Hiring a Chief Marketing Officer (or CMO) is no small task. In fact, it can be quite daunting, even for an experienced Chief Executive Officer (CEO). It’s important to find someone with the right experience and skills, the right network, and the right leadership style to steer your existing marketing team. It’s equally important, however, to find someone who will mesh with your company culture and jump right in to help achieve your goals.

Below are insights and tips I’ve accumulated over a few decades of CMO-searching to help you get started.

Do I need a Chief Marketing Officer?

The need for a CMO isn’t necessarily based on an organization’s size, but more on its needs and future goals. Many organizations already have internal marketing teams in place, often with a Director of Marketing or a VP of Marketing at the helm. After all, every team needs a leader, and a coach for other team members.

In some situations, however, companies may elect to add a C-level marketing executive, or Chief Marketing Officer, to provide more structure and direction for their marketing team, as well as join other leaders in steering the company’s growth and positioning.

My advice? Before you start your search for this position, spend time outlining the role and expectations within your organization. Consider how their responsibilities would differ from existing marketing leaders and what value a CMO would add.

How do I find the best CMO?

If you’ve determined that hiring a CMO is truly what’s right for your business, then the next step is finding the perfect fit. From the search to the selection, we’ve pulled together a few tips to help you find the perfect Chief Marketing Officer to complete your company’s executive team.

  1. Look inward. Begin your search internally. The best candidate may be right under your nose. Hiring internally can be a beautiful thing in that it provides you with someone who’s already familiar with your company, your marketing team, and your expectations. Furthermore, promoting from within can create incentive and motivation for others to take initiative and go above and beyond to reach company goals.
  2. Network, network, network. There’s something to be said for professional headhunting when you’re searching for C-level executives. It can be scary and uncertain to open up your company to the ebbs and flows of the applicant pool, but you can use your professional network and connections to handpick your own applicants and interviewees. Embrace online networking tools like LinkedIn to connect with candidates you think have great potential.
  3. Job description is everything! Finding the perfect candidate can be as simple as creating the perfect job description. A Chief Marketing Officer job description should be as honest as possible in communicating your needs, desires, and expectations. It should also communicate who you are as a company. A winning job description will lure in the winning prospects by portraying a prestigious position at a people-centered company with a great compensation package.
  4. Use an executive search firm. Not to toot our own horn, but using a professional to help hire this caliber of talent can make a huge difference. Executive search firms like PS Partners not only have a large talent pool, but we know how to best reach C-level executives, as well as help with salary packages and negotiations.

As with any executive leadership role, the hiring process for a Chief Marketing Officer must be done with care. The search and selection doesn’t have to be painful or exhausting, though. Start with your own team, then branch out by scouring your connections, and take the time to create a job description that will entice the most expertly qualified candidates to join your team.

Better yet? Get a partner in the process who can find you the best CMO for your organization. Reach out to me today to learn more about how PS Partners can elevate your CMO search and get your organization on track for marketing success.