When you're in the early stages of your startup, chances are you don't have the budget of a household name like Facebook. But that doesn't mean you can't afford a CMO — that is, if you’re willing to get creative in your hiring strategy.
Rather than bring on a full-time chief marketing officer, many startups and growth-focused businesses are hiring fractional CMOs, gaining the expertise they need without the high price tag of a full-time employee. In the absence of capital and resources to support the salary of a full-time CMO, many entrepreneurs are relying on fractional CMOs to give their businesses the edge needed to succeed.
What is a Fractional CMO? A fractional CMO is one who works for your company on an as-needed basis. They offer the same services you expect from a traditional CMO, but they work part-time.
Your fractional CMO will help you develop long-term marketing strategies that bring you value and brand awareness. They'll also help you achieve your short-term goals, like creating and implementing new campaigns or increasing conversion rates.
A fractional CMO is an ideal solution if your company is looking to hire a CMO but doesn't have enough room in the budget for a full-time salary. Fractional CMOs offer all of the benefits of a traditional CMO at a more affordable price point.
Below, we dive into five reasons to hire a fractional CMO — whether you’re looking to get your startup off the ground or need a fresh set of eyes on your marketing strategy to grow your business.
Ready to Double Your Sales?
Our 90 Day Growth Accelerator is to work with you to develop a marketing strategy and execution plan in three workshops.
Effective marketing is so much more than just posting on social media — it's developing creative content and brand strategy based on data-driven insights, crafting compelling stories that resonate with your target audience, and creating engaging relationships with potential clients before they even buy from you.
A fractional CMO is able to step in and offer insights on these objectives at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CMO. These part-time senior marketers only work for a few days or weeks at a time, meaning you get the expertise and creativity of a full-time executive without having to pay for it all year long.
With the flexibility to scale their services up or down, a fractional CMO can work with you on new product launches, campaigns, annual planning, and other services that don’t require year-round support. They can also provide interim leadership between permanent hires or stay on part-time to cover your marketing needs in the long term.
2. They Bring Specialized Knowledge
A fractional CMO brings specialized skills, deep experience, and expertise in areas where you might be lacking. You won’t have to dedicate resources to training your internal team on advanced marketing tactics, because your fractional CMO can step in and provide insights right off the bat.
Essentially, if you’re looking to get your marketing efforts off the ground quickly — and what business doesn’t want that? — you’ll waste no time when you have a fractional CMO to help guide you directly toward the best methods.
A fractional CMO will work with you to figure out your goals and come up with an action plan to reach them. They will then help you execute the plan, test and analyze a variety of marketing tactics, track and measure results, and determine which strategies are working best for your business and which need to be adjusted or eliminated altogether.
In addition, a fractional CMO likely has deep connections within the public relations and advertising arenas that can help you streamline the process of implementing and optimizing such campaigns. With their expertise and access to a network of like-minded professionals, you can launch or grow your business much more quickly than you would be able to do on your own.
3. They Drive Access to Capital
If you've ever watched an episode of "Shark Tank," you know that one of the first things the sharks ask about is sales. Investors evaluate a business based on both its ability to generate cash today and its potential for growth tomorrow.
If you're looking to raise capital for your business, there's one surefire way to catch the attention of venture capitalists and angel investors: show them how you're going to use their funds to hire someone who will help you generate more money. Taking on a fractional CMO with a proven track record of boosting sales is a great way to do this. After all, it's in investors’ best interests, too — they only make money when the companies they invest in generate revenue.
Indeed, in light of the pandemic and recent drive for social justice, the CMO’s role has become more important than ever to stakeholders. Fortune highlights the need for a “deep understanding of stakeholder concerns,” and that understanding needs to come directly from the marketing department — or, more specifically, from your fractional CMO.
Whereas prior to the pandemic, an estimated 70% of CEOs said they had lost faith in their marketing department’s ability to drive growth and ROI, the ever-evolving post-pandemic era looks to be decidedly different. It has meant a total shift in marketing strategy, one now dubbed Brands for Humans (B4H) and developed by the Association of National Advertisers’ Global CMO Growth Council. Rather than B2B or B2C, this new B4H model emphasizes:
● Brand purpose
● Diversity, equity, and inclusion
● Brand and consumer safety
With your fractional CMO’s help, you can implement modern marketing methods that not only address today’s unique B4H model, but also drive positive investor relations.
4. They Improve the Customer Experience
The World Economic Forum reports that, in one global survey across 25 countries, an average of 70% of respondents said they prefer to buy from brands that align with their personal principles. One of a fractional CMO’s most powerful skills is improving the customer experience for today’s consumers and making sure your brand aligns with your customer’s values. Here’s how they do it:
● They build a data-driven marketing strategy. A fractional CMO can help you understand your customers' behavior and sentiment by analyzing data about them from all sources, including social media, email marketing, website traffic, purchasing behavior, and phone calls. A comprehensive view of your customers can reveal opportunities for improving their experience and increasing sales.
● They create a personalized customer experience across channels. Customers expect to have a seamless experience across multiple channels when interacting with a brand — whether it’s through your website, social media pages, emails, apps, or offline at a brick-and-mortar store or event. A fractional CMO can help you coordinate these touchpoints so that your customers always feel like they’re dealing with a single, unified brand, not multiple ones.
● They identify the right tools to help you execute your strategy. A fractional CMO has in-depth knowledge of all the technology and tools available to businesses today, and they know how to use them to improve the customer experience and achieve business goals
5. They Provide Leadership
Because fractional CMOs are typically brought in to help companies with their long-term strategy, they'll likely be on board for a while — perhaps even years. This means they have time to invest in your team and help them develop professionally.
A fractional CMO will work closely with your internal marketing team, providing the leadership, guidance, and external perspective necessary to grow a marketing team into leaders themselves. In addition to helping implement strategy and tactics, they can share their knowledge of marketing best practices and industry trends with employees. This creates a functional, self-sufficient marketing team that can take on new challenges in-house.
Fractional CMOs are also responsible for setting goals for the team, keeping them accountable and working together as a cohesive unit. They'll often be the primary point of contact for your marketers, but they will also maintain communication with relevant teams to ensure all parties are in sync on projects. They'll also strive to keep your employees focused and engaged.
Fractional CMOs can also help with recruiting, training, and onboarding new members of your marketing team. They're often great at identifying talent, as they have had experience working with many different marketers over the years.
Start and Grow With a Fractional CMO
With a fractional CMO, startups and growing businesses get the hands-on support they need from a proven marketing professional without having to sign on the dotted line for a full-time hire. What's more, hiring a CMO with experience in the field will help ensure that you're getting your money's worth.
Entrepreneurs who take a fractional CMO approach are getting up and running faster, as they have a dedicated resource who can take on a significant role in their marketing as their businesses grow.
Are you concerned that your startup or growing business isn't making the most of its marketing? Hiring a fractional CMO could be the right move. Reach out to Simplified Media Agency to discuss how our Simplified CMO offering could be the solution you need to take your business to the next level.
Get out from under your company and start guiding it in the right direction.
Our 90 Day Growth Accelerator is to work with you to develop a marketing strategy and execution plan in three workshops. Through our tested process, we’ll help you find clarity in what you need and maximize your efforts from beginning to end. 3 Workshops in 90 Days.