startups

2023 CMO salary range for Chief Marketing Officers

Eliza Jaskolski
Talent Manager at HireCMO

I've personally looked at every survey on this topic, so that you do not have to. I've referenced in-depth research from Salary.com, Sunshinelist, Payscale and Builtin. These are companies who spend 6-7 on getting honest and accurate response for folks like chief marketing officers - so you can rest assured that the data is recent and valid!

Since at HireCMO, we're a fan of getting straight to the point, let me answer your question right away.

Chief Marketing Officer salary in United States

I've shown this in both table form, as well as a graph. In both images, you can see that the annual salary (without benefits or equity) ranges from around $250K to $500K, with the 50th percentile/median being $350K USD.

This data is from Salary.com and should give you some understanding of what the average salary of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is, and gauge if you're over or under the 50th percentile (median), considering your years of experience. And for your for benefit, the "median" is the figure at which half of the salary day points fall above and half fall below and it's not the same as average.

As a marketing girl, I love validating data from several sources. And so next, I headed to Payscale.com to check out the average total compensation that their group of chief marketing officer reported. We got similar data for the chief marketing officer salary for folks based in the States.

The average salary for this role is around $180K (base, no bonuses included). You may also find the bar chart underneath interesting, as it provides ranges for some other variables forms of pay on top of the base. Do be mindful though that the economic climate right now is tricky in 2023, so depending on if youre marketing program management is hitting its goals for the ear, mileage may vary. We can help btw if you need a third person's expert opinion.

And also, seems like the average additional cash compensation (bonus, profit sharing, commission, etc.) is around $12 to $20K a year. Of course this is just me eyeballing it from the chart above, so don't consider this the holy grail. But again, consider the economic and company-wide circumstances of the organization you're applying for. Their story of how good/bad they're doing in this market and how good you are at marketing program management, will determine how much they'll pay you. These articles you're reading (like this one) are just data points, nothing more and nothing less! :)

Average Chief Marketing Officer salary by US States

This one's interesting. Although I wasn't able to find every state in the US, I did find this list from Builtin.com, and it's pretty decent. Love how "remote" is a category too, which btw, is something we offer at HireCMO - remote CMOs to hire on a part-time or full-time basis :)

Average Chief Marketing Officer salary by Gender

As mentioned in the chart below, the average salary for female CMOs was around $240K and for male CMOs was around $220K. It's a cool statistic because I personally have seen more female marketers and CMOs in the space than men. Great to see women dominating this space! But hey, I love all chief marketing officers (no bias). This data is from Builtin.com.

Average Chief Marketing Officer salary by Years of Experience

This one's expected. The more experienced you get, the higher your way, although I am not entirely certain why the first bar for 3-5 is higher than 5-7. My guess is that a lot of startups who need a seasoned marketer to come in and build inbound marketing programs (we do this very well) are paid a premium by the startup, which skews the data in this chart below.

Regardless, great to see that the chief marketing officer salary is still hovering around the numbers we have been seeing above from other websites/data points. This data btw is also from Builtin.com.

And so, how much does a chief marketing officer make?

Based on our data from above, and our current economic climate, I would say the average chief marketing officer salary could be around $200K - $275K. This is highly dependent on your years of experience as well. If you haven't served as a wartime Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in previous companies that are in a similar state as the company you're applying for, then you may not really see a high enough number - sorry!

Word of advice?

As a talent manager, I could recommend setting expectations as early as possible though. Depending on what KPIs the company wants to hit, and the marketing budget they're willing to dedicate, ask yourself if you're likely to reach their expected outcomes e.g., 200 MQLs a month, +$50K increase in revenue from paid traffic, etc. And if you're 90% confident that you can, then attach those expectations to additional cash compensation or bonuses throughout Q1, Q2, etc.

But take this with a grain of salt because I'm not in the best position to understand your personal goals and circumstances - you are! So good luck, and btw check out some of our blogs on CMO topics. It's all we talk about.. for better or worse.

Interview preparation - both sides of the table

Recruiters, Founders and CXOs

If you're a recruiter, founder of CXO looking to hire a CMO (or any marketer really), have a look at this. It summarizes some best practices in bullet points. I wrote that one too haha. And if you just need to get to the finish line and don't want to lose hours of sleep, just tell us what you need and we'll find someone for you - email us at hey@hirecmo.io or book a structured call here.

And also, fun fact - did you know that a fractional CMO's salary (7+ years of experience) is actually less than half of the average salary of a full-time CMO? Crazy, I know. And we're great at finding fractional CMOs for startups, so happy to help you figure that out! 

For future CMOs

Now, if you're a future CMO, ready to build out and lead your new marketing leadership team, engage with key business unit stakeholders, do your elite marketing research and be absolutely stunning at your career, let's get right into it:

Review chief marketing officer reported facts

What I mean by this is look at what other CMOs are saying about the market today and what CXOs are looking for exactly when hiring for the job title CMO. We (at HireCMO) are just one data point. And a responsible candidate like you must learn from the best!

To make your life a bit easier, I've already interviewed some stunning CMOs who've been doing this for a while now: Nancy, Brad, Uana & Roger. Each interview is a 10-12 minute read, and even if you just skim it, it'll give you a good idea of how they're seeing the world in 2023. Invaluable.

Bonus: I've also asked them about what the average/expected chief marketing officer salary ranges can be, and they talk about it in those interviews. Don't think we asked Roger about it though, but the others have and future ones interviews we do will as well.

Speak with other full-time and fractional chief marketing officers

This is underrated. And it doesn't just have to be CMOs, but also can be a marketing director you know from your last role. Or someone who ran marketing operations in a similar company to your future one. The idea here is to get more live data on the current marketing landscape and job market. And also, over time, seeing if they're open to referring you to CMO roles they see opening up (tread lightly though). Best place to outreach is LinkedIn.

The average CMO (as I am well aware) does not have time to "hop on a quick 30 min coaching call" every week, but if you make your case, you can take 20-mins of their time if you book a week in advance or honestly, just pay them $100 for that 20 minutes. I know it may sound ridiculous at first sight, but some people value their time differently, and if you show that you're open to buying them an expensive dinner, they'll know that you're serious and they'll feel that you value their time - which actually will make them feel better about getting on that call with you. I know because we built HireCMO using similar strategies. Also, let's you really figure out that ideal chief marketing officer salary for you!

Determine the company profile you're a fit for and why

I cant focus on this enough but your marketing domain expertise, and years of experience in marketing needs to be coupled with context. And by that, I mean if you're great at managing marketing operations, excel at marketing reporting - BUT it was only at corporations with 6-figure marketing budgets, are you really a good fit to work at a scrappy startup? No you'r enot.

You need to ask yourself and be prepared to answer interviewers how you'll use your skillsets to bring them more MQLs and increase revenue, using your exact set of skills. And that takes a lot of humility and honesty with yourself to figure out, so be prepared for that.

Wrapping up

I generally hope you enjoyed reading this article. It took me a long time to gather all the data and put everything together cohesively. If you have any questions, feel free to say hi to me at hey@hirecmo.io, or hey just book a call with us directly. Rooting for you, be well and go do great things Miss/Mister CMO!!

Click here to book a call with us!

Get to know CMO trends, tips & jobs fit just for you!