March 28, 2022

The role of a fractional CMO: how they drive growth

The role of a fractional CMO: how they drive growth
Table of contents

There are many elements in marketing that can be outsourced. 

Generally speaking, it’s a win-win since it means bringing more expertise onboard as well as saving time and resources without jeopardising the quality of your marketing efforts. But one of the things to take into consideration is the roles that should be hired to manage each of these different tasks. 

This leads to the next question – could you entrust the entire process to a certain type of experienced marketing leader?

Enter the fractional CMO. 

In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know about them, including the skills and impact they’ll bring to the table.

fractional cmo

What is a fractional CMO?

CMO stands for chief marketing officer. 

A fractional CMO is an external marketing executive. These are experienced marketing leaders to whom you can outsource your entire marketing strategy. 

The word fractional is derived from the fact that they’re not employed with your company as an in-house or full-time employee. Instead, they’ll be working with you as self-employed contractors for a fraction of their time. 

Because of this, they also come at a fraction of the cost compared to hiring a CMO for a permanent position. 

The duties of a fractional CMO 

A fractional CMO is responsible for managing all marketing activities of a company and ensuring that the strategy is driving profit. Since they’re taking on a marketing leadership role, they’ll be focused on putting together a plan that grows the business revenue by increasing sales and conversions.

Devise a comprehensive marketing strategy 

The marketing strategy covers in detail the course of action to be taken to promote your product or service offering in order to increase customer acquisition. 

This includes researching and assessing things such as:

  • Brand positioning
  • Consumer interests
  • Market trends
  • PR opportunities 
  • Marketing channels

Apart from recognising the budget allocation to make this effective, the plan revolves around the context of the business for it to stand out. For instance, the unique value propositions and the trending customer pain points or motivations. 

Using the information, a roadmap is built to provide clarity on achieving each milestone.

Ideate new marketing campaigns 

The fractional CMO will have a lot of experience in different areas of marketing. Meaning, they’re capable of ideating new campaigns to define the overall strategy. Each of the best ideas becomes deliverables for reaching the business objectives. Having this as the fundamental also helps with differentiating from your competitors. 

Here are a few examples:

There are multiple channels to choose from. But what’s important is being in the right places where your potential customers can be found.

Build a demand-gen system 

Most times, there are sales targets set for acquiring new clients each month. However, the first step is to ensure people are aware of your product or service offering. 

That being said, a demand-gen system enables you to build interest and reach qualified audiences. It’s typically concerned with getting more people to the top of your sales funnel by raising:

  • Brand awareness
  • Product awareness
  • Organic traffic

As a natural consequence, it helps with developing the lead-gen system.

Oversee the marketing campaigns 

Overseeing the marketing operations of a company includes tasks such as:

  • Setting measurable goals 
  • Establishing KPIs
  • Making informed decisions
  • Allocating the budget 
  • Identifying market opportunities

Examples of finding a new opportunity could include forming a strategic partnership or expanding into a new segment of the market where demand is high yet competition is relatively low. Or, collaborating with influencers to further raise brand awareness.

The performance of your framework can be tracked by using marketing resources such as HubSpot, Google Analytics, and Search Console.

Optimise the workflow 

The main purpose of optimising the workflow is to help with scaling the company by increasing efficiency and productivity. 

One strategy is to use automation to complete time-consuming tasks. This way, the other areas that require more of your attention can be catered to. Another example is hiring other freelancers, subcontractors, or a marketing agency. 

Throughout the process, you’ll be consulted each step of the way.

Strategic positioning of the business 

The strategic positioning relates to the company’s perceived value. 

In other words, how you want to be portrayed to your audience and customers. A thorough marketing strategy includes understanding each of your selling points and aligning them with your consumer’s needs to distinguish yourself in the market.

Test, test, and test

In order to maximise sales, you’ll need to know what works and what doesn’t. 

At different points during the growth stages, you’ll find new roadblocks to overcome. That’s where developing hypotheses and testing ideas come into play. 

