What Should You Do When Your CMO Leaves?

The departure of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) can be a significant event for any company. It’s a time of transition that requires thoughtful planning and decisive action to ensure continuity and maintain the momentum of marketing efforts.

Before you rush to replace your CMO, think carefully about what you need from the role and how you want to evolve the position at your organization. The Role of a CMO is rapidly changing and CMO turnover is increasing every year. This post explores some steps you should take to manage the transition, protect your team, and find a new CMO that will guide your business into the future.

Ten Steps to Take When Your CMO Leaves

When a company’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) announces their departure, it’s crucial to manage the transition effectively. Here are some steps you should take to ensure a smooth transition, maintain momentum, and set up your new CMO for success:

Understand the Reasons

Gain clarity on why the CMO is leaving. This understanding can inform your approach to filling the position and addressing any underlying issues.

Communicate Internally

Inform the marketing team and relevant stakeholders about the departure. Clear communication helps manage expectations and maintain morale.

Develop a Transition Plan

Create a plan for the interim period. This may include assigning temporary leadership roles within the marketing team or seeking an interim CMO.

Review Current Marketing Strategies

Evaluate ongoing projects and strategies to determine if adjustments are needed during the transition.

Document Knowledge and Processes

Ensure the departing CMO documents key information, strategies, and processes. This documentation is vital for continuity.

Consider a Fractional CMO

For some companies, hiring a fractional CMO might be a cost-effective and flexible solution to bridge the leadership gap.

What is a Fractional CMO?

A Fractional CMO, a part-time executive responsible for overseeing and strategizing a company’s marketing activities, is ideal for businesses experiencing transitions. This role cost-effectively ensures continuity and strategic direction in marketing efforts during leadership changes.

Plan for Recruitment

Develop a strategy for recruiting the new CMO. This might involve an executive search firm or an internal hiring process.

Assess Company Needs and Goals

Reevaluate the company’s marketing needs and goals to ensure the new CMO’s skills align with these objectives.

Engage the Team in the Transition

Involve the marketing team in the transition process. Their insights can be valuable in maintaining stability and continuity.

Prepare for Onboarding

Plan for the successful onboarding of the new CMO to ensure they can hit the ground running.

How to Replace a CMO?

Besides exploring options like internal promotions or external recruitment for full-time CMO positions, companies can also consider interim CMOs for short-term leadership. These alternatives can help bridge gaps and provide continuity in marketing efforts. 

Engaging a fractional CMO can also be a strategic choice. This approach provides continuity and stability during transitions, offers experienced and diverse expertise, and ensures flexibility in scaling marketing leadership to suit current needs. It’s also a cost-effective solution, providing high-level strategic insights without the full expense of a full-time executive. 

 Additionally, a fractional CMO can offer objective perspectives, quickly implement necessary changes, provide leadership for the current team, and assist in succession planning and training. This strategy is particularly beneficial for maintaining momentum in marketing strategies and ensuring a smooth transition to new leadership.

Learn more about how a Fractional CMO can help your business thrive: