Like many professions, CMOs need to keep reinventing themselves to stay relevant. Their salaries depend on it. Although CMO compensation has yet to cap out, it is being overtaken by their digital counterparts.
According to new research (PDF) from digital marketing and technology resourcing provider Mondo, chief digital officers CDOs are today’s top-paid executives, with salaries ranging from $156,000 to $301,000, depending on their city. In contrast, CMO salaries are in the range of $142,000 to $230,000—more on par with chief marketing technologists ($144,000 to $248,000) and VPs of e-commerce ($120,000 to $205,000).
So it stands to reason that the more CMOs can prove their ability to navigate the digital landscape and drive results, the more valuable they will become. This evolution of titles is a clear indication that the old marketing ways are being left behind for newer, more innovative strategies. Simply adding a “D” to your title can command a higher salary on paper; therefore it’s important for CMOs to keep enhancing his or her skill sets.
The CMO Council concurs with these findings. In a first-of-its-kind report conducted last summer, the group investigated the importance of digital marketing skills and concluded that a CMO’s salary tends to increase as a firm’s digital marketing performance improves.
It will, however, take a significant amount of time, and the right skills, for marketers and CMOs to shed their age-old image of being creative, yet business-challenged brand ambassadors. To do so, CMOs need to be strategic, agile, technology-focused, and digitally minded. They need to understand multichannel strategies and the impact of technology, gain experience across multiple platforms, and learn how to evaluate the right ones for their businesses.
One of the most important way CMOs can position themselves is to become adept with data—understanding it, analyzing it, and using the intelligence to build campaigns that drive ROI. To that end, certification programs, such as the Internet Advertising Bureau’s Digital Data Solutions Certification Program, can go a long way. This test-based initiative is meant to prove individuals know their stuff when it comes to data-driven practices, such as programmatic buying and selling.
With new technologies emerging, and customer engagement and data more important than ever, it’s also vital that marketers form synergies with IT departments. They will need to show how these new technologies can impact the bottom line from a revenue and ROI standpoint.
In fact, the CMO Council found that the most highly paid CMOs have developed strong alliances with CIOs as well as CFOs. Across the board, it found top earners (those making greater than a $500,000 base) to be those whose accomplishments are centered on restructuring marketing to drive results, improving the yield/accountability of marketing, and building digital capabilities.
There’s that “D word” again.
In terms of base compensation, CMOs earning the highest salaries tend to be focused on driving performance, such as top-line growth, market share, and efficiencies. The CMO Council concluded that those making the most money “are focused on driving measurable, firm-level results.” As previously mentioned, data analytics tools are becoming easier to use, which is a blessing because CMOs are going to need to use digital analytics to reach a more granular understanding of their customers. CMOs must also establish relationships with consumers through digital channels, taking the lead in effectively integrating new technologies into their organizations.
With a greater emphasis being placed on digital technologies in marketing, marketing departments are also increasingly responsible for generating revenue. CMOs who develop a keen understanding of the impact digital channels and analytics have on all business functions beyond their own will not only be able to command more money, but will keep themselves in high demand for many years to come.