As a fractional CMO has a strong understanding of the sales funnel and how to drive users to take action, they’ll be capable of optimizing the conversion rate of each marketing copy produced. For example, using A/B testing to see what type of call to action performs the best.

The advantages of hiring a fractional CMO 

Outside of the marketing strategy, they’ll also be contributing to other aspects of your company by doing things such as:

  • Hosting presentations
  • Joining conferences and board meetings
  • Sharing ideas and giving feedback

Anyhow, here are some of the main benefits of working with a fractional CMO.

fractional cmo

Minimised risk

In traditional recruitment, you’ll have to make sure the candidate is qualified for the role and a good fit for the company culture. 

However, a fractional CMO costs significantly less time and money. These are executive-level marketers that are hired on a part-time basis as self-employed contractors. Not only does it make them easier to work with, but they’re likely to be experienced working with other companies under similar circumstances. 

Using that knowledge, they’ll advise you from a consultant standpoint to ensure you’re progressing in the right direction for the long-term.

Access to their expertise

The marketing and advertising industry is a broad sector where many professionals tend to specialise in one area such as:

In contrast, a fractional CMO has a diversified knowledge of most marketing channels. 

Having them on board means getting a fresh perspective on your target market and audience, the current strengths and weaknesses, ways to stand out, and industry trends or gaps where you could fit in.

Feedback and mentorship

The position of a chief marketing officer involves showing leadership. That often means giving feedback to help others improve and providing mentorship to your marketing department where it’s necessary to nurture their skills.

Increase customer loyalty and retention

According to an infographic by Invesp, it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it is to retain one. 

To put it another way, customer loyalty and retention are crucial pillars to your company's growth. Apart from having a marketing strategy designed for reaching new audiences, your current customers are equally catered to.

Here are a few examples of strategies to increase customer loyalty:

  • Reward programs
  • Giveaways
  • Make use of customer feedback
  • Humanise your brand
  • Engage with the community

Doing this effectively can lead to increased upsells, repeat purchases, and drive further demand in general. With this in mind, marketing campaigns are set up for different segments of your audience to maximise profit. 

A strong focus on business growth 

A fractional CMO is capable of using a scalable framework for both short-term and long-term growth. Unlike working with an SEO consultant where it takes time to increase your positions on Google, you won’t have to wait as long to see results. 

As experienced marketers, they’re aware of what to prioritise at different stages of the business and how to get past different obstacles. 

For example, if you’re experiencing exponential growth and are looking to scale, they’ll know how to take initiative with your marketing team to achieve the objectives set. They'll also know how to outsource key tasks by bringing onboard the right freelancers.

Qualities to look out for before hiring a fractional CMO

Creativity

Creative leaders have the ability to find ways to personalize the strategy for their audience. This plays a part in standing out and identifying gaps your business could fill to differentiate from your competitors.

Open-mindedness

As the world continues to evolve, it’s vital to have an open mind to not only connect better with different audiences. But, to welcome other approaches and ideas which could lead to innovation.

Empathy

Marketers are usually putting themselves in the shoes of others to see things from a different perspective. This is an important trait for an executive since it enables them to put together a strategy that resonates best with your target customers.

Resilience

Not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes, the unexpected happens which leads to other variables getting in the way of your goals. The resilience of a good fractional CMO however, helps with staying rational in the face of adversity to overcome each of the challenges presented.

Strategic thinking

The fractional CMO is responsible for steering the company vision. Using research and data, it influences the decision-making process and the other factors that should be taken into account to come up with marketing strategies that move the business forward.

Is it worth firing a fractional CMO?

Fractional CMOs are a good solution for growing startup companies and small to medium-sized businesses looking to scale. 

Although they’re dedicating a fraction of their time to work with you, it doesn’t necessarily mean a loss in quality. In fact, it’s productive since you’ll have their full attention and input on the tactics required to achieve the desired results within a set time frame.

Other alternatives to fractional CMOs

The fractional CMO is in charge of leading the marketing activities to propel the growth of your company. 

However, there are other alternatives. Rather than hiring someone to manage the whole strategy, you could hire specialists within that specific line of work. 

