A company's chief marketing officer is responsible for the overall strategy and budget of the company's marketing plan, including internal and external branding initiatives, advertising strategies, and departmental structure. He or she is also responsible for the overall performance of the marketing department. The position most often reports directly to the president or chief executive officer of the company. This term may also be used to refer to the highest-ranking marketing official in the company, in which case, it is a descriptor rather than a title. The employee described could be the vice president of sales and marketing or the director of marketing services, and he or she will most often report to a vice president or to a c-level (top level) officer.
The duties and responsibilities of a chief marketing officer can vary dramatically between companies, and factors such as company size, corporation status, and company structure all play a significant role in determining the job description for this position. For example, a large company with international operations may have both a chief marketing and a chief advertising officer. A smaller company would be unlikely to employ a chief advertising officer, so the duties of that position would be incorporated into the other role.
One common area of responsibility for this position is strategy, which can include determining the target audience for a company's products or services, developing a brand image, and setting departmental goals. The chief marketing officer is usually instrumental in creating the company's marketing plan, which all subsequent advertising and promotional campaigns must support.
This person is typically also responsible for managing the overall departmental budget. This means that he or she must lobby the deciding powers for an annual budget that will allow the department to meet its annual goals. He or she must then communicate the approved budget and revise campaign allocations accordingly. For example, if this person is given a budget that is 10% lower than the budget requested, he or she will need to decide which programs or initiatives will receive reduced funding or be eliminated entirely.
A primary duty for any c-level executive is to represent the company at external functions. This can include trade shows, charity benefits, governmental events, conferences, cross-company advisory boards, and more. It can also include participating in meetings with major clients or suppliers and speaking to groups on behalf of the company.
An important function of the chief marketing officer is to structure his department. This can include determining whether separate staffs are needed for functions such as advertising, promotions, marketing communications, public relations, and media relations. He or she will need to determine staffing requirements and determine who will report to whom. The individual will also be responsible for hiring the managers who report directly to him or her and may assist in hiring lower-level employees as well.