How the Role of Fractional CMO is Changing Marketing

Source: Medium

The role of the fractional CMO has emerged greatly in the last 5 years and is changing the way businesses approach marketing. The role does this by giving organizations the ability to separate the roles of the marketing team to that of high-level, strategic thinker, and the technicians. Whereas, previously, medium-sized businesses would often have a conflation of roles between the leaders and technicians.

Imagine you are the CEO of a business with revenue of up to $5m a year. You have marketers working for you, or other roles in the company that encompasses marketing responsibilities, but none of them have ever driven marketing strategy or commanded huge budgets. You would be hesitant to hand over the reins on directing the corporation’s growth strategy, and rightly so. But, the other issue is that your team is not large enough to warrant hiring a full-time chief marketing officer at $170,000+ per year, This eats away at your budget. That budget could be used to bring in more technicians who implement day-to-day tactics and processes. That budget could also be pumped into marketing campaigns that drive real growth in your business. Basically, the marketing budget gets sucked up by the top-level marketer, leaving little left over for other important aspects of your marketing department.

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A full-time CMO is a big commitment, not just financially but also in terms of the makeup of the personnel. Suppose a business hires a full-time chief marketing officer when there is not enough of a team to lead or required scope for the position. The team can become too top-heavy. This means that the CMO will be brought in doing daily tasks that are more akin to the expertise of a technician or marketing manager. Essentially meaning the business is overspending on the cost of those tasks. The CMO should do the tasks that justify the higher pay grade; the tasks that he/she can do that managers nor technicians do not have the skill, experience, or knowledge to do.

The way to avoid this overspending on tasks, whilst keeping the top-level marketer in the business, is hiring a fractional CMO. Learn more about what a fractional CMO does. The fractional CMO can be in charge of hiring and managing technicians. This is the best way for the business to get the most bang for its buck.

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The fractional CMO knows exactly what to look for when hiring a technician for a company because he/she knows the role, has done the work before, and has hired and managed people in other organizations. From the business owner’s perspective, it creates wonderful peace of mind because they can delegate this vital job to someone who knows exactly what they are doing. And, ultimately, ensures that they do not hire the wrong person. The owner or CEO of the business can focus on the other aspects of the business and rest assured knowing that their employees are being led with competence.

Why did the CEO or business owner want to bring in a chief marketing officer in the first place? Fractional or full-time. Answer: to lead strategy. Business leaders know the importance of strategy within any organization. The captain of the ship must know where he is going. Otherwise, the crew has no faith in his ability to lead and may ultimately down tools or mutiny.

Source: Accrue Performance Marketing

Marketing strategy is the foundation of any business’s growth. The fractional chief marketing officer is changing marketing because it has allowed mid-size businesses access to elite level marketing strategists that are involved in the company. A privilege previously exclusive to big businesses that could comfortably afford the $170,000+ salary. Smaller companies could bring in marketing consultants to formulate strategies. However, the difference between a consultant and a fractional CMO is that a consultant does not work in the business as such, and is not always equipped to manage staff. The fractional CMO goes above and beyond the consultant in terms of value-added to the business and involvement in the team but is not quite as far as a full-time employee.

A full-time CMO will support in deploying tactics. This can range in terms of the level of expertise required but is generally true among most organizations with a full-time CMO. The fractional CMO, on the other hand, focusses on strategy and managing the team. The two quintessential responsibilities of a chief marketing officer. This is what the chief executive officer brought the CMO in for and is in the best interests of the business long-term.

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A more peripheral reason for the decision of a fractional CMO over full-time is, as INC., mitigating the risk of a bad cultural fit. Their article on this position states that “Often these full-time senior folks don’t work out due to factors such as poor cultural fit, misaligned strategies, and basic personality incompatibility.” This is definitely of interest to other c-suite level executives and business owners as they know there is always that risk of a bad fit. Sometimes, the hiring process, no matter how exhaustive and competent, can still lead to hiring a bad fit that no one could foresee. Bringing in a fractional CMO mitigates this risk as the position is on a contractual basis, therefore lessening the financial commitment should it not work out as everyone would have liked.

In summation, this role is changing marketing as it provides medium-sized business access to high-level strategists that can actually work in the business, not just be brought in on a consultation basis. The fact that a company can add a c-suite level marketer to their team and thus lead the team of technicians is vital to the long-term success of a marketing strategy and growth plan. All whilst not sucking up the entire growth budget so that vital resources can be redirected to other areas such as the hiring of more technicians to give the business legs, and money to invest in campaigns. All this, along with the reality that the risk attached to bringing any individual is lessened due to the nature of short-term commitments, makes the fractional CMO luring to any business owner or chief executive officer. Head over to to learn more.