Head of marketing

So true.

In fact, the head of marketing is often more of a consigliere, charged with making a case to the CEO. If the boss is any good, she’ll listen carefully, ask hard questions and then make a smart decision. The rest of the time, the head of marketing is mostly following the lead of the boss. That’s because marketing is everything that the organization does that interacts with a member of the public. Marketing is personal, it’s vivid and it has its fingers in everything.

To be the head of marketing, you need the freedom and responsibility to change the way things work, not simply how they’re talked about.

At brand-oriented companies like Unilever, the brand manager has far more influence than she might at a place like Facebook, Basecamp or Slack, where it seems like the degrees of freedom are much narrower. If you want a marketing head, you need to give them the freedom to actually do marketing.

The reason that the tenure of a CMO at a big company averages about 18 months is that it takes a year and a half for the boss to realize that pain-free, risk-free, easy miracles aren’t arriving on schedule.