMOs must bring find ways to make the organization customer centric by diving deep into data science. With the power of analytics, CMOs can uncover and reveal ways to deliver superior, personalized customer experiences. Additionally they can use them to measure business results and refine future strategy.

2. Capability Creator and Builder

Another key role of the CMO of the future is to be relentless when it comes to building up the organization’s marketing capabilities. Organizations that hope to compete in the future will need technological fluency, digital expertise, customer data and insights and data science. The CMO is the leader who will help bring those create and bring those new capabilities to the organization.

3. Innovation Generator

Bringing innovation to the organization in many forms is crucial. CMOs must devise creative customer offerings and find ways to advance marketing by utilizing cutting-edge technology, new platforms, new tools and techniques, and alternative media. Overall, the goal is to transform the customer experience while improving the way things work internally.

4. Chief Storyteller

At the heart of any marketing role is the goal of effectively communicating the company’s story and brand to the customer. The CMO of the future, above all, needs to be creative to build brand stories from scratch and communicate them in a unique way.

5. Customer Centric vs Product Focused

Unlike in the past where the focus was on creating the best product were to create the best product for the most advanced customer, the CMO of the future is instead focused on providing the best solution for the customer in the form of personalized packages of products. With today’s customers expecting more customization and personalization, CMO’s are focused on customer relationship management rather than product teams and product profit centers

6. Organizer/Leader vs Owner

Marketing is more complex than ever, which is why it’s extremely difficult to find someone who is an expert in all of these areas. It’s somewhat unrealistic to expect to find a CMO who is a can own every aspect of the marketing machine. Instead, the CMO of the future will likely be an organizer and leader who regularly meets with specialized experts throughout the organization.


For the CMO of the future, data is everything. In “The Evolving Role of Data in Decision-Making”, a reported and survey recently published by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit, it is revealed that out of all c-level executives, CMOs (64%) are the most likely to say that their organizations are planning to increase their use of big data decision making.

Without data, CMOs can’t make decisions. However, when they utilize AI and machine learning to parse through big data quickly, they can learn things about their organizations quickly and make agile decisions based on them.

Securing Transformational C-Level Marketing Talent

Traditional communications people with ad agency backgrounds may not be sufficient to drive growth in today’s market. Instead, you need someone who understands marketing technology. The number of digital devices worldwide has more than doubled since 2013, and is expected to nearly double again by 2019. More devices means more online interactions between customers and businesses.

CMO Compensation

Credera, a management consulting, UX and technology solutions firm recently published a report analyzing CMO compensation at different sized companies. These compensation estimates provide a valuable baseline for negotiation, but they do not tell the whole story. It’s critical that performance metrics be tied to compensation. This means measuring company, individual, team and functional performance. The bottom line is that as a CEO, you shouldn’t just settle for any CMO. Instead, seek out a CMO who will help bring your vision to live.

The annual total compensation for CMO’s at small companies is $230,000 with 65% of $150,000 total in base salary. At medium sized companies, the average total salary is $350,000 with an average base salary of $250,000. At large companies, the average annual compensation is $705,000, with stock composing over a third of the compensation.

About the Author:


Matthew J Schwartz is the Founder, President and CEO of MJS Executive Search with nearly two decades of experience in retained executive search. Matt’s expertise lies in bringing together key executives that exhibit passion and creativity with leading organizations in a wide range of functional areas such as Marketing, Sales, Digital, Interactive and more. From Digital and Social media to Machine Learning and AI, Matt is passionate about cutting edge technologies and is dedicated using his knowledge to help his clients remain or become leaders in their realm.

Founded in 2003, MJS Executive Search has established itself as a top retained executive search firm that identifies and places unique, hard to find executives in highly specialized roles.

If you are interested in learning more about our Transformational Talent™ solutions, contact MJS Executive Search today to learn more about how we can help your organization. www.mjsearch.com

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