Seriously, I get this question a lot and there are several attributes I’ve observed.
CMOs report to CEOs. VPs of marketing often report to CMOs or COOs
CMOs manage all 4 P’s of marketing; VPs of marketing often just manage the promotional P.
CMOs aren’t always operational geniuses; VPs are good at marketing operations.
CMOs are good at knowing what they don’t know; VPs of marketing are more apt to think they know it all.
CMOs don’t have the best track record at longevity; VPs of marketing have more longevity.
Of course, you’ll always find exceptions, but these are my observations.
It’s not unlike the CIO versus the VP of Information Technology. If you were to draw a similar table, it would have striking similarity. The CIO is a strategic thinker, the VP of IT keeps the trains running on time.
CxO jobs are just naturally more risky when it comes to longevity.
Remember Career is Over? This happens when executives come in with overblown visions of transforming the business. Easy to talk the talk, harder to walk the talk.