It’s difficult to argue that there is a more important role than the head of marketing for customer-facing businesses. With a looming recession on the horizon, ever-increasing inflation and high consumer expectations, brands are eager to hire a candidate for head of marketing that is ready to step up to the plate and take on the challenges that the position brings with it.
Let's take a look at what the head of marketing should do in their first 30, 60 and 90 days in that role.
What Does the Head of Marketing Actually Do?
First, let's explore the role itself a bit. According to Glassdoor, a person with the position of head of marketing makes an estimated $226,992 per year in the United States, with an average salary of $131,068 per year, and the potential to make additional pay of $95,924 per year, which is comprised of cash bonuses, commission, tips and profit sharing. What does the position of head of marketing entail, and what are the tasks they are responsible for?
The responsibilities of the head of marketing include overseeing all of the marketing departments and operations and spreading the brand’s values and message. Specific tasks include developing strategies and business plans, allocating the monthly, quarterly and annual budgets for marketing projects within all departments and determining the needs of customers.
Additionally, the head of marketing is responsible for the creation of progress reports and presentations, being aware of a brand’s competitors and overseeing various teams and processes as they relate to marketing, such as digital marketing, advertising and promotional campaigns.
The head of marketing should continue to stay up-to-date by staying informed about new marketing research, methods, technologies, products and marketing-related news. Businesses often prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor's degree in marketing although the applicant’s previous work experience is usually taken into consideration. The head of marketing should be knowledgeable about digital ads and analytic software platforms such as Google Adwords and GA4, as well as customer data platform (CDP) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and the software and technologies that typically make up the martech stack.
First 30 Days: Brand Marketing, Digital Weeds
Gaining a deep understanding of the current state of a brand’s marketing efforts is a vital first step for someone coming into a new role as head of marketing.
Anne Coyle, senior director of marketing at Softrax, a revenue management system provider and compliance consultancy, suggested that a new head of marketing should do a “digital dive” into the metrics for their company’s branded assets, campaigns, website, presence on social media channels and content creation. "This may seem like data overload, but a marketing leader will gather invaluable information about the company, its offerings and the team,” said Coyle, who suggested that the good news is that this type of information is sticky and builds over time, so a marketing leader should look at it as an investment in the role’s success. “Also, good data drives good decision-making."
The initial goals of the brand should be examined, along with metrics that define the effectiveness of current and ongoing marketing efforts. “In the first 30 days, the marketing leader would gather and evaluate all assets for purpose, company and department goals and performance. This is also the time for the marketing lead to get into the digital weeds, meaning learning web traffic, time-on-site, SEO, click-through rates and conversions,” said Coyle.
Shri Ganeshram, CEO and founder of Awning.com, a national real estate brokerage and Airbnb property management company, told CMSWire that the first 30 days as head of marketing should be spent getting to know the company’s marketing teams as well. "This may involve conducting meetings with team members, reviewing previous marketing strategies and performance, and analyzing market trends and competitors.” Additionally, this is the time to begin developing a plan for their first 90 days on the job.
Megan McDonagh, CMO at Amperity, an enterprise CDP provider, emphasized that although engaging with internal teams is a necessary first step, marketing leaders must not forget about their customers. “I can’t stress enough the importance of spending time with customers to understand what pain points led them to purchase the product and whether it’s meeting their expectations.” Additionally, McDonagh suggested that as a new hire, it’s tempting to transfer one’s most recent role’s blueprint and jump to solution mode too quickly. “Resist this urge and stay open to new approaches and challenges.”
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Days 30-60: Marketing Teams Assessment
After the initial 30 days, the head of marketing should be getting a good idea of the digital assets that need improvement, as well as those that are performing well. “This is also the time to make sure the digital data is being streamed throughout the organization,” said Coyle. “Does your sales team know the typical prospect’s web path or the most popular parts of the site? Does product marketing know the ad words that give the highest click-through rates?” Coyle said that those in this position should have a plan to share these details regularly so that the knowledge will benefit other teams.
Ganeshram agreed and also reiterated that the second 30 days should be spent implementing their plan and making any necessary changes or adjustments. "This may involve making changes to the marketing teams, strategies and budget, as well as introducing new initiatives and campaigns.” The head of marketing should continue to monitor the performance of the marketing department, evaluate the successes and failures of their goals and provide regular updates to other C-suite executives.
Israel Gaudette, CEO of Flawless SEO, a search engine optimization company, suggested to CMSWire that during this time period, the head of marketing should also take care of basic tasks such as hiring new employees and making sure that their marketing plans are well-organized. "This gives you time to establish yourself as a leader within the company, which will help ensure long-term success for both yourself and everyone else involved with the project."
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Days 60-90: Reports on Marketing Progress
Finally, Coyle suggested that in days 60 to 90, the marketing leader should prepare initial reports on how the revamped digital marketing program is going both internally and externally. “The marketing leader can engage his/her team to plan and develop the next wave of digital programs to build on what is working well as well as plan continual improvement for all programs.” Coyle believes that this is the time to implement an innovation program or “creative council” that can start to develop the ideas that will make the company stand out.
The last 30 days as head of marketing is a time of detailed reflection and continual improvement to the marketing efforts that were made in the first 60 days. "In the final month of the first 90 days on the job, the head of marketing should focus on refining and finalizing their plan, as well as ensuring that all marketing initiatives are on track and meeting their goals," said Ganeshram. "They should also continue to monitor the performance of the marketing department and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the success of the company’s marketing efforts."
Marketing leaders must always keep the customer experience in mind throughout the process. “By the 90-day mark, you should be well on your way to implementing the right structure for your organization’s goals — and understanding your customers,” said McDonagh. “From there, you can improve your customer journey to ensure every customer receives a personalized experience.”
Conclusion: Setting Marketing Goals, Taking Action
To be successful in a new role as head of marketing, the marketing leader must immediately get to know the team members they will be working with and take inventory of the assets that are available to them.
Marketing goals should be determined and a plan of action put into place. Next, they must ascertain whether all team members are aware of the plan, and are on board to help it succeed. Finally, the iterative process of refining and improving the marketing plan continues as the goals and objectives evolve and change.