The new year comes with new resolutions. Like many businesses, you likely want to reduce hiring new employees and create new revenue avenues. You want to do more and better marketing to get the most out of your marketing dollar. This is where hiring a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) comes into play.
A CMO understands the current marketing landscape and can initiate marketing programs that drive more leads, increase conversions, and boost sales. They are responsible for creating a complete marketing strategy and marketing audit to deliver a better return on investment (ROI) for your marketing spend.
There’s one challenge, though. A full-time CMO may not be a good fit for many companies due to budget issues and other challenges. This is where a fractional CMO comes in.
Unlike a full-time CMO (who will draw higher income from your company kitty), a fractional CMO works on a part-time basis and works for different clients. In other words, a fractional CMO provides services to your company at a fractional cost of what you would spend on a full-time CMO.
Read along to learn what a fractional CMO is and why you should hire one.
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What is a Fractional CMO?
Unlike a full-time chief marketing officer, a fractional CMO helps establish or lead your company’s marketing function on a part-time basis. A reputable fractional CMO is as qualified as a full-time CMO. The only difference is that you pay a fraction of their time at a fraction of the cost.
In other words, having a fractional CMO means having a senior marketing officer to lead your marketing team but without the burden of executive-level costs. Depending on your marketing needs, you may pay your fractional CMO for 10, 15, or even 20 hours per week. The CMO will most likely have similar contracts with other companies.
The best part is that you will fully enjoy the benefits of an executive-level marketing leader for the time you pay your fractional CMO. Depending on your business needs, the engagements may last for six months or more—a minimum of six months is a good time because marketing strategies require time to produce results.
Your fractional CMO will develop a unique marketing strategy and establish key performance indicators (KPIs) during this time. The best part is that a fractional CMO will be part of your day-to-day operations and is involved in key decision-making activities.
The role of fractional CMO will vary from company to company. However, here are the common areas where a fractional CMO may provide leadership:
- Implement the best marketing practices
- Create a unique marketing strategy
- Establish key performance indicators
- Recreate digital content strategy for an eCommerce
- Leads the digital transformation of a marketing project for an eCommerce
- Establish an employee influencer program for B2C brands
Reasons to Hire a Fractional CMO
Here are the main benefits of hiring a fractional CMO for your eCommerce:
Short-Term Commitment, Long-Term Results
As earlier stated, you hire a fractional CMO at a fraction of their time and cost. For instance, if your CMO signs a 10-hours contract per week, you’ll only pay them for hours worked even if the contract runs for six months. What’s even better is that your business will still benefit from their input long after the contract ends. You will significantly reduce marketing costs and still benefit from an executive-level marketing leadership.
There’s nothing good as seeing your business grow and generate more revenue. After all, this is the core reason you started your business in the first place. When done right, marketing is a sure way to assess your company’s growth and take your business to new heights.
However, you won’t grow your business without good marketing leadership. A good functional CMO will help create a winning marketing strategy at a fractional cost. What’s more, they will play a key role in helping you hire fantastic marketing staff.
The marketing budget is a key component of business growth. Financial flexibility is paramount when marketing your eCommerce.
The thing about marketing initiatives is that they don’t provide immediate results. You will require time to assess and modify your marketing activities before you can experience any success.
A good fractional CMO will provide excellent guidance to your marketing team at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CMO. This will come in handy for small enterprises with small marketing budgets but still want to experience growth.
Will Help Save Reduce Your Marketing Budget
One of the reasons many companies hire fractional CMOs is that it helps save money. After all, no company will not want to reduce costs, while for many startups saving money is a necessity.
Newer businesses face financial constraints than most established companies. Regardless of the case, every business (no matter the size or time in operation) will significantly benefit from executive-level marketing leadership from a fractional CMO.
Statistics from Glassdoor show an average CMO in the United States makes $192,437 per year. No matter the size of your business or industry, this is not a small addition to your budget. While some huge companies can afford it, the case is entirely different for others as they cannot afford it, or it’s just not worth it.
On the other hand, you will pay a fractional CMO between $200 and $250 an hour for their services. This is a huge difference when you compare the salary of a full-time CMO and other full-time costs, including bonuses, health insurance, and payroll taxes.
This explains why fractional CMOs have gained increased popularity.
Better Strategy and Experience
Like many other things, you need a strategy to succeed in business. Without a plan, you might end up doing so many things with no significant impact on your business. In worse scenarios, your team may end up pulling in different directions, making success a nightmare.
Hiring a full-time CMO means your business growth will depend on the same experience and expertise. Since a fractional CMO works with different companies, they have more experience trying and succeeding.
Involving them in your marketing efforts means benefiting from their experience and their skills to create a winning marketing strategy. A good fractional CMO will use their knowledge from multiple industries to build a customized strategy for your business.
Better Insight and Execution
Execution is a critical part of your business strategy. The problem with working with a full-time CMO is that it may interfere with your team’s ability to work. No matter the type of marketing you use—paid ads, content marketing, etc., a fractional CMO will help you hire the right tacticians if need be.
Besides leading your marketing team, a fractional CMO will give your business a new perspective and insight from what you get from your full-time team member.
One of the reasons companies outsource their marketing efforts is due to the flexibility it offers. As earlier stated, hiring a full-time CMO is not attainable for many companies due to budget constraints and changing marketing needs.
Many companies consider bringing a high-level executive marketing person not just because it makes sense at the moment, but due to the flexibility it offers going into the future. After all, future flexibility is something every company should consider when growing their team.
