What Is a Fractional CMO?

By Sarah K Perlman
August 12, 2022

A fractional chief marketing officer (or fractional CMO) can be a huge boon for your business. This title applies to an executive-level contractor who provides strategic marketing support. The “fractional” part describes how the contractor divides their time between various companies.

This part-time, outsourced addition to the marketing staff can help determine strategy and manage implementation of marketing plans. They can provide objective, expert opinions about the current state of the marketing department, including processes, initiatives, and staff structure.

A fractional CMO can perform a range of tasks, like conducting a marketing audit or developing a strategic plan. They can also perform managerial duties as they oversee the tactical work that an existing marketing team takes on.

What Are the Benefits of a Fractional CMO?

There are many reasons why a fractional CMO would be the best choice for a business. When it comes to business expenses, the obvious benefits are the same for all contractors.

First, the considerably long and expensive hiring process for executive-level workers can be saved. A fractional CMO needs no company onboarding and can engage immediately.

Next, by using an outsourced consultant, the company saves money on the financial burden of a full-time employee (payroll, taxes, insurance, etc.). This translates to savings on overhead expenses (which is what marketing is commonly categorized as).

Consider the tasks you assign to your team, as well. In most organizations, administrative work is spread across multiple employees. By eliminating all administrative tasks from the top marketing employee, a business can pay for only as much expertise as they need. This ability to scale up or down as needed will give a much better ROI on the marketing executive position.

There are more specific benefits to a fractional CMO, too. An objective contractor can analyze the business goals and provide strategic guidance without the politics that come from internal pressure. They can work to further those goals proactively and develop a tactical plan that follows the strategy.

A fractional CMO can also be a leader, manager, and teacher. Marketing staff can work with an expert who teaches them to work efficiently toward common goals. The team will be able to learn from years of marketing experience across many categories, like marketing operations, digital marketing, brand management, and more.

What might be the biggest benefit for small to mid-size businesses is the ability of the fractional CMO to remove the marketing burden from the CEO or another leader who doesn’t specialize in marketing. If a business is able to accomplish their marketing goals with 5 hours a week of strategic guidance, this could relieve 3x that burden from someone who must work harder to achieve the same (or worse) results.

Interested in exploring a fractional CMO arrangement? Book a call with Sarah today to learn more.

The 10 Commandments of Branding

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