What's a Fractional CMO and do you need one?


Employing a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer, Fractional Chief Revenue Officer, or Fractional Chief Growth Officer can be challenging, but the reward is almost always worth it. That said, there is a lot to consider when it comes to this role. You need to find an individual or team that knows how to build structure into your high growth startup, focused on delivering against the revenue targets that your leadership team and board expect. And you need somebody who will keep your customers and team happy while building your brand. Soooo... issalot.

While the process can be daunting, however, it’s a rewarding and worthwhile investment. Before we get to that, though, let’s start at the beginning. What exactly is a Fractional CMO, Fractional CRO, or Fractional CGO?

Simply put, fractional executives are leaders brought in to help take a business from point A to point B at a point at which internally filling the role(s) on a full-time basis isn’t yet justified. Such executives have usually worked in positions such as President, CEO, CxO, SVP, VP, or Director - and the right ones for your company have done so in a similar stage of business

If you’re a big corporation, you’re gonna want to look at people and teams that come from that world. If you’re a scaling startup, however, your needs are totally different. Your fractional executive and growth team’s expertise needs to have its foundation in your business stage. After all, you don’t need a 1% YoY expert - you need a six-figures-to-seven-to-eight-figures schemer.

Fractional executives typically offer their services as independent consultants or through organizations like ours. 

There’s an important fact to note, though. Fractional executives are not your traditional consultants, and firms that offer fractional leadership and teams are not your traditional they-think-you-do types. Although bringing the same (or greater, ahem) knowledge and experience to the table, great fractional executives adopt an active role in your business. They introduce, conduct, and lead - just like their permanent hire counterpart. They may not be employees of the companies with whom they partner, but for all intents and purposes, they’re a very real day-to-day part of your team.

This kind of role was born out of the needs of smaller companies to have serious executive leadership and infrastructure-building - without the full-time executive price tag.

So, what do you get out of a Fractional CMO?

Most importantly, Fractional CMOs will give you value. Bucketloads of it.

Fractional CMOs typically give you more for less.  In Canada, according to payscale.com, a CMO's salary is over $148,000.  You can get the same level of expertise - or even more - at a fraction (see what we did there?) of the price with a Fractional CMO.

Better yet, building a standard level marketing team can hit the hundreds of thousands in annual expenses in short order - a Fractional executive and team can bring a comparable price tag, but are a pre-built engine, coming in with processes, tools, systems, and an immediate ability to work together for partners to deliver results.

Full-time CMOs are faced with many important but less pressing issues to take care of in the day-to-day running of a business. Fractional CMOs and teams, on the other hand, work with specific timelines and sets of goals Whether you are building an ecommerce business model, exploring your creative direction, creating next-level email strategy, or bringing SEO strategies to life, the wide-ranging experience of a Fractional CMO and fractional team is invaluable.

And, just as bringing in any external consulting partner, you have the benefit of seeing your business through external eyes, bringing new thinking and cross-category ideas to the table.

Due to vast and varied experience in delivering marketing and growth consulting services to all brands, Fractional CMOs can be far more effective than their full-time contemporaries.

Fractional CMOs deliver a highly strategic but thorough process in every aspect of your operations. They can help with external growth, sales, and marketing, hiring - and even mentoring and educating of your current team.

It doesn't matter if you already have a marketing team in place either. Fractional CMOs are familiar and skilled with not disturbing your existing infrastructure, rather using it to your advantage. Just remember to keep communication open and clear so that your current full-time team understands exactly how all the pieces will fit together.

Hiring a Fractional CMO isn’t always easy. But it is a bit easier than the process of hiring a full-time CMO – which is another reason why it can be a good idea.

The process of hiring an all-star, full-time CMO for your fast-growing business can take up to a year. Contracting a Fractional CMO and growth team reduces this waiting game dramatically. There is no pressing pause. There is no trying to build an well-oiled machine while you’re still missing a bunch of the parts. 

Hiring a Fractional CMO and growth team prevents serious time-based opportunity cost. Lost time means lost productivity means lost revenue.


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