If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between the Vice President (VP) of marketing and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), you’re not alone. Google the difference between a CMO and VP marketing and you’ll get over 4.5 million results!

Many organizations have a vice president of marketing and a chief marketing officer or CMO in today’s business climate. Yet, understanding their similarities and differences can be difficult for anyone outside of the C-suite at enterprise-level companies. The CMO is often the high-profile face of major brands — but there is more to this role than meets the eye. So what exactly is the difference between a VP marketing and a CMO? 

Let’s break it down to simplify the difference between these two essential roles.

What do CMOs and VP marketing do?

CMOs and VP marketing are high-level positions in a company’s marketing team. The main difference between the two is that CMOs have oversight of the entire marketing department, while VPs of marketing report to the CMO and manage smaller parts of the department. In other words, CMOs manage VPs of marketing.

CMO vs. VP Marketing: Qualifications and duties

Both CMOs and VPs of marketing are seasoned professionals with deep experience. They should each have years of experience working in a lower-level position within a company’s marketing department and a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. Both positions also require strong communication and leadership skills, as these employees are expected to communicate with their teams, other departments, customers, clients, and board members.

While they share many similarities, they also have some differences:

CMOs are expected to oversee the entire team—not just one part of it—and they must be able to oversee strategy on an organizational level. This means that they need to be able to develop a cohesive marketing strategy for all parts of the company’s marketing efforts.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

What does the CMO do?

The CMO is the head of all things marketing. They are responsible for top-line growth and generating revenue and brand reputation through various channels. As such, the CMO needs to understand their company’s buyer personas, their competitors’ goals, and how best to communicate with both to realize these objectives. Several responsibilities fall under the purview of a Chief Marketing Officer, from funnel optimization to acquisition strategy.

What is the difference between a VP & a CMO?

The main difference between a VP & CMO is that while the Vice President title can be used to describe many different executives within the organization, there can only ever be one CMO. Another distinction is that VPs are usually more focused on day-to-day responsibilities than long-term goals like a CMO.

A CMO is a Chief Marketing Officer responsible for top-line revenues through marketing activities. The VP of Marketing is a C-level executive who oversees a company’s advertising and branding strategy.

The main difference between a VP & CMO is that while the Vice President title can be used to describe many different executives within the organization, there can only ever be one CMO. An additional distinction is that VPs are usually more focused on day-to-day responsibilities than long-term goals like a CMO.

Different functions are expected from a CMO depending on the company size or industry. In general, however, it is widely agreed that a Chief Marketing Officer should take responsibility for top-line revenues through marketing activities. So growing the business through funnel optimization and acquisition strategies.

As far as what a CMO does, it depends entirely on who you ask for an answer! Different functions are expected from a CMO depending on the company size or industry. In general, however, it is widely agreed that a Chief Marketing Officer should take responsibility for top-line revenues through marketing activities. So growing the business through funnel optimization and acquisition strategies.

CMOs drive growth in the business with a strong focus on strategy. This differs from VP of Marketing roles because VPs of Marketing tend to be more focused on the day-to-day tactics. In contrast, CMOs are usually more focused on long-term goals, hiring and managing team members, and being able to speak at board level about the company’s performance against KPIs and plans.

VP of Marketing

What does the VP of Marketing do? 

A VP of Marketing is a role that requires many skills and responsibilities. Let’s dive deeper into the VP of Marketing title to understand it.

The VP of Marketing reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Operations Officer (COO). They often have their own team, which they manage and make final decisions on marketing strategies and initiatives. The primary responsibility of a Vice President of Marketing is leading the development and implementation of strategic marketing plans for their organization. This includes branding, advertising, market research, customer relations management (CRM), product development and sales promotion among other marketing initiatives. The goal is to generate revenue while keeping an eye on profitability and your organization’s return on investment (ROI).

What skills are needed for this role? 

A successful VP has strong leadership abilities and excellent communication skills with internal colleagues and external clients. Other essential traits include being highly organized with strong analytical thinking capabilities. 

Marketing VPs need to work independently and collaborate with different departments like Human Resources and Sales effectively towards common goals. They must also continuously improve their company’s reputation to attract customers and retain existing ones so that sales continue growing annually despite tougher competition from rival businesses competing for customers’ attention too!

The VP of Marketing is ultimately responsible for the company’s marketing strategy, a C-level executive who oversees a company’s advertising and branding strategy. The VP of Marketing is also responsible for leading and supervising the marketing department.

This usually includes working directly with sales to ensure an increase in leads and implementing and overseeing company marketing campaigns in all channels. A VP of Marketing is also responsible for leading and supervising the marketing department, which often includes Directors and Managers within their team.

Within a company, the VP of Marketing is a C-level executive who oversees the marketing department and is responsible for leading and supervising the team. This position often includes being in charge of other Directors and Managers within the department and making sure each member is working together to achieve goals and strategies.

The main purpose of this role is to create an advertising and branding strategy that ensures a recognizable brand image for the company, which will ultimately lead to more leads for sales. This usually includes working directly with sales to ensure an increase in leads and implementing and overseeing company marketing campaigns in all channels (print, online, TV, radio).

The VP of Marketing must have strong leadership skills since they will be leading a team while also managing their work. They must have excellent communication skills because they will be required to work with many individuals inside and outside the organization. With all of these responsibilities this role comes with, they must also be able to make decisions quickly when needed at any given time. A leader’s ability to make decisions can mean whether or not a project succeeds or falls short.

Oren Todoros

I help early-stage startups and global organizations increase brand awareness, business performance, growth, and sales. In 2016 I founded BIGINTRO, a content strategy agency that drives growth for ambitious startups. We do this through strategic search, social, public relations, and content marketing programs tailored to specific business goals.

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