The Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO

Published by Katie H on

Fractional CMO Benefits

The role of Fractional CMO has grown in popularity in recent years…for many reasons. Modern business models embrace the value that fractional leadership can bring to their business. With years of experience to produce a smart and proven strategy, plus a team to help execute, Fractional CMO services make sense for a lot of businesses seeking leadership experience without the overhead of a full-time executive.

One of the biggest benefits of a Fractional CMO is purely the cost. With a Fractional CMO, businesses don’t have the overhead of a salaried executive but get the resources of an experienced marketer who knows how to implement and execute the right strategies to reach their goals.   

To learn more about the role a Fractional CMO does, take a look at our blog.

What are the benefits of hiring a Fractional CMO for your marketing?

Unlike other departments in your organization, the marketing department can look a little different based on your goals and your needs.

At the helm of the marketing department should be a smart and strategic thinker…a Chief Marketing Officer (or CMO).

In this article, we will cover key cost points you should consider when it comes to hiring the right marketing leadership, or CMO, in your organization.

Keep reading to learn the benefits of hiring a Fractional CMO…

Cost Implications of Leadership Turnover

Marketing leadership for businesses has endured a transformation in the past 20+ years. With this transformation, the role of CMO has become one of the highest turnover roles in a business’s C-Suite. 

According to research by headhunting firm, Stuart Spencer, 2020 saw the lowest CMO tenure of the past 11 years – 25.5 months. Imagine the costs of bringing in new leadership every 2 to 2.5 years. 

Some indicate that this turnover is due to the high expectations to deliver results in a short period of time. While yes, your marketing department and leadership should be expected to perform, it is critical to give your marketing strategies time for execution, implementation, testing and optimizing. 

Searching, vetting, interviewing, onboarding, and implementation of a marketing direction costs businesses tons of money for any role on the team….but turnover in leadership roles cost more than the salary.  

Ultimately, it can be less expensive to hire a Fractional CMO. Doing so gives you the experience and knowledge of a c-suite executive without the cost.

Questions to Consider When Choosing Salaried vs. Fractional CMO

When it comes to adding to your leadership team, there are some questions to consider before adding a salaried Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) role to your organization. 

Consider the following question to assess the size, scope, and need for a full-time salaried marketing executive on your team.  

  • What is the overall marketing budget for growth activities within the organization? Does this budget necessitate executive leadership to ensure proper management?
  • What does your current marketing team look like? Do you have the right tactical specialists on the team with clearly defined roles that executive leadership can lead to success?
  • What is your current marketing infrastructure? Do you have the right strategy and foundations in place that will allow an expert marketing executive to come in to implement the growth hacking strategy?

Large organizations are most likely positioned to have the budget, team, and tools in place for quality CMO leadership to be successful. Therefore, a full-time CMO with salary makes sense. 

But that’s not the case for everyone…

For medium-sized organization or start ups ready to scale their sales, a fractional CMO is going to bring:

  • The right amount of leadership and strategy to fit your budget.
  • The leadership to guide your internal team on execution details.
  • The resources of a support team to execute the strategy, if you need it.
  • And the recommendations for implementing the right digital infrastructure pieces to build a holistic marketing machine to support sales and operations.

Salaried CMO vs. Fractional CMO – Costs to Consider

First, let’s consider the salary requirements of a full time CMO in your organization. This is the most straightforward cost to think about. According to salary.com, CMO salaries can be as high as $370K per year. The average CMO salary in the US is $145k per year

In addition to the fixed cost of a salaried marketing leader in your organization, be sure to include the cost of the internal team of tactical specialists and budget for the tools and ad spend to meet your growth benchmarks. 

These other cost implications may require the same investment as the salary of your next CMO.

Now, let’s look at the costs to consider with a Fractional CMO…  

Remember…a Fractional CMO comes into your organization with the same level of buy-in and leadership as a salaried CMO. However, they bring efficiencies and expertise to give strategic guidance without the commitment of a full-time salary. 

In fact, a Fractional CMO cost is variable based on your marketing strategy and needs. 

