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Fractional CMO – Do You Need One?

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If you own a company, particularly a small or startup one, perhaps you don’t believe you can afford a chief marketing officer (CMO) because of a limited budget.

In such case, you might not think about hiring a fractional CMO either. Or maybe, like many businesses, you might not even know what a fractional CMO is.  It is, in fact, a good option if you can’t hire someone full-time but want more marketing help.

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is simply a part-time Chief Marketing Officer. The person is responsible for marketing strategy and managing the marketing department. They usually work with businesses that need a CMO but do not have the financial capacity for a full-time officer. They can also be hired as contractors or consultants and may work with multiple companies at once.

Fractional CMOs are usually very experienced and too expensive for a small business to hire full-time. This lets you get top-level marketing help at a lower cost.

They are usually hired for specific projects, campaigns, or to fill in for an absent marketing leader. This is a great temporary solution when you can’t afford a full-time CMO.

A strong FCMO can help grow the budget to hire a full-time CMO later. Using their services, companies can meet marketing goals and boost profits without spending too much.

What are the Benefits of a Fractional CMO?

They are Cost-Effective

Many companies choose fractional CMOs to save on hiring, training, and keeping a full-time CMO. This is a cost-effective choice for businesses with limited budgets or shifting marketing needs.

Companies can pay a fractional marketing professional on a part-time or project basis. It can be temporary, or it can be a permanent ongoing relationship. One main advantage is that it can be structured to the business’s needs.

Working with a fractional CMO can save money and bring new ideas and outside expertise. This fresh perspective can lead to great marketing success and help manage costs. Fractional CMOs also help businesses compete with larger companies that have full-time CMOs.

The going salary for a CMO in California, according to, is About $150k base, and according to, it’s quite a bit higher at about $380k average. So hiring a full-time CMO is an investment. Using a fractional CMO and a growth marketing agency (such as us, blatant plug) is a smart move for a smaller business.

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They are Flexible

The flexibility of a fractional CMO is a big advantage for businesses with varying marketing needs. They can hire one for specific projects or campaigns, adjusting marketing efforts as business conditions change.

This avoids the costs and responsibilities of a full-time hire and provides additional resources when needed. They can work as much or as little as the business needs.

A fractional CMO brings a fresh perspective and outside expertise to a company. They are not immersed in company culture and can often see outside the box. Sometimes, this alone is worth the price of admission for a fractional CMO.

They Can be More Seasoned and Have Greater Experience.

Fractional CMOs are usually experienced marketing professionals with experience across multiple industries and business types. They can bring their client’s knowledge, expertise, and insights from their past work. They can also understand the latest trends, technologies, and strategies.

By working with many different companies, they bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to each client, leading to a more innovative and effective marketing strategy.

This outside perspective of a fractional CMO can challenge the status quo and help companies see their marketing efforts from a new angle. This can help them improve their strategies for reaching their target audience and drive growth.

They Can Help Expand the Company as Needed.

A fractional CMO brings their clients a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and insights.

In addition to supporting scaling marketing efforts, a fractional CMO can help companies save time and money. Instead of hiring a full-time CMO, a company can benefit from the expertise of hiring a fractional CMO on a project or retainer basis.

This way, they can avoid long-term commitment and expense. Companies can focus on other business areas while benefiting from a seasoned professional’s strategic guidance and marketing support.

A fractional CMO can ultimately be a valuable partner for companies looking to achieve their marketing goals. This also includes those who are just starting or experiencing rapid growth.

A fractional CMO offers the expertise and flexibility needed in the changing marketing world. They help companies stay competitive and achieve long-term success.

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They Have a Range of Specialized Expertise

Fractional CMOs offer access to specialized marketing expertise, which may not be available in-house. They can also help support an in-house CMO and mentor them with more expertise. They can bring various marketing skills to their clients too, including digital marketing, branding, and product launches.

This proves invaluable, especially for companies launching new products, entering new markets, or aiming to improve their marketing efforts in specific areas. Working with a fractional CMO can help companies stay ahead of the competition.

An FCMO can also act as a bridge to other marketing professionals and resources, like agencies and technology providers. They can offer greater access to specialized marketing knowledge. So, hiring a fractional CMO gives companies the marketing expertise they need, even if they lack in-house resources.

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What Can a Fractional CMO Do?

Marketing Strategy Development and Implementation

The fractional CMO is essential in developing and implementing effective marketing strategies like conducting market research and analyzing data to understand the company’s target audience and competition.

Based on this information, they create a marketing strategy to boost brand awareness, reach the target audience, and drive revenue. The FCMO leads the plan’s implementation, working closely with the company’s marketing team and officers.

They will help execute marketing campaigns, manage budgets, analyze results, and adjust the strategy. They guide and support the marketing team, ensuring everyone is aligned and working effectively to achieve marketing goals. This leads to better marketing efforts, improved brand awareness, and increased revenue at a lower cost.

