Le Lézard
Classified in: Science and technology
Subjects: Survey, Economic News/Analysis

Cyber Security Compensation up 12% in 2023, According to Christian & Timbers


In an era marked by rapid changes in the cybersecurity landscape, the value placed on exceptional marketing leadership is surging. A noteworthy study by Christian and Timbers reveals a significant 12% increase in compensation this year for startup and pre-IPO cybersecurity Chief Marketing Officers in 2023.

Redefining Roles: The Shift from CMO to VP of Marketing

The study highlights a continued trend within series A and B companies, favoring titles like Vice President or Senior Vice President of Marketing over the CMO role. About 40% of early-stage companies still use the Chief title, such as CMO, but a larger portion of series A and B firms now opt for VP or SVP designations. This shift reflects a strategy where CEOs and boards prefer to appoint a strong CMO at a later stage, post-C or D funding rounds, focusing on revenue growth rather than titles.

Title Distribution Insights

The report reveals that 50% of early-stage companies prefer the VP of Marketing title, 30% lean towards the SVP of Marketing title, and 20% maintain the CMO designation.

Compensation Details

The compensation landscape for early-stage (A & B-round) company CMOs typically includes a base salary ranging from $250,000 to $350,000, with potential bonuses of 30% to 50%. Interestingly, half of these firms do not offer a bonus in the first year.

What's Important

Product marketing and demand gen are the two primary sets of experiences required by Cyber companies. 70% of companies require a product marketing background, 20% require demand gen, and 10% hire marketing leadership with field or corporate marketing backgrounds. The best CEOs hold out for marketing leaders that come up through product marketing and have some demand gen expertise.

Equity and Vesting Patterns

Equity compensation is a key element, with ranges from 0.75% to 2% and an average award of 1%. In series C to E cyber companies, the base salary often lies between $300,000 and $400,000, with a similar bonus range. Additionally, 30% of new marketing leaders receive bonuses to cover unvested equity or unpaid bonuses from previous roles.

Vesting Strategies

The standard vesting period spans 3-4 years, but the study notes a growing preference for monthly or quarterly vesting, highlighting evolving negotiation tactics.

The Ideal Cyber Marketing Leader

The research underscores a rising trend in compensation for marketing leaders with a unique skill set. The most sought-after profiles are those skilled in product marketing and demand generation, capable of combining data-driven strategies with creative marketing to drive significant revenue growth.

Product Marketing vs. Demand Generation

Faced with a choice between a VP of marketing with a strong product marketing background and one skilled in demand generation, companies often decide based on the CEO's strengths and whether the company has achieved product-market fit. The demand is high for full-stack marketing leaders, proficient in storytelling, branding, product marketing, and demand generation, commanding up to 20% more compensation.

Christian and Timbers is witnessing a surge in executive hiring in technology. Investors, CEOs, and board members have become increasingly impatient relative to performance and profitable growth. As the industry evolves, companies are moving away from growth at all costs, focusing instead on profitable growth, which necessitates new leadership dynamics. This trend is particularly evident among Chief Marketing Officers in cybersecurity, where companies are becoming smarter about their growth strategies, demanding better quantitative leadership.

Deep in demand, professionals who know how to drive key performance indicators (KPIs), are becoming invaluable. These individuals are extremely hands-on and willing to do whatever work is necessary to achieve objectives.

About Christian and Timbers

Christian and Timbers, a pioneering search firm, is celebrated for its innovative approach in securing top-tier C-Suite leadership for the tech industry. Known for its agile, science-driven methodologies, the firm has made over 2000 CEO/Board placements and 5000+ C-Suite assignments with giants like HP, Apple, and Adobe. Among its recent successes are key appointments at Recogni.ai, CelLink, Socure, Cyware, and SecurityScorecard. Founder Jeff Christian, author of "The Headhunter's Edge," is recognized for his expertise on the Forbes Midas List and is a frequent CNBC contributor.


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