First Day as a CMO? Here’s What You Need to Know

Congratulations! You’ve just been hired as a Chief Marketing Officer at a company whose mission aligns with your values. You’re excited to fine-tune their voice and make their unique story known to the world.

So…where, exactly, should you begin? And what happens first?

Starting any new job can be stressful, and let’s face it; the CMO position is a challenging one. But it’s also a rewarding one. Remember, you got this job for a reason. You can handle it, and you can succeed.

Here’s what every CMO should know to hit the ground running:

The existing strategy

The first thing you should do as a new CMO is to meet with the CEO to learn about his or her objectives. Ask questions about the organization’s goals and the marketing strategy thus far.

What does the CEO want to achieve? Do they want to increase brand awareness? Sell more of a product? Acquire a new customer base? All of the above? Collaborate with them on how you should go about getting those results.

Your peers and your team

After meeting with the CEO, you should get to know your colleagues,  seniors, and juniors. Discuss how the different department strategies contribute to the CEO’s overall plan. You are looking to maintain alignment across the board. Remember, you’re setting the tone for the future, so make sure first impressions are top-notch.

When meeting with the marketing team go through every campaign that has taken place over the last quarter, projects that are currently underway, and those that are scheduled to launch. Does anything seem out of place? If so, scratch it out so everyone can stick to a cohesive overall strategy.

Your responsibilities

CMOs are responsible for strategizing, executing, and overseeing all marketing efforts. What that actually looks like on a day-to-day basis varies from company to company.

How will you set marketing goals? How will you manage the marketing strategy? Where does content marketing fit in with everything?

You also need to determine the marketing department’s KPIs and regularly track them. Additionally, the chief marketing officer is responsible for keeping the marketing budget in check. This is an excellent opportunity to make a case for your marketing needs. Remind people that an investment in marketing is an investment is the company’s future.

Today’s CMO works closely with the sales and customer support teams. Look to data and reports to track progress and make decisions. Use market research methods. Having those solid and reputable ways to mark progression—along with any unwelcome downtrends—is critical in order to be able to justify your budget and show the value of your department’s efforts, which is more important than ever these days.

An implicit responsibility of the CMO is to stay informed about the latest marketing trends and best practices. Conferences and other educational venues will help you grow your knowledge and your network. Read up on where your industry is headed and how your business can stay ahead of the curve. Seek to gain a competitive edge whenever possible.

The key metrics

Defining key metrics is imperative early on in your tenure as a chief marketing officer. You can’t formulate an effective marketing strategy if you don’t know what to aim for.

This is where marketing becomes science, with numbers and data as your guide.

In addition to covering the fundamentals, like website traffic and lead volume, your analysis should go more in-depth. How many of your leads are turning into customers? How can you get the full picture of your customer’s journey? Are readers reaching the CTA of your blogs, or do they click out of the page after a paragraph? Use these insights to improve the customer experience and customer engagement.

The role you play in tech development

IT isn’t a back-office job anymore, especially when it comes to marketing. Technology and marketing are more intertwined than ever before. As a CMO, this directly affects you.

This is why you should schedule a meeting with the tech department as soon as possible. Both you and the CIO are accountable for increasing revenue. Establish decision governance, be transparent, and encourage cross-functional collaboration. Remember, the chief information officer is your ally!

Your company’s target markets

Gather as much information as you can on the business’s target markets, accounts, and buyers. From there, you can start to develop buyer personas. These research-based profiles can help you and your colleagues better understand your customer base to serve them best.  Stepping into a CMO role can be daunting, especially if you’ve never held the position before. But with the right knowledge, a commitment to ongoing learning, and the right team to help you, you’ll be in great shape from day one.

Additional tasks you should complete within the first three months on the job:

  • Make sure your sales reps are conducting inbound leads

Sometimes sales reps are only accustomed to conducting outbound leads. Inbound leads are vital, too. Not to mention, inbound marketing helps businesses save money and increase ROI. Discuss with your sales team how to build trust with consumers. Credibility is key.

  • Plan how you will balance customer retention with customer acquisition

Content marketing, targeted ads, and business partnerships are only a few ways to acquire new customers. Keep writing and rewriting those personas. Make sure your focus isn’t solely on acquiring new customers. Retarget current customers, too, with offers and promotions they’re likely to take you up on. Ultimately, you want to reach your ideal consumer and, as a consequence, filter out those who are uninterested in your products and services. Always ask how you can get the right kind of leads.

  • Make sure you are using and measuring social media effectively

Social Media Today reported 70% of online businesses that use social media marketing aren’t measuring ROI. A company shouldn’t be using social media uncritically. Analyze your followers’ engagement: are they commenting and sharing? How can you increase social media mentions? Has there been a change in your search ranking? Consider hiring brand advocates and partnering with influencers to grow brand awareness on social media. As a CMO, you have to make sure your company doesn’t fall into a social media black hole.

  • Frequently check in with your colleagues and create a feedback loop

Your employees’ happiness is just as important as your customers. Does your company have an anonymous feedback system in place? If the answer is no, you should set that up immediately.

Don’t wait until employees quit to figure out what needs improvement. Remember, your onboarding is a transition for everyone.

  • Focus and delegate!

Prioritize—you can’t tackle everything at once—and delegate where you can.

  • Segment your audience

Your marketing should be specific to each buyer persona—that’s how you get unique sales. Today’s savvy consumer knows when they’re the recipient of blind marketing. Generalizations are a turn-off, so aim for personalization at every turn.

You got this!

You’re stepping into an exciting and challenging role. Remember, the more information you have from the get-go, the better. Stay focused, and be confident. You’re there to drive value for your employees and customers alike. Moreover, that’s precisely where your value can make you indispensable.


She is the founder & CEO of Zen Media. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc have all recognized her as one of the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the field of marketing. Shama has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. She is a bestselling author, an international keynote speaker, and has been named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Marketing for four years in a row.



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