Digital marketing

So, you’ve decided you want to give fractional CMOs a shot. You’re excited to bring aboard a new marketing leader with expertise in an area you need help with, and you can’t wait to start reaping the benefits.

Pause. Not all fractional CMOs are created equal, and the right fit for one company could be wrong for another. You need a way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment in your fractional leader.

In this blog, we’ll cover criteria you should consider when evaluating different fractional CMOs for your company. You’ll learn about red flags to look out for, how to set clear expectations with your new fractional CMO, and how to maximize your relationship. 

This blog is the second installment in a 2-part series. Click here for part 1, where you’ll learn about the value a fractional CMO can bring to your organization.

Fractional CMO Red Flags to Watch Out For


More professionals are using the “fractional CMO” label, but that doesn’t mean the term applies to everyone. Many professionals will have ulterior motives, such as wanting to sell creative services, technologies, tools, or something else. 

While they may be capable of developing strategies with you, often, those strategies will come with strings attached, such as convincing you to purchase other services for the full package.

Secondly, know that an impressive background—such as working for a Fortune 500 company—is not enough to make a successful fractional CMO. Instead, look for CMOs with recent, ground-level experience in the marketing field. While an impressive pedigree might look good on paper, that same leader may not have been active in a marketing role for many years.

Third, be cautious around anyone who overpromises. The adage “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” applies here. No professional—fractional CMO or otherwise—can predict the future, and promising stellar results could be nothing more than a tactic to convince you to choose them.

Related: Understanding the Value of Fractional CMOs

Selecting the Right Fractional CMO


Now that you know what to avoid, let’s cover a few tips for making sure you’re partnering with the best fractional CMO for the job you need. 

First, you’ll want to define clear objectives with your potential partner. Think about what you expect from the CMO. Do you want them to focus on creating campaigns and content?

Developing data-driven strategies? Leading an entire marketing team? Once you have a clear idea of the role you need your fractional CMO to play, it will be easier to narrow down the list of potential candidates.

Next, make sure their track record matches the goals you’re trying to achieve. Do they have a proven history of helping companies like yours achieve similar goals?

Remember, past success can serve as a reliable indicator of future performance. On a similar note, seek references to validate their ability to reach those goals. Don’t shy away from contacting previous employers or clients to assess the likelihood of their success.

You’ll also want to make sure to demand transparency out of your potential partner. Ensure the fractional CMO is open about their strategies, the tools they use, and the results they expect. This is where being cautious of overpromising (like we discussed above) comes into play. 

Finally, ensure your new fractional CMO is a good cultural fit. Remember that fractional leaders join as part of your team rather than serving as “outsiders,” so be sure you can envision this individual meshing well with your team.

Now that you’ve found your trusted fractional CMO, let’s talk about how to make sure that relationship is fruitful. 

Related: 3 Small Businesses That Bloomed With The Help of Fractional CMOs

Maximizing the Relationship with Your Fractional CMO 

Once your fractional CMO is set up within your company, you’ll want to establish a regular cadence of check-ins to make sure things are functioning properly. Let’s go over a few ways to reap the most benefits out of your partnership.

It goes without saying that you should set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with your fractional CMO. This will guide your CMO and provide measurable results. Remember that fractional leaders work alongside your team, so much like you’d measure the performance of a team member, you can—and should—do the same with your fiduciary partner.

Keep track of these KPIs with the same frequency you would your own, and be ready to pivot should the need arise.

On the topic of pivoting, be ready to accept feedback from your fractional CMO. They may give you details that, while not exciting to hear, are important to know for the success of your company. Similarly, be open with your fractional CMO about the results you’re seeing from their strategies. 

Keep the lines of communication open, and include feedback from the rest of your team as well to ensure everyone is working in tandem. 

Related: 6 Ways a Fractional CMO Can Help Your Business Manage Capacity Issues and Increased Demand

Ready to Find Your Perfect Fit? 

Hiring a trusted fractional CMO is a combination of research, intuition, and due diligence—but the results speak for themselves when there’s a perfect match.

If you’re ready to find the right marketing leader for your organization, schedule a free, 30-minute consultation with one of our fractional CMOs.

Come prepared with questions, goals, and clear expectations. We can’t wait to work with you!

Need guidance on how AI tools can help your business enhance your marketing approach?

 Check out The Role of AI in Marketing for practical advice and insights from real-world peers.