Digital marketing

Marketing without a CMO is like steering a ship without a map, a helm, or an anchor.

CMOs offer more than just direction when it comes to developing and executing a marketing strategy. A Gartner article summarizes the importance of a CMO perfectly:

“Once the leader of all things creative and brand, many of today’s CMOs are responsible for every aspect of the customer experience (CX), spanning technology, customer data and analytics, existing account growth and, ultimately, impact on the bottom line.”

The trouble is that many organizations simply don’t have the means to hire a full-time CMO. 

This is where a fractional CMO can make all the difference, bringing C-suite-level expertise at a fraction of the cost. In this blog, we’ll go over what the fractional marketing model is, what a fractional CMO does, and what benefits you can expect from working with a fractional CMO.

This blog is part 1 of a 2-part series. The next installment will help you understand how to find and hire the right CMO for your organization and how to maximize your relationship with your fractional CMO.

Making Sense of Fractional Marketing

More professionals these days are opting to leverage their expertise on a “fractional” basis. In essence, fractional marketing refers to outsourcing a part of your marketing department to a part-time partner. Unlike working with an agency, a fractional member works alongside your team—albeit on a fractional basis.

Likewise, a fractional CMO offers the same C-suite experience you’d expect out of a full-time team member, but at a fraction of what it would cost to hire one. 

They function in much the same way a full-time CMO does, helping organizations understand their target customers and specific marketplace in-depth, creating an appropriate marketing strategy that aligns with their goals, ensuring the marketing strategy is carried out effectively, and focusing on priority-setting and ensuring business growth stays on track.

We mentioned that a fractional partner isn’t like working with an outside agency. That’s because fractional CMOs step in as part of your team, providing guidance like a full-time leader and staying accountable for their responsibilities. They also, as part of their contracts, have to prove their worth and meet the agreed-upon objectives consistently.

Related: Understanding the Value of Fractional CMOs

Why Are More Companies Choosing Fractional CMOs?


While many businesses have embraced the concept of hiring fractional professionals across various departments, the changes fractional leaders can bring to marketing are especially exciting.

Unlike traditional agencies or consultants, who might dip in and out of a project or be driven by short-term goals, a fractional CMO is deeply committed to a company’s long-term growth. Let’s go over a few functions of a fractional CMO.

First, fractional CMOs offer critical control and oversight. Typically, the CEO and COO already have a lot on their plate. Coaching, mentoring, and developing a small marketing team is a big challenge. A fractional CMO can provide key expertise, know-how, and management experience critical for growth.

They also offer unbiased, objective, and independent advice driven by what they’ve seen in the market. Many fractional CMOs come from multiple industries, have experience working with competitors, and have helped dozens of companies similar to yours, giving them the knowledge to know what works and what doesn’t.

And unlike agencies or consultants, fractional CMOs are not “outsiders.” As valued members, they merge strategy and execution, ensuring that they don’t just advise you on what should be done but also ensure it happens in the most effective manner.

Related: What’s the Deal with Fractional CMOs?

What Real Companies Get Out of Working With Fractional CMOs

We’ve discussed the purpose and goals of fractional CMