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You’ve just been hired as chief of marketing. How do you begin? Well, being successful as a newly-hired chief of marketing means being involved and addressing your needs during the onboarding process. This is critical for your success and the company.

At Buttered Toast, we have studied plenty of executive transitions, and many people fumble the ball in their first few months on the job. One of our key takeaways is that regardless of whether you are a freshly minted chief of marketing or a seasoned CMO, the same lessons apply in ensuring a successful onboarding at your new company.

Here are our best practices to efficiently onboard as the new chief of marketing and ensure a seamless transition that will set you up for long-term success:

  1. Learn Everything You Can About the New Company
    According to Bamboo HR’s recent study, nearly 1 in 5 employees are looking for new jobs due to bad company culture. So it goes without saying that doing due diligence is critical when jumping into a new organization.Learn about the company culture of your potential new workplace. You can do this by researching the company’s long-term vision or seeking out employee feedback. You can start this as early as the hiring process. When you decided to accept that interview, of course, you already had the goal to take that role. So, as early as the interview, you can start asking questions about company culture.In addition, do your research and make observations. One thing you can do is to pay attention to the office environment. Get a sense of the vibe on-site by observing how people interact. Do workers seem content to be there? Does it appear to be a place you would want to work? These observations will help you understand whether the company will be a good fit for you.
  2. Engage with the Executives During the Interview
    Regardless of the roles you’ve taken in the past, the guidance is the same: it is ideal to share your work processes and ideals with the company’s top executives – notably the CEO – at the onset.Explain your vision of success: lay down the experiences and knowledge you have that can help you succeed in the role and how you create strategies to achieve success.Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Do you have concerns or need clarifications? The best time to do that is during your first meeting with the top executives. These discussions can help you understand how you fit into the organization and provide insights into the business’ operational procedures. And these can be pivotal to your long-term success within the organization.
  3. Ask for Clarity on the Scope of the CMO Role
    A few areas of core responsibility for any chief of marketing include spearheading the entire marketing strategy and implementation, controlling brand strategy, and overseeing customer metrics. However, not all CMO functions are the same. Each company has different goals, needs, and challenges, and the CMO’s role has to reflect those specific realities.Some executives have to wear many different hats and perform tasks outside their job descriptions’ original scope. Because of this, beyond the general CMO functions, your new role may also entail various other tasks and responsibilities — from product creation to distribution, public relations to e-commerce, and pricing to sales management. All these can occasionally be overwhelming and can lead to a great deal of confusion within the company, especially when leadership responsibilities within a marketing team are not properly delegated.Ensure the company has clearly defined the responsibilities and expectations of being the top marketing executive, which will help prepare yourself for the role.
  4. Understand the Company’s Marketing Plan
    The company you will be joining will most likely already have a marketing strategy in place, which you, as the new CMO, will assume. To ensure a seamless onboarding, make sure to have access to all the essential information needed to do your job properly. For example, how many employees are in the company? What is the business’s current revenue, and how much cash does it have on hand? This information can help you understand which CMO tasks you should prioritize.But before embarking on any strategies and campaigns, you should also analyze existing spending on tools, agencies, freelancers, and advertising platforms. The truth is, things that work and those that don’t will be passed down to you. And this is why you need to be geared with this information during onboarding. This will help you understand which marketing plans you can continue and which ones to halt.An effective CMO can do this by being aware of what aspects of the business create a fast ROI, what don’t, and what might do so in the future. Having all these details during your onboarding period will help you get a good headstart in your role.
  5. Negotiate for the Resources You Need
    No matter how skilled you are as a marketer, you won’t have much success in your new position if you don’t arm yourself with the right tools. Most of the time, businesses may have a limited budget to work with and extremely high expectations. You must lay down the CMO resources you need to help the company’s marketing strategy succeed.As a company’s chief of marketing, one of your main responsibilities is to allocate your budget and utilize resources. So before you can launch campaigns, you must plan on how to leverage the existing pool of manpower in your department, and how to utilize the company’s budget across the various marketing campaigns and channels.


The Key to a Smooth CMO Onboarding: Take an Active Role

You have big shoes to fill as the new chief of marketing. It is your right to request a thoughtful and detailed transition plan from the new company, as this can significantly enhance your capacity to forge bonds with new team members and other stakeholders.

A thorough transition plan can help you define your leadership style, one that is built around your new company’s work environment and culture. A well-thought-out transition strategy is even more important now in today’s remote or hybrid working contexts.

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