If you’re like most small business owners, you feel like you’re constantly wearing a million different hats. You’re the CEO, the marketer, the salesperson, the customer service representative—the list goes on and on.
While it’s great to be able to wear several hats, sometimes you need a little help. But how much help can you really get when you’re on a tight budget?
Fractional CMOs are becoming more popular to get the expertise you need without breaking the bank. And the need becomes more apparent, because according to the 2015 study “The Chief Marketing Officer Matters!” companies with CMOs perform 15% better than companies that don’t.
So what exactly is a fractional CMO? And more importantly, how can they help your business? In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about fractional CMOs and how to choose the right one if ever you decide to hire.
Let’s start with the definition.
What is a Fractional CMO?
A fractional CMO or a fractional chief marketing officer is a marketing executive who works with companies part-time or on projects, usually for a set period.
This arrangement can be beneficial for companies that cannot afford to hire a full-time CMO or for those who only need help with specific marketing initiatives.
They often have a wide range of marketing experience and can provide valuable insights into effectively reaching and engaging customers. In addition, they can help develop and implement marketing plans, track progress, and assess results.
While fractional CMOs are not right for every company, they can be a great resource for businesses that want to improve their marketing efforts without a long-term commitment.
And many businesses have bought into that kind of arrangement. Moving on, here’s why.
Is a Fractional CMO a Good Idea? Here’s Why Companies Do It!
Fractional CMO models are becoming increasingly popular among leading companies for several reasons.
While some companies work with full-time CMOs on their table, those that work with CMOs part-time don’t place far in terms of performance.
Here’s why more and more companies use the fractional CMO model.
1. They provide access to top-tier marketing talent without the need to get a full-time employee
This service can be a major advantage for small companies or startups that may not have the budget to get a full-time CMO.
2. They are often more flexible and adaptable than traditional employees
They are used to working with various companies and can quickly adjust their approach to fit their client’s needs.
3. They usually have a wealth of experience and knowledge
Because of this, they can bear a company’s marketing challenges. As a result, they can provide valuable insights and perspectives to help a company reach its marketing goals.
Marketing agencies and fractional CMOs have similarities. They both offer expertise and financial flexibility without compromising quality. With agencies, you get a team of experts who can help you with a range of marketing tasks. But with fractional CMOs, marketing leadership is the plus.
Outsourcing an executive marketing position may feel like a bad idea. But it’s important to remember that no matter what the challenge, the fundamentals of marketing remain the same.
This is why the differences between how fractional and traditional CMOs work become insignificant.
But what do fractional CMOs really do?
What Does a Fractional CMO Do?
So what does a fractional CMO actually do? And more importantly, how can they help your business? Below are the common responsibilities of a fractional CMO.
- Developing a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy
- Managing Campaigns and Brand Messaging
- Overseeing Customer Experience
- Measuring Results and ROI
- Providing Marketing Leadership
- Head the Marketing Department
1. Developing a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy
A fractional CMO is responsible for developing a marketing strategy, focusing on online and offline channels. This strategy involves analyzing data and research to identify key trends and opportunities that one can use to create effective marketing strategies and campaigns.
When developing a marketing strategy, these CMOs will also be responsible for identifying key performance metrics and regularly tracking progress against these goals.
2. Managing Campaigns and Brand Messaging
Part of their job is to ensure that all campaigns are on-brand and aligned with the company’s overall messaging. They will also be responsible for managing budgets and timelines and overseeing the execution of campaigns.
A fractional CMO will often work closely with the sales team to ensure that campaigns effectively drive conversions. This task can include using various tools and tactics like email marketing, social media campaigns, and paid advertising.
3. Overseeing Customer Experience
Small business owners often have their hands full with other aspects of running a company. That’s why they can help to ensure that the customer experience is an excellent one.
That might mean creating and implementing CRM software or overseeing website redesigns and mobile app development projects.
4. Measuring Results and ROI
Another big part of their job is to measure the results of marketing campaigns and initiatives. This includes tracking metrics like website traffic, leads, and sales.
They will also be responsible for calculating each campaign’s return on investment (ROI). This information is then used to optimize future campaigns and ensure that marketing dollars are being spent in the most effective ways.
5. Providing Marketing Leadership
When you bring on a fractional CMO, you’re getting access to the necessary leadership and experience to deliver successful marketing initiatives.
Whether working on branding or implementing new software, a fractional CMO will give your company the guidance and support you need to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.
