Why Hire a Fractional CMO?

by Nicolle Martin

Many companies, especially small and midsize companies, need marketing support but don’t know exactly what to get. Often, they will hire a marketing coordinator, thinking that person can come in and make a difference. The problem is that a person in a coordinator-level position most likely doesn’t have the experience necessary to provide strategy and planning. Instead, that person becomes a glorified assistant doing reactive work.

A fractional CMO is an outsourced marketing executive that can perform all the functions of a chief marketing officer, including strategy, planning and implementation, without a company having to commit to a long-term, full-time salary. These professionals have in-depth marketing experience and can assess your organization, deliver a full marketing plan and budget, as well as help with the day-to-day implementation. If you have a team in place, a fractional CMO can provide direction and oversight for the work they are doing to make sure it fits the overall goals and plan objectives that have been put in place and agreed upon by the senior managers.

Here are a few things to consider when looking at fractional CMO candidates:

  • What is their experience level? You want to make sure you find a professional that has the right experience to be effective as a fractional CMO. What roles have they had in the past? What differences did they make for the companies they worked for? You can interview these professionals just like you would someone you are bringing on full-time.
  • Have they worked in your industry? Having someone with experience to your specific industry or a similar industry is very important. They can bring with them relationships to editors, bloggers and other thought leaders in the field. Also, they understand what is important for your company to participate in and what is not. We all know there are a ton of awards and other recognitions out there – some are legit, others are less so. Someone who is familiar with the industry will be able to provide proper guidance.
  • Are they a fit for your company? If you have a marketing team, make sure they have experience managing and giving direction to a team. If you don’t have a team, make sure they have the resources available to them to get the work they are putting in their strategic plan completed. Do an interview. Make sure their personalities and ideas are a fit for the team you have in place.
  • What do you want to accomplish by hiring a fractional CMO? Know what you are trying to accomplish by hiring a fractional CMO. Are you looking for someone to come in on a contract basis to help with strategy and goal setting, or are you in the market for a full-time CMO, but need someone in the interim to fill the gap? Having this conversation upfront will help ensure whatever path you are on is successful.

 And when you decide hiring a fractional CMO is the right move for your organization, make sure you provide the resources and information needed for this person to be successful. Remember, your fractional CMO is coming into your organization as an expert in marketing but will need to learn your company and your resources. The more available you are, the more success you will see from the relationship. Bottom line – a fractional CMO is a great option for companies looking for a professional that can advise on strategy, budget and goals and objectives, all while helping with the implementation and details around accomplishing those goals.

About the Author

Nicolle Martin is a senior account manager for Edge Marketing. She has more than 20 years of experience doing public relations and marketing in the legal and accounting industries.

Nicolle and her husband have two teenaged daughters and a dog, Jax, who is treated like a human member of the family.