What is a Fractional CMO? …And Does Your Business Need One?

Published by Katie H on

What is a Fractional CMO

In every business there comes a turning point where investment in smart marketing is required to reach the next level. Perhaps you’re just starting out and you need a big push in the form of a new marketing strategy to get going. Or maybe you’re well-established but growth is stagnant and you need a fresh set of eyes from a Fractional CMO on your strategy. Whatever the case…. When you know, you know

Once it’s been established that you would benefit from a more proactive marketing push, the question to ask then is how to incorporate that expertise in a way that makes sense for your business. There are a few ways to go about this. You could:

  • Establish an internal marketing team from scratch within your existing ranks
  • Outsource to an agency, or individual consultant, to handle all your marketing woes
  • Or… Hire a Fractional CMO, and get the best of BOTH worlds

Curious about what a Fractional CMO actually is and how hiring one can help your business grow? Read on!

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Fractional CMO? 
  2. The Difference Between Them & Agency Services
  3. Top Problems a Fractional CMO Can Solve
  4. Does Your Business Need One?

What is a Fractional CMO?

According to Digital Marketer, a Fractional CMO is a seasoned marketing pro that helps with customer acquisition, marketing team development, and company growth. So basically, with a Fractional CMO, your business gets the experience of an agency and the leadership expertise of a senior exec — all in one!

Although they are technically a consultant or contractor and are often retained on a short-term basis, the value they can provide goes far beyond a traditional contract hire. 

As a temporary Chief Executive, they lead any and all marketing efforts. From pre-marketing conversations with the rest of the leadership team to strategy creation, to finally, the development of an internal marketing team and department-wide processes.

The Difference Between Fractional CMO & Agency Services

Understanding that Fractional CMOs are contracted, the difference between them and the creation of your own internal marketing team is pretty clear. But one common question is, what is the difference between a Fractional CMO and an established marketing agency?

With a Fractional CMO, you’re not just getting run-of-the-mill agency services, what you’re getting is leadership — a trait overlooked far too often in business.

A Fractional CMO is completely hands-on in how they handle your marketing. They work with your entire team to develop a large-scale marketing strategy.

A digital agency is less hands-on. They implement strategies and provide support, but overall, they’re not involved in the day-to-day of a business. 

A Fractional CMO is concerned with sales and marketing alignment. Since they’re in a leadership role, they can advise on how marketing can be incorporated smoothly into other parts of your business. 

A digital agency focuses solely on marketing. And while they can help with alignment, they’d need access to your in-house sales team which a Fractional CMO would already have.

Fractional CMOs are not just there to create your overall marketing strategy as a whole. When you hire one, you’re receiving a pro who will work directly with you or other senior team members, gain key insights into your business, and help it grow from the inside out.

Top Problems a Fractional CMO Can Solve

Now that you know what a Fractional CMO is and how it differs from other business marketing options, you might be wondering whether or not hiring one is even necessary. If so, consider the following problems hiring one might solve: 

  1. Lack of Marketing Direction: Because they are in a leadership position. They can provide comprehensive marketing direction for your business. And, as stated above can help you integrate your marketing strategy into your overall business plans.
  2. Lack of Marketing Experience: Companies can waste a lot of time, effort, and money. Either in developing marketing plans on their own or hiring agencies that don’t fully understand the inner workings of their business. In that way, Fractional CMOs help both in the short and long term. Short term, their expertise can inspire immediate action. Long-term, they bide time and help train a team to take over once their contract is up. 
  3. No Time to Develop Strategies: Is your sales team suffering because they’re doing double-duty as marketers? While the sales team does impact marketing, they shouldn’t be in charge of that department. Hiring a Fractional CMO can relieve anyone in the company that’s picking up any marketing slack. 
  4. No Time to Develop a Team: Overall it takes a lot of time to craft a department. With Fractional CMOs you can skip the trial and error phase. You’re getting not only someone who knows marketing but also knows the traits of other quality marketing professionals.

Does Your Business Need a Fractional CMO? 

If you’re at a crossroads with marketing in your business, it may be time to consider hiring a Fractional CMO. From startups to small businesses to established organizations, their holistic take on marketing can help businesses at all levels. 

And, as more businesses pivot to a stronger focus on digital marketing, it makes sense to invest in your company so it continues to grow for years to come.

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Categories: Business