types of marketing leaders

There is no question that marketing professionals are a different breed with a host of characteristics not often found in other professions—at least, not in such a specific combination. In the marketing department, you’ll find people who are both creative and analytical, curious and intuitive, decisive and diplomatic. These and many other characteristics set marketers and, to an even greater degree, marketing leadership apart from their colleagues.

Marketers are naturally predisposed to quick pivots, out-of-the-box thinking, and agile project management. They must be to stay ahead of trends, react to economic changes, and adopt the latest marketing technology. It’s a delicate balancing while juggling act that not many can master. To rise to the highest levels of leadership, they must be able to do all these things—be all of the leadership types—and more.

So, what are the types of marketing leaders you’ll see? Let’s break them down a little.

Revenue and Growth

Marketing leaders and CMOs that focus on a tight alignment with sales and strive to understand the customer journey are growth and revenue optimizers. These CMOs and leaders are always mindful of the marketing investment the company has made and strive to drive traffic and create experiences that convert prospects and leads into buyers.

This type of marketer will also champion processes to ensure that marketing tasks are always running smoothly. With systems in place, measurement is easier, which means that wins are easier to prove and losses are easier to identify for correction.

This is the analytical side of marketing characteristics, and it works well to drive revenue and brand growth. Without other characteristics involved in day-to-day decisions, however, the marketing could get a little stale.

Brand and Culture

A CMO concerned with brand and culture is one that puts all their attention into the public’s perception of your company. Every interaction your brand has with the public will be tightly controlled according to the brand colors, logos, images, voice, and messaging. The result is a cohesive and unified appearance at all times, which greatly increases consumer trust.

The outward image isn’t the only thing this type of leader is concerned with. Internal culture is just as crucial to a great reputation, so employer branding will also be on their radar. Keeping employees happy while fostering a culture of support and transparency is just as important as ensuring all social posts maintain the brand’s voice. After all, employees will talk outside of work, and a few bad comments could tarnish the whole company’s image.


The innovative marketing leader will always be on top of the latest marketing technology, whether for automation, easier website design, better SEO results, “smart” journey tracking, scheduling—the list of martech options really is endless.

The innovator will also seek out ways to overhaul the process to improve results, often trying new techniques and tactics on a regular basis. The marketing team with this type of leader at the helm will have endless knowledge of the various marketing tech products available and will also fully understand the meaning of the word “agile.”

An innovator can get great results, as long as they’re not too focused on the technology to keep an eye on the rest of their marketing leadership duties.


Let’s be honest: When you think about a marketing leader, the creative is the first type that comes to mind, isn’t it? Marketers have a reputation for always thinking outside of the box which, for some of the more buttoned-up executives, seems whimsical or even scatterbrained. Make no mistake, though; the competent creative leader always has a method for what others perceive as madness.

Creative leaders know how to make a big splash, how to get the public talking about your brand. They know what makes a head turn and drives exposure for emerging or even stagnant brands. Their proof is in the trending lists on social media platforms and mentions in buzzy online magazines and blogs. If your brand needs a jolt of creativity to get the juices flowing again, this type of leader is exactly what you’re looking for.

Now, when you see this list, you may believe that no one person could possibly bring all these types of marketing leaders to the table—and that’s what you really need, isn’t it? You need a CMO that keeps an eye on analytics and innovation while bringing a breath of fresh air to your branding and messaging. In other words, you need someone who can juggle fire while balancing on a tightrope. If you think you can’t find someone with all these characteristics, think again.

As a Fractional CMO, I have the exact mix of each leadership type you’re looking for. My job is to evaluate your company’s current marketing output and needs, and to become exactly what you need at this given time. I have to wear all the hats—the analytics, the creativity, the culture, and the innovation—because each brand I work with needs something different, and I must be ready to meet their needs.

If you’re searching for a marketing leader with experience providing all four types of marketing leaders, reach out any time. We can talk about the missing pieces in your marketing strategy, and I can talk about the different hats I’d wear to fill the gaps.