There are many types of Fractional CMO engagements to think about. Here are two easy engagements for you to think about:

  • Strategy & Consulting: Fractional CMOs can provide high level strategy and consulting for your internal team. 
  • Full Service Marketing Execution & Support: Fractional CMOs have the resources of a qualified marketing support team to help execute your marketing plans. 

Ultimately, the type of Fractional CMO engagement you need will depend on your organization, your team, and your goals for growth. 

But, let’s imagine a scenario where you need full service strategy consulting, leadership, and a team to execute. The hypothetical cost breakdown for an organization who wants a full service marketing support team led by a Fractional CMO:

  • Strategy Leadership: Weekly Calls, Marketing Planning, Internal Team Guidance, and Strategy Overall Development @ approximately $2,000/month 
  • Full Team Execution: Email Marketing, Website Content, Social Media, Paid Ads, Tracking & Technical implementation, and Reporting @ approximately $6,250/month  

In total, a full service marketing team led by a strategic Fractional CMO who has the same buy-in commitment to your business success will cost you less than six-figures (or $8,250/month).

But…what if your organization doesn’t need all of those team execution services? 

This is where you’d want to have a better understanding of the right marketing strategy for your organization with a clear action plan for tactical execution. This requires auditing and a collaborative strategy intensive session to help you get clear on what makes sense for your organization and goals.

From there, any quality CMO can help you get the right team in place (internally or externally).

Developing Your Team

Whether you are looking to secure a full-time salaried CMO or considering a Fractional CMO, always keep in mind the impact of team development. 

With an in-house team, having CMO leadership that develops your team in the direction of your strategy…tactical training, conferences, and new ideas to expand their current tactical expertise.

If you are not currently running with a fully established in-house marketing team and don’t have a clear strategy direction, start with the Fractional option for your marketing leadership. 

In many cases, fractional leaders have teams and resources that can support the execution of the strategies they recommend. This can help you get a strategy running quickly. Plus, they stay current on the latest strategies, trends, and tactical execution so you don’t have to worry about it.

You can waste a lot of time and resources spinning your wheels on strategies that may not even work. Partnering with a Fractional CMO takes out the guesswork and puts you on the right track without wasting money.

There are other ways to get quality marketing pros for your business. Check out our Quick Tips for Choosing a Marketing Pro, if you are looking for a marketing freelancer, digital consultant, or marketing agency.

Value of Experience & Processes

A lot of ‘marketing gurus’ in today’s market make ‘pie in the sky’ promises of results. Knowing you have an experienced marketing leader and strategic thinker is going to reduce the lost time and expenses on chasing down the hopes of these promises of results by these slick mass marketers.

Yes…results matter…always. But, as we always say at Smart Girl, there are thousands of things you can be doing in digital marketing…only a few you should be doing!

Every business’s marketing strategy needs to align with their goals, their audience, and their message. Experienced marketing leaders understand this. 

The value of experience in modern marketing and digital strategies means your CMO has a process for developing, executing, and measuring your marketing plans.

For Smart Girl, our process focuses on these 4 core phases:

  • Goals & Strategy
  • Creating & Ideating
  • Testing & Optimizing
  • Rinse & Repeat

Our experience shows us the value of having clients thoughtfully go through each phase of our process. This gives clients a clear path and plan for the future. 

Experienced marketing leadership, CMOs, and Fractional CMOs who have this level of marketing acumen will give you peace of mind of quality and proven success. 

When vetting your next marketing leader, take time to understand their approach and process to building a successful strategy. This will pay off in the long run and impact your time and monetary investment.

So…tell us…are you ready for a Fractional CMO in your organization?

We work with clients to deliver fractional CMO strategic leadership with a team for full vision execution. 

For Smart Girl clients seeking strategic marketing leadership and execution, our program features your own Smart Girl Team.  This team consists of your Lead Smart Girl + SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) who execute your plans.

In this arrangement, you get the value of Lead Smart Girl expertise based on decades of digital marketing experience, plus a reliable team to implement, manage, and oversee your marketing.

Learn more about our Audit & Strategy Intensive Sessions to help you get started on your digital success journey. Schedule a free Digital Discovery.

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Categories: Business