What is the Role of the Chief Marketing Officer?

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Are you looking to better understand who the Chief Marketing Officer is? Do you want to better understand what the CMO is responsible for and how they make an impact on the growth of the business?

For the past 2 years, I’ve been serving as the Chief Marketing Officer for FreeeUp and I’ve learned a tremendous amount about all of the marketing, advertising, and relationship building tasks that fall onto the CMO’s plate. I’ve built out a team of over 15 people around me who help to implement our overall marketing strategy and I have a strong understanding of what it takes to drive companies forward with sound branding tactics.

In this article, I will break down the Chief Marketing Officer role, explain how they make an impact on growth within the company, and lay out all of the areas that you should be driving forward if you find yourself as the CMO of a company.

Who is the Chief Marketing Officer?

When first starting a new business, the Chief Marketing Officer is the co-founder or one of the first employees that joins the team with the sole purpose of focusing on branding, content, marketing, advertising, and relationship building strategies. The CMO should have a background and expertise in one of the previously mentioned and be prepared to build and scale a team that can take the company’s brand to the next level.

When my business partner, Nathan Hirsch, and I first started FreeeUp, we had already been working together for 6+ years building our first eCommerce company and so we had the advantage of knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses extremely well. Knowing that I was an expert in content and relationship building, we made my focus on the branding, design of the website, and all content that was initially being pushed out to our potential clients and freelancers.

As the company continued to grow and we brought on new clients and freelancers, I continued to remain in charge of all operations specific to the Chief Marketing Officer role while also adding new projects onto my plate. After launching our first website and creating our branding style tile, I started our social media channels, built out our email campaigns, created our Partner Program, and got our advertising strategies up and running. This pattern continued with me writing our first ebook, setting up our company blog, beginning a weekly video series, and, of course, writing my first book, Free Up Your Business: 50 Secrets to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies.

To circle back to the main question, “Who is the Chief Marketing Officer.” The CMO is someone that has a high level understanding of all the aspects of marketing and advertising that impact the growth of a company. They understand that they cannot take on all tasks to build the company through the CMO role and they scale their efforts by finding other experts within the different niches of the role to help push the efforts forward.

In this next section, I’ll break down all of the areas of responsibility and explain how it impacts the company’s growth so that you can choose where to first spend your time as a CMO.

What Is the Chief Marketing Officer Responsible For?

This is an extremely loaded question, and the answer will change over time depending on where the company is when the CMO enters the picture. For a company just getting off the ground, the Chief Marketing Officer is most responsible for setting the foundation for all of the marketing efforts for the company while keeping a keen focus on the content and branding.

For a company that’s already built a foundation and is looking to graduate to a new level, the CMO is responsible for building out a team of experts to help them push all aspects of marketing forward. If the team has already been built then the CMO becomes responsible for creating and implementing high level strategies that are going to make a significant impact on the reach that the company has to its target market.

In order to best illustrate what the Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for, I’ve included an org chart list below that displays all of the teams that I am responsible for today as I help to scale FreeeUp to over $5 million in yearly revenue.

As you can see, the Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for many areas of the company and this list is still limited because of the stage of where FreeeUp is as a growing company. There are many more areas of marketing and advertising that a CMO will get their hands into once the company is ready.

Social Media Marketing

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, and any other social media platform where you plan to drive traffic to your website and product/service. The CMO is responsible for finding the best social media platforms for their given business and making sure that they are driving as much traffic as possible from each while keeping a consistent brand voice across all channels.

Relationship Building

Researching and forming relationships with other websites in your niche, blogs, vlogs, online influencers, partners, and many more. The CMO is responsible for fostering these partnerships and finding ways to benefit the company through them.

Email Marketing

Creating opportunities to collect emails from prospective customers and current customers. Setting up email drip campaigns to convert warm leads into customers and existing users into returning customers. The CMO needs to make sure that email marketing is a strategy that is continuing to educate the customer about the company.

Content Marketing

eBooks, books, how-to guides, blog content, video content, audio content, podcasting, infographics. Any content that you may come across online for a given company needs to be overseen and handled by the CMO. Content is king in today’s online world and in order to properly brand your company, the CMO must be on top of creating content of high value.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A long term play, but an absolute essential to consistent growth within search engines for the company. The CMO needs to create a game plan for keyword research, competitor research, link building, and other white-hat SEO tactics to drive more organic traffic to their company’s website.

Website Design & User Experience

While the CMO is driving traffic to their company’s website, they need to make sure that the user experience and web design is at a high level so that it continues to entice visitors to purchase their product/service. Customers can be quickly turned off by poor web design and the CMO needs to work closely with his web design team to make sure that does not become an issue.

