What is a fractional CMO? Do you need one if you have a digital agency?

Posted on April 26, 2022 by Red Javelin 0 Comments

Fractional CMO + Digital Agency-2LinkedIn shows there are more than 14,000 Chief Marketing Jobs available today. The average CMO stays in their job for just about three years. And during the Great Resignation, approximately 33% were marketing leaders. These are just some of the factors leading to the rise of fractional CMOs. In this post, we explore what fractional CMOs are and how they can leverage agency resources to meet your business objectives.

There are plenty of skilled marketers in the world. The problem is finding the right person for the job: someone who will tell you the truth and provide the required guidance for the right price. Sometimes, CEOs and CROs don’t know what they don’t know. Most will just want to spend on lead gen without branding activities. Branding is the long game while lead generation is the short game. To learn more about this, check out this blog post.

Both may believe, that implementing advertising will generate leads. Well, that isn’t necessarily true, it depends on the market conditions, the message, target market, market maturity, and the tactics used. You can burn through money without having a trusted advisor that really understands the in and outs of what the company is trying to achieve. But seasoned CMOs require salaries many small and mid-sized businesses can’t afford.

Here are some eye-opening stats from the recent CMO Survey by Deloitte.

  1. 3% of voluntary resignations during the Great Resignation were marketing leaders.
  2. B2B companies are increasing their marketing spend significantly. B2B product companies are growing budgets from 6% to 9.2% and B2B services companies (SaaS and services) from 13.8% to 17.7% as a percentage of revenue. 
  1. An increase in marketing spending over the next year is expected across all categories including brand building (+11.8%), customer relationship management (+9.5%), new product introductions (+8.8%), customer experience spending (+8.6%), new service introductions (+5.3%), and traditional advertising spending (+2.9%).
  2. Approximately one-third of all digital marketing activities are performed by external parties.

What is a fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is a marketer who works with businesses for a fixed amount of time each month. In other words, they dedicate a fraction of the time that a regular CMO would spend on the company, and they receive a fraction of the pay. Fractional CMOs are a great way to quickly get the benefits of having a marketing expert working on your business without paying the high cost of hiring a full-time CMO.

Why do you need a fractional CMO?

Working with freelance contractors and digital marketing agencies is great for very tactical projects or sales support, but when you’re ready to move beyond the status quo, you should have an experienced marketing person at the helm.

A CMO (or a fractional CMO) can look at your business objectives and put together a marketing plan to help achieve those objectives. They will understand when to employ certain tactics and when not to. They will also take ownership of the success or failure of the marketing campaigns and be able to pivot quickly as the business or market changes.

Fractional CMOs are typically responsible for the following:

  • Developing and implementing the marketing team
  • Driving positioning, segmentation & messaging
  • Owning go-to-market, and launch
  • Optimizing and improving the customer journey - online & offline
  • Building the marketing & sales automation infrastructure
  • Creating prospect onboarding and nurturing programs
  • Creating customer retention and loyalty campaigns
  • Branding, PR, and trademarks
  • Content marketing & thought leadership
  • Paid search and organic search marketing
  • Social marketing and advertising
  • Hiring and onboarding new team members

Do you need an agency if you have a fractional CMO?

The short answer is yes. You need people to execute all the various tactics in the plan. Depending on company size, it is likely that you don’t need to hire every skill set required full-time to execute the plan. A fractional CMO can direct the agency on all the details of the plan.

Benefits of a fractional CMO + a digital agency

There are several benefits to hiring a fraction CMO plus a digital agency.

  1. Technology knowledge –Marketing and sales tech stacks are evolving rapidly. Agencies keep up with the latest changes and innovations taking that off your plate.
  2. Access to a variety of skill sets – There are more than 100+ marketing tactics in use today. Many agencies have a wide variety of skill sets on staff and have access to freelancers and agency partners. It is a lot easier to outsource this than to find the appropriate people and hire them to execute portions of your plan.
  3. Quick Start – Once again, having a solid plan and access to a variety of skilled marketers allows companies to ramp up a program quickly.
  4. Agility – CMOs know how to plan in 30-, 60-, and 90-day increments, making it easy to pivot as the company shifts or the market shifts.

Some agencies offer fractional CMO services like Red Javelin. We become an extension of your team. To learn more, sign up for a free consultation below.

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