by Charlotte Trueman

CMOs in Southeast Asia: Salary expectations & job description

Jan 03, 2019
CareersIT Leadership

What are the responsibilities and salary of Chief Marketing Officers?

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Credit: Satamedia/iStock

What is a CMO?

As the job title suggests, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is responsible for branding, advertising, digital, market research – anything that has traditionally required creative thinking.

As we’ve discussed before, a strong brand is more than just a marketing strategy – it defines the identity of your business; meaning that the responsibilities afforded to a CMO could make or break a business.

However, like many C-suite level positions, the job of the modern CMO is undergoing something of an evolution.

Due to the rise in digitisation, user-generated content and social media influencers, those who find themselves in charge of a company’s marketing function are now having to adapt in order to keep pace with this new normal.

Whereas before, CMOs were hired for their creativity, the modern Chief Marketing Officer is now finding they need to balance their artistic flair with a more growth-focused and demand-focused agenda.

As a result, CMOs are now responsible for customer experience as well as financial and strategic tasks; alongside the traditional duties that come with building a successful brand.

The modern CMO must be able to engage both the right and left sides of their brain; developing a successful marketing strategy whilst thinking analytically about revenue and business growth.

Salary guide

The salary of a CMO varies from country to country across the ASEAN region and can change depending on industry, company size and years of experience.

Below is a guide to the average per annum earnings of CMOs in 7 countries where data was available.

  • Indonesia: 1,500 million – 2,925 million IDR (US$103,752 – 202,316)
  • Vietnam: 196 million – 419 million VND (US$84,000 – 180,000)
  • Singapore: 123,000 – 382,121 SGD (US$90,197 – 280,213)
  • Thailand: 2.2 million – 3.6 million THB (US$68,195 – 111,593)
  • Malaysia: 240,000 –414,142 MYR (US$57,974 – 108,701)
  • Philippines: 357,586 – 6.8 million PHP (US$67,99 – 129,075)
  • Cambodia: 51 million – 215 million KHR (US$12,440 – 52,861) [Figures relate to C-Level Executive job title]

Who does the CMO work with?

Like most of the C-suite team, the Chief Marketing Officer will report in to the CEO.

However, as the modern CMO finds themselves increasingly tasked with driving growth and customer engagement, many will find they now work more closely with the CIO than their predecessors would have.

For a long time, the CMO and CIO were not seen as natural partners because traditionally there was very little overlap between technology and marketing.

However, with the evolution of digital platforms and the continued growth of mobile-first and channel approaches to marketing, a technology and marketing partnership is now fundamental to long-term business success.

As customers come to expect technology trends like artificial intelligence to be baked into their experience, IT needs to be brought on board to achieve the right results.

The CMO might be responsible for customer experience but its important they work with the right people in the organisation to deliver on these promises.

What skills do you need to be a successful CMO?

Traditionally, creativity was clearly key when it came to any perspective CMO however, while this is still true, there are now a number of other desirable skills that are sought after when hiring a Chief Marketing Officer.

Good communication and leadership skills are a must for the modern CMO. As we’ve already mentioned, working collaboratively with the CIO is now a given, meaning a successful CMO needs to be able to work well with others whilst clearly communicating their vision to those without a background in marketing.

Any brand that is developed by a CMO must also communicate a strong, unified message to customers. Customer engagement is key for businesses so, unless you connect with consumers and deliver what they want, you’re not doing your job right.

With a renewed focus for today’s CMO on steering company strategy, strategic thinkers and those with a background in driving business growth are also finding themselves well placed in CMO roles.

Understanding the role technology has to play in accelerating growth is vital; a CMO must stay ahead of the curve when it comes to emerging technologies whilst anticipating the future needs of their customers and how best to facilitate them.

Innovation and creativity will forever be King when it comes to marketing however, if you hire someone who doesn’t understand the business strategy that goes alongside its implementation, your brand will never get off the ground.