- Managers are paid to drive results with some support. They have experience in the function, can take responsibility, but are still learning the job and will have questions and need support. They can execute the tactical plan for a project, but typically can’t make it.
- Directors are paid to drive results with little or no supervision (“set and forget”). Directors know how to do the job. They can make a project’s tactical plan in their sleep. They can work across the organization to get it done. I love strong directors. They get shit done.
- VPs are paid to make the plan. Say you run marketing. Your job is to understand the company’s business situation, make a plan to address it, build consensus and get approval of that plan, then go execute it.
The above list was one I saw early on in my marketing management career, when I was at the manager step. Dave Kellogg’s breakdown of roles is one I’ve ascribed to ever since.
As I’m looking to take the next step from Director to VP, I found myself recalling Dave’s advice on what makes a VP a VP. Beyond that, I had little idea where to turn for an actual job description of what I should be doing at the VP level.
So I made my own! Here is a VP of Marketing job description for my (hopefully one day) role at Buffer. If you’re on a similar path through marketing leadership, I hope the detail here is helpful and inspires you to get there. 🙌
The VP of Marketing is responsible for setting Buffer’s go-to-market strategy, delivering results of that strategy, developing a world-class marketing team, and informing the future direction of the product and its position in the market.
This involves setting strategies in many areas, from branding to advertising. The VP of Marketing is expected to lead marketing strategy across the top of the funnel, specifically with brand awareness and customer acquisition, with the long-term goal of developing and executing programs that acquire and retain customers for life. In this role, you’ll manage all demand gen channels and be responsible for total number of new signups and trial starts, as well as revenue attributed directly to marketing efforts (workshops, conferences, etc.).
The VP of Marketing should have extensive practical experience at all levels of marketing and branding.
This position is also accountable for the development of the marketing team as it relates to staffing, training, coaching, mentoring, and support in order to ensure that team-wide goals are achieved together and teammates are able to flourish individually, according to their unique aspirations.
The VP of marketing may directly supervise managers and directors who oversee teams involved in branding, advertising/media, and research, and is expected to meet with these managers to receive reports and help direct the company’s marketing vision. The VP also helps these managers to set departmental and team budgets, as well as pull data related to expenses and marketing effectiveness and present it in detailed reports to other chief decision makers.
You should also play a significant role shaping the company’s strategic planning. By carefully using market research tools, the VP of Marketing can help determine the shifting needs and wants of the company’s current consumer base and determine how to best meet that demand.
Strategize / Deliver / Develop / Inform
- Conceptualize, create, and implement a growth strategy for Buffer
- Define the short- and long-term objectives and goals for the marketing team
- Integrate strategies across the full funnel, considering all paid, owned and earned channels
- Use revenue forecasting and funnel modeling to predict the performance and outcome of marketing strategy and projects
- Participate in quarterly and annual planning of the company’s overall objectives
- Prioritize each marketing project and allocate resources accordingly
- Complete a quarterly analysis of all marketing efforts
- Create and maintain the annual marketing budget
- Monitor all marketing campaigns and improve them as necessary
- Generate a monthly summary report and comprehensive quarterly & annual marketing reports
- Create and develop new business opportunities through category expansion, partnerships, and promotions. Implement customer acquisition campaigns across all channels.
- Fully own all elements of awareness and acquisition
- Be a thought leader in demand generation at scale
- Develop advanced lifecycle marketing programs to drive LTV
- Take responsibility for all key performance metrics including CAC, LTV, revenue and ROI across all channels, NPS. Maintain a healthy LTV/CAC ratio.
- Drive profitable growth from all areas of marketing
- Help manage third-party relationships
- Collaborate with external agencies
- Nurture a world-class team
- Identify opportunities to coach, mentor, and support
- Participate in goal-setting and provide clarity on what is expected of each teammate
- Take responsibility for the promotion, evaluation, training, motivation, coaching, and areas to improve for all members of the marketing team
- Forecast hiring needs for the marketing team
- Hire well
- Work with the CEO/VPP to develop and implement pricing strategies
- Conduct market research and monitor market trends in order to remain competitive
- Work collaboratively on product pricing, name, positioning, messaging, and definition.
- Understand SaaS analytics and metrics in order to support the creation of product features that drive growth and get customers to engage with and convert to customers
- Strong leadership skills
- Highly resourceful and creative
- Analytically driven and results focused
- Outstanding written/verbal communication skills
- Ability to be both a visionary leader and a deep analytic thinker, with a preference for rolling up your sleeves. You’re comfortable doing the work no one else wants to do (or is able to do)
- Strong track record leveraging data-driven insights with extensive test and learn orientation
- You have experience and/or desire for leading and growing a high performance team, and you love to be a great manager
- Demonstrated use of analytics to double down on successful efforts and groups
- 3-5 years of experience in a marketing/demand gen
- Paying customers
- Direct revenue from marketing