How A Fractional CMO Can Improve Your Business
Your business has grown to the point where you are considering hiring a chief marketing officer (CMO) to take over some or all marketing responsibilities. Realizing that your company has reached this point is exciting; however, it may also cause you a considerable amount of stress. This is especially true if the budget just doesn’t have room to hire and onboard a CMO, much less pay a full-time salary plus benefits. Outsourcing the work to a fractional CMO could be the ideal compromise.
Understanding the Role of a Fractional CMO
The term fractional CMO describes a person who acts in the role of chief marketing officer, but only for a fraction of the time that a full-time employee would work. Fractional CMOs are typically self-employed consultants who offer their services to more than one company at a time.
Has the Time Come for Your Business to Hire a Fractional CMO?
Knowing that a service is available and making the leap to utilizing that service is not always a simple, linear process. If you are interested in business growth via targeted marketing campaigns and recognize any of the pain points described below, now may be the perfect time to bring a fractional CMO on board.
Your Marketing Department Needs Greater Guidance on What to Execute
Marketing teams often have great ideas on what they can do to generate more business for the company. The problem is that they may lack direction on which steps to take and in which order. Knowing which action to prioritize is a skill that newer teams may not have developed yet.
For example, should the marketing department focus on creating a marketing plan for a new product, content marketing, SEO campaigns, or a combination of these? An experienced fractional CMO can provide the necessary guidance to put plans into action, which gives team members greater confidence to set the tasks in motion.
Your Marketing Efforts Are Inconsistent Across Multiple Channels
If your company has grown enough to have a brand team, a growth marketing team, and a social media team, that’s good news. The not-so-good news is that the various teams may be actively undermining each other without realizing it. When that happens, a fractional CMO from outside the company can be the ideal person to unify the teams and drive consistent alignment.
You Need Help Managing Your Marketing Agencies
Most companies outsource work to a marketing agency at some point. Unfortunately, leaders of the organization may feel like they are being met with excuses instead of legitimate explanations when the agency fails to meet certain expectations. A fractional CMO, who has experience on both sides of the agency game, is typically more effective at interpreting what marketing professionals from an agency are trying to say.
Department leaders at your organization may have only a vague idea of what marketing agencies do. The interim CMO you hire should know how to ask the right questions, such as:
- Why did you choose to run that specific campaign?
- What are the biggest reasons you think it didn’t meet our agreed-upon KPIs?
- Did you perform split testing for every element of this marketing campaign?
Campaigns that miss the mark are disappointing enough. However, your company won’t learn enough from them to hold the agency accountable for the results if they accept surface-level explanations or deflection techniques on why the agency didn’t deliver as promised.
What Are the Top Benefits of Working with a Fractional CMO?
The financial savings your company realizes by hiring someone to fill this role on an as-needed basis versus paying a full-time salary plus benefits can be substantial. According to Salary.com, the median income for a full-time chief financial officer in the United States was $352,281 as of 2023. Full-time CMOs in the lowest 10 percent of the income bracket earn around $261,322 per year, while those at the 90th percentile command $498,962 annually.
These figures represent only the annual salary paid to CMOs and not the cost of benefits such as medical insurance, retirement savings, and stock options. In contrast, hiring a fractional CMO for an hourly wage and paying only for the services you need could potentially save you hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Solutions Customized to the Needs of Your Company
Fractional CMOs typically work with small and mid-sized businesses that cannot afford a full-time CMO but still require the expertise of someone with the same training and skills. Since these highly skilled professionals have worked with marketing departments at many types of organizations, they are accustomed to tailoring their service offerings to what the company needs most. Some have more experience with large corporations, so just make sure you know the type of experience you need when looking for a fractional CMO.
Reduces the Workload of Other Marketing Employees
It only takes one person leaving the marketing department for the remaining team members to feel overburdened with work. After all, they must divide the departing employee’s duties among themselves while still meeting the expectations of their own position. A fractional CMO relieves stressed employees of this burden while providing them with much-needed leadership at the same time.
Fractional CMOs Have Numerous Industry Connections
Because they have worked with multiple clients in various industries, fractional CMOs potentially have hundreds of contacts they can call on to access insider resources and create opportunities for partnership. Their expansive background enables them to utilize insights and best practices from previous successful marketing campaigns in their current assignment. Your company reaps many benefits from this arrangement without anyone needing to spend time cultivating these relationships themselves.
Gain the Insight of an Outsider’s Perspective
People who work in marketing departments often become close-knit and can overlook ways they or their colleagues could improve that are obvious to people outside the company. For example, your marketing department could be sending outdated messages to your customers and be too close to the situation to understand why they are not receiving the ROI they expected.
Whereas team members may not want to disrupt the status quo or make anyone uncomfortable, a skilled fractional CMO won’t be afraid to describe what they see as the biggest problem areas. This fresh point of view could be just what a struggling department needs to turn things around.
Finding the Ideal CMO for Your Organization
Before you sign a contract with a fractional CMO, it is vital to assess your company’s needs and make sure that the person you bring on can meet them. At the very least, make sure that your strategies align in the following areas:
- Establishing credibility among your competitors and authority within your industry
- Generating high caliber leads
- Increasing brand awareness and engagement
- Increasing the lifetime value of each customer
- Increasing revenue
- Increasing website traffic
- New customer acquisition
Lastly, make sure that you and the fractional CMO you are considering signing a contract with are on the same page regarding pay, scope of the work, and what each party expects in terms of deliverables.
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