Digital marketing

The biggest cost for small businesses is labor, accounting for 70% of spending.

As prices go up, businesses have to find smarter ways to fulfill their marketing needs without eating up their finite (and often shrinking) budgets.

A marketing leader is a clear necessity for organizations looking to develop and execute a strong brand strategy, understand their buyers’ wants and needs better, create a more engaging e-commerce environment, and much more.

But hiring a full-time, C-suite leader is simply out of the budget for most small businesses. 

A fractional CMO can give small businesses the leadership they need at a fraction of the cost. In this article, we’ll cover what a fractional CMO is, who needs one, and what the benefits are. We will also go over three real-life stories of companies that used fractional CMOs to their advantage.

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is a senior marketing leader who combines strategy with execution. They serve as a company’s fiduciary partner and are fully committed to that company’s success. They become part of the team and hold both internal staff and vendors accountable for executing a marketing strategy. 

Fractional CMOs work with a company to identify gaps in their marketing strategy, tailor a marketing approach that fits their unique goals and needs, and stay on board to execute that strategy. 

Related: What’s the Deal with Fractional CMOs?

What Does a Fractional CMO Do?

Fractional CMOs use the six fundamentals of marketing to help organizations define, refine, and execute their marketing strategy. 

  • First, they help companies understand where they’re going. 
  • Second, they help companies get clear on who their buyers are. 
  • Third, they help companies position their unique offer. 
  • Fourth, they get marketing and sales working in tandem. 
  • Fifth, they create a cadence for planning and accountability.
  • Sixth, they create a structured process to give companies an optimal return on their marketing investment.

In our case, at yorCMO when a potential client is looking for a fractional CMO, their first step will include a discovery call. This is where both the fractional CMO and the company get clear on the overall objectives of the business, why they need help with their marketing approach, and what they can do together to reach their goals. 

Next, the fractional CMO, the company, a marketing account coordinator, and a client success coach work together to outline the marketing objectives for the next two years. This creates the baseline of the company’s wildly important goal (WIG). During this phase, the team will determine the company’s quick wins for the next 60 days.

From there, the fractional CMO conducts a marketing audit that provides a baseline of where the company is right now. The goal of this process is to ask “What are we doing now, and how is that working for us?” The company then receives a detailed analysis of their current marketing approach, along with recommendations to improve.

Then, the fractional CMO will conduct foundational, action, and kick-off sessions that are focused on creating a report and strategy document that establishes a foundation for the company’s marketing efforts. This also includes metrics, campaign themes, action items, and more.

Finally, the fractional CMO conducts quarterly sprints. They meet with the company and their vendors to execute the two-year marketing goal created in the second step. This process also involves setting up regular check-ins to ensure all team members are accountable for their part in the marketing strategy. During the quarterly kick-off, the fractional CMO delivers the marketing action reports, establishes a quarterly team, conforms budgets and action items, and launches campaigns.

Related: Understanding the Value of Fractional CMOs

Who Needs a Fractional CMO?

One of the primary groups that would benefit from the inclusion of a fractional CMO is small businesses. Over 99% of all businesses in the US are classified as small businesses. That’s a little over 33 million small businesses.

Small businesses have limited budgets, and those budgets are constantly shrinking. Hiring a full-time CMO or marketing leader is simply out of the question.

A fractional CMO provides the same high-quality strategy and execution that a full-time CMO would—but at a fraction of the cost.

Businesses looking to execute changes to their marketing strategy—such as rebranding, developing a new website, interviewing their buyers, and aligning sales and marketing—would benefit from hiring a fractional CMO. 

What Can a Fractional CMO Do For Me? 

Fractional CMOs function similarly to regular, full-time CMOs. 

One of the first things a newly hired fractional CMO will do is conduct a business assessment for an organization. They’ll help identify gaps and weak points in a marketing strategy and help develop solutions, recommend agencies, and assign roles to target those challenges.

Fractional CMOs are also responsible for conducting buyer interviews, which gives companies insight into how their buyers make decisions, what might stop a buyer from making a purchase, and how buyers feel about competitors in the space.

Fractional CMOs also make sure a marketing strategy is properly executed. They use data and analytics to track the performance and make adjustments along the way. They are also savvy about managing a company’s budget, making sure resources are allocated wisely. 

Let’s see what these benefits look like in action.

Related: 5 Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO for CEOs That Go Beyond Lead Generation

Better Marketing, Happier Dogs

K9 Resorts is a luxury dog hotel with 26 open locations and 140 coming soon. 

