A fractional CMO is an on-demand, part-time chief marketing officer. They typically hold the same responsibilities and handle the same tasks as full-time CMOs.
On average, CMOs make approximately $211K/year. Which is why most SMBs and startups can’t afford to hire a full-time CMO.
Whereas fractional CMOs, on average, only make around $130K/year.
Fractional CMOs are part of the On-demand Executives meta trend.
The gig economy is now encompassing senior positions.
In fact, a growing number of companies now list open positions for part-time, virtual or fractional executives (searching for “fractional executive” returns over 130 job postings on Indeed).
Furthermore, a rise in premium talent marketplaces like Toptal and Catalant is supporting this trend by making it easier for companies to find and employ high-end remote talent.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Question: What is a Fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer)?
Answer: A fractional CMO is a marketer who works with businesses for a fixed amount of time in a given month, often just a handful of hours. In other words, they dedicate a portion of their time to your business and work as an extension of your team.
A Fractional CMO, also known as a part-time or outsourced Chief Marketing Officer, is a senior marketing executive who works with companies on a flexible basis to provide strategic marketing leadership and expertise. Fractional CMOs typically work with multiple clients simultaneously, offering their skills and knowledge to drive marketing initiatives, develop marketing strategies, and enhance overall marketing performance for businesses.
Question: What are the benefits of hiring a fractional CMO?
Answer: There are several benefits of hiring a fractional CMO. They can help you develop and execute marketing strategies that align with your business goals. They can also provide you with access to specialized marketing expertise that you may not have in-house. Additionally, they can help you save money by providing you with the marketing support you need without having to hire a full-time employee.
Hiring a Fractional CMO offers several advantages for businesses. Firstly, it provides access to high-level marketing expertise without the cost of a full-time executive. Fractional CMOs bring extensive industry knowledge and strategic thinking to help businesses achieve their marketing goals. They also offer a fresh perspective and bring innovative ideas to the table. Additionally, Fractional CMOs are flexible and can adapt to changing business needs, providing scalable support and ensuring optimal resource allocation.
Question: What are the drawbacks of hiring a Fractional CMO?
Answer: Hiring a Fractional CMO can also have some drawbacks for your business, such as:
- Limited Availability: Fractional CMOs work part-time, so their availability may be limited. This can be challenging if you need someone to work on-site or to be available during specific hours.
- Less Control: Since Fractional CMOs are not full-time employees, you have less control over their work schedule and priorities. This can be challenging if you need someone to work on specific projects or initiatives.
- Potential Conflicts: Fractional CMOs may work with multiple clients at the same time, which can create potential conflicts of interest or confidentiality issues.
Question: How does a fractional CMO differ from an interim CMO?
Answer: An interim CMO is typically brought in to fill a temporary gap in leadership. They are usually hired on a full-time basis and work for an extended period of time until a permanent replacement is found. A fractional CMO, on the other hand, is hired on a part-time basis and works with your team for a fixed amount of time each month.
Question: How does a Fractional CMO differ from a traditional CMO?
Answer: A Fractional CMO differs from a traditional CMO primarily in terms of employment arrangement and time commitment. Traditional CMOs are full-time employees of a company, whereas Fractional CMOs work on a part-time or project basis. Traditional CMOs are dedicated solely to one company, whereas Fractional CMOs work with multiple clients simultaneously. However, both types of CMOs share the responsibility of leading marketing strategies and driving business growth.
Question: How does a Fractional CMO differ from a traditional marketing consultant?
Answer: While both Fractional CMOs and traditional marketing consultants offer marketing expertise, there are key differences between the two. A Fractional CMO typically takes on a more strategic and executive role within the organization, working closely with the company’s leadership team to develop and implement marketing strategies. They act as a part-time member of the executive team, providing guidance and support on an ongoing basis. In contrast, a traditional marketing consultant usually focuses on specific marketing projects or initiatives, offering advice and recommendations but not necessarily taking on a leadership role within the company.
Question: What types of services does a Fractional CMO typically offer?
Answer: Fractional CMOs offer a wide range of services, including marketing strategy development, brand development, lead generation, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and more. Fractional CMOs provide a range of services tailored to the specific needs of each client. These services may include developing comprehensive marketing plans, conducting market research and analysis, overseeing marketing campaigns, optimizing digital marketing strategies, managing marketing budgets, leading marketing teams, enhancing brand positioning, improving customer acquisition and retention, and measuring marketing performance. The specific services offered by a Fractional CMO can be customized based on the unique requirements of the business.