In other words, outsourcing each marketing function to professionals that specialize in those areas. For example, for a SaaS startup company, you may want to consider hiring a content marketing specialist to lead the content strategy.

The cost of hiring a fractional CMO 

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a fractional CMO is £40,802. But, this can range from as low as £17,000 and as high as £99,000. 

In contrast, it was found that the average base pay of a full-time chief marketing officer (CMO) is £102,451 per year. This can range from as low as £55,000 and as high as £191,000. 

There’s a clear difference between the salaries of both titles. 

If you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time executive just yet, it’s where fractional CMOs come in. That’s one reason why they’re perfect for businesses in the growth phase whose main priority is to scale to the next level.

Outsource your marketing to skilled leaders in the industry

Outsourcing your marketing to experienced leaders comes with numerous benefits. The only downside is having to go through the recruitment process to find the right person that fits your most complex needs.

When you’ve already got a huge pile of tasks to deal with, having another on top of the list isn’t ideal.

But with Passionfruit, they’ve made it easier for startup companies to work with marketing experts in the industry. Instead of working in your business, focus primarily working on your business by hiring the best marketing specialists.

If you’re looking for a process that is:

  • Fast
  • Convenient 
  • Simple

And most importantly, one that ensures you’re gaining a strategic asset, then you’re in the right place. 

Get access to a talent pool of vetted growth marketers in 72 hours

Reduce the time to hire by getting started with Passionfruit

Sign up for free

Conclusion

Most industries nowadays are packed with competition.

So, it's an advantage to outsource the work to someone who knows how to appeal to your target audience and drive profitability. Compared to hiring a marketing executive full-time, a fractional CMO comes at a significantly lower cost. 

But equally, they’re high-value assets growing in demand.

As an experienced marketing professional, they’ll know how to make the most of your marketing efforts and can translate the long-term objectives into an achievable to-do list.

Astley Cervania is a freelance writer and content marketer. He works with HR Tech and B2B SaaS companies to scale user growth. You can find him online via his website or LinkedIn.

Written by
Professor Passionfruit Illustration
Table of Contents

There are many elements in marketing that can be outsourced. 

Generally speaking, it’s a win-win since it means bringing more expertise onboard as well as saving time and resources without jeopardising the quality of your marketing efforts. But one of the things to take into consideration is the roles that should be hired to manage each of these different tasks. 

This leads to the next question – could you entrust the entire process to a certain type of experienced marketing leader?

Enter the fractional CMO. 

In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know about them, including the skills and impact they’ll bring to the table.

fractional cmo

What is a fractional CMO?

CMO stands for chief marketing officer. 

A fractional CMO is an external marketing executive. These are experienced marketing leaders to whom you can outsource your entire marketing strategy. 

The word fractional is derived from the fact that they’re not employed with your company as an in-house or full-time employee. Instead, they’ll be working with you as self-employed contractors for a fraction of their time. 

Because of this, they also come at a fraction of the cost compared to hiring a CMO for a permanent position. 

The duties of a fractional CMO 

A fractional CMO is responsible for managing all marketing activities of a company and ensuring that the strategy is driving profit. Since they’re taking on a marketing leadership role, they’ll be focused on putting together a plan that grows the business revenue by increasing sales and conversions.

Devise a comprehensive marketing strategy 

The marketing strategy covers in detail the course of action to be taken to promote your product or service offering in order to increase customer acquisition. 

This includes researching and assessing things such as:

  • Brand positioning
  • Consumer interests
  • Market trends
  • PR opportunities 
  • Marketing channels

Apart from recognising the budget allocation to make this effective, the plan revolves around the context of the business for it to stand out. For instance, the unique value propositions and the trending customer pain points or motivations. 

Using the information, a roadmap is built to provide clarity on achieving each milestone.

Ideate new marketing campaigns 

The fractional CMO will have a lot of experience in different areas of marketing. Meaning, they’re capable of ideating new campaigns to define the overall strategy. Each of the best ideas becomes deliverables for reaching the business objectives. Having this as the fundamental also helps with differentiating from your competitors. 

