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Marketing is the lifeblood of your business. It’s how customers discover your business, and how you nurture those relationships until they become happy customers. Without decisive leadership creating insightful marketing strategies for your entire company, your marketing efforts are likely to end up being disjointed and even confusing for the consumer. This is why companies have traditionally hired a full-time chief marketing officer (CMO) to oversee the marketing operation. 

However, many companies are unwilling or unable to take on the hefty price tag of a full-time CMO. PayScale estimates the average salary of a CMO is $176,000, with the upper 10% making $274,000. Of course, most CMOs will also want bonuses, commissions, profit-sharing, and in many cases equity. Taking on a new C-level executive is a major investment that will consume a large amount of capital.

So, what’s the alternative? Bring on a fractional CMO instead. You’ll reap all of the same rewards without shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary, perks, and benefits. You’ll gain a decisive leader at the helm of your marketing, making firm decisions that guide the growth of your company in the right direction.

Today, I’m going to dive deep into the roles, responsibilities, and benefits of hiring a fractional CMO. I’ll go over what types of companies will benefit from a fractional COM, along with signs that it might be time for your company to hire a fractional CMO

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO, also known as an outsourced CMO, is an executive that is brought in to create, overhaul, or continue insightful marketing strategies on a part-time or temporary basis. While acting in an executive capacity, the fractional CMO will provide valuable insights and create actionable strategies. Depending on the agreement, the fractional CMO may be fully involved in executing and refining these strategies.

What’s an outsourced CMO? They are experienced marketing executives that help companies gain the direction of a CMO without having the heavy burden on their payroll. When you bring on an outsourced CMO, you’ll immediately gain a C-level partner that provides actionable marketing advice and has the leadership skills necessary to execute their strategies.

Why Hire a Fractional CMO?

There are several notable reasons why companies decide to hire a fractional CMO. They bring many tangible benefits to the table that directly relate to company growth. Some of the common reasons are:

  • Gain affordable marketing expertise: The importance of having marketing leadership cannot be emphasized enough. An effective marketing department needs someone at the helm to provide visionary and actionable guidance. A fractional CMO gives you all the expertise of a CMO without the hefty price tag.
  • Reach the next level: Some businesses have been requiring employees and managers to fill multiple roles during their early growth stages. While these companies can certainly have some success with marketing, they will inevitably reach a plateau. A fractional CMO brings the expertise, leadership, and vision to help these types of companies break through to the next level.
  • Improved campaign tracking: A fractional CMO will help your company firmly understand which marketing campaigns are successful, and which ones are not. They will institute KPIs related to the campaign that will be clear indicators of the success of their campaigns. You’ll never be left wondering what strategies are actually working.

Would your company benefit from having a true marketing expert in charge of creating marketing campaigns that directly grow your company? It might be time to hire a fractional CMO

What Are The Typical Responsibilities of a Fractional CMO?

Fractional CMOs have the same responsibilities as a traditional CMO: they are responsible for all marketing initiatives of the company. If the marketing department is not performing as expected, the CMO is responsible. When successful campaigns result in explosive company growth, the CMO is also responsible. 

The exact roles for your fractional CMO will vary based on your company’s needs. One of the perks of a fractional CMO is you can spell out exactly what you want them to do, rather than having a full-time employee that takes on a wider umbrella of responsibilities than you might need. 

Some of the common roles that your fractional CMO can take on are:

  • Firm leadership for the marketing department
  • Creating overall market positioning and brand messaging
  • Assisting with product pricing and product launches
  • Improving and optimizing your online presence
  • Creating automated sales and marketing infrastructure
  • Developing prospect onboarding programs
  • Instituting customer loyalty programs
  • Overall brand messaging, including PR
  • Establish thought leadership
  • Guide content marketing, paid search, and organic search campaigns
  • Hiring new employees for the marketing department
  • Create marketing materials for funding rounds

Your fractional CMO may take on all of these roles, or only a few. You’ll have the opportunity to dictate exactly which responsibilities you would like your fractional CMO to cover. Picking specific responsibilities helps you alter the price of the fractional CMOs services.

What Company Types Should Hire an Outsourced CMO?

In reality, companies of all sizes can benefit from hiring an outsourced CMO. Due to the functions and benefits of a fractional CMO, mid-size companies that are ready for a new growth phase are typically the companies that hire fractional CMOs. Mid-sized companies are not usually ready for the significant investment of a full-time CMO but are in clear need of marketing leadership. 

However, small and large businesses certainly hire fractional CMOs, often indefinitely. Startups particularly are drawn to fractional CMOs since they provide the marketing leadership without requiring a significant amount of capital. If a fractional CMO continuously provides results, startups may keep them on as fractional CMOs even when the company is beyond the startup phase.

Signs That Your Company Needs a Fractional CMO

Are you starting to think that hiring a fractional CMO might be a good idea for your business? I’m inclined to agree! However, just to make sure, some common signs indicate that your company needs a fractional CMO.

Your Sales Team is Handling Marketing

Your sales team might be filled with incredible people who know how to close a deal. However, creating overarching marketing campaigns and brand materials is not within their skillset. Unfortunately, a lot of small to mid-size companies end up having their sales team in charge of marketing. If sales staff are even creating their own sales materials, you need a fractional CMO. 

Generally speaking, when a sales team is also in charge of marketing, it results in a brand message that is fragmented, weak, and inconsistent. Bringing in a fractional CMO helps created a unified message and brand identity that will help your sales team land even more sales.

No One Is Leading Marketing

This is a common trap for businesses that started small but have since grown beyond only having a few employees. Perhaps the business owner created the website when the company launched. Later, they started their pay-per-click campaign. Perhaps an intern set up social media profiles at some point, and you have your receptionist making posts on them. 

Even if your story isn’t to those extremes, it’s common the end up with a company that is doing great at the core competency of the business, but nobody is actually in charge of marketing. Marketing roles may be spread around throughout the company. Or perhaps you even have a marketing department, but it lacks firm leadership. 

If you do not have marketing leadership, your company is suffering because of it. Marketing leadership is necessary to create successful marketing campaigns and a well-rounded, insightful brand message. You need to hire a fractional CMO if you currently do not have anyone in charge of marketing. 

You Need Interim Leadership

Throughout most of this article, I’ve been discussing fractional CMOs as a permanent or semi-permanent solution. However, fractional CMOs can also help companies bridge gaps between full-time CMOs. A quality fractional CMO will be capable of picking up where your former CMO left off and managing the marketing department until a new full-time CMO is hired. They can even help onboard a new CMO and get them up and running. 

Is Your Company Ready for a Fractional CMO?

Fractional CMOs are vitally important to the success of companies of all sizes. These marketing experts take charge of marketing endeavors to improve specific KPIs that directly relate to the growth and success of your company. 

Traditional CMOs are simply too expensive to be accessible to many businesses. Most businesses do not want to tie up hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital to have marketing leadership. It may end up being worth it, but taking on such an expense is simply too risky for many businesses. 

However, your company should not lack strong marketing leadership if it wishes to keep growing. Companies that are ready to acquire new customers create a unified brand message, and experience accelerated growth should hire a fractional CMO today. Contact JennyQ to experience all the benefits of a fractional CMO without taking on a hefty full-time price tag.