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Is a demand gen career path a good way to go if you want to be a CMO someday?

6 Answers
Sruthi Kumar
Sruthi Kumar
Notion Account-Based MarketingAugust 10

I would love to be a CMO one day, and I do think owning the Demand Generation function is a good way to get there. 

Here are some of the strengths that I have seen from the CMOs I have respected the most:

1) Being close to the numbers - even if you aren't the one owning the direct number, a great CMO will understand what is happening in their pipeline so they can communicatr with sales. 

2) Leading by example - good people want to work for other good people. A CMO who leads by example will be able to build a good team with people who help build each other up. 

3) Get creative with tech stack and tactics - successful CMOs are looking at how their tech stack helps them reach their goals and aren't afraid to switch it up.

I don't know about you, but to me those are all skills Demand Gen leaders should have which translate directly into being a CMO ;)

1125 Views
Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Stack Overflow Vice President, Demand GenerationSeptember 7

Absolutely! I think every CMO has their core strength, and usually builds their team around the expertise they need to get the job done. I've worked with brand-focused CMOs, demand-focused CMOs and product-focused CMOs. Each brings unique leadership ability to the table, and their strengths are usually intentionally sought out by the executive teams that bring them on. A larger company might not need growth as much, and might need a strong PR strategy - they might seek out a brand CMO. Series A company looking for pipeline and rapid growth? Demand CMO. Have a mature product and trying to improve pricing and packaging? Product CMO is probably the best fit.

580 Views
Micha Hershman
Micha Hershman
JumpCloud Chief Marketing OfficerJune 20

Short answer: Yes, it's one of the very best paths to CMO at a growth stage startup.

Medium answer: I could be wrong but my experience tells me that growth stage startup C level roles (the only space I know) come from one of two backgrounds: PMM or Demand Generation. They are going to hire to solve the problems they are facing. It's usually driving predictable demand first, with a measure of brand building second. Worth thinking as you navigate your path forward.

Longer answer: Please see my answer to "Is there a single career path for demand gen? Or what are some good career paths that can lead to a demand generation leadership role like yours?" I go into more detail there!

215 Views
Mindy Servello
Mindy Servello
Calendly Head of Demand GenerationMay 10

CMOs come up from two paths typically - Demand Gen and Product Marketing.

Demand Generation is ultimately about driving revenue growth for the organization. Having experience in collaborating with sales, nurturing prospects, triaging conversion issues and expanding within current logos etc. demonstrates your ability to contribute directly to the company's bottom line, a key responsibility of a CMO.

378 Views
Kayla Rockwell
Kayla Rockwell
Databricks Senior Group Manager, Demand GenerationApril 17

I’m not a CMO but there are a few backgrounds I see consistently showing up in top CMOs. Two I see often are a background in product marketing or demand generation. Demand generation is a solid foundational skill set for understanding marketing, but if you aspire to be a CMO one day, you’ll want to push the boundaries of your knowledge. Perhaps doing a rotation in an area of marketing you don’t know much about if your in demand generation consider field or product marketing. Folks with well-rounded skillsets will be the ones who are able to truly lead a department well and represent its efforts to the broader organization.

389 Views
Erika Barbosa
Erika Barbosa
Counterpart Marketing LeadNovember 15

I absolutely believe that a demand gen career is a solid path to becoming a CMO. I too am taking this path. :)

While CMOs come from a variety of backgrounds outside of and including demand gen, it is very much a part of the mix. Demand gen is focused on measurable impact and growth. This is flexible by nature and a critical skill set. It has been my experience that if a CMO does not have a demand gen background, the person oftentimes has to have a support team that is strong in this skill set.

You too should feel empowered if you are taking this path!

311 Views
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