Here are a few examples:

There are multiple channels to choose from. But what’s important is being in the right places where your potential customers can be found.

Build a demand-gen system 

Most times, there are sales targets set for acquiring new clients each month. However, the first step is to ensure people are aware of your product or service offering. 

That being said, a demand-gen system enables you to build interest and reach qualified audiences. It’s typically concerned with getting more people to the top of your sales funnel by raising:

  • Brand awareness
  • Product awareness
  • Organic traffic

As a natural consequence, it helps with developing the lead-gen system.

Oversee the marketing campaigns 

Overseeing the marketing operations of a company includes tasks such as:

  • Setting measurable goals 
  • Establishing KPIs
  • Making informed decisions
  • Allocating the budget 
  • Identifying market opportunities

Examples of finding a new opportunity could include forming a strategic partnership or expanding into a new segment of the market where demand is high yet competition is relatively low. Or, collaborating with influencers to further raise brand awareness.

The performance of your framework can be tracked by using marketing resources such as HubSpot, Google Analytics, and Search Console.

Optimise the workflow 

The main purpose of optimising the workflow is to help with scaling the company by increasing efficiency and productivity. 

One strategy is to use automation to complete time-consuming tasks. This way, the other areas that require more of your attention can be catered to. Another example is hiring other freelancers, subcontractors, or a marketing agency. 

Throughout the process, you’ll be consulted each step of the way.

Strategic positioning of the business 

The strategic positioning relates to the company’s perceived value. 

In other words, how you want to be portrayed to your audience and customers. A thorough marketing strategy includes understanding each of your selling points and aligning them with your consumer’s needs to distinguish yourself in the market.

Test, test, and test

In order to maximise sales, you’ll need to know what works and what doesn’t. 

At different points during the growth stages, you’ll find new roadblocks to overcome. That’s where developing hypotheses and testing ideas come into play. 

As a fractional CMO has a strong understanding of the sales funnel and how to drive users to take action, they’ll be capable of optimizing the conversion rate of each marketing copy produced. For example, using A/B testing to see what type of call to action performs the best.

The advantages of hiring a fractional CMO 

Outside of the marketing strategy, they’ll also be contributing to other aspects of your company by doing things such as:

  • Hosting presentations
  • Joining conferences and board meetings
  • Sharing ideas and giving feedback

Anyhow, here are some of the main benefits of working with a fractional CMO.

fractional cmo

Minimised risk

In traditional recruitment, you’ll have to make sure the candidate is qualified for the role and a good fit for the company culture. 

However, a fractional CMO costs significantly less time and money. These are executive-level marketers that are hired on a part-time basis as self-employed contractors. Not only does it make them easier to work with, but they’re likely to be experienced working with other companies under similar circumstances. 

Using that knowledge, they’ll advise you from a consultant standpoint to ensure you’re progressing in the right direction for the long-term.

Access to their expertise

The marketing and advertising industry is a broad sector where many professionals tend to specialise in one area such as:

In contrast, a fractional CMO has a diversified knowledge of most marketing channels. 

Having them on board means getting a fresh perspective on your target market and audience, the current strengths and weaknesses, ways to stand out, and industry trends or gaps where you could fit in.

Feedback and mentorship

The position of a chief marketing officer involves showing leadership. That often means giving feedback to help others improve and providing mentorship to your marketing department where it’s necessary to nurture their skills.

Increase customer loyalty and retention

According to an infographic by Invesp, it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it is to retain one. 

To put it another way, customer loyalty and retention are crucial pillars to your company's growth. Apart from having a marketing strategy designed for reaching new audiences, your current customers are equally catered to.

Here are a few examples of strategies to increase customer loyalty:

  • Reward programs
  • Giveaways
  • Make use of customer feedback
  • Humanise your brand
  • Engage with the community

Doing this effectively can lead to increased upsells, repeat purchases, and drive further demand in general. With this in mind, marketing campaigns are set up for different segments of your audience to maximise profit. 