Question: What types of businesses can benefit from hiring a fractional CMO?
Answer: Fractional CMOs can benefit businesses of all sizes and industries. They are particularly useful for small and mid-sized businesses that may not have the resources to hire a full-time marketing executive.
Question: How do you determine if your business needs a Fractional CMO?
Answer: To determine if your business needs a Fractional CMO, consider the following factors:
- Your current marketing strategy: If your marketing efforts are not delivering the desired results or if you lack a coherent marketing strategy, a Fractional CMO can help develop and implement a more effective approach.
- Your marketing budget: If your marketing budget does not allow for a full-time CMO, hiring a Fractional CMO can be a more cost-effective solution.
- Your growth goals: If your company is looking to expand or grow rapidly, a Fractional CMO can provide the strategic guidance needed to achieve those goals.
- Your internal marketing resources: If your marketing team lacks the expertise or bandwidth to manage all of your marketing efforts, a Fractional CMO can help fill those gaps.
Question: How do I choose the right fractional CMO for my business?
Answer: When choosing a fractional CMO for your business, it’s important to look for someone who has experience working with businesses similar to yours. You should also look for someone who has experience in your industry and who has a track record of success.
When selecting a Fractional CMO, it is crucial to consider their expertise, industry experience, and track record of success. Look for a Fractional CMO who has worked with businesses similar to yours or within your industry. Assess their strategic thinking, leadership abilities, and communication skills. It’s also important to have a clear understanding of your marketing goals and ensure that the Fractional CMO aligns with your company’s vision and values. Conduct interviews, request references, and review their past client testimonials to make an informed decision.
Choosing the right Fractional CMO for your business depends on several factors, such as:
- Your Business Goals: You should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts and how a Fractional CMO can help you get there.
- Your Budget: You should have a realistic budget for hiring a Fractional CMO and compare it with the value they can provide for your business.
- Your Expectations: You should have clear expectations for what you want from a Fractional CMO and how you will measure their performance and results.
- Your Compatibility: You should look for a Fractional CMO who has relevant experience in your industry and niche, who shares your vision and values, and who can communicate well with you and your team.
To find and choose the right Fractional CMO for your business, consider the following steps:
- Define your marketing needs and objectives: Clearly outline the marketing challenges and goals your company is facing to help you determine the specific skills and experience needed in a Fractional CMO.
- Research potential candidates: Use professional networks, industry associations, and online platforms like LinkedIn to find Fractional CMOs with relevant experience and expertise.
- Evaluate their track record: Review each candidate’s work history, case studies, and client testimonials to assess their success in delivering results for similar businesses or industries.
- Conduct interviews: Meet with potential Fractional CMOs to discuss your marketing needs and assess their ability to develop and execute on a marketing strategy that aligns with your business goals.
- Check references: Speak with previous clients to gather insights into the candidate’s work style, communication skills, and overall effectiveness as a Fractional CMO.
Question: How do you find and hire a Fractional CMO?
Answer: To find and hire a Fractional CMO, companies can use professional networks, online platforms, or specialized recruitment agencies that focus on connecting businesses with experienced marketing professionals. It is important to carefully evaluate the candidate’s qualifications, industry experience, and track record of success before making a decision. Conducting interviews and asking for references can also help ensure that the selected candidate is a good fit for the company’s needs and culture.
Question: How do I work effectively with a Fractional CMO?
Answer: Working effectively with a Fractional CMO requires trust, communication, and collaboration. Here are some tips to make the most of your relationship with a Fractional CMO:
- Define Your Roles and Responsibilities: You should clarify what tasks and decisions are under the authority of the Fractional CMO and what are under yours or your team’s.
- Set Clear Goals and Metrics: You should agree on the specific goals and metrics that will define the success of your marketing efforts and how they will be tracked and reported.
- Communicate Regularly and Honestly: You should establish regular communication channels and feedback loops with your Fractional CMO and share any updates, challenges, or concerns that may affect your marketing strategy or execution.
- Respect Their Expertise and Autonomy: You should respect the expertise and autonomy of your Fractional CMO and avoid micromanaging or undermining their work. You should also be open to their suggestions and recommendations.
Question: How is the success of a Fractional CMO measured?