6. Head the Marketing Department
Sometimes, a fractional CMO is brought in to lead the entire marketing department. This can be a great solution for companies that don’t have the internal resources to support a full-time marketing team.
In this case, they will be responsible for all aspects of the department, from developing a strategy to managing campaigns and measuring results. This can be a great way to gain access to the skills and knowledge that you need without the expense of hiring a full-time CMO.
Since fractional CMOs belong to an executive role, it’s vital to understand that they tend to a different set of responsibilities. To deliver an effective, holistic marketing strategy they must not focus too much on activities like designing graphics, attending to your email list, uploading blogs, and such. For those tasks, it’s better to work with a marketing agency.
Who Needs Fractional CMOs?
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from working with a fractional CMO. Whether you’re a small business owner who wants to take your marketing to the next level or a large company looking for someone to lead your marketing department, they can provide the guidance and support you need to succeed.
If you want to know if you need fractional CMO services, ask yourself a few key questions:
- Are you looking to improve your marketing results?
- Do you need help creating and implementing a content marketing strategy?
- Do you want someone on your team who is up-to-date on the latest digital marketing trends and best practices?
- Are you ready to take your marketing to the next level?
- Can you benefit from the expertise of a CMO without having to recruit one full-time?
Working with a fractional CMO could be a great solution if any of these apply to you. As shown below, our infographic can also serve as a quick refresher on what situations fractional CMOs fit best.
But before you hire one, it’s essential to understand the qualities that make a fractional CMO good. By doing so, you can make better-informed decisions when hiring.
What Makes a Good Fractional CMO?
CMOs are a hot commodity in the business world. They play a critical role in developing and executing marketing plans that grow companies and increase profits. So what makes a good fractional CMO?
- Go-to-market strategy
- Leadership Skills
- Digital Marketing Expertise
- Marketing Success
The best fractional CMOs have years of experience working with businesses of all sizes to improve their marketing results and ROI.
2. Go-to-market strategy
One of the most important things a fractional CMO can do for your business is to help you create and execute an effective marketing strategy. This will include everything from creating the right content to implementing new software.
3. Leadership Skills
While small business owners might recruit some fractional CMOs to lead the entire marketing department, many are brought in to work on specific initiatives or campaigns. Either way, they must be a marketing leader and have strong leadership skills to guide their team and ensure everyone is on the same page.
4. Digital Marketing Expertise
In today’s digital world, it’s more important than ever to have a solid understanding of digital marketing. From SEO and social media to email marketing and lead generation, a good fractional CMO will know how to get the best results from all of your efforts.
5. Marketing Success
Proof of success is always the best indicator of future success. When looking for a fractional CMO, ask for examples of how they’ve helped other businesses improve their marketing results.
A fractional CMO should be flexible and work with you on an as-needed basis. This means they should be comfortable working remotely and be available when you need them, whether that’s for a few hours a week or a few days a month.
One of the main benefits of working with a fractional CMO is that it’s more affordable than hiring a full-time CMO. When considering different providers, ask about their pricing and what’s included in their services.
These skills and qualities will ensure that your fractional CMO can provide the guidance and support you need to take your marketing to the next level.
You may be wondering if it’s worth hiring a fractional CMO. And a lot are too. In addition to what we discussed in the article, here, we’ll answer some more of the most common questions about fractional CMOs.
Small business owners who want to take their marketing to the next level often turn to a fractional CMO for guidance and support. Whether you need help with specific initiatives or ongoing marketing leadership, hiring a fractional CMO is affordable and effective to get your expertise.
This experienced marketing professional can help you develop and execute an effective marketing strategy, create campaigns that generate results, and use digital tools and platforms to maximize your impact. To find the right one for your business, start by considering your needs and objectives, then look for someone who has the skills and experience necessary to help you achieve your goals.
When you hire a fractional CMO, you’ll get the expert guidance and support you need to improve your marketing results and take your business to the next level.
So if you’re looking for help with your marketing efforts, consider working with a fractional CMO today.
I’m the founder of Grow Predictably, a company that helps businesses make an impact. We work with you to create a marketing strategy tailored for your needs and goals. We help businesses grow and make an impact by providing services that drive predictable, profitable growth.
Making an impact is what drives me. I founded my company on the belief that successful businesses should make an impact. And we’ve been helping businesses do just that for years now. It’s why we exist – to help businesses reach more people and change more lives for the better.