Marketing Executive Search Consultants Share How To Build Your Career From Entry To CMO

marketing executive search consultants

Marketing, like any other career field, depends on you and what you want in a future career. Do you see yourself climbing the corporate ladder? Are you the type of marketer who wants to achieve harder goals? Do you see yourself managing a team of marketing professionals? If the answer is yes, you are just in luck. MarketPro, a team of marketing executive search consultants, interacts with top executive marketing talent every day. We access their background and expertise, listen to their achievements, and match them with the right companies. Along the way, we have picked up great stories and advice from leading c-suite executives that could potentially help boost younger marketing experts’ careers. Here are some of the top career advice we gathered from CMOs.

Top Career Advice The Leading Chief Marketing Officer Executive Search Firm Gathered From CMOs:

Expose Yourself To Different Disciplines Within Marketing Early On

With any career, the early stages are anything but easy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to establishing a successful profession. However, having a strong foundation that molds you and pushes you out of your comfort zone will help you further yourself as a professional.

According to Rasmussen University and marketing executive search consultants, marketers should consider starting broad and then specializing. The reality is, the marketing world includes many different specialties, from content marketing and sales to research and analytics. Closing yourself off or confining your talents in a box will not only restrict the number of marketing skills you can learn but will also limit the kind of marketing positions you can get in the future.

This, however, does not mean you should not focus on the types of marketing you enjoy doing. A good practice is making sure you are giving yourself the opportunity to understand the basics of all marketing areas but focus on deeper concepts in the areas you find joy in. Following this mindset will help you focus and become the go-to expert in that particular marketing field.

Try to Associate Yourself With a Company With a Strong Brand/Marketing Process To Help You Build a Foundation

When marketers think about furthering their careers, what do you think of? More degrees? More responsibilities? Finding a new job? As the leading chief marketing officer executive search firm, we hear a lot of our clients speak and focus on the experience. The truth is, getting real-world experience helps top marketers hone their skills and build a portfolio of outstanding work examples.

However, not all work experiences are created equal. The experience you get from stronger brands will differ from the experience you will get from a startup. These brands have already established a great marketing process and foundation. You will be able to surround yourself with the best marketers in that industry and learn the best marketing techniques for future tasks and campaigns.

Be An Avid Learner 

The rapid change in marketing is accelerating at an incredibly high level. Only marketing professionals who have the mindset of a lifelong learner will be able to adapt, grow, and ultimately guide a strong team.

Don’t allow yourself to become complacent in your professional development and don’t let your learning stop within the confinement of work.

Check out webinars and leadership programs, study business books, and trade publications. Staying in touch with industry influencers and thought leaders will help you improve your general business skills and competencies. At the end of the day, you can never have too much knowledge; especially in marketing.

Surround Yourself With Top Marketing Leaders

You probably have heard the saying “who you know is just as important as what you know”. As marketing executive search consultants, we can attest to this saying. There are many occasions when candidates are referred to us from past executive leaders we have worked with and they were able to land the position.

For this reason, whether you’re actively seeking a new job opportunity or not, you should consistently strive to nurture your network and keep your relationships fresh. Doing so will make a world of a difference when you’re looking for your next opportunity. Or even better, it’ll come to you.

Additionally, what most marketers forget when networking is you should network both externally and internally. If you have reached a position with direct reports, don’t be afraid to hire smart marketers below you. Great insight and connection will help you achieve your goals quicker and reduce the amount of stress you may have if you were to run the marketing department by yourself.

Understand That To Gain Leadership And Executive Presence You Must Learn To Communicate, Adjust Your Communication Style To The Situation, And Be Able To Tie Your Efforts To Business Results

Internal communications are vital in ensuring an organization is functioning properly and driving business performance. Therefore, to gain leadership, you must learn to communicate. Can you adjust your communication style to the situation? Are you able to tie your efforts to business results? Do you have the capability to adapt to others’ communication styles to effectively get your message across?

All of these questions lead back to your executive presence. It’s often thought of as a trait that a person possesses and comes naturally: you either have it, or you don’t. This is not the case. While executive presence comes naturally to some, it is a skill set that can [and should] be developed, not a trait.

Your attire, body language, and speech play an important role in your executive presence. Here are some ways marketing executive search consultants found to boost your chances of being the next CMO:

  • Start from the inside out: executive presence isn’t just how others perceive you. It’s how you view yourself. If you are confident in your abilities, it will show.
  • Body language awareness: pay close attention to how you are sitting when you are speaking to someone. Are your arms crossed? Is your body draping over the chair? Are you making eye contact? The more aware you are of your body language, the more natural it will become.
  • Get in front of the mirror: while there are many classes you can take for executive presence, the mirror could also be your best friend. Print out a list of interview questions or any questions related to your job. Ask the question and answer straight away. It could also be helpful to record your answer and critique them at the end.

Don’t Be Afraid To Express Your Point Of View, Have Data/Reason To Back It Up

As top marketers reach a certain level, they begin to fear the outcome of expressing their point of view or idea without extensive research. As a result, most executives will most likely hold onto their ideas until they are sure the plan will provide value.

While it is effective to have some reasoning behind your idea, you don’t have to have anything thoroughly thought out before presenting it. This is because, regardless of how deep you believe your research is, other marketing experts might have a different approach to the same idea. You want to give you and your colleagues the chance to bounce ideas, reasoning, and data off each other. This is how you can assure your team has a strong marketing strategy.

On the other hand, an executive is hired to lead. You need to be able to stand by your idea and back it up with data. In most cases, your years of experience and expertise lay the foundation behind your idea.

Must Learn The Overall Business Goals (P&L, Strategic Initiatives, etc.) Beyond Marketing

As you progress within your career, you may find yourself feet away from becoming a CMO. However, as the leading chief marketing officer executive search, the biggest obstacle we see candidates face is being too focused on only marketing tactics.

The CMO or chief marketing officer is the pinnacle of the marketing career path. They are expected to do more than strategize marketing content or analyze social media interactions. They are responsible for activities in a business that relates to the creation, communication, and delivery of products or services that provide value for the customers.

In other words, as the leading chief marketing officer executive search firm, we highly recommend all marketers learn the overall business goal (P&L, strategic initiatives, etc) as they grow within a company. You want to understand the goals and obstacles your CEO may be having and contribute valuable ideas or strategies to overcome those barriers.

Remember that the biggest obstacle in your way to achieving your goals and aspirations is yourself. Your goal should not be to become a good marketer but to transform into a marketing expert. A marketing professional who is a change agent at their organization inspires others and can grow companies beyond expectations.

If you are ready to take your career to the next level, consider speaking with an executive search consultant about the best path for you and your goals. There are many ways to become a CMO. How do you plan on achieving it?

Author:  Melissa Van Rossum