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Salary for CMO: What Do CMOs Get Paid?

Yep, I know; do a search and you can find average salaries for almost any job, but I thought this might be of interest considering the growing significance of the CMO career positions.   The point is, for this job and most others there are sources that can tell you, before your interview, typical compensation ranges.  (We link to the sources credited and quoted.) 

IStock_000016192221SmallDo your research and you will find averages, highest and lowest salaries, and even some listings by city.  I saw listings and estimates as high as $850,000 and as low as $38,000 for CMOs.   The average (depending on what you read) is $145-$180K.  There are other things to take into account, including bonus and profit- sharing, to find the total compensation package.   Don’t take one source as gospel; try to find the average for your industry in your geographic area.   

To wet your appetite, Payscale.com reports stats of:

Salary    $76,679 - $243,384

Bonus   $974 - $98,238

Profit Sharing     $5,000 - $40,000

But before we get into more sources and estimated compensation, let’s be sure we are talking about

the right position.  The following job description is good but not complete.  To be complete, I believe there must be requirements for managing campaigns, measuring return on investment, and managing sales inquiries and leads.  I have added my comments at the end. 

Job Description for Chief Marketing Officer (CMO):  SLMA underlined what we consider to be critical skills.

The chief marketing officer is responsible for creating and ensuring the execution of a company's marketing and sales groups' vision. Being able to think ahead and innovate in terms of direction for marketing and sales is a must. Of equal importance is the ability to communicate what the direction is and how it will be achieved. While the CMO must inspire their sales and marketing employees in this way, they must also be able to communicate the excitement and vision of the company to the media and clients through the use of myriad marketing channels. In all of these duties, the chief marketing officer must demonstrate exceptional leadership skills. A CMO will also develop and review quantitative analysis measures for corporate marketing and sales.  In addition, a CMO will concretely lay out goals and provide direction for members of the sales and marketing teams on ways to measure progress towards the goals. The CMO must also be able to assess new hires and other employees in the sales and marketing teams as necessary while handling the other varied responsibilities of the position.

A strong background in sales and marketing is an absolute must for CMO positions, and it is not unusual for an employer to require a minimum of eight years of related work experience. Proven management, communication and leadership skills are also required for these kinds of positions. Extensive travel can also be required. Lastly, most employers require their CMO candidates to hold an advanced degree in marketing or a related field.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Tasks

•     Analyze and interpret data on customers, buying practices and competitors.

•     Manage and build contacts and relationship base, including handling problems.

•     Lead branding efforts for all organization products, across all forms of media.

In addition, the SLMA believes the CMO must:

  • Understand the buying and selling cycles for the products.
  • Manage sales lead management processes and accountability.  If a CMO can’t manage sales inquiries, they cannot manage sales and marketing. 
  • Track all campaigns to prove a return on investment.
  • Demand a 100% follow-up of all sales inquiries.

One of the best articles I’ve read so far:

Rick Suttle is a contributor to eHow.  I like the way he separates salary descriptions into Annual Median, Median by Experience, by Industry, and by State.   This information seems to be from stats that are two years old, which is not unusual when compiling figures from official or semi-official sources. 

The Average Salary of a Chief Marketing Officer, By Rick Suttle, eHow Contributor.  Rick did a great job in this article.  I encourage you to read the whole article.  I have shortened, but not edited, his article here:

Annual Median Salary

Chief marketing officers earn annual median salaries between $101,074 and $164,605, according to 2011 data from PayScale.com. Including bonuses, commissions and profit sharing, they earn total incomes of $128,260 to $264,828 per year. The low and high ranges of PayScale reflect the 25th and 75th percentiles of salaries, which are not exact ranges. Additionally, Salarylist.com indicates that the average salary for a chief marketing officer is $148,485 per year.

Median Salary by Experience

Chief marketing officers can usually expect significant increases in salary with experience. For example, those with one to four years of experience earn annual median salaries between $49,339 and $116,739, according to PayScale.com. They earn median salaries of $71,389 to $121,627 per year with five to nine years of experience.

Median Salary by Industry

 Chief marketing officers' salaries can also vary considerably by industry. For example, they earn some of their highest median salaries in the computer hardware/software industry at $122,133 to $187,835 per year, according to PayScale.com. They also earn relatively high median salaries in the consumer packaged goods industry at $133,999 to $185,615 per year.

Median Salary by State

 Chief marketing officers earn some of their highest median salaries in California at $124,097 to $183,862 per year, according to PayScale.com. They also earned relatively high median salaries in Massachusetts at $116,001 to $168,989 per year. In Washington, these marketing professionals can expect to earn annual median salaries between $97,719 and $166,682. Additionally, those in Illinois earn median salaries of $98,121 to $165,263 per year. And those in Texas earned annual median salaries between $114,637 and $160,130.

In closing:

Do your research.  Understand the rule of the marketplace: for every position I know of, even doing the same work, the compensation packages vary greatly by industry, state, longevity, etc.   Think about that: for doing the exact same work, the compensation varies as much as 400-600%.   Let that roll around in your mind and savor the implications.  

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