Chief Marketing Officer

Buena Vista University   •  

Stanford, CA

Industry: Education.


11 - 15 years

Posted 269 days ago

This job is no longer available.

The Position

Under its new President, Dr. Joshua D. Merchant, Buena Vista University (“BVU”) is poised to enter a new era of growth. Ambitious plans are underway to upgrade and expand the University’s academic and co-curricular programming and facilities to reflect its status as a top-tier academic institution. In these efforts, BVU needs a strong individual to help ensure that the University is maximizing its exposure to the community at large to grow enrollment and external support.  

BVU is seeking a highly skilled, ambitious and creative marketing and communications professional to be the new Chief Marketing Officer ("CMO"). The CMO will be responsible for raising the profile and public perception of BVU. Through this strategy, and its implementation, which encompasses business-to-consumer marketing channels, the University must broaden its marketing strategy to promotes its degree programs to recruit, enroll and retain students. Further, the CMO develops and coordinates media coverage, brand awareness, lead generation campaigns, and promotional materials. 

In response to constant changes in the higher education industry, this role is responsible for continually evaluating the timely adjustment of marketing strategies and plans and recommending changes in marketing philosophy when necessary to serve the best interests of the University. The CMO is expected to be a leader of vision and integrity, to be a change agent of demonstrated expertise and results, and to provide the creativity and energy to advance BVU’s presence across markets. 

The CMO will provide leadership for BVU's public information strategies and programs, build its public visibility and reputation to both internal and external constituencies, and ensure a strong, unified and consistent image and identity in all BVU publications and marketing strategies, including its website. Strategic thinking and demonstrated success in organizing an integrated communications strategy is essential. The ideal candidate will be results-oriented with a high level of energy and drive, possessed of good judgement, and a relentlessly positive attitude. 

The CMO will be a marketing leader who has these desired leadership and marketing management characteristics:

  •  Develop and lead the University-wide marketing strategy that includes the planning, budgeting, and development of integrated marketing initiatives for all business lines and multiple delivery channels, including brand identity, program marketing, content marketing, creative, marketing communications, University events, social media, website, and public relations.
  • Oversee competitive analysis, market research, and data analytics to maintain the University’s competitive positioning in markets served.
  • Maintain awareness in market changes, translating them into actionable strategy.
  • Lead brand positioning, product positioning, and agency, media, and industry relations.
  • Lead collaborative marketing discussions with University leaders to develop marketing strategies that align with enrollment, philanthropy, overall institutional growth, and external constituency development initiatives.
  • Define marketing metrics of success that measures impact, performance, and establishes an ROI that accounts for resources allocated.
  • Ensure consistency of BVU’s vision, mission, and values across all communications, working with all business lines and constituencies, both internal and external.
  • Lead and advise University Leadership on delivering an organizational message that aligns with BVU’s strategic direction and goals. Responsible for framework and guidelines for University presentations, communications, presentations, blogs, social media, etc.
  • Lead and coach the performance of the University Marketing and Communications Team, using a style of management to inspire their best performance.
  • Establish a level of credibility with faculty and staff by these actions:
  • values people and their contributions
  • listens carefully and deeply
  • communicates promptly and clearly
  • is approachable
  • models calm, courageous decision-making
  • engages with faculty in shared governance
  • respects multiple viewpoints and approaches to problem-solving
  • displays a strong commitment to the ideals and value of a liberal arts education
  • encourages engaging and open dialogue with faculty and administration about the development of the BVU “Brand”
  • have a sense of humor
  • be resilient

Working Relationships

The CMO reports directly to the President and is a member of the President’s Cabinet. 

The University Marketing and Communications Team currently has a staff of 9. The new CMO will be charged with strategically reviewing the current organizational structure, staff functions and staffing levels with an understanding that the President will support strategic growth with a focus of a return on investment. 

Key Responsibilities 

BVU’s ability to establish itself as a comprehensive University is impressive and reflects positively on the leadership of the president, administration, faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees.  The University’s challenge in the immediate future is to further embody the distinctive qualities that originally inspired this journey while charting a future that is uniquely its own.

BVU is committed to creating an intellectually, culturally and socially vibrant university community where talented students learn and develop through collegial relationships with peers, faculty, and staff members and through enriching experiences on campus, at its 16 sites throughout Iowa and its online presence. 

