All businesses need marketing, but not all businesses need a full-time marketing executive on their staff. And not just because it’s a considerable expense that many small and mid-sized businesses can’t afford — although that’s true.
Simply put, many businesses don’t have the workload to merit a full-time chief marketing officer’s presence on their marketing team.
Now there is that middle ground. You can indeed get the value of a full-time marketing executive through the practice of hiring and fractional CMO.
This is a forward-thinking way of doing business that more and more companies are turning to.
Let’s delve deeper and see what fractional CMOs are all about.
What is a Fractional CMO?
A fractional CMO is a marketing professional who works with a team remotely instead of coming into the office every day. They provide on-demand marketing assistance and advice as outlined in their contract, but they don’t keep a full-time presence inside of your actual workplace.
Digital technology has made this kind of arrangement a breeze.
A fractional CMO helps companies with all aspects of marketing strategy, including:
- Taking part in the strategic planning process, directing and testing marketing initiatives on your behalf.
- Analyzing and distributing reports about your marketing performance to prepare for future improvements.
- Creating collateral that you can use in your campaigns.
- Helping you build strong content and campaigns, whether paid or organic, to expand your company’s reach among new audiences.
In effect, a fractional CMO oversees your marketing department just as if they were physically present.
They can coordinate with your team leaders, provide input into the budget and help you plan your marketing strategy.
It’s very similar to having an in-house marketing director — except it’s not in-house.
Unlike a day-to-day marketing director, a fractional CMO works under a modular pricing schedule.
Companies pay them for specific services they will actually use instead of paying extra for options they don’t need.
It’s a more efficient, cost-effective system for the company, and it allows a fractional CMO to serve businesses that couldn’t afford their skills otherwise.
The Responsibilities of a Fractional CMO
The easiest way to think about all this is to realize that “fractional” here is just another word for “on-demand” or “project-based.”
Employing a fractional CMO is very much like employing a traditional chief marketing officer, except that they work on a retainer service(s)-specific basis.
Instead of being there in the office daily, they’re there when you need them, offering all the industry knowledge a full-time exec might offer without that full-time salary need.
A fractional CMO is an experienced marketing professional or full-service agency that offers strategic support where you most require it.
Fractional CMOs are great for both your overall marketing efforts and your bottom line.
To hire a fractional CMO is to hire a marketing professional who:
- Works with your marketing team to build a comprehensive marketing strategy molded around your exact business objectives.
- Takes the role of a marketing leader, acting as a source of support, business intelligence, and experience for the rest of your leadership team.
- Directs your marketing department on a part-time basis. A good fractional CMO uses their experience to find opportunities everyone else misses.
A fractional CMO can also assist an existing marketing department in refining the company’s brand.
They help in-house marketing teams keep a consistent, unique voice through every new marketing campaign.
A good fractional CMO can isolate key performance indicators, namely ROI, to measure the company’s marketing initiatives and eliminate waste.
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Why Are Companies Today Drawn to Fractional CMOs?
Marketing has grown increasingly specialized in the age of the search engine, but not all businesses have kept up.
Traditional marketing agencies serve a large roster of clients, but this may also spread their resources too thin.
Hiring a chief marketing officer offers companies bespoke marketing services, but that’s an expensive option.
Hiring a full-service digital marketing agency, like Single Origin Media, who takes on the role of a fractional CMO offers more than a viable alternative.
They still perform the same marketing function and engage in the same strategic planning process, but they now act in a project-based capacity.
Explore New Possibilities With a Fractional CMO
A fractional CMO is open to experimentation in ways other marketing leaders might not be.
They’ve been there and back again in terms of marketing strategy.
They know what works and are interested in finding new ways to implement it.
A fractional CMO loves innovation by the very nature of their job, and they’re constantly willing to take a fresh approach to old problems.
Just consider this: Geography itself restricted where the chief marketing officers of the past could work.
If you wanted a high-priced premium marketing leader, they either had to come to you or vice versa.
But neither you nor fractional CMOs have that kind of limitation anymore.
You can find the best wherever you are, and fractional CMOs can work on whatever project they want, regardless of geography.
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Who Needs Fractional CMOs?
There are many smaller companies that lack the resources to hire a full-time marketing executive. More than that, they work in operational environments that aren’t suitable for a full-timer, such as startups or early-stage companies.
However, any company that wants to streamline its operations can benefit from hiring a fractional CMO. They provide operational-level marketing support on a pick-and-choose basis, allowing you to select the services you want. Businesses sacrifice none of the executive experience and keep the caliber of marketing leadership they’re after.