Look at it this way. When you hire a full-time CMO, you’re limiting yourself to a single person’s strategy, personality, and personal career goals, the cost notwithstanding.
Investing in a fractional CMO provides a lot of flexibility—it frees up a large part of your marketing budget that you can use in other business initiatives. The idea is to have marketing personnel that meet your current and long-term marketing goals. The best thing about working with a fractional CMO is that you have the chance to try different people and ideas to determine what works best for your business.
While a fractional CMO will work with you for a short period, the benefits go beyond their contract. A good CMO will help build a long-term strategy that can benefit your company long after they leave. This can include establishing best practices and marketing activities that your team can execute even without the fractional CMO.
In fact, one of the goals of a fractional CMO is to prepare your marketing team to handle these initiatives once they leave, which is good for the continuity of your business.
Efficiency and Scalability
A fractional CMO has limited time to produce results—not making promises. Failure to deliver means they’ll compromise their reputation, and I bet no one wants that. A good fractional CMO will develop an effective strategy, test it, and iterate it quickly to deliver your desired results.
Another duty of a fractional CMO is to create a scalable strategy. Marketing is all about building a strategy that will give predictable, long-term results.
Signs that Your Business Needs a Fractional CMO
Now that you have seen the benefits of working with fractional CMO, you may be considering hiring one for your business. Luckily, you have read this far. This section looks at some signs your company needs a fractional CMO.
Your Company Cannot Afford a Full-Time CMO
We stated earlier that full-time CMOs make between $73,000 and $306,000 per year (according to Glassdoor). The cost will increase after adding benefits such as health insurance.
This might not be attainable if you are a small or growing business, as your costs will add up quickly. In that case, a fractional CMO will come in handy to provide executive-level marketing leadership at a fraction of the cost.
You See the Need to Delegate
No person is all-purpose. This is especially true when it comes to marketing. If you want to promote effectiveness in your company, you need to let each person specialize in what they are better qualified for.
Each team member (you included) has a specific skill they are good at. Some are good in content marketing, others in planning, and others in execution. Delegating duties according to one’s skills and capabilities will help move your company to higher levels.
You Don’t Have a Leading Marketing Specialist
If your company is yet to adapt to modern marketing and automation, likely, you don’t have the right person to lead marketing. To remain competitive and prepare for the future, you need to adapt to contemporary marketing strategies. In such a case, hiring a fractional CMO can help set the stage for digital marketing transformation.
You Want a Lean Organization
You don’t need to hire a full-time CMO (who will draw a huge salary every month plus other perks), while a part-time CMO can do just fine at a much lower cost. So, if you want to maintain a lean organization and lower your company costs while not compromising your company growth, hiring a fractional CMO is the way to go.
You Need Interim Advisor
Sometimes you need to fill a position during leave or need a marketing executive to step in as you find a new candidate for a vacated position. You may also want external experts to assess your marketing team and advise on the best way forward. A fractional CMO will come in handy in all these scenarios to provide the much-needed guidance.
Need Marketing Advice to Base Your Marketing Decisions
We are in 2022, and the internet is full of people claiming to be marketing experts with diverse opinions on how to market your business. While not all advice out there is terrible, following most of it blindly can leave you feeling lost. A good fractional CMO will provide the insight you need to make informed marketing decisions to drive leads, conversion, and ultimately sales.
Need a Unified Marketing Message
Your marketing efforts are as good as the materials you put out there. Some companies make the mistake of letting the sales team create their own marketing materials, including selling sheets and presentations. This is a huge mistake that can weaken your marketing message. A fractional CMO will help create a unique marketing message with customers in mind.
How to Select the Best Fractional CMO for Your Company
Now that you know that you need a fractional CMO in your business, let’s look at the most critical step—hiring the best fractional CMO for your company. The results you get from your marketing efforts are as good as the person you hire. As such, you need to select someone who understands your business and can work smoothly with your team. That said, here’s what to consider when hiring a fractional CMO:
Like when hiring for any other position, you want to work with a fractional CMO with a proven track record—one who does what they say, not vice versa.
Ask the potential candidate whether they have handled a similar project before and ask for proof. Have they helped similar businesses increase their revenue and return on investment? Can they share their portfolio and references from past clients? Don’t be afraid to ask all relevant questions to ensure the candidate you choose is reliable.
Ability to Execute
While a good fractional CMO should understand what good marketing entails, they should be able to tell the best marketing tactics, including content, branding, traditional influencer, paid marketing, etc., that best fits your business. Remember, they won’t just be responsible for creating strategies but executing them as well.
Another important thing to look at when hiring a fractional CMO is the process. The CMO you choose should have a predictable procedure that can produce expected results. In any case, avoid CMOs who are not clear about their approach as they can’t guarantee predictable results.
Ask your potential CMO to share their intake form—a questionnaire they send to businesses before working on their project. Look at the kind of questions they ask and how deep and thorough they are. Remember, the results you get are as good as the questions you ask. As a rule of thumb, only hire fractional CMOs who are detailed enough in their queries and focused enough in their pursuit for excellence.
Are They Set Up for Success?
Remember we said at the beginning that fractional CMOs have limited time to produce results. As such, you should work with a functional CMO who is set for success from the start and long after they leave your company.
A good CMO should make it their goal to mentor your team and develop strategies that can benefit your company long after their contract ends. If you want, your CMO can help build your marketing team or select the right candidate to head your marketing team.