Advertising Channels

Google Adwords, Facebook ads, Youtube ads, LinkedIn ads, blog specific banner ads, and the list goes on. The CMO is responsible for managing the advertising budget and finding the most efficient places to display ads to bring in more customers to the site. This breaks down further into landing pages and conversion strategies to turn ad clicks into sign ups and customers.


Distinguishing your brand from your competition. The CMO needs to create a style guide for the company so that it is memorable to its visitors and customers. What makes the company stand out? What is the company’s slogan? How will you make a visitor remember your brand?

Marketing & Advertising Budgeting

With all of these responsibilities, the CMO must make sure that they are spending intelligently and making sure to optimize the budget that they have to bring in new customers through their marketing and advertising strategies.

Executive Level Decisions

Being an executive level position, CMO’s need to be ready to join exec level meetings, provide updates, give feedback, and make decisions that will push the company forward. Depending on the stage of the company, the CMO can be a huge decision maker for the company.

Management & Leadership

Once all of the marketing and advertising teams have been built out and experts have been hired to help the CMO in all of their responsibilities, they must become an effective manager and leader. The CMO will hold weekly meetings, create goals for the team, and inspire the team to reach the goals set by the company.

Public Relations

Making sure that the public view of the company is as positive as it can be. When major events happen for the company, the CMO is responsible for sharing that information with media sources so that it can be covered and highlighted. Even when major events aren’t happening, the CMO should be creating relationships with blog owners, podcast hosts, and media sources to create more opportunities for the company to be seen by new audiences.

This makes up the core areas that the Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for driving growth. Within each category or responsibility, there are many different directions that the CMO can take depending on their expertise and budget. Over time, the CMO is responsible for making sure that all of these aspects are firing on full cylinders bringing in new customers to the company and building a company brand that people love and trust.

What Does a Typical Day Look like for a Chief Marketing Officer?

As mentioned above, the Chief Marketing Officer’s role will vary depending on the stage of the company’s growth. To give you an idea of what the typical day looks like for the CMO, I’ll outline my typical day below showing how involved I am within each of the categories that I outlined above. Keep in mind that the typical day changes on a month to month basis depending on what major projects are being worked on and what marketing campaigns are being run for the company.

My typical CMO daily schedule

7:30 am: Check in with teams (social media, blog, video series, Facebook ads, back linking, content team, graphic design, PR rep, email marketing, and web design). Make sure that all teams have clear goals for the day and are on pace to meet weekly goals that have been set.

8:30 am: Clear emails from the previous day. Most emails are with regards to new partnerships with other companies, initiatives that my teams need help with, and executive decisions.

9:30 am: Focus on relationship building. Target specific people within the industry that would create high value for the company’s growth if a partnership were made. Create custom emails and reach out to those individuals looking to create a partnership.

11:30 am: Meetings and phone calls with team and potential partners or customers. Posting on social media.

12:30 pm: Special projects. Whatever is of high priority for the given week. This may be launching a new marketing campaign, making upgrades to the book that we just launched, creating training for a new team member, strategizing how to take the next step forward, etc.

3:00 pm: Website design work. Right now, we’re going through a big upgrade to our website. I spend the final 3 hours of each day making progress and working closely with my Web Design assistant.

6:00 pm: Final clean up of emails and other tasks on Skype.

As I said, this schedule greatly varies depending on the major projects that are at the top of my priority list, but it gives you an idea of how a CMO may break up their time to make sure that all of their responsibilities are being taken care of and progress is being made with the marketing and advertising strategies of the company.

Bringing It All Together

The Chief Marketing Officer is a key role in starting and scaling any business. They need to be competent within all areas of marketing, advertising, and relationship building while also an expert within given areas where they can really push the company forward. The CMO is a role that continues to evolve over the years due to the nature of the Internet and the need to stay on the cutting edge at all times. Web design goes out of style. Google changes their SEO ranking algorithm. New social media channels pop up and take over. If the CMO is not on top of the game and their industry at all times, they risk falling behind and being taken over by another competitor.

If you have any questions about the Chief Marketing Officer role that I did not answer here, please leave your questions in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer them. If you have any thoughts that you’d like to add to build onto the CMO role, please also leave them in the comments.

Other articles you will love: 

The Chief Everything Officer

The CEO Role: Ins and Outs of a CEO’s Daily Life

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About Connor Gillivan

In the past 10 years, I’ve started 7 businesses & built two to $10M+ in annual revenue, teams of 30+ & an exit in 2019. Today, I run SEO & growth for my 4 B2B companies while teaching millions how to make SEO simple.

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