Do you ever feel like you’re juggling a million different jobs as a small business owner? CEO, marketer, salesperson, customer service rep – the list is seemingly endless.
Don’t you wish there was someone who could lend a hand without breaking your budget? Enter the fractional CMO, an increasingly popular solution for getting that much-needed expertise without going bankrupt.
In fact, according to the 2015 study “The Chief Marketing Officer Matters!”, companies with CMOs perform 15% better than those without.
So, what exactly is a fractional CMO, and more importantly, how can they help your business thrive?
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about fractional CMOs and guide you in choosing the perfect one if you decide to take the plunge.
First things first, let’s define what a fractional CMO is.
What is a Fractional CMO?
A fractional CMO, or a fractional chief marketing officer, is a seasoned top marketing executive or professional who collaborates with companies on a part-time or project basis, typically for a predetermined duration.
This setup can be a game-changer for businesses that either can’t afford a full-time CMO or only require assistance with specific marketing endeavors.
Fractional CMOs usually possess a wealth of marketing expertise, offering invaluable advice on effectively connecting with and captivating customers.
Moreover, they can help clients create and execute marketing strategies, monitor progress, allocate the marketing budget, and evaluate outcomes.
While they may not be the perfect fit for every organization, fractional CMOs can be an incredible asset for those looking to enhance their marketing initiatives without being tied down by long-term obligations.
It’s no surprise that numerous businesses have embraced this kind of arrangement. Now, let’s explore why.
Is a Fractional CMO a Good Idea? Here’s Why Companies Do It!
The fractional CMO model is gaining traction among top-notch companies for a variety of reasons.
Even though some organizations employ full-time CMOs, those collaborating with part-time CMOs don’t lag far behind in terms of performance.
Here’s why an increasing number of companies are adopting the fractional CMO model:
- Access to elite marketing talent without hiring a full-time employee. This service can be a significant advantage for small businesses or startups that may not have the marketing budget for a full-time CMO.
- Greater flexibility and adaptability than conventional employees. An outsourced chief marketing officer, being accustomed to working with diverse companies, can swiftly tailor their approach to cater to their client’s requirements.
- A wealth of experience and knowledge is at their disposal. As a result, they can tackle any company’s marketing challenges, offering valuable insights and perspectives to help achieve marketing objectives.
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. Crafting a Holistic Marketing Strategy
A fractional CMO is entrusted with the task of devising a comprehensive marketing strategy that encompasses both online and offline channels. This process entails analyzing data and research to pinpoint key trends and growth opportunities that can be leveraged to develop effective digital marketing efforts and general campaigns.
While formulating a marketing strategy, these experienced marketing professionals are also accountable for identifying essential performance metrics and consistently monitoring progress toward objectives.
2. Supervising Campaigns and Brand Messaging
A crucial aspect of their role is ensuring all campaigns remain on-brand and in sync with the company’s overarching messaging. They are also responsible for managing budgets and timelines, as well as overseeing the execution and management of campaigns.
Fractional CMOs often collaborate closely with the sales team to guarantee that campaigns successfully drive conversions. This responsibility may involve various tools and tactics, such as email marketing, social media campaigns, and paid advertising.
3. Overseeing Customer Experience
Small business leaders and owners frequently find themselves preoccupied with other facets of managing a company. That’s where a fractional CMO can step in to make certain that the customer experience is top-notch.
This responsibility could entail creating and implementing CRM software or supervising the implementation of website redesigns and mobile app development projects.
4. Evaluating Results and ROI
A significant aspect of their role is assessing the outcomes of marketing campaigns, sales development, and initiatives. This process involves tracking metrics such as website traffic, leads, and sales.
They are also accountable for determining each campaign’s return on investment (ROI). This data is then utilized to optimize future campaigns, ensuring that marketing funds are allocated in the most effective manner possible.
5. Offering Marketing Leadership
By engaging a fractional CMO, you gain access to the vital leadership and experience required to execute successful marketing initiatives.
Whether it’s working on branding or implementing new software, a fractional CMO will provide your company with the guidance and support necessary to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.
6. Leading the Marketing Department
Occasionally, a fractional CMO is hired to spearhead and manage the entire marketing department. This can be an ideal solution for mid-sized businesses or companies lacking the internal resources to sustain a full-time marketing team.
In this scenario, they assume responsibility for all aspects of the department, from devising a strategy to managing campaigns and evaluating results. This approach allows you to tap into the skills and knowledge needed 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 have different sets of responsibilities. To deliver an effective, holistic marketing strategy, they must not focus too much on designing graphics, attending to your email list, uploading blogs, etc. For those tasks, it’s better to work with a marketing agency.
Who Needs Fractional CMOs?
Companies of all sizes can reap the rewards of a growth strategy by collaborating with a fractional CMO. Whether you’re a small business owner eager to elevate your marketing game or a large corporation seeking someone to head your marketing department, they can offer your company the guidance and support needed for success.
To determine if fractional CMO services are right for you, consider asking yourself these crucial 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?
If any of these resonate with you, working with a fractional CMO could be an ideal solution. For a quick recap of the situations where fractional CMOs are the best fit, refer to our infographic below.
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
Top-notch fractional CMOs possess years of experience collaborating with businesses of all sizes to enhance their marketing results and ROI.
2. Go-to-market strategy
A crucial task for a fractional CMO is assisting your business or organization in creating and executing an effective marketing strategy. This encompasses everything from developing the right content to implementing new software.
3. Leadership Skills
While some small business owners may hire fractional CMOs to head the entire marketing department, many engage them for specific initiatives or campaigns. In either case, they must exhibit strong marketing leadership skills to guide their marketing team and ensure everyone is aligned.
4. Digital Marketing Expertise
In today’s digital landscape, a solid understanding of digital marketing is more vital than ever. A proficient fractional CMO will know how to optimize results from all your efforts, including SEO, social media, email marketing, and lead generation.
5. Proven Marketing Success
Past success is often the best predictor of future achievements. When seeking a fractional CMO, request examples of how they’ve helped other businesses improve their marketing outcomes.
A fractional CMO should be adaptable, working with you on an as-needed basis. This implies they should be comfortable with remote work and be available when required, whether it’s a few hours a day to day basis per week or several days a month.
One primary advantage of collaborating with a fractional CMO is its affordability compared to hiring a full-time CMO. When evaluating different providers, inquire about their pricing structure and what benefits their services include.
These skills and attributes guarantee that your fractional CMO services can deliver the guidance and support necessary to elevate your marketing efforts.
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 seeking to elevate their marketing often rely on a fractional CMO for guidance and support in long-term growth. Whether you require assistance with specific initiatives or continuous marketing leadership, working with one is cost-effective and efficient for obtaining expertise.
This seasoned marketing industry professional can aid in devising and implementing a successful marketing strategy, crafting campaigns that yield results, and utilizing digital tools and platforms to maximize your influence.
To find the ideal candidate for your business, begin by assessing your needs and objectives, then search for someone possessing the necessary skills and experience to help accomplish your goals.
By hiring one, you’ll receive the expert guidance and support needed to enhance your marketing outcomes and propel your business forward.
So, if you’re in need of marketing assistance, consider collaborating with a fractional CMO today.
Brian Shelton is an entrepreneur, marketer, and life-long learner committed to helping businesses achieve impactful results. He founded Grow Predictably to provide tailored marketing strategies to generate predictable, profitable growth. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Brian has helped businesses, large and small. reach their goals and drive positive change in the world.