In 2021, they identified several challenges they wanted to overcome. As they opened new locations, they wanted to break even quickly. They also needed a marketing manager to support new owners during grand openings. And finally, they wanted to automate their follow-up process with current and prospective clients.

Fractional CMO Dave Blanchard gave them exactly what they needed in just four months. Dave helped K9 Resorts break even in record time by using Facebook ads to incentivize pet owners to use their hotels. He also hired two marketing team members to support grand openings and the company’s accelerated growth. Finally, he used HubSpot to create an automated marketing system that automatically followed up on leads.

Dave continued to work with K9 Resorts to help get hotels to full capacity sooner, get insights into which customers are most profitable, optimize budget allocation, and much more.

Jason Parker, CEO of K9 Resorts, says:

“K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel has been working with Dave and yorCMO for more than two years now, and they have been a tremendous help. The #1 reason for bringing them on board was to increase presale revenue and first-year revenue at K9 Resorts facilities throughout the country. 

Within the first year of working with yorCMO, our company created and launched a successful presales program and increased first-year revenue by 50%.”

Read the complete case study here: K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel

Banking on Strong Marketing

Oxford Bank is one of the oldest commercial banks in Oakland County, Michigan, having recently celebrated its 139th year in business.

As the company evolved, their marketing strategy needed to as well. They identified several goals, including becoming more strategic in their marketing approach, building brand awareness, creating more consistent communications, fueling customer and deposit growth, and elevating their reputation as a leading commercial lender.

Fractional CMO Stacy Kamigaki took on the challenge. She first conducted a 45-day marketing audit that consisted of interviewing customers, surveying stakeholders, reviewing the competitive landscape, reviewing the bank’s digital presence and performance, and analyzing existing marketing assets.

Stacy used these findings to help Oxford Bank improve its web metrics using a new Google Analytics tool, which let the bank understand and track user behavior. She also improved LinkedIn impressions by 336%, giving the bank a major boost on the platform. She also helped increase email click-through rates (CTR) by 45% using improved email marketing strategies, creating higher conversion rates.

Nancy Rosentrator, COO of Oxford Bank, says:

“As a fresh voice in the industry, [Stacy has] been both mentor and CMO, pushing us beyond our plateaued state. Her expertise has restructured and realigned our approach, and her emphasis on cross-departmental communication has united our team like never before.  

Stacy’s audit opened our eyes to untapped potential, and her strategic insights have been invaluable. She’s not just about ideas; she brought in resources to support our lean marketing department.”

Read the complete case study here: Oxford Bank Crunches Numbers on Strategic Marketing

Big Smiles All Around

When one dental practice specializing in dental implants realized they were experiencing inconsistent growth, they knew they needed to reevaluate their marketing strategy.

They reached out to fractional CMO Rich Taylor to figure out why their marketing efforts weren’t resulting in greater leads. Rich helped the dental practice realize that first, their marketing tactics were happening in silos.

Second, their marketing and performance goals were only focused on increasing the quantity of leads—not quality. Finally, the sales and clinic operations staff were not aligned with marketing efforts.

They then had an “ah-ha” moment when Rich provided data that showed their marketing was a “leaky bucket.” About half of their online leads couldn’t be contacted, nearly three-quarters of confirmed appointments were no-shows, 80% of free consultations were performed on unqualified patients, and only 2 qualified patients came from every 200 leads.

Rich quickly put in place new processes and controls to make sure the practice’s marketing efforts reached qualified leads. He also developed a nurture strategy to reach candidates for dental implants, so the right people came in for free implant consultations.

As a result, the dental practice increased their monthly revenue by 250% in just a year—while reducing their overall marketing spend by 20%.

Read the complete case study here: Revenue Increase -Oral Surgery Network

Empowering Small Businesses

Small businesses make up an overwhelming majority of US-based organizations, and they have a huge opportunity for growth. About 90% of all US adults say that small businesses provide a better experience than large businesses.

Improving that consumer experience, making sure it stays consistent, and ensuring the proper buyers are reached out to are just a few things a fractional CMO can do for a business.

If a fractional CMO seems like a good fit for you, reach out to us for a no-obligation, 30-minute call to find out how we can help you achieve your marketing goals this year. 

 Not sure if the Fractional Model is a fit for you? Check out our free guide to learn more. 

We Help Growth-Minded CEOs Get the Marketing Expertise They Deserve.

Fractional CMO Services for Continued and Predictable Growth