Chief Marketing Officer Is Such a Beautiful Title

22 Dec

In the 9th grade, I met a short, opinionated and tough-loving educator. Her name was Kathy Pinner (Mrs. Pinner) and she was in charge of my high school’s marketing program. Mrs. Pinner was truly one of a kind.  A lot of students didn’t understand that there was a method to her madness. Some perceived her as a bitter lady who was out to get everyone but this was far from true.

I believe Mrs. Pinner created a strategic plan that her students won’t fully understand until they’re writing a blog post about aspiring to be the head of

The Four P's of marketing

marketing for a company. Her number-one goal for students is quite simple: to instill an unwavering passion for the field of marketing.

I’m glad I met Mrs. Pinner because ever since the 10th grade, I have not been able to turn off this passion for marketing. As you all know, I am a young professional with a long list of huge dreams. The latest edition to the list is becoming a chief marketing officer – the C-suite representative who oversees all marketing for a company. I’ve gone back and forth on this latest goal for some time but it is now official.

When I received my degree in marketing, I decided to get another in PR because other than advertising, it seemed to be the most complex integrated marketing communications (IMC) tool. Of course, I found PR to be a great fit for me as well but one of the main reasons I wanted the degree and experience was to make sure I didn’t limit my future opportunities in marketing.

Some may ask, “Why work in PR if you want to be a CMO?” … Here’s my answer:

The CMO Controls PR’s Budget

Not everywhere, but most PR departments get their budget from and report to the CMO. When I listen to some PR professionals complain about budget constraints, it always seems like the controller of the budget – the CMO – did not see the value in what the PR team was proposing. The typical career path for a CMO does not include PR. Usually, they work on the advertising side at an agency, move to corporate, get their MBA and boom … CMO! Well, not that easy but you get my point. Who is better to understand PR than someone that has worked in the field?

Social Media Is Changing, Has Changed and Will Continue to Change Marketing

While industry leaders are still fighting over where social media belongs, I have made up my mind: it’s a PR responsibility. In order to effectively manage someone, I need to know how to do their job. The CMO job responsibilities will continue to change as does everything in this field. When I think of a CMO who gets it, I think of Lisa Gavales of Express Fashion. Lisa is a very innovative CMO who isn’t afraid of social media and does a great job incorporating “social” in her marketing plan.

Becoming a CMO is a long-term goal. I am only 23 and don’t plan on becoming a CMO any time soon. Until then, I will continue to enjoy my life as a junior staffer at a great agency, learning as much as possible.

Does this sound realistic? What do you think the CMO position will look like in 15 years?

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One Response to “Chief Marketing Officer Is Such a Beautiful Title”

  1. Jay December 28, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    We have a CCO – Chief Communications Officer – here. Agreed, that that role will evolve over time as media changes and the lines blur.

    I still see marketing and PR as close allies but different in terms of outcomes. Pr will always be challenged in that we don’t have the tangible transactions to measure against like marketing does. And when we do (e.g. “we have XXX Twitter followers!”) it’s not always a good metric.

    In terms of your career path, though… do it, dude. Learn as much as you can from both sides of the PR-marketing aisle. But keep your eyes open… career paths can change in unexpected ways, especially if you find you’re passionate about a line of work. I wanted to be in entertainment, and in doing so, found that I really enjoyed the pure business aspects of the licensing business. That taught me business fundamentals and now, I enjoy being closer to where the rubber meets the road. Never thought I’d prefer a corporate job to the flash of entertainment, but I love it.

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