They Cost Less Than Hiring a Full-Time Chief Marketing Officer
Great marketing leadership is pricey. You can expect to pay around $160,000 per year, at the low end, for a full-time chief marketing officer. That doesn’t include a benefits package: healthcare, paid time-off, retirement, and other perks will easily move your expenses north of $200,000.
Forgive the pun, but a fractional CMO costs only a fraction of that. They deliver their expertise in marketing strategy for anywhere from $200 to $500 an hour. Over the course of the year, that works out to less than half the cost of a full-time chief marketing officer. You can save a bundle of money and still get outstanding marketing leadership for your company with a good fractional CMO.
A fractional CMO essentially works as a skilled consultant at the executive level. They can itemize their service package, offering you only the marketing functions you actually need, while reserving their other talents for other pursuits. But they’ll be there if you need their help on a new marketing initiative.
It’s like a shortcut to fast revenue growth.
The Guiding Principles Single Origin Uses To Ensure Business Growth
At Single Origin, we emphasize testing and data-driven results through all of our marketing strategies. There’s no “spaghetti at the wall” approach here — we know the value of your time and money, so we won’t throw it at untested methods.
That’s because operational efficiency matters to us. We call ourselves Single Origin because we approach every client’s problem as though it were our problem. We believe that uniting our marketing efforts leads to a better outcome and enhances business growth. That’s why we only implement;
- Measurable Results: Single Origin frames its marketing strategies around precise performance indicators, such as conversion rates, click-through-rates and more, to keep our work grounded by hard data.
- End-to-End Marketing Support: We never leave our clients in the lurch. When we set you on the right course, we’ll also be there for any obstacles along the way. There’s no letting go of the wheel before you realize your goal.
- Tracking and Reporting Tools: We use a 3-phase customer relationship management (CRM) strategy to track every customer interaction to the letter. That data forms the basis of all future marketing campaigns conducted on your behalf.
In brief, we treat your marketing strategy as though it were our own. That’s our guiding principle and the focus of everything that we do. It’s the commitment you can expect if you hire our agency as your fractional CMO.
Offering Growth-focused Marketing Leadership & Strategy
Working with an agency that takes on the role of a fractional CMO means applying methods geared toward revenue growth. To achieve that desired outcome, we start with customer data and market analysis. Our fractional CMO approach to every new client we take on is understanding the following:
- The Product: What problem does it solve? Who benefits most from that solution? It’s not always someone you expect.
- The Customer: We don’t believe in selling to a generic “audience.” You have to know the exact person your product benefits, and data analysis achieves that level of targeted insight. A fractional CMO from Single Origin can create a buyer persona that matches your customer base precisely.
- The Market: No marketing strategy goes off in a vacuum. We’ll always account for prevailing micro-and macroeconomic conditions in our planning, with a special emphasis on competitor analysis.
At the end of the day, a Single Origin marketing strategy is about you.
Our Fractional CMO Services
Every company needs marketing, and every company can benefit from having exceptional marketing on their team. A fractional CMO gives you that without the rest of the baggage. You can secure the skills you require while setting aside the commitment you don’t.
Single Origin is a boutique digital marketing agency that proudly offers fractional CMO services to small and mid-sized companies. We specialize in dynamic growth at the enterprise level, so get in touch with us to find out what we can do for you.
Whereas hiring a full-time internal CMO can cost as much as $160,000 on the low-end, hiring a fractional CMO is a more affordable option. Fractional CMOs typically charge an hourly rate of between $200 to $300, so their total cost will vary depending on how many hours they work per month.
An interim CMO comes in to fill an immediate need while you look for someone else. Fractional CMOs look more like part-time marketing executives. They don’t simply fill in for someone else; they provide the full range of marketing services the business actually requires.
Many businesses that don’t need a full-time CMO working in-house can still benefit from a fractional CMO.
Small to mid-sized businesses that can’t justify the price of a full-time chief marketing officer may instead benefit from hiring a fractional CMO. A fractional CMO can use their marketing expertise and leadership experience to help smaller businesses scale their operations upwards.
You evaluate fractional CMOs the same way as any other employee. Establish clear expectations during the hiring process and define key performance indicators to make sure you’re on the same page. While each company sets their own KPIs, you can weigh a fractional CMO’s performance based on improved conversion rates, website traffic and other parameters.
Yes. Unlike a chief marketing officer with a full-time presence, fractional CMOs work under highly adjustable contracts. You can pay them by the hour, via a monthly retainer or according to a more mutually agreeable arrangement.
Fractional CMOs deliver high-level strategic support at every level. Hiring a fractional CMO means hiring a seasoned professional who knows marketing strategy like the back of their hand.
They can iterate and adapt campaigns to your needs, integrate more efficient marketing automation and become a mentor to your entire marketing department. That means fractional CMOs enhance the efficiency and reach of a company’s marketing strategies.