Jun 28, 2024 2 min read

CMO vs. VP of Marketing: Steering Your Company's Growth with the Right Leadership

CMO vs. VP of Marketing: Steering Your Company's Growth with the Right Leadership
Explore whether a CMO or a VP of Marketing fits your company’s vision, with insights on strategic influence, operational focus, and aligning marketing with your business goals.
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When a company is ready to establish its first dedicated marketing leadership position, it's a big step that reflects a strategic commitment to growth. The choice between appointing a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or a Vice President (VP) of Marketing can be a tough call. It hinges on several aspects of the company's needs, structure, and future plans. Here's a more conversational breakdown of what might sway a company toward choosing one over the other.

Going for a CMO? Here’s Why:

Strategic Influence: If your company is looking for a leader who’s not just about marketing but is a key player in the company's strategic decisions, then a CMO is your go-to. This person sits at the executive table, helping steer the entire company, not just the marketing department. They're about the big picture—aligning marketing with overarching business goals.

Company Size Matters: Larger companies or those with a complex array of products and markets often find a CMO essential. They ensure that the marketing strategies are not just effective but cohesive across various business units.

Brand Builders: Are you looking to make a splash with your brand or dive into new markets? A CMO can lead significant transformations and make sure your company stands out in the crowd.

Face of the Marketing Department: If your company's presence in public domains like media, conferences, or partnerships is crucial, a CMO can be the charismatic leader who represents your marketing endeavors to the world.

Breaking Down Silos: A CMO ensures that marketing isn't an island. They'll integrate efforts across sales, product development, and customer service, fostering a comprehensive approach to market dynamics and customer engagement.

Opting for a VP of Marketing? Consider This:

Operational Wizardry: When the immediate need is more about managing and enhancing existing marketing activities, a VP of Marketing is your ideal candidate. They're the ones who get into the weeds of executing strategies and making sure everything runs like a well-oiled machine.

Just Starting Out: Smaller or younger companies often find a VP of Marketing a perfect fit as they're not quite ready to expand their C-suite but need strong leadership to guide their marketing team.

Keeping an Eye on the Budget: Hiring a VP can be more budget-friendly, which is crucial for companies watching their spending closely.

Specialized Needs: If your marketing needs are very niche or technical, like in tech or B2B sectors, a VP with deep expertise in those areas can be more beneficial than a C-level executive.

Growth Trajectory: For companies in the throes of scaling up, a VP of Marketing can manage the growing pains efficiently, setting the stage for a CMO down the line as the business expands and complexities increase.

Making the Right Choice

Deciding between a CMO and a VP of Marketing aligns with what your company currently needs and where it plans to go. A CMO offers a broad, strategic outlook with a powerful influence on company culture and direction, while a VP of Marketing focuses on enhancing and executing the marketing strategies at hand. Think about where your company stands today and how you envision its future and let that guide your decision.

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