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What Does It Take to Be a Successful Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in Today’s Fast-Changing World?

Many young marketing professionals aspire to reach the position of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). What does the CMO role entail and how can young marketers prepare for this responsibility? 

For young people opting for a prosperous career in marketing, the starting point is often higher education. A Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on marketing is most commonly held by those within a CMO role.

As the marketing industry dramatically changes on a regular basis, students leaving University are challenged to adapt quickly. Much of what they have learned during their studies may be outdated when they begin their initial marketing role. Gaining as much varied experience as possible during one’s early career is paramount to their later success as an aspiring CMO. The reason for this is due to the intricate nature of the CMO role.

The world’s most outstanding CMOs of today’s fast-changing world are visionaries who can juggle an immense variety of expectations. A great CMO should be creative, have the ability to produce complex yet original marketing strategies, and also capable of reacting to changes and trends.

As with any leadership role, a CMO is always learning and growing. Technology continues to evolve at a breakneck rate, making it impossible for even the most intelligent of individuals to remain up to date with all that is available to them. Although for businesses, the advancement of technology helps them to continue to improve their digital strategies, it can also be a challenge to keep up. For young marketing professionals working their way up the career ladder, every opportunity to learn about marketing technologies will benefit them for years to come.

Marketing professionals may appear to work behind the scenes within an organization, but they’re required to communicate with and understand all aspects of the business. Marketing, sales, business development, and customer experience all work hand in hand together. A CMO will not only lead their team but may also lead the way of other teams and often the entire business. For an aspiring CMO, they should invest a lot of time in their personal development and their leadership and management skills. Having the dexterity to influence not only those in the marketing team but also other senior executives within their company is key. Lauren Crampsie, who at just 34 became CMO at Ogilvy & Mather, is a huge believer in “leading people through influence” and “making people want to join you on your mission.”

Being passionate about your brand shows and will ultimately get you to where you want to go; Twitter’s first CMO and Head of People, Leslie Berland, says you should ‘Love Where You Work’. In an interview with CNBC she recommends finding a company that “reflects what excites you, what motivates you and what inspires you.” When those within an organization are passionate, it’s contagious and spreads to others creating a culture of people who love their job, and who believe in the mission of their company.

The journey to becoming a CMO is different for everyone, having an understanding of what you need to do to get there is just the beginning. Plans and goals may change along the way and the role of the CMO will continue to change and adapt as the best marketing methodologies and technologies advance.

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