A chief marketing officer ( CMO ) or marketing director is a corporate executive responsible for marketing activities in an organization. The CMO leads brand management , marketing communications (including advertising , promotions and public relations ), market research , sales management , product development , distribution channel management , pricing , and customer service .

The CMO is a member of the C-suite and typically reports to the Chief Executive Officer . A number of Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Directors, and other senior marketing managers responsible for various parts of the marketing strategy may report directly to the CMO. [3]


The day-to-day tasks are often categorically different from one another, due to the fluid nature of the CMO's skill set: language is needed to stitch together all aspects of the company. Thus, in a given day the CMO completes tasks that fall into many different categories:

  • Analytical tasks, such as pricing and market research,
  • Creative tasks, such as designing advertising and promotions,
  • Interpersonal tasks, such as coordinating many different styles of thinking in a single team.

The CMO must quickly react to changing circumstances in the firm, and must shape the company's understanding of a particular product, sales strategy, or marketing idea. Each of these products comes from a different department, so the CMO must be a nexus of information: it is a highly receptive role, with involvement in departments such as production , information technology , corporate communications , documentation , public relations , law , human resources , and finance . [4]

In the 21st century, digitalization and the rise of consumer-centric marketing has changed the role of the CMO. They are now typically finding themselves handling customer-facing technology implementations in addition to the above tasks. [5] Gartner analyst Laura McLellan predicted that in the future CMOs will spend more on IT than their counterpart CIOs. [6] According to analyst firm McKinsey, few senior-executive positions will be subject to as much change over the next few years as that of the chief marketing officer. [7]

Peers to the CMO include Chief human resources officer , Chief technology officer , Chief financial officer , Chief communications officer , Chief procurement officer , Chief information officer , and general counsel .


The CMO is responsible for facilitating growth, sales and marketing strategy. They must work towards objectives such as revenue generation, cost reduction, or risk mitigation. The unpredictable effect of marketing efforts, coupled with the need to drive profits, often leads to a short tenure for most CMOs. Forbes reported that the average CMO tenure in 2008 was just over 28 months. [8]

According to a 2011 IBM global study of 1,734 CMOs around the world, CMOs see customer loyalty as their top priority in the digital era; their second priority is to design experiences for tablets and mobile apps . [9]

Role of women

In the male-dominated information technology industry, chief marketing officer is an executive role in which a majority are women; [10] Jim Lundy's analysis in 2013 listed six women among the top ten CMOs in Silicon Valley . [11] Three of eleven CMOs listed as "the most innovative CMOs in the world" by Business Insider in 2016 are women. [3]

See also