A strong focus on business growth 

A fractional CMO is capable of using a scalable framework for both short-term and long-term growth. Unlike working with an SEO consultant where it takes time to increase your positions on Google, you won’t have to wait as long to see results. 

As experienced marketers, they’re aware of what to prioritise at different stages of the business and how to get past different obstacles. 

For example, if you’re experiencing exponential growth and are looking to scale, they’ll know how to take initiative with your marketing team to achieve the objectives set. They'll also know how to outsource key tasks by bringing onboard the right freelancers.

Qualities to look out for before hiring a fractional CMO

Creativity

Creative leaders have the ability to find ways to personalize the strategy for their audience. This plays a part in standing out and identifying gaps your business could fill to differentiate from your competitors.

Open-mindedness

As the world continues to evolve, it’s vital to have an open mind to not only connect better with different audiences. But, to welcome other approaches and ideas which could lead to innovation.

Empathy

Marketers are usually putting themselves in the shoes of others to see things from a different perspective. This is an important trait for an executive since it enables them to put together a strategy that resonates best with your target customers.

Resilience

Not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes, the unexpected happens which leads to other variables getting in the way of your goals. The resilience of a good fractional CMO however, helps with staying rational in the face of adversity to overcome each of the challenges presented.

Strategic thinking

The fractional CMO is responsible for steering the company vision. Using research and data, it influences the decision-making process and the other factors that should be taken into account to come up with marketing strategies that move the business forward.

Is it worth firing a fractional CMO?

Fractional CMOs are a good solution for growing startup companies and small to medium-sized businesses looking to scale. 

Although they’re dedicating a fraction of their time to work with you, it doesn’t necessarily mean a loss in quality. In fact, it’s productive since you’ll have their full attention and input on the tactics required to achieve the desired results within a set time frame.

Other alternatives to fractional CMOs

The fractional CMO is in charge of leading the marketing activities to propel the growth of your company. 

However, there are other alternatives. Rather than hiring someone to manage the whole strategy, you could hire specialists within that specific line of work. 

In other words, outsourcing each marketing function to professionals that specialize in those areas. For example, for a SaaS startup company, you may want to consider hiring a content marketing specialist to lead the content strategy.

The cost of hiring a fractional CMO 

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a fractional CMO is £40,802. But, this can range from as low as £17,000 and as high as £99,000. 

In contrast, it was found that the average base pay of a full-time chief marketing officer (CMO) is £102,451 per year. This can range from as low as £55,000 and as high as £191,000. 

There’s a clear difference between the salaries of both titles. 

If you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time executive just yet, it’s where fractional CMOs come in. That’s one reason why they’re perfect for businesses in the growth phase whose main priority is to scale to the next level.

Outsource your marketing to skilled leaders in the industry

Outsourcing your marketing to experienced leaders comes with numerous benefits. The only downside is having to go through the recruitment process to find the right person that fits your most complex needs.

When you’ve already got a huge pile of tasks to deal with, having another on top of the list isn’t ideal.

But with Passionfruit, they’ve made it easier for startup companies to work with marketing experts in the industry. Instead of working in your business, focus primarily working on your business by hiring the best marketing specialists.

If you’re looking for a process that is:

  • Fast
  • Convenient 
  • Simple

And most importantly, one that ensures you’re gaining a strategic asset, then you’re in the right place. 

Get access to a talent pool of vetted growth marketers in 72 hours

Reduce the time to hire by getting started with Passionfruit

Sign up for free

Conclusion

Most industries nowadays are packed with competition.

So, it's an advantage to outsource the work to someone who knows how to appeal to your target audience and drive profitability. Compared to hiring a marketing executive full-time, a fractional CMO comes at a significantly lower cost. 

But equally, they’re high-value assets growing in demand.

As an experienced marketing professional, they’ll know how to make the most of your marketing efforts and can translate the long-term objectives into an achievable to-do list.

Astley Cervania is a freelance writer and content marketer. He works with HR Tech and B2B SaaS companies to scale user growth. You can find him online via his website or LinkedIn.

Written by
Professor Passionfruit Illustration

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