4 Barriers CMO Executive Recruiters See Marketers Face to Become CMO

4 personal Roadblocks Marketers Face on the Journey to Becoming CMO| advice from CMO executive recruiters

You’re remarkable marketer, but you haven’t reached the pinnacle position yet as CMO.

To climb the corporate ladder to C-suite, there are specific things you have to master and understand about yourself. The truth is you may not be aware of a few personal hurdles that are preventing you from landing the role of Chief Marketer.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the average tenure for CMO today is 43 months. That’s more than double the length of a CMO ten years ago. This is a great sign as this tenure is up significantly from five to ten years ago.

This means top talent has figured out how to succeed and corporations have figured out how to separate top talent from everyone else. As CMO executive recruiters, we see one of the biggest factors leading to the success of “A” players is the ever-improving ability to measure marketing ROI. Becoming a CMO starts very early in your career and takes careful planning and a track record of success. Are you managing your career appropriately?


Personal Barriers CMO Executive Recruiters See Marketers Struggle to Overcome


1) Job Hopping Trap

This is a very common mistake being made by young professionals today. Having placed hundreds of CMO’s, job hoppers need not apply. Overall you will get one mistake, past that moving around before you have shown success and loyalty will undermine future opportunities.

Look at it from the employers perspective. You want them to trust you with a C level role and in most companies, the second most important role, after the CEO. They need to know you are reliable and not going to be looking for some other opportunity before you have added significant value to the company. As a CMO, it will take time to add meaningful value.  Thus, your track record needs to exemplify success and stability.   

Not just for the CMO role, from a CMO executive search firm point of view, this type of behavior decreases your chances of becoming a senior-level marketer. Part of the CMO role is to solve complex challenges and issues that need an equally complex solution– thus the nature of the position is going to take you a while to turn things around. So ask yourself, have you stayed in each role long enough to make an impact and can you quantify that impact for future employers?

The instant gratification of technology such as smartphones, or fast streaming services like Netflix, our society has become conditioned to think their career should be moving as fast as an online order at Starbucks. The truth is, it takes time to gain the necessary skills and experience to execute projects and campaigns.

CMOs must know how to align effective communication and strategy with their executive team and marketing team to become an influential leader.



2) Leadership – A Key Differentiator

4 personal Roadblocks Marketers Face on the Journey to Becoming CMO| advice from CMO executive recruiters

Your team is one of your best assets, and yet many marketing leaders who desire to become CMO fail to maximize their teams’ strengths.

There’s valuable insight when you take the time to understand, listen–and trust your team.

As you rise in your career towards the C-suite, you shift from completing execution-oriented tasks to more strategic planning. It’s critical if you want to be a CMO, that top marketers also learn to be great leaders. One of the key leadership fails we see is not trusting your team to get their jobs done and putting too much on yourself. The leader should never be the bottleneck. 

You must learn to be good at motivating and trusting your team to complete those tasks. To achieve this, all marketing leaders have to first hire great talent . Talent acquisition is one of the biggest challenges CMOs faces because the amount of A-level marketers are scarce. That’s why it’s smart to work with a marketing executive search firm. The absence of top marketing talent or worse a poor hire will result in low return on your investments and end up hurting your bottom line. 

Most importantly, as fast as marketing is changing you need to learn how to lead marketers who are now doing things that were not possible when you were at their level.


4) Not Knowing Whether to Get off Track or Stay On

4 Personal Roadblocks Marketers Face on the Journey to Becoming CMO| Advice from CMO Executive Recruiters

Not every marketer will become a CMO- and that’s okay.

To become a successful CMO, you have to stay on course and manage your career intentionally and strategically. Although the required skill set for CMO often changes due to the rapid innovation of martech and AI, the expectation of how you manage your career to get to the CMO level is not changing. Working for companies long enough to make an impact, learning how to motivate tasks, and becoming knowledgeable about various marketing functions is a must.

Aspiring marketers who want to reach CMOs status have to continually evolve their skills properly to lead their team or risk falling behind.

As CMO executive recruiters, we understand life happens sometimes. Some things are out of your control, such as your company getting bought out or goes through a reorganization. However, some things are in your control. It’s up to you to accept your truths and consider whether the path to becoming CMO is genuinely right for you.


Final Words

Remember that the biggest obstacle in your way to achieving your goals and aspirations is yourself. Your goal should not be to become just a CMO but to transform into a Super-CMO who is a change agent at their organization, inspires others, and grow companies beyond expectations. 

Sometimes you must look inward at your strengths and weaknesses as you move forward in your career, and choose the best path for you. There are many ways one can become a CMO, but the barriers in the road to becoming one are all controlled by you!

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