A solid communication program should be a top priority for every organization. Aligning your teams around your core values and executing meaningful interactions with your prospects and clients is critical in today’s rapidly evolving environment.
For organizations that are growing, require communications expertise but lack the budget for a full-time executive-level hire, or simply need a deeper bench, a fractional chief marketing officer (CMO) can be a catalyst for an actionable communications strategy and profitable strategy execution. This unique role can also be an asset to organizations that are gearing up for a major transition or facing revenue loss.
What Makes A Fractional Marketing Pro Different?
A fractional CMO is a senior-level marketing executive brought on board part time or as a contractor, saving organizations the cost of a full-time hire. I’ve worked with many clients as a fractional CMO, and this role can range from a short-term contract to tackle a specific issue to ongoing work as a member of the team who implements and executes marketing functions.
Consultants are typically hired to deliver strategy without execution. Marketing agencies tend to deliver tactical work without strategy transfer. A fractional CMO, however, is a player on your team. They are involved in the strategy and ongoing goals of the whole organization and work in sync with the executive team to meet those goals through marketing and sales engagement. In fact, a good fractional CMO should require a seat at the table — it’s the only way to maximize the effectiveness of their work.
Here are eight situations when a fractional CMO might make sense for your organization, and how you can get the most out of this working relationship.
1. You’re the founder, executive director, principal and/or CEO, yet you are doing the marketing.
By focusing on the things you should be, like the overall strategy and future vision, company culture and profitability, you’ll likely be able to bring more value to the table. To smoothly transition the marketing work from your plate to a fractional CMO, look for someone who has experience in the same or complementary industry as your organization. This fractional CMO should be able to guide you through the transition phase as well, so when interviewing, ask about their process and how they’ve addressed this transition with other clients.
2. You have an awesome, eager, hardworking junior-level marketing team that needs some direction.
A fractional CMO can work with your team to enhance their skills and help drive efficient and effective organizational communications to the next level. Especially in this scenario, it’s important to hire a fractional CMO who fits in with your team and your company culture. Clear communication with your team about why you are bringing on a fractional CMO and how it will benefit their success is critical.
3. You need a fresh take or perspective.
When you’re in the ship looking at the wave in front of you, it’s hard to consider the vastness of the ocean. A fractional CMO can be a helpful adviser to help your leadership team think in new directions, break out of their comfort zone or gain a new vision. Be sure to provide your fractional CMO with enough context so they can offer an educated opinion. This includes providing data and other assets to help them understand your goals and objectives. On the flip side, a creative fractional CMO should ask the right questions to help frame forward-thinking discussions.
4. You’re doing both sales and marketing.
As organizations grow, there is typically a need for a deeper focus on both revenue-generating positions. And unfortunately, when one person is stretched between both, one of the functions is likely to suffer. While it’s imperative sales and marketing are aligned, they are two very different needs for an organization and should be addressed as such. When a full-time hire isn’t an option, a fractional CMO can take the burden off the person responsible for sales and marketing, allowing them to focus on only sales, knowing that they have a team player dedicated to marketing support.
5. You need to align your teams.
A fractional CMO can be an effective mediator when sales and marketing (and sometimes engineering, production or IT) aren’t playing well in the same sandbox. The fractional CMO’s role, in this case, should be to work with the different stakeholders to smooth processes, procedures and communications, resulting in more cohesive and productive teams.
6. You’re ready to expand your reach.
Even if you’re doing a great job of reaching your current clients, developing your demand generation efforts and connecting with new target markets can help you expand your reach. You likely have prospects right on the fringe who, with the right strategy, would convert to customers. This is where you can leverage the expertise of a fractional CMO to make a big impact.
7. You’re transitioning your business.
If you are looking to sell or bring on new investors or partnerships, a marketer can help position your organization so you can gain the most value from your investment opportunity. Bottom line, you want to look your best, quickly. Look for a fractional CMO who can create efficiency through processes and procedures and adaptable marketing strategies. They should also be able to develop a solid marketing plan to help win investors and partnerships.
8. You’re losing revenue.
If you’re losing revenue, something may be wrong with your sales and marketing strategies. A fractional CMO can help you identify the problems, create more efficiency and set you on a course for success. The fractional CMO you hire should be aware of the circumstances in order to focus their energy on creating more efficient and targeted marketing practices to help grow or reach new prospects without breaking the budget.
When your needs and goals are clearly identified, a fractional CMO can be a great resource to help you make a big impact on your marketing and communication program with less investment.
Source: Forbes, 2021