Inc. 5000 ideas

5 Reasons Why You Need a Fractional CMO

At some point in the life-cycle of your company, it will make sense to add marketing leadership to your senior team. I’m not talking about junior or mid-level team members, freelancers or agencies. You need someone who has been in the trenches, rolled up their sleeves, and has both the strategic mindset and technical marketing expertise to make an impact. You need great leadership! The type of leadership that will deliver results. You’ll need a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

Small to mid-sized businesses that are short on time and resources are grabbing on to the idea of hiring a fractional CMO.  This is a great solution to get immediate access to the marketing leadership you need to scale your business with a lower level of cost, commitment, and risk.

What is a fractional CMO, you ask?
A fractional CMO is typically brought in to establish or lead a company’s marketing function on a part-time or short-term consultative basis. Depending on your needs, you may work with your fractional CMO 10, 15, 20 hours a week. You reap the benefits of getting access to an experienced leader with in-depth marketing knowledge who knows how to get things done. Engagements are usually for six months or longer so that both parties have skin in the game.

Here are a few signs that working with a fractional CMO could be right for you.

1) Your company isn’t big enough or your budget does not allow for a full-time marketing executive
Maybe you’re a second-stage company or a mid-sized established business in need of marketing leadership, but there’s not enough work or budget to justify a full-time hire. A fractional CMO offers an affordable entry-point for small to mid-sized companies.

2) You have no one at the helm leading the marketing efforts
The marketing landscape is continuously changing. It’s nearly impossible to expect a business owner to stay current on marketing trends and changes in consumer behavior. You need an experienced professional to make sense of complex marketing channels and prepare for the future. A fractional CMO can guide small to mid-sized businesses through a marketing transformation and enable contemporary strategies, tools, and tactics.

3) The sales team is creating their own marketing materials
Your sales team may be great. But if they’re creating their presentations, sell sheets and PDFs, it’s likely that your marketing, brand, and message is weak and fragmented. A fractional CMO can develop a unified message that creates an exceptional customer experience and strengthens your brand

4) You lack marketing insights that inform executive decisions
It’s an easy trap to fall into. Someone says you need a new website, so you get one.  You chase the promise of pay-per-click ads and hire a junior resource to manage your social media. You sponsor events and buy branded swag. At the end of the day, you have no idea if any of these efforts are paying off. A fractional CMO will help you build the reporting you need to make informed business decisions that drive revenue and growth.

5) You need an interim leader or advisor
Maybe you need a marketing executive to quickly step into a vacated position while you conduct a talent search for the perfect candidate. Or fill a seat during a leave of absence. Some companies want an independent external resource to audit an existing marketing team and advise on new directions. A fractional CMO provides quick-relief for marketing needs and pain points.

Does a fractional CMO seem like a good idea for your company or someone you know? if so, we’d love to hear from you.

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