Should You Hire a VP if You Already Have a CMO?

CMOs have more and more responsibilities to manage. Some companies are hiring VPs to help manage the workflow. Here’s a look at the pros and cons.

Chief marketing officers (CMOs) have more on their plates than ever before. From more channels to increasingly complex marketing landscapes, a larger purview means more executive-level duties while also overseeing marketing execution. Some companies are looking to creating vice president (VP) roles aimed at freeing up the CMO to focus on big-picture issues and make marketing teams even more powerful. Here’s a closer look at four ways a VP can add value to a busy marketing department.

  1. Separate strategy and execution. Strategy and execution are always closely entwined, and some companies are employing a VP to help put the CMO’s vision into action. While the CMO is focused on creating a strategy and vision to fulfill the company’s larger goals, overseeing the day-to-day execution at the same time can be a challenge. Adding a VP can put a trustworthy resource in place to oversee the execution of a range of different projects.
  2. Oversee people management. Team management requires a significant amount of time and thus benefits from someone who can be present to meet with individual teams, participate in brainstorming session, and generally be hands-on. Often, the reality of the CMO role is that he or she is called to board meetings, sits in executive sessions, and travels for industry events. A VP can be a hands-on executive who takes the reins and ensures that a mentor and senior resource is always available for the team as needed.
  3. Simplify succession planning. Not every CMO plans to stay in the role forever. In some cases, his or her own career trajectory will include retirement, stepping up to a bigger company, or launching a consulting career. As a result, a VP provides a special role. Potential future CMOs can train to step into that role when the current executive moves on. Junior executives create real value for your team and can be prime candidates for an internal promotion when there is a vacancy on your team.
  4. Act as a sounding board. CMOs have numerous stakeholders to manage. A VP has an internal perspective on the company and team, as well as an objective understanding of the industry and trends based on past work experience. Having a senior resource in-house that the CMO can use as a sounding board allows him or her to stress-test ideas before they’re rolled into execution and can result in a more successful strategy all around.

If your CMO has too much on his or her plate, adding a VP might be the answer. With a senior resource who can take on some of the day-to-day management of the marketing department, your CMO will be able to focus on crafting winning strategies and ensuring that all aspects of your marketing department align with the company’s larger vision.