Answer: The success of a Fractional CMO can be measured by their ability to achieve the company’s marketing and business objectives, such as increasing brand awareness, generating leads, driving sales, or improving customer retention. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be established at the outset of the engagement to align expectations and track progress. Regular communication and reporting can help ensure that the Fractional CMO’s efforts are aligned with the company’s goals and that their performance is meeting expectations.
Question: What is the typical duration of engagement with a Fractional CMO?
Answer: The duration of engagement with a Fractional CMO can vary depending on the specific needs of the business. Some engagements may be project-based and have a defined timeline, while others can be ongoing and long-term. Fractional CMOs offer flexibility in terms of time commitment, allowing businesses to adjust the duration of the engagement based on their evolving marketing requirements. It is recommended to discuss and establish the expected duration of engagement with the Fractional CMO during the initial planning stages.
Question: How much does it cost to hire a fractional CMO?
Answer: The cost of hiring a fractional CMO can vary depending on several factors, including the amount of time they will be working with your business each month and their level of experience. However, most fractional CMOs charge between $150 and $300 per hour. The cost of hiring a Fractional CMO can vary depending on factors such as the level of experience, scope of work, and duration of engagement. Fractional CMOs typically charge an hourly rate, a monthly retainer, or project-based fees. Rates can range significantly, starting from a few hundred dollars per hour to several thousand dollars per month. It is essential to consider the value that a Fractional CMO can bring to your business and weigh it against the associated costs to determine the appropriate investment.
The cost of hiring a Fractional CMO depends on several factors, such as:
- The Scope of Work: The more services and hours you require from a Fractional CMO, the higher the cost will be.
- The Level of Expertise: The more experienced and skilled a Fractional CMO is, the higher their rate will be.
- The Market Demand: The more demand there is for Fractional CMOs in your industry or niche, the higher their price will be.
There is no fixed or standard rate for hiring a Fractional CMO; it varies depending on the individual or agency you choose. However, according to Forbes, hiring a Fractional CMO can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 per month.
Question: Can a Fractional CMO work remotely?
Answer: Yes, Fractional CMOs can work remotely, providing their services from any location. With advancements in technology and communication tools, remote work has become increasingly common and feasible. Many businesses now embrace remote work arrangements, allowing Fractional CMOs to collaborate effectively with their clients without the need for physical presence. Remote work offers flexibility and convenience for both the business and the Fractional CMO, enabling seamless communication and efficient execution of marketing strategies.
Question: How long is a typical engagement with a Fractional CMO?
Answer: The length of a Fractional CMO engagement can vary depending on the company’s needs and the scope of work. Some businesses may require a Fractional CMO for a short-term project, such as a product launch or rebranding effort, while others may need ongoing support for an indefinite period. It is essential to establish clear expectations and objectives upfront to ensure that the engagement is a success and that both parties are satisfied with the outcome.
Question: How long does it take to see results from working with a fractional CMO?
Answer: The amount of time it takes to see results from working with a fractional CMO can vary depending on several factors, including the scope of the project and the goals you are trying to achieve. However, most businesses start seeing results within the first few months of working with a fractional CMO.
The time it takes to see results from hiring a Fractional CMO depends on several factors, such as:
- The Baseline Situation: The current state of your marketing efforts and performance will affect how quickly you can see improvements from hiring a Fractional CMO.
- The Marketing Strategy: The type of marketing strategy that your Fractional CMO develops and implements will affect how long it takes to generate results. Some strategies may take longer than others to show impact.
- The Marketing Channels: The marketing channels that your Fractional CMO uses will affect how fast you can reach your target audience and convert them into customers. Some channels may have faster feedback loops than others.
There is no definitive answer to how long it takes to see results from hiring a Fractional CMO; it varies depending on the individual situation and goals. However, you should expect to see some results within 90 days of hiring a Fractional CMO.
Question: How can a Fractional CMO help my business grow?
Answer: Fractional CMOs play a vital role in driving business growth through their strategic marketing expertise. They can help businesses identify growth opportunities, refine their target audience, develop effective marketing strategies, and optimize marketing campaigns. Fractional CMOs bring a fresh perspective and can identify areas for improvement in branding, customer acquisition, and retention. By leveraging their industry knowledge and experience, Fractional CMOs can guide businesses in making informed marketing decisions and achieving sustainable growth.
