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Understanding CXO Archetypes: Chief Marketing Officer

July 2, 2024

Each function within a business is unique. Similarly, the executives leading those functions are unique and bring particular skills and experience to their roles. No individual can be an expert at everything, and while a CXO might thrive in one situation, they might not be well suited for another. 

At Bolster, we believe there are common types of leaders within a business function, whether marketing, finance, revenue, product. We refer to these commonalities as CXO Archetypes. When we advise our clients on a search, archetypes are a useful tool to help identify the right talent for their needs.

While anyone at an executive level will bring a wealth of experience to their functional area, each person will have preferences, values, and deeper experience in certain areas and skills. Understanding where an executive excels within their function (their archetype), and what type of functional leader your business needs, significantly increases your likelihood of making a successful hire. 

In this series, we’re breaking down the most common archetypes of senior executives across marketing, finance, revenue, product, and people. In this post, we’re looking at four common archetypes of the Chief Marketing Officer role, including what makes each unique, when your business might need that type of marketer, and how to identify them when you’re hiring a CMO. 

The Brand Marketer

The Brand Marketer is focused on building brand awareness and affinity, ensuring the company's identity resonates with its target audience. They’re highly skilled at developing the overall brand, crafting compelling narratives, and creating cohesive visual and messaging strategies to elevate the brand's presence in the market. Additionally, they play a crucial role in supporting internal culture development, fostering employee engagement, and aiding in recruitment efforts by making the company an attractive place to work.

When to Hire The Brand Marketer:
This type of marketing leader is well suited for companies looking to build brand recognition or create a new category within the market. They can also work well for companies of any stage undergoing a significant pivot, like a rebrand or a change in strategic direction. The Brand Marketer can also be valuable for a business that puts an emphasis on attracting talent within their industry, since they can craft a compelling employer brand that attracts skilled professionals and fosters a strong internal culture. 

How to Identify The Brand Marketer:
Look for someone with a strong background in brand, digital, or content marketing, or someone who started their career in a creative or advertising agency. The ideal candidate will frequently reference their experience storytelling, crafting compelling messaging, and working with global brands. Additionally, they should have a proven track record of creating engaging digital and in-person experiences. This blend of creative expertise and strategic thinking will ensure they can effectively build and elevate the company's brand presence.

The Growth Marketer

The Growth Marketer is adept at leveraging various channels to attract customers and guide them through the sales funnel. They possess a keen analytical ability, allowing them to handle and interpret large volumes of data to drive continuous testing, iteration, and informed decision-making. With experience in referral and affiliate marketing programs, they excel at creating and optimizing strategies that boost customer acquisition and retention, ensuring rapid and scalable growth for the company.

When to Hire the Growth Marketer:
This archetype is crucial for both early-stage companies that are growing rapidly and those that have achieved product/market fit and are looking to quickly scale demand. The Growth Marketer is particularly effective in situations where the company operates in a crowded, established category and needs to attract buyers by differentiating itself from competitors. Their expertise leveraging various marketing channels, data analysis, and optimization strategies makes them ideal for companies aiming to expand their market presence and capture a larger share of their target audience.

How to Identify the Growth Marketer:
Look for a strong background in digital marketing, demand generation, or marketing operations, alongside direct experience in sales development like SDR or BDR roles. References to Account-Based Marketing (ABM), referral marketing, and proficiency in building and managing a broad tech stack highlight their strategic growth capabilities.

The Product Marketer

The Product Marketer is highly technical, with the ability to translate complex product details into clear messaging that resonates with target audiences. They’re skilled at understanding customer personas, analyzing competitors, and identifying market needs to ensure the product's value proposition is compelling and relevant. Well-versed in pricing, packaging, and positioning, they strategically align these elements to optimize the product’s market fit and competitive edge, driving its success in the marketplace.

When to Hire the Product Marketer:
This archetype can be a great fit for early-stage or scaling companies focusing on product-led growth or finding product/market fit. The Product Marketer excels at understanding customer needs, personas, and market dynamics, making them ideal for companies that are expanding from a single or a few successful products to a broader suite of offerings, whether organically or through acquisitions. Their ability to translate technical product details into compelling messaging, along with their expertise in pricing, packaging, and positioning, ensures each product is strategically aligned for market success and growth.

How to Identify the Product Marketer:
Look for a background in product marketing or sales enablement, which both indicate a deep understanding of product positioning and its alignment with sales strategies. References to fostering alignment between product and sales teams, as well as expertise in pricing, packaging, and positioning, highlight the candidate's ability to drive successful product launches and market penetration.

The Influence Marketer

The Influence Marketer is relationship- and engagement-driven, and excels at building strong connections with various stakeholders and audiences. They thrive in front of people, whether in one-on-one interactions or addressing large groups, using their charisma and communication skills to effectively promote the brand. As the primary brand evangelist, they passionately represent the company, embody its values and vision, and play a pivotal role in shaping and enhancing the brand's public perception.

When to Hire the Influence Marketer:
This CMO archetype is a great fit for later-stage companies moving toward an IPO, where a strong, charismatic leader is needed to be the external face of the brand in place of the founder. This archetype is adept at building and leading large teams to execute the strategic vision effectively, ensuring cohesive and dynamic brand representation. As the company prepares for public offerings and seeks to attract investors and stakeholders, the Influence Marketer’s ability to engage with large audiences and foster meaningful relationships becomes invaluable, positioning the company for successful growth and market presence.

How to Identify the Influence Marketer:
Look for an established personal brand evidenced by a website, podcast, or published materials, showcasing the leader’s ability to influence and engage audiences effectively. A background in content or field marketing further reinforces their expertise in creating compelling narratives and engaging content. These attributes signify the candidate's potential to leverage their influence to drive brand awareness and customer engagement.

When it comes to hiring a Chief Marketing Officer, it’s important to understand what your business needs most and align your search around the persona that most closely matches your needs. While you may find your ideal marketing leader embodies aspects of multiple archetypes, this framework can be a useful tool as you prioritize your requirements and identify the types of candidates you most want to consider.

At Bolster, we’re reinventing executive search by combining the power of experienced recruiters with our intelligent sourcing platform. Built by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, Bolster matches CEOs with transformational executives for full-time, fractional, and board roles—without the hassle of traditional talent sourcing. It’s smarter search done faster and with more confidence.

When you work with Bolster, our extraordinary team will work alongside you to make your search a success. We take the time to listen, understand, and respond to your needs, support you throughout your search, and offer our expertise as a resource. 

Want to know more about what it’s like to work with us? Let us know what you’re looking for.