Fractional CMO: A New Model for the Modern Age of Marketing

One of the main benefits of using a fractional CMO includes getting the best senior-level talent and expertise on your team without the time, effort, and expense of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring a full-time executive.

5 min read

Introduction

Marketing has changed. The environment in which you create marketing strategy is different now. Technology continues to develop at a faster rate than marketers can keep up with, and as a result, people are less trusting of marketing messages from brands. More and more businesses are successfully using a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or the marketing leadership-as-a-service™ (MLaaS) model.

The Fractional CMO is a quickly expanding position that many businesses are reaping the benefits of with their marketing and growth efforts.

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a seasoned, senior-level marketing leader who collaborates, communicates, and drives the marketing and growth strategy for the business. They improve communication across internal departments and external stakeholders.

The term fractional CMO describes an emerging marketing model where a senior-level marketing consultant joins the business to bring their experience and expertise to the company without the expense of a full-time c-suite marketing leader. Fractional CMOs also ensure strategically aligned communication across internal and external team members.

What role does a Fractional CMO play?

The role of the fractional CMO differs depending on whom they are working with, but the overall goal of the fractional CMO remains the same: to help companies create and deliver effective campaigns that build upon their unique brand.

The fractional CMO’s focus is on building a solid foundation for the company's marketing strategy, while communicating effectively with internal teams, such as sales and product development. The primary objective of the fractional CMO is to deliver the strategic marketing plan, the go-to-market plan, that will power the business' growth.

How the model works

A fractional CMO can be deployed in different configurations to best suit each company. It is essential to remember that this model is only as effective as the people involved in it. The goal of a fractional approach is to reduce the time, expense, and risk of identifying the person who will lead the company's marketing efforts.

Most fractional CMO services consist of a senior-level marketing leader working on a retainer basis and delivering multiple projects for a client company's marketing department over some time.

A good fractional CMO, while needed for their significant experience and expertise, can deliver results for the client in less time and at a lower expense than the traditional model of hiring a full-time marketing executive. With this arrangement, the fractional CMO will spend their time working with a few companies and generally not working on a project-by-project basis.

While the model is designed to reduce internal and external bottlenecks, it also brings with it its own set of challenges.

One such challenge is finding experienced marketing professionals who can fill these marketing team roles. Another challenge rests in balancing the needs of outside stakeholders with those of internal team members in the marketing department. Internal marketing team members should not underestimate the value that an external perspective can bring to the company.

The benefits of a fractional CMO

The Fractional CMO is gaining traction as companies are finding success in this model to lead their marketing strategy and marketing team.

One of the main benefits of using fractional CMO services includes getting the best senior-level talent and expertise on your team without the time, effort, and expense of hiring a recruiting firm, interviewing multiple candidates, and hiring a full-time marketing executive. If you can't afford a c-suite senior marketing leader, then you may want to consider hiring a fractional CMO who can deliver the marketing strategy and power business growth for your company.

Overcoming marketing leadership challenges

Finding a competent professional that can fill the marketing leadership position while staying within the company's budget is one of the most difficult tasks.

Utilizing the fractional CMO model (or what we refer to as marketing leadership-as-a-service™) is a great way to acquire the marketing leadership your company needs quickly. Emerging, fast-growing, and mid-size companies are using the marketing leadership-as-a-service model because it can be less expensive than hiring a full-time CMO. If you've yet to hire a CMO or you don't have the budget or need a full-time CMO, then reach out and learn more.

Trends to watch

Most marketing professionals are all too familiar with the ever-changing face of marketing. Technology continues to evolve faster than marketers can keep up with, and as a result, fewer people are trusting marketing messages from brands. Companies that invest more in content creation or customer experience will be rewarded accordingly with increased consumer trust and brand advocacy.

One of the most important things for all marketers to watch out for is how new technologies will force changes in the way digital content is created and distributed. Augmented reality, wearables…these technologies will open up entirely new areas of possibility for brands while also requiring significant retraining for marketers to stay on top of it all.

A modest prediction is that more organizations will come to understand the value of an external perspective when it comes to developing their marketing strategies. Many factors influence consumer behavior, and The CMO Council found that these include environmental factors (49%), social influences (41%), and personal factors (38%). Working with a fractional CMO can bring an expert perspective to your marketing team and help companies address the gaps that exist in their marketing initiatives.

How to select the right fractional CMO

A fractional CMO can be a great asset for companies that need marketing help but don't have the bandwidth or budget for a full-time CMO. But how do you know if a fractional CMO is right for your business? Here are a few things to consider:

First, take a look at your marketing needs. Are you looking for someone to help with strategy, execution, or both? Fractional CMOs can typically be divided into two camps: those who are more strategic, and those who are more hands-on. If you're not sure what type of help you need, reach out and allow us to help you decide.

Second, consider your budget. Fractional CMOs are generally paid for the value they will provide to your organization. Understanding your budget before we begin will be an important factor.

Finally, think about timing. A fractional CMO can be a great solution if you need marketing leadership help for anywhere between six months and six years. A fractional CMO can also play a critical role in your marketing efforts if you're between CMOs and need an interim CMO.

Conclusion

The fractional CMO trend is gaining traction as companies find success in this model to deliver their marketing strategies. One of the main benefits of using a fractional CMO includes getting the best senior-level talent and expertise on your team without the time, effort, and expense of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring a full-time executive. If you can't afford a c-level marketing leader, then you may want to consider working with a fractional CMO who can lead marketing and power growth for your company.

As your marketing department and your marketing strategy evolve, working with a fractional CMO is the new model for the modern age of marketing. It has quickly become the way for companies to address rapidly changing needs. To learn more about working with a fractional CMO and how marketing leadership-as-a-service can help your business, reach out and schedule a complimentary conversation.