Long story short – after years of being a developer switched to managing our own product team and finally turned to marketing (and sales) almost full time. Since then, I've been teaching myself and dealing with pretty much every area of online marketing – from strategy to content to email to paid to social to search – with mixed results. However, I feel like I still lack the big picture, the underlying structure of it all – so even when I'm doing great in one particular area (say, SEO) I'm never sure I should be in this specific area right now at all, especially when good results in one area don't move the business needle at all. The lack of work experience as a marketer really doesn't help here. Can you teach all of this yourself being your own marketing team? Do you find a mentor or hire a marketing person and learn while working with them? Do you just take a break from your business and go work in marketing as an intern? There are tons of great guides on every marketing aspect, but what's the best way to get the big picture right? I imagine that's something a new CMO goes through when joining a new company.
Sales, which you are noting. Coming from being a developer to business development is not easy because you lack real-world experience in sales and marketing. The key components are who is your core customer? What pain point(s) are you solving for your core customer? Who are your competitors? What differentiates your product/service from competitors? Your product/ service has to have a purpose in the marketplace and your marketing must communicate the purpose and value to prospects. Indirect marketing pales in results compared to direct sales. I've built and led 3 successful sales teams and I have been first in national sales and entered the list at fifth. On a call I could quickly assess what your company offers, where it fits in today's market and what advantages you can take. Finally, no, a chief marketing officer would not face your dilemmas because a CMO would need experience and a successful track record to get hired.