Salaries of Chief Marketing Communications Officers

by Karen S. Johnson
The Chief Marketing Communications Officer needs a combination of business and marketing skills.

The Chief Marketing Communications Officer needs a combination of business and marketing skills.

Chief Marketing Communications Officer is quite a mouthful, so you are more likely to hear this job title shortened to CMO for Chief Marketing Officer, or the less common CCO, for Chief Communications Officer. Duties for each are similar but can vary depending on the organization. Larger companies may split up marketing and communications duties, while smaller or leaner companies seek to combine them. Regardless of what title a company uses, expect to be an expert in all aspects of marketing and communications and, in some cases, sales. This expertise routinely commands a six-figure salary.

The Many Hats of the Chief Marketing Officer

The CMO is an all-inclusive executive. To get to this level, you will likely have spent many years working in marketing, advertising, public relations and social media. In some organizations you may also be responsible for sales functions, or, at a minimum, work very closely with the top-level sales executives. As an executive you need to focus on how your department’s activities impact the company’s financial growth and and will likely report directly to the CEO. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t track CMO salaries specifically. However, it reported that top executives earned median salaries of $101,650 in 2010, while marketing managers averaged $129,870 in 2012. A 2012 CMO Council survey reports that most CMOs earned between $100,000 and $349,000 annually, with almost half receiving additional bonus income.

The Rise of the Chief Communications Officer

As the name implies, a CCO focuses more on communications and public relations than on marketing. The industry publication PR News reports that this executive title was "relatively unheard of" until around 2003. But already, many of these communications executives are reporting base salaries of $220,000 and up, according to PR News ’ 2013 Salary Survey. Most make well below that, however, with a considerable percentage earning less than $100,000 a year. The size of your employer can play a big part in your earning potential as a COO. A 2012 survey by the Korn/Ferry Institute reports that the mean annual salary for CCOs at Fortune 500 companies was about $350,000, including bonuses, with some reporting twice that in total cash compensation.

Your Education Expectations

An undergraduate degree in marketing or any communications field -- such as journalism, public relations, speech or advertising -- is a good start for this executive level position. In addition to strong writing and communications skills, you need to understand pricing and competitive strategies, so a grasp of market research is also important. A master’s degree may accelerate your ascension to the job.

State Variations

All types of organizations employ marketing and communications personnel, from large corporations to small businesses and non-profits. According to the BLS, the most marketing management positions in 2012 were in California, New York, Texas, Illinois and New Jersey. The top paying state was New York, at an average of $168,460. The District of Columbia, included among the states, ranked No. 2 at $150,280, followed by New Jersey at $150,000. Marketing managers in West Virginia earned the lowest average salaries, at $83,100 a year. Cost-of-living variations account for part of the difference in salaries from one state to the next.

About the Author

Based in Central Texas, Karen S. Johnson is a marketing professional with more than 30 years' experience and specializes in business and equestrian topics. Her articles have appeared in several trade and business publications such as the Houston Chronicle. Johnson also co-authored a series of communications publications for the U.S. Agency for International Development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in speech from UT-Austin.

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