The basics of executive searches in marketing

AboveBoard | Dec 21, 2022

Insights to inform your marketing executive search.

Placing top talent in the ever-evolving field of marketing takes both precision and flexibility, qualities that can elevate your executive search marketing from standard to stellar.  

Clarity on your organizational goals and values and adaptability in this current labor market, economic uncertainty, and in light of the manifold marketing executive recruiters and search firms at your disposal are the starting steps in executive sales & marketing recruitment.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to outline your goals, determine your strategy, and connect with tools, resources, or firms that can make your vision a reality. 

Prepare for your executive search in marketing

Before connecting with marketing executive recruiters or marketing executive search firms, set yourself up for success by laying the groundwork for your executive search in marketing. These simple steps can ensure your search is efficient, targeted, and achieves your organization’s unique objectives.

  • Identify your ideal marketing executive. Start out by defining what your company is looking for in its next hire for a marketing executive. For example, partnering with a contractor or a fractional marketing executive may be an ideal setup for start-ups and smaller organizations. Alternatively, hiring a seasoned chief marketing officer for the long haul may be crucial to drive growth. Whatever it is that marketing executive recruiters and firms need to know about your ideal candidate, lay it all out, including details about the proficiencies and expertise the ideal marketing executive would bring to the table.
  • Update your company’s LinkedIn presence. Regardless of which route you take to hire your next marketing executive—tapping your network, employing a retained search firm, or seeking out an alternative that exclusively prioritizes DEI—optimizing your LinkedIn profile/presence is a non-negotiable. Marketing executive candidates, recruiters, and firms will have eyes on your online presence, and updating your profile will give you a head start on your executive search in marketing.
  • Explore  marketing executive recruitment options. There are numerous marketing executive recruiters and marketing executive search firms to choose from, and deciding which route is best for you is not always so straightforward. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you explore your options: Recruiters work exclusively for clients, not for candidates. It’s their job to solve the problem your organization has, says Tom Friel, former Chairman and CEO of executive search company Heidrick & Struggles. Recruiters often rely on databases of candidates, refer to previous searches as references, and tap industry connections to source qualified candidates. When it comes to choosing a marketing executive search firm, Friel says not to get caught up in whether a firm is large or small, as many of the small ones are staffed by alumni from the global search firms.
  • Outline your strategy. It’s go time. Now that you’ve delineated the marketing executive recruitment options available to you, it’s time to decide which is the best fit for your goals and values. Consider factors such as your ideal hiring timeline, breadth of experience, portfolio quality, candidate diversity, etc. 

Your guide to marketing executive search firms

Working with a marketing executive search firm may be the right executive recruitment method for some organizations. With a traditional executive search firm’s marketing expertise and connections, you’ll have the benefit of tapping the firm’s existing network to hire your next marketing executive. But keep in mind that there are both benefits and drawbacks to this approach. Ahead, we’ll outline some traditional search firms worth considering as well as a platform and approach that can upend your executive search marketing for the better.

Robert Half

Ranked as the No. 1 executive recruitment firm by Forbes, Robert Half is a longstanding, global name in the world of executive talent placement. Marketing is one of the firm’s specialties, with executive marketing placements including roles such as Chief Marketing Officer, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Director of Marketing, and more. Robert Half’s services include placing contract, contract-to-hire, and permanent roles, making it a great option for both start-ups and established organizations. Plus, the firm prides itself on completing executive searches within 90 days or less.

True Search

True Search executive recruitment offers a wide range of expertise and placement categories, and all with a global reach. True’s Sales, Marketing, & Customer Success team has “deep domain experience” in placing Chief Marketing Officers and Vice Presidents of Marketing roles, making it a top choice among marketing executive search firms. In September 2022, the firm launched a dedicated diversity practice with the aim of uniting “top companies with the world’s best DE&I leaders to drive better business outcomes.” As True’s sister company and founding partner, AboveBoard’s platform is available to True clients, offering them access and transparency to board and C-suite roles.


AboveBoard’s track record in executive search marketing speaks for itself: through the power of AboveBoard’s executive search and community platform, diverse marketing executives have been placed at organizations like Virgin Voyages, Mommy’s Bliss, Form Health, and more. With a one-of-a-kind recruitment platform prioritizing transparency and access to executive opportunities for historically underrepresented groups, AboveBoard is shifting the power dynamics of executive recruitment. Rather than relying on traditional methods of recruitment that often leave out executives of color, AboveBoard offers an entirely new model where seasoned candidates can confidentially access career opportunities that were previously hidden or reserved for those with the “right” connections. With AboveBoard, hiring companies are guaranteed connectivity to an untapped network of top tier candidates.

Hire your next marketing executive on AboveBoard

As you move forward in hiring your next marketing executive, bear in mind that building or reinforcing brand identity, flexibility, and alignment with business priorities will be key marketing moves during this period of economic uncertainty, reports the Wall Street Journal. To that end, it’s more important than ever to engage in executive search marketing with innovation and diversity in mind. 

At AboveBoard, we believe in the power of diversity, equity, and inclusion to improve business performance and contribute toward a better world. More than 50,000 executives and 2,400 companies including The Vanguard Group, Hubspot, and The Kraft Heinz Company are already using AboveBoard to identify and hire for marketing executives and other C-suite positions. Get started on AboveBoard today.

Looking to diversify your candidate pipeline?

Start hiring with AboveBoard to connect with thousands of senior executives from underrepresented groups and demographics.


AboveBoard is an executive hiring platform that connects qualified executives with board and full-time opportunities. We are expanding access for underrepresented groups of executives—particularly Black, Latinx, and women. To join visit

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