CMO Roles: Are You a Builder, Fixer, or Scaler?

By Matt Gill

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As a retained search consultant for marketing execs over the last fifteen plus years, I’ve learned a lot about the discipline and the smart people in it. I have seen trends in geographies, industries, and skill sets. One pattern I’ve noticed with my clients that will help you as a marketing exec looking for a new position is that CMO roles consistently fall into one of three categories:

1. “The Builder”

2. “The Fixer”

3. “The Scaler”

Understanding the Three Primary CMO Roles

The Builder―This role typically has two scenarios:

  1. An emerging company that has done some marketing but it’s not a discipline that currently exists at a senior level. It probably has a manager level executional staff member with directional oversight from the CEO, CFO, or COO.
  2. A new discipline within a larger organization that is brought in to build a team. More recently I have worked on roles that are charged with building a global content team or someone who is brought in to create a lead generation capability to feed (or replace) an outside sales team.

The Fixer―For this one, the company has a marketing function and it needs to do one of two things:

  1. Completely dismantle and rebuild to form a new focus. For example, a marketing function that was solely a service center for creating presentations that is now going to have a seat at the table shaping business strategy and providing strategic input.
  2. Evaluate for capabilities and strengthen inadequate areas to evolve with the changing business climate. This is probably the most common role in the current market and also includes an elevated involvement in overall business strategy.

The ScalerUsually follows The Fixer or The Builder as a successor. Clients are usually looking for someone who has “been there and done that,” a marketing leader who has been either the person in charge of “hockey stick growth” or the number two.

I know there are many marketing execs who have accomplished one, two, or maybe even all three of these over a career. I can also be sure that if you have accomplished all three, there is one you like most and are best at.

As a marketing executive looking for new CMO roles, you can’t be all things to a hiring company. Through some basic research on a company, you should be able to figure out, before you interview for a role, if they need a Builder, Fixer or Scaler and use that research to best position you and your experience to match their needs.

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Source:: Business 2 Community

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