Back in October, I was a privileged fly on the wall of Forrester’s CMO Leadership Board meeting in Chicago.  The guest speaker was Greg Welch
from Spencer Stuart, talking about what makes a good CMO.  Greg should
know – he handles some of the highest profile searches around.

Some things you may know already:  CMO tenure is way down
– almost 23 months, about half of CEO tenure.  These are $1mm jobs that
are really general manager roles that come with high stakes and
expectations.  New chief marketers need to build bridges and prove that
marketing delivers value, doesn’t just spend money.  A key question:
does your marketing team look like your customer base?

CEOs are looking for a fit at the intersection of job (i.e.
responsibilities), organization (i.e. cultural elements), and personal
qualifications (i.e. competencies).  The top skills required for
success?  Leadership – influence and impact.  A track record of results
– no excuses.  General management and P&L experience.  Innovation

So how do you get there?  In the short term, create a list of your
100 goals in life.  Develop a personal board of directors.  Gain
experience with a blue chip company in an industry that you like.  Network now.
Get an international assignment.  Go through a sales rotation.
Participate in an acquisition.  Manage your career aggressively.  And
finally (maybe the toughest one for this day and age) don’t change
companies too frequently – loyalty counts.

Thinking through this advice, I feel it’s important to figure out
WHY you want to be a CMO.  If you like creating ads but don’t like
numbers, shoot for VP of Advertising and love your job.  If you enjoy
focusing on a single market, work towards managing a regionally-focused
subsidiary company.  If you have brilliant ideas but don’t want to
manage people…become a consultant!