The Best PI Profile for Chief Marketing Officers featured image

The Best PI Profile for Chief Marketing Officers

By: Candice Frazer

~ 4 minute read

So, your organization has finally reached the point where you need to bring in a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Congratulations! But here’s the twist – not all CMOs are created equal. The best CMO for a large, Fortune 500 organization is different from a successful CMO at an early-stage startup. Think of them like ice cream flavors: all delicious, but sometimes you need mint chocolate chip, and other times, only rocky-road will do. With CMO tenure at Fortune 500 companies averaging around 4.2 years, it’s clear that different stages of your business will call for different types of CMOs.

The Scoop on CMOs

Before you dive headfirst into hiring, you need to figure out what kind of CMO your organization needs. Start by considering their natural strengths and communication styles, tailored to your business cycle. Tools like the Predictive Index® (PI) can offer profound insights into leveraging these innate abilities for marketing success.

Executives often ask, “What’s the best PI Reference Profile for a CMO?” TL;DR: It depends.


What You’ll Always Need From a CMO

Well, let’s break down the traits that a successful CMO needs:

  • Versatility: Your CMO needs to wear many hats, juggling various skill sets and perspectives.
  • Marketing Savvy: They must know their stuff – from marketing fundamentals to creative and digital strategies.
  • Balanced Approach: They need to balance qualitative insights with quantitative data, understanding both the strategic and customer levels.
  • Quick Thinking: You want fast synthesizers who can make sense of data quickly and iterate rapidly.
  • Resource Management: They should balance resources without playing favorites based on their background or experiences.
  • Executive Communication Skills: They must convey what happened, what was learned, and the next steps to the senior team – and get everyone on board.

So How Do CMOs Vary?

When considering what type of CMO would be best for your organization, consider the job at hand, the organization’s goals, and who they’re working with. 

A CMO tasked with strategic brand management may be driven by very different motivations than an organization standing up its data requirements. Meanwhile, a customer engagement focus will need someone with an emphasis on their ability to engage with others. 

After you’ve identified the job at hand, look at their peer group and their direct reports. What kind of people will they be managing, who is supporting them, and what gap needs to be filled by your CMO?

These are all important considerations. So let’s jump in and see some typical Predictive Index profiles for varying CMOs.


Identifying Your CMO

So, what kind of CMO do you need? Here are some of the most common Predictive Index profiles to consider:

The Maverick: Your Go-To for Brand Strategy

Organizations focused on strategic brand management and innovation will need someone who takes initiative, embraces a competitive approach, and drives to get things done. This profile is perfect for startups and those aiming for disruption.

Maverick Qualities

  • Naturally driven and visionary
  • Assertive and influential
  • Great at overcoming obstacles and driving innovation
  • Ideal for fast-paced, high-stakes environments

Balancing a Maverick

In order to be successful, a Maverick CMO needs self-awareness of the intensity of their style. They should develop strong collaborative skills to work effectively with diverse teams. Enhancing their listening abilities and practicing empathy will ensure they build strong relationships and don’t accidentally bulldoze their team. Mavericks should surround themselves with a team that excels at detail-orientation and follow-through, to ensure their strategic plans are executed flawlessly before they move on to the next shiny object.


The Strategist: Data-Driven Marketing Maestro

CMOs focused on data-analysis and building a well-oiled marketing machine will benefit from the analytical style of the Strategist. This profile is perfect for finding what’s broken and creating a plan to take action quickly and avoid errors along the way. 

Strategist Qualities:

  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Visionary and forward-thinking
  • Excellent at managing uncertainty and rapid changes

Balancing a Strategist

While Strategists are often quick thinkers, a Strategist CMO must retain flexibility and develop the ability to pivot their plans quickly in response to changing market conditions. Enhancing their interpersonal and communication skills will allow them to communicate complex ideas and collaborate with diverse teams effectively. Strategist CMOs should develop self-awareness around balancing their natural analytical prowess with innovative approaches toward problem-solving and brand strategy development.


The Persuader: Customer Engagement Extraordinaire

For organizations focused on engaging customers, building relationships, and influencing their audiences, look no further than the Persuader profile. This type of CMO has more natural extraversion and people-oriented, ready to shake hands directly with clients.

Persuader Qualities:

  • Naturally engaging and influential
  • Charismatic with a knack for building relationships
  • Perfect for roles requiring high interaction and persuasion

Balancing a Persuader:

In order to be successful, a Persuader CMO should take steps to enhance data-driven decision-making to balance out their naturally informal approach. Adding data and metrics to their lineup will be especially helpful when reporting back goals and progress to other organizational leaders. Developing patience and surrounding themselves with detail-oriented team members will ensure that long-term projects come to fruition. Lastly, Persuaders are visionary and enjoy public positive reinforcement, so building resilience to handle setbacks and rejections will aid in maintaining motivation and keeping their eye on the prize. 


The Power of Self-Awareness in Marketing Leadership

Self-awareness is a game-changer in any executive role, especially in marketing. Understanding strengths, gaps, and leadership style through the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment can help CMOs leverage their natural abilities and identify areas for improvement. This not only boosts individual performance but also enhances team dynamics, adaptability, and overall outcomes. When you align career paths and roles with behavioral strengths, you’re setting your new CMO up for accelerated performance.

When Marketing Performance Plateaus

Even with the right leaders, sometimes numbers just don’t add up. That’s when you need a predictive process to achieve and sustain higher outcomes. MindWire’s award-winning workshops and programs help leaders understand their team’s strengths, motivating needs, and drive for performance. Then, leaders can effectively coach, delegate, and drive performance to  get better outcomes, like 23% year over year growth. 


In the end, choosing the right CMO is about understanding the natural strengths and skills needed for your organization’s current stage. Use the strengths of your marketing team effectively, align the right people with the right roles, and up-skill team members as needed. Transform your marketing for sustainable growth and success by leveraging natural strengths and styles. 


In the world of marketing leadership, playing to your strengths isn’t just an advantage – it’s a necessity.

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Candice Frazer

Strategic marketer and operational powerhouse, blending art and science at MindWire. Recovering perfectionist, believer in wisdom, presence, and gratitude. Tea lover, bookworm, and nature walker.