Do You Have What it Takes to Climb the Ladder to CMO?

For marketing professionals, reaching the top career echelon means landing a position as a company’s chief marketing officer, or CMO. As a CMO, you may be required to lead teams that develop and execute the company’s marketing efforts. You may also have responsibilities in the areas of sales management, pricing, communications, and other critical areas. More than that, you will work directly with the company’s other executive leaders. While many people aspire to become a CMO, few professionals achieve this goal. Understanding what it takes to become a CMO may help you to progress efficiently along an optimal career path.


The first step in the process of becoming a CMO is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a relevant business field. Ideally, this will be obtained from a reputable university. You also should work toward obtaining a master’s degree that is specifically in the marketing field. This degree should also be earned through a respected school.


Most marketing professionals earn their post-graduate degree while also working in the field. A CMO typically has at least 10 years of professional experience. While this experience does not need to be entirely rooted in marketing, it should be in a business position. More than that, the experience should show progression. Ideally, experience will be rooted in several relevant areas. For example, a CMO focuses on brand management, online marketing and many other areas. A CMO’s professional experience may be focused in a combination of these areas. Executive resumes should reflect this experience and expertise.


A CMO generally has a proven ability to lead teams successfully. Communication skills are equally important, and this includes verbal and written communications. Skills that relate to strategic planning, data analysis, budgeting and other areas are also vital to the CMO position. Accomplishment in these areas should be obvious through past professional successes.

Track Record

A primary responsibility of a CMO is to deliver results in the area of market growth. Specifically, this should be in growth that exceeds market averages. Likewise, the CMO should improve the company’s reputation or the brand’s image significantly. Results in both of these areas may realistically be expected within a short period of time. Because of these expectations, the CMO should have a track record of successes in other positions that indicate the ability to achieve results.

If you want to rise to the position of CMO, you must actively progress in these areas. Manage your career path so that each professional move made yields meaningful results.