What Is a Fractional CMO, and Do You Need One?

Fractional CMO is one of those things that most businesses wouldn’t even think about, in fact they might not even know what one is. A business might believe it cannot afford a chief marketing officer.

It is hard for a small business to afford a dedicated marketing person. This is where a fractional CMO steps in and shines. It is a middle ground where you don’t have to afford a full-time person, but you can jump deeper into the marketing pool.

What is a fractional CMO

A fractional CMO is a part-time Chief Marketing Officer who is responsible for leading the marketing strategy and managing the marketing department. They typically work with businesses that need a CMO but not in a full-time capacity. They can also be hired as a contractor or consultant and may work with several different companies at one time

Ideally they are a seasoned professional that would normally be well out of the budget of a small business. It lets you bring on a heavy hitter marketing professional for a lightweight cost.

They are typically hired for specific projects or campaigns, or to fill in for an absent in-house marketing leader. A good interim measure when the budget won’t cover a full-time CMO.

A strong FCMO can bring the budget up to the point where a full-time CMO can be hired in-house. By leveraging their services, companies can achieve their marketing goals and improve their bottom line without breaking the bank.

What are the benefits of a fractional CMO

They are cost-effective

Many companies today are opting to work with fractional CMOs to save on the expenses of hiring, training, and retaining a full-time CMO. This is a cost-efficient option for businesses with limited budgets or changing 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 of the main advantages is it can be structured to the business’s needs.

In addition to saving money, working with a fractional CMO can also bring new ideas and outside expertise to a company. This fresh perspective can lead to greater marketing success and help keep costs under control.

Overall, fractional CMOs are a practical and effective solution for companies looking to optimize their marketing efforts. By leveraging their services, businesses can compete with larger organizations that have a full-time CMO.

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

They are flexible

The flexibility of working with a fractional CMO is a key advantage for businesses with different marketing demands. They can hire a fractional CMO for specific projects or campaigns, ramping up or scaling down marketing efforts as business conditions change.

This avoids the costs and responsibilities of a full-time hire and provides additional resources during 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 of 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 often seasoned marketing professionals with experience across multiple industries and business types. They can bring knowledge, expertise, and insights to their clients from their other experiences. They can understand the latest trends, technologies, and strategies.

By working with multiple companies, they bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to each client, leading to 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 leads to improved strategies for reaching their target audience and driving growth.

They can help expand the company, as needed.

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

In addition to providing support for scaling marketing efforts, a fractional CMO can also 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 the long-term commitment and expense. Companies can focus their resources on other areas of the business while still benefiting from the strategic guidance and marketing support of a seasoned professional.

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 out or experiencing rapid growth.

By providing the expertise and flexibility needed to navigate the ever-changing marketing landscape, a fractional CMO can help companies stay competitive and achieve long-term success.

They have a range of specialized expertise

A fractional CMO offers access to specialized marketing expertise, which may not be available in-house. A fractional CMO, can also help support an in-house CMO, and mentor them with more expertise.

They can bring various marketing skills to their clients, 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.

A FCMO can act as a bridge to other marketing professionals and resources, like agencies and technology providers. They can offer greater access to specialized marketing knowledge.

Hiring a fractional CMO can help companies obtain the marketing expertise required for success, even if such resources are not readily available in-house.


What are some examples of what a fractional CMO can do?

Marketing strategy development and implementation

The fractional CMO plays a key role in developing and implementing effective marketing strategies. This can be conducting market research and analyzing data to understand the company’s target audience and competition.

Based on this information, they can develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes tactics for increasing brand awareness, reaching the target audience, and driving revenue. The FCMO can then lead the implementation of the plan, working closely with the company’s marketing team and officers.

They will help execute marketing campaigns, manage budgets, analyze results, and make adjustments to the strategy as needed. They provide guidance and support to the marketing team, ensuring that everyone is aligned and working effectively to achieve marketing goals.

This can result in more effective marketing efforts, improved brand awareness, and increased revenue, at a fraction of the cost.

Market research and analysis

Market research and analysis is a critical aspect of a fractional CMO’s role in developing and executing effective marketing strategies. A FCMO will work with the company to gain a deep understanding of its target audience, its competition and its market trends.

This can involve conducting surveys, focus groups, and other forms of market research. The fractional CMO will then analyze the data to identify trends, opportunities, and areas for improvement.

This information can be used to develop a marketing strategy. It can include tactics for reaching the target audience, increasing brand awareness, and driving revenue.

The fractional CMO will also use market research and analysis to track the effectiveness of marketing efforts over time. Knowing what works, and what doesn’t, is what will help you achieve your goals.

Overall, market research and analysis is a key aspect of a fractional CMO’s role. It helps ensure that data and strategy is grounded in reality, and it aligns with the company’s goals and objectives.

Branding and messaging

The marketing strategy can include tactics for reaching a target audience, increasing brand awareness, and driving revenue.

The branding of a company is often overlooked by smaller companies. A fractional CMO can help implement a true branding procedure that will guide the company to increased growth and vision.

A brand is critical for a company’s growth. It is how you get everybody on the same page, and show the correct face to the world. It is what separates the professionals from the amateurs.

Is the message “We are the best at what we do” the message you want to show? Or is it the message “We’re really not that organized” that you want to show? How people perceive you as the most important message you can send.

Digital marketing and lead generation

Digital marketing and lead generation are important aspects of a fractional CMO’s role in driving the growth of your business. The FCMO will develop and execute a digital marketing strategy for various channels. Search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media, email marketing, and more. 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 make adjustments to 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 effectively executing a digital marketing strategy, the fractional CMO can help the company generate leads, build brand awareness, and drive revenue growth.

Product launch and go-to-market planning

Product launch and go-to-market planning is also part of a fractional CMO’s role. 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 its products or services to its target customers. It involves identifying the target audience, positioning the product in the market, and creating a marketing strategy that will help the company achieve its business goals.

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

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 effectively executing a go-to-market plan, 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 is a professional who can help a company increase revenue growth by developing and executing sales enablement and channel marketing programs.

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

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 through various channels. 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 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 effectively, a fractional CMO can help a company improve the effectiveness of the sales team and reach customers through multiple channels. This can ultimately drive revenue growth and increase the company’s success.

Marketing budgeting and forecasting

Marketing budgeting and forecasting is one of the biggest parts of a FCMO’s role. 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.

By skillfully managing marketing budgeting and forecasting, a fractional CMO can help a company achieve business success. Effective budgeting and forecasting is crucial to get the most out of the money you spend and receive the highest ROI.

In conclusion

In conclusion, a fractional CMO can bring a wealth of expertise, experience, and skills to your marketing efforts. By working with you to develop a customized plan, they can help you reach your specific marketing goals.

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 be seeking to optimize your sales enablement and channel marketing. Whatever your goals may be, a fractional CMO can provide the necessary expertise and guidance to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

If you’re interested in learning more about TD Marketing Solutions’ fractional CMO services, contact us today to see how we can help your company succeed in today’s competitive market.

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