Question: Can a Fractional CMO help with digital marketing and social media?
Answer: Yes, a Fractional CMO can help with digital marketing and social media strategies, as they often have a comprehensive understanding of various marketing channels and best practices. They can provide guidance on optimizing digital marketing efforts, identifying new opportunities, and leveraging social media platforms to achieve business objectives.
Question: How can a Fractional CMO help with digital marketing?
Answer: A Fractional CMO can help with digital marketing by developing and implementing comprehensive strategies that encompass search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and more. They can also analyze and optimize digital marketing efforts to ensure maximum ROI and drive growth through online channels.
Question: Can a Fractional CMO work with my existing marketing team?
Answer: Yes, a Fractional CMO can work with your existing marketing team to provide strategic guidance, mentorship, and expertise. They can help to fill knowledge gaps, improve team efficiency, and ensure alignment with overall business goals. This collaborative approach enables your marketing team to learn from an experienced professional and achieve better results.
Question: Are there any risks or challenges associated with hiring a Fractional CMO?
Answer: While hiring a Fractional CMO offers numerous benefits, there are some potential risks and challenges to consider. The success of the engagement relies on effective communication and collaboration between the business and the Fractional CMO. Lack of alignment in goals, expectations, or communication can hinder the effectiveness of the partnership. Additionally, as Fractional CMOs work with multiple clients, there may be limitations on their availability or capacity to dedicate extensive time to each client. It is essential to establish clear communication channels, set realistic expectations, and maintain a proactive approach to ensure a successful collaboration.
Question: Can I hire multiple fractional CMOs at once?
Answer: Yes, you can hire multiple fractional CMOs at once if you need additional marketing support. However, it’s important to ensure that they are all working together effectively and that their efforts are aligned with your overall marketing strategy.
Question: How do I get started with hiring a fractional CMO?
Answer: To get started with hiring a fractional CMO, you should begin by identifying your business goals and the specific marketing challenges you are facing. You should then research potential candidates and schedule consultations to discuss your needs and determine if they are the right fit for your business.
Question: What are some best practices for hiring a Fractional CMO?
Answer: Hiring a Fractional CMO can be a great way to enhance your marketing efforts and grow your business. However, you need to follow some best practices to ensure that you hire the right person for the job and get the best value for your money. Here are some tips to help you hire a successful fractional chief marketing officer:
- Do Your Research: Before you start looking for candidates, you should do some research on what fractional chief marketing officers do, what skills they need, what services they offer, what rates they charge, etc.
- Define Your Needs and Goals: Before you contact any candidates, you should define your needs and goals clearly. You should identify what problems you want to solve with your marketing efforts, what outcomes you want to achieve, what budget you have available etc.
- Interview Multiple Candidates: Once you have narrowed down your list of potential candidates based on their qualifications and reviews, you should interview them personally or virtually. You should ask them about their experience working with similar businesses like yours; their approach to developing and executing marketing strategies; their availability; their communication style; etc.
- Check Their References and Portfolio: Before you make any final decisions; you should check their references; portfolio; testimonials; etc.; You should ask their previous clients about their satisfaction level; results achieved; challenges faced; etc.; You should also review their portfolio of work samples; case studies; etc.
Question: What are some examples of successful businesses that hired a Fractional CMO?
Answer: There are many examples of successful businesses that hired a Fractional CMO to boost their marketing efforts and achieve their goals. Here are some case studies that showcase how different businesses benefited from hiring a Fractional CMO:
- goTRG: goTRG is an e-commerce solutions provider that hired Ber Mitchell as their fractional chief marketing officer in 2019. Mitchell helped goTRG increase their website traffic by 400%, generate over 100 qualified leads per month, and grow their revenue by 300% in one year.
- Lendio Franchising: Lendio Franchising is an online marketplace that connects small business owners with lenders. They hired Mark Coronna as their fractional chief marketing officer in 2018. Coronna helped Lendio Franchising develop and execute an integrated marketing plan that increased their brand awareness, lead generation, franchise sales, and customer retention.
- Nuvolo Technologies Corporation (Nuvolo): Nuvolo is an enterprise asset management platform that hired Tom Berger as their fractional chief marketing officer in 2017. Berger helped Nuvolo create and implement a strategic marketing plan that increased their website traffic by 600%, generated over 1,000 leads per quarter, and grew their annual recurring revenue by 300% in two years.