We have finally reached the space where traditional marketing and digital marketing are just referred to as marketing again. Now that your digital transformation is behind you and digital has been optimized, the next step is to leverage marketing technology, aka MarTech. CMOs who are in charge of leading their entire organizations toward digital growth and innovation won’t get there without proper technology to enable the journey.

Technology gives CMOs the resources and tools they need to push necessary change, if it’s leveraged properly. Marketing leaders today must embrace the new reality of data and attribution driving decisions that enable growth.

Digital Marketing Executive Recruiters Share the Traits They Favor in a Modern CMO

How do CMOs identify the next step in their strategy to maximize the impact of martech, and propel their organization towards “digital first” mentality? There are six key traits CMOs must possess to harness the power of martech and thrive in the martech age.

Committed Lifelong Learner

Successful CMOs acknowledge and embrace the shift to digital and know that they must continue to evolve amongst the changes. By committing to learning new skills and fine-tuning their skill sets, they’re better able to integrate digital developments that transform their marketing strategy.

Any CMO who’s a lifelong learner and who’s fiercely dedicated to driving results will be digitally-inclined in today’s marketing space. However, this is challenging seeing that most marketing departments still don’t have enough of their budget allocated toward digital channels and technology. According to Gartner, the CMO’s budget for martech dropped from 27% in 2016 to 22% in 2017.

Does this drop mean that martech is becoming less impactful, or have early tools failed to deliver, or has bad strategy or execution with great tools led to disaster?

We expect that the percentage of the CMO’s budget allocated toward martech will expand as technology progressively becomes an integral piece of every organization’s marketing strategy, and for CMOs to become innate martech experts in the near future.


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Superior CMOs know martech is one more tool that enables them to differentiate their
business from their competitors. MarTech provides marketing insights and data into customers, and allows CMOs to engage with them like never before. If they fail to take advantage of it, they are dragging their organization behind.

Successful CMOs are technically-inclined and intuitive in identifying the proper martech solutions that demonstrate ROI and know how to implement them. In addition, they must have a keen eye for identifying talent that is able to work with analytics and data, and translate them into actionable insights.

[Calculated] Risk Taker

Experimentation is necessary in marketing and requires effective CMOs to be logical risk-takers. The most impressive CMOs are pioneers, and are willing to push boundaries to drive digital transformation.

In order for CMOs to truly thrive in the martech landscape, they must work closely with their C-level counterparts. C-level leaders must work collaboratively to successfully foster innovation throughout the entire organization and to create and execute a powerful strategy.

By aligning with external departments like IT and encouraging cross-functional collaboration, CMOs will be able to introduce disruptive technologies and drive company-wide change more efficiently. If they aren’t able to do so, the pace of change of digital will surpass the ability of organizations to adapt and adjust properly.

High IQ and EQ Balance

Today’s consumers want brands to not only appeal to their informational needs and concerns, but their emotional needs. The need for CMOs and their teams to possess both cognitive intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ) will only grow as marketing continues to become less product-centric and more personalized.

IQ is required to be a CMO, but high EQ is what makes a great one. Having emotional intelligence and being self-aware, and understanding your team’s needs is what creates an exceptional leader. CMOs must have technical and analytical skills in place, but can’t neglect creative and empathetic traits to push change in the martech world.

Level 5 Leader

The most successful and powerful CMOs possess level 5 leadership. Leaders who demonstrate humility and strong will are key in taking an entire organization toward new horizons.

Level 5 CMOs who prioritize their team and organization before their own personal ambitions are the ones that will be able to forcefully harness the potential of martech and guide their teams effectively. Because truthfully, even the best CMO cannot thrive on their own without the right support in place.

The Ultimate Team Builder

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As a digital marketing executive recruiter, we see that too many CMOs today are trying to do everything by themselves. From strategy, to planning, to digital, to traditional, and media, it’s quite impossible for even the most agile and sharp CMO to handle everything on their own.

Top CMO’s know their most important direct reports today are their VP of Digital Marketing and VP of MarTech or VP of Digital and MarTech depending on the size of their organization. With more organizations conducting a martech executive search, we see that more executives are discovering the need for talent who’s specialized in the martech space. It’s never been more important for modern CMOs to identify and recruit marketing executive talent that is able to support digital change that leads to customer acquisition and loyalty.

MarTech is nothing without the right people managing it. Investing in technology alone isn’t enough to drive results. Marketing teams need the capability to translate data into valuable insights and maximize the investments in martech. Key roles like a VP of MarTech, VP of Digital, and VP of Analytics are all essential to digital growth.


The most accomplished CMOs of the martech age will be the ones who develop all of these traits, have a forward-thinking mindset, and embrace the changes in digital marketing. And ultimately, the CMOs who are able to leverage martech successfully will rise above the rest.