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  • Writer's pictureUana Coccoloni

CMO Report Card: 5 Must-Ask Questions for a High-Performing Marketing Team


Greetings, fellow marketers and fearless female entrepreneurs! Whew! That was a mouthful. It’s that time of year again. After the staff Christmas party and before 2024 kicks off, you need to start preparing for Staff Reviews. They’re thinking about their bonus; you’re thinking about their performance. Now, I can’t tell you how to evaluate every staff member. For instance, maybe Sally, your Office Manager, makes a killer coffee cake, and I don’t know how you put a price on that. But I can help you prepare to evaluate the performance of your Chief Marketing Officer. These are five questions you MUST ask your CMO, along with tips on how YOU can put them in a position to succeed.


1. "Can you provide specific examples of how you successfully executed the agreed-upon marketing goals and objectives for the past year?"


You're not just looking for a list of aspirations; you want to see the CMO as the maestro, orchestrating a symphony of marketing initiatives. Did they hit the right notes and bring those strategic plans to life? It's time to measure their effectiveness in executing a plan. Remember, a CMO’s performance is the heartbeat of your brand-building journey. If you’re not moving forward in lockstep, you’re in trouble.


Tip For You: Outline your CMO’s goals with measurable outcomes, and ensure they can showcase their success stories. Remember, you want to help them succeed.



2. "How have you demonstrated a forward-looking marketing strategy to ensure the growth of the business over the next year?"


In the marketing world, staying ahead is the golden ticket. You're evaluating your CMO's ability to foresee marketing trends, identify opportunities, and craft a roadmap for sustainable growth. Are their binoculars focused on the future, or are they only gazing at the present? Brand building is about anticipating the next move in this dynamic dance of markets. If they’re not thinking ahead, you’re falling behind.


Tip For You: Encourage your CMO to embrace innovation, always keeping an eye on the evolving landscape and looking beyond the immediate horizon. They should be searching for sources of information that can inform your company's marketing strategy.



3. "Can you provide examples of the innovative marketing initiatives or campaigns you introduced and how you had to adapt to changes in the marketing landscape?"


Whew! Again, that was a lot of words. Innovation and adaptability are the secret weapons in a CMO's arsenal. They can’t be rooted in the past –“That’s how we've always done it” is an infuriating perspective. Asking your CMO the question above uncovers their creative spirit and assesses their ability to pivot with market changes. Did they adapt or revert to past systems? Remember, brand building is a key component of your business, and your CMO needs to lead that charge.


Tip For You: Encourage a culture of experimentation and be willing to adapt strategies and test tactics in response to market dynamics. Make sure you aren’t the one stuck on “that’s how we've always done it.”



4. "How have you demonstrated strong leadership in managing and developing the marketing team to achieve its collective goals?"


A maestro is only as good as their orchestra. This question delves into their ability to foster collaboration, communicate effectively, and lead a high-performing marketing team. Your CEO needs to be able to build and lead a team that is so in sync that every member can speak on the forthcoming marketing goals and how they will impact them individually.


Tip For You: Foster a positive team culture, emphasizing collaboration and continuous learning to keep the marketing team in sync.



5. "To what extent do you rely on data and analytics to inform marketing strategies, and can you provide examples of data-driven decisions that positively impacted the business?"


This question unveils the CMO's analytical prowess and assesses their ability to make informed decisions. Are they making marketing decisions based on hunches and mirroring your competition, or are they using data to help guide them? Brand building in the digital age demands a data-driven approach. Just to be clear, data is not everything. However, it is essential for tracking the successes and failures of marketing initiatives.


Tip for you: Invest in robust analytics tools and encourage a culture of data-driven decision-making to help steer your brand confidently.


Consider these questions a framework for learning more about your CMO’s performance and the success (and failures) of your marketing initiatives. Use these insights as building blocks for continuous improvement, empowering your CMO, and elevating your marketing efforts to new heights. After all, it's not just about assessing; it's about supporting their path to success.


Now it's your turn! Share any questions you believe are essential to evaluating a CMO in the comments section. Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE to “The Dope Shoe Diaries” and share it with your fellow marketers.


Until next time, keep it dope!


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