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Market Research and Analysis

Market research and analysis are main parts of a fractional CMO’s job. They work with the company to deeply understand its target audience, competition, and market trends.

This involves conducting surveys, focus groups, and other research. The fractional CMO analyzes data to find trends, opportunities, and areas to improve. They use this information to create a marketing strategy. It includes tactics to reach the target audience, boost brand awareness, and drive revenue.

The fractional CMO uses market research to track marketing effectiveness over time. Knowing what works helps you achieve your goals. Market research and analysis are important parts of a fractional CMO’s role. They ensure data and strategy are realistic and align with the company’s goals.

Branding and Messaging

The marketing strategy includes tactics to reach a target audience, boost brand awareness, and drive revenue.

Smaller companies often overlook branding. But, it’s very important for any business’s growth. It gets everyone on the same page and presents the right image. It’s what separates professionals from amateurs.

A fractional CMO can help set up a proper branding process, leading to growth and a clear vision.

In essence, they turn the company’s message from “We’re not that organized” to “We are the best at what we do.” How people perceive you is the most important message you can send.

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Digital Marketing and Lead Generation

Digital marketing and lead generation are parts of a fractional CMO’s role in growing your business. The FCMO will develop and execute a digital marketing strategy for various channels. The goal is to generate high-quality leads that the company can convert into customers and engage with the customer base.

The fractional CMO will use data and analytics to continually evaluate the performance of digital marketing efforts and adjust the strategy. This includes testing and optimizing different channels, messaging, and calls to action. This ensures the company is reaching the right audience with the right message and getting results.

By executing a digital marketing strategy, the fractional CMO helps generate leads, build brand awareness, and drive revenue growth.

Product Launch and Go-to-Market Planning

A fractional CMO’s role also includes product launch and go-to-market planning. They can help bring new products to market. They will work with the company to develop a comprehensive go-to-market plan for launching new products.

A go-to-market (GTM) plan is a strategy that outlines how a company will introduce and promote the business to its target customers. It involves identifying the target audience, positioning the product in the market, and creating a marketing strategy to help the company achieve its business goals.

Typically, the GTM plan details the product or service offered. The plan specifies the target audience, outlines the marketing strategy, and identifies the channels the team will use to reach the target audience. It may include pricing, distribution, sales, and customer support information.

The fractional CMO will work closely with other internal teams, such as product development and sales. They ensure effective coordination of every element to align all aspects of the product launch towards the same goals.

Developing a product launch timeline, coordinating product demos/launches, and creating marketing collateral and messaging to support the launch may be part of this effort.

By executing a go-to-market plan effectively, the fractional CMO can help the company launch new products with maximum impact. Generate buzz and reach target audiences effectively, ultimately driving product adoption and revenue growth.

Sales Enablement and Channel Marketing

A fractional CMO helps grow revenue by creating and executing sales enablement and channel marketing programs.

Sales enablement empowers sales teams with the resources, tools, and training they need to sell a company’s products or services effectively.

It includes everything from sales training and content management systems to CRM software and marketing materials. This aims to help salespeople better understand their customers’ needs, customize their sales pitches, and ultimately close more deals.

Channel marketing is a strategy that involves promoting and selling products or services. Channels such as distributors, resellers, and retailers, rather than selling directly to end customers. The goal of channel marketing is to expand a company’s reach.

The FCMO may also create joint marketing and sales plans to provide channel partners with the resources and support they need to sell the product effectively.

By executing these programs, a fractional CMO improves the sales team’s effectiveness and reaches customers through multiple channels. This drives revenue growth and increases the company’s success.

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Marketing Budgeting and Forecasting

Marketing budgeting and forecasting are the biggest roles of FCMOs. They work with the company to create a comprehensive budget, identify marketing goals, determine costs, and allocate resources accordingly.

The fractional CMO also uses market research, industry trends, and data to develop marketing forecasts. They can anticipate changes in customer behavior and predict trends that may impact marketing efforts.

Also, a fractional CMO can help a company succeed by skillfully managing marketing budgeting and forecasting. Effective budgeting and forecasting can do a lot to get the most out of the money you spend and receive the highest ROI.

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The Need for Fractional CMO

A fractional CMO brings expertise and skills to your marketing. They work with you to create a custom plan, helping you reach your marketing goals. Plus, with a fractional CMO, you get professional service at a lower cost.

Are you trying to enhance your market research and analysis? Or perhaps refine your branding and messaging? Maybe you’re looking to boost your digital marketing and lead generation. Or plan your product launch and go-to-market strategy.

Alternatively, you could seek to optimize your sales enablement and channel marketing. Whatever your goals, a fractional CMO can provide the necessary expertise and guidance to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

If you want to learn more about TD Marketing Solutions’ fractional CMO servicescontact us to see how we can help your company succeed in today’s competitive market.

(Oh, and the answer to the question in the page’s title? Do you need one? Well, yes, yes, you do!)



Founder & Executive with a Background in Marketing and Technology | Director of Growth Marketing.