BVU offers an exceptional and rewarding leadership opportunity for its CMO to:

  • Define business-to-consumer marketing strategies and tactics to support the University's strategic objectives.
  • Is an expert in digital media/advertising strategy and provides overall oversight in the strategy, evaluation and ROI.
  • Develop and implement executive communications plan (both external and internal messaging) including email, social media, blog posts and speeches.
  • Lead the University in communications for crisis events.
  • Lead and manage enterprise-wide brand strategy, including refining and tracking brand success metrics and integration of the brand into all marketing and communications.
  • Work in partnership with the director of marketing and communications to develop and execute on a targeted, proactive year-round communications and media strategy across both traditional and on-line channels.
  • Develop feasible business-to-consumer marketing tactical plans for the University and oversee their day-to-day implementation.
  • Plan and organize marketing functions and operations and ensure they project the University's unique "voice."
  • Collaborate with other internal departments (admissions, academics, student services) to gather cross-University input and feedback on communication, advertising campaigns and promotional materials.
  • Provide leadership and oversight for the design and coordination of promotional campaigns, public relations, and other marketing efforts across channels (digital, press, etc.); the production of printed promotional materials including brochures, flyers, alumni magazine, fundraising and alumni engagement materials, and program and media guides; advertising campaigns for various media, including online; may design layouts and prepare copy; and support for promotional special events.
  • Responsible for the lead and marketing spend performance for the University.
  • Conducts, or assists in conducting, market research activities to identify targeted populations and the go-to-market marketing plan.
  • Negotiates with vendors and contractors to coordinate costs and performance metrics.
  • Utilizes analytics to understand performance of various marketing channels to drive spend optimization.
  • Partner with the University Leadership to develop and initiate a robust communications plan for current students.
  • Develops competitive analysis/market intelligence reports, as well as measures and monitors key metrics including acquisition costs and conversion rates.
  • Develops, in conjunction with the Vice President of Finance and Administration, finance, annual operating budgets and provides fiscal direction to the department.
  • Oversees the supervision of personnel, which includes work allocation, training, and problem resolution; evaluates performance and makes recommendations for personnel actions; motivates employees to achieve peak productivity and performance.
  • Plays a key role in numerous campus events.
  • Performs miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned or required.


  • Master's degree or its equivalent. MBA or Master's in Marketing preferred.
  • Minimum 10 years of experience in a related field, including several years in a senior level management position.
  • Experience in developing and executing marketing plans on local, regional, and national scales.

Critical Attributes Required

  • An informed commitment to the ideals of liberal and professional education commensurate with the BVU Vision.
  • An appreciation of BVU’s distinctive culture and values, and its special niche in higher education.
  • A collaborative, inclusive leadership style forged in an ongoing, intimate awareness of the needs of all campus community members.
  • An excellent mind with a broad vision, varied interests, a fresh perspective, balanced judgment and creativity.
  • The ability to excel as a marketing leader in a consultative environment, and skill in negotiating with all groups.
  • An understanding of an academic culture combined with a deep appreciation for the power and value of BVU’s mission, and a willingness to support the University’s mission and strategic plan.
  • Ability to build productive relationships with the President’s cabinet and other senior academic leaders, faculty, community members, corporate leaders, philanthropists, alumni, Board of Trustees, and other constituents important to the success of BVU.
  • Confidence and the ability to provide advice, as needed, and to serve as a strategic thought partner to Buena Vista University leadership and key colleagues.
  • Professional demeanor, excellent interpersonal and listening skills, highly organized and disciplined, and the ability to relate easily to a wide range of groups.
  • Leadership, flexibility, efficiency, attention to detail, the ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines for a wide variety of assignments.
  • Tact, diplomacy, and confidentiality in dealing with members of the Buena Vista University community and external partners.
  • Proven ability to recruit and retain high-performing team members.
  • Outstanding ability to motivate and empower staff to get results.
  • Strong writing, editing, and speaking skills.
  • Ability to represent the Buena Vista University in a variety of settings as required.
  • Willingness and ability to travel, as well as attend evening and weekend activities.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required

  • Must possess a deep understanding of the industry sector and market segments to develop short-term and long-term strategies.
  • Knowledge of marketing media and funding sources.
  • Solid understanding of market research and data analysis methods.
  • Knowledge of communication principles, media, and marketing techniques.
  • Knowledge of advertising principles, strategies and techniques.
  • Ability to create, compose and edit written materials.
  • Employee development and performance management skills.
  • Ability to supervise and train employees, to include organizing, prioritizing, and scheduling work assignments.
  • Ability to plan, organize and coordinate media activities and special events.
  • Knowledge of advertising requirements pertaining to a range of media.