Finding the Right CMO Mentor

Even chief marketing officers need mentors. Here are some advisors who can help you grow your career.

CMOs are at the top of the marketing ladder and, in many ways, at a high point in their career. Yet, it’s more important than ever to embrace the mandate to never stop learning. Having a mentor, mastermind, or area-specific advisor can be a great way to help you stay on top of the changing marketplace and grow your business in effective ways. Here are four different types of mentors CMOs should consider.

CMOs more advanced in their career: Individuals who have walked the same road you’re on can help you navigate the changing marketplace. As you seek mentors and confidantes who have been CMOs, look for individuals with experience in similar roles to the one you currently hold. It may also pay off to look at people who have been in roles you might want in the future, such as in other industries or larger companies.

CEOs and board members: What’s the next step in your career plan? If you hope to move up in the C-suite or take a board of director job, networking with people in these roles is a great place to start. CEOs and board members can help you think about your career decisions in the context of your long-term trajectory and look at ways to use your marketing expertise to step into even larger roles.

Digital- and strategy-savvy advisors: Mentors don’t have to be directly related to your career path. They can also be focused on helping you reach your potential by expanding your knowledge into set areas of your field. For example, one CMO I interviewed said that her two most valuable mentors had helped her understand different aspects of the business. One of those mentors was a lawyer who helped her with balancing branding and outreach in a compliance-heavy field. Another was a digital strategist who helped the CMO update her knowledge to incorporate today’s flourishing digital channels.

Non-marketing-related mentors: There’s also a place on your mentor team for people who don’t specialize in marketing. Think of other areas where you’d like to excel; this might be public speaking or writing to holistically build your career. You might be focused on something like painting or playing the piano to stretch creatively and unwind. When your job is all-encompassing, the right noncareer mentor can help you thrive.

Building a team of mentors will ensure you reach your potential as a CMO both in and out of the office. The right support team can help you weather challenges, take on audacious projects, and take actions today that help you reach your long-term goals.