What is a fractional CMO

Have you ever fallen victim to this way of thinking? …

Your marketing activities are the only way your business will find new customers.


But you don't have 40 hours a week to do it … So you need another executive in your company who is completely focused on your marketing.

Also true.

This executive must be a full-time employee for your company to be successful.

Not correct.

Your marketing manager does NOT have to be a full-time employee to take advantage of marketing as a leadership focus.

Sometimes a traditional CMO doesn't suit your company, but a fractional CMO.

Never heard of a fractional CMO? Do not worry. We're going to break down what a fractional CMO is and what you might want for your company (or even why you want to become one yourself).

What is a fractional CMO

While the name may sound super technical and complicated, the idea is actually quite simple.

A fractional CMO is someone who acts as the chief marketing officer for your company but is hired as a contractor or consultant.

In general, fractional CMOs work with several different companies at the same time, much like freelancers or consultants do. They work for you for a fraction of their time (hence fractionated). But don't let that put you off. A good fractional CMO will give your company all the attention it needs.

Why Outsource Marketing?

It may feel a bit strange at first to outsource a leadership position. Indeed, there are certain positions that you should be careful about. For example, you want someone to be very familiar with all the details of your company and to handle the finances, so a fractional CFO is probably not the best idea for most companies.

But marketing is different.

Why? Because the basic principles of any marketing are the same no matter what you are selling. Because of this, marketing agencies can work with all different types of clients. That is why our customers measure the gauntlet of the industries here at DigitalMarketer. Marketing is marketing.

So hiring a fractional CMO will not affect the quality of your marketing in any way. In fact, seeing outside problems can sometimes be the secret when you look at your strategies from the outside.

The right faction CMO will have been there, and already done so, so that he has the tools to deal with any problem.

What does a fractional CMO do?

A fractional CMO will do the same things as a traditional CMO:

  • Get More Leads
  • Manage digital ads
  • Create a marketing strategy
  • Monitoring Marketing Tech Integrations
  • Expand email list and engagement
  • Create marketing reports
  • Work with freelancers or a marketing agency
  • And more…

First and foremost, a fractional CMO will help establish market leadership, a service that is far too often overlooked in companies.

The reason you need a marketing director is to take that lead. You want someone who can make sure that your company's marketing is in a consistent overall direction. The faction CMO will be that person. You will provide a general marketing message and will work with the other executives of the company.

These needs depend a lot on the size of your business, so make sure you know exactly what you need. If you're a tiny company with only a few employees, you don't need as much help "connecting with the other executives". Your communication with the Fractional CMO will work fine. But when you have a huge leadership team this is going to be a really important part of their job.

Additionally, depending on how long you want to work with them, your Fractional CMO can either set things up for you or manage the processes over the long term.

The biggest benefit of a fractional CMO is that you don't have to pay them to do full-time CMO work, but that also means they don't do full-time work. So, consider if this is the right solution for you. But that's not the only thing you need to consider when looking for a fractional CMO for your company.

What does a fractional CMO NOT do?

However, before going through portfolios looking for the right person, it's important to understand what a fractional CMO does NOT do.

A fractional CMO has the same role as a manager. You should manage your strategy as a whole and work on all of your marketing.

This means that this person should NOT be used as a lever puller or grunt. If you need someone to just do all parts of your marketing, it is better to hire an agency.

A fractional CMO probably won't:

  • Write and send all emails to your list
  • Upload blog posts
  • Schedule social media posts
  • Redesign button colors on landing pages
  • Track detailed metrics for any marketing asset

A fractional CMO is there to look after the overall health of your company's marketing and their time is likely to be wasted getting too deep into the weed. Remember, you are paying this person for their holistic expertise, not their ability to pick an Instagram caption.

Is a Fractional CMO Right for You?

The best way to find out if a fractional CMO is right for you is to look at your marketing performance and your team.

  • Do you have someone dedicated to all of your marketing?
  • Are you struggling to find direction with your marketing?
  • Do you have a solid understanding of marketing yourself?
  • Do you have a marketing team but no marketing directors?
  • Are you struggling to coordinate with your marketing partners or your agency?

If you are facing any of the issues, a fractional CMO might just be the person you need to get your marketing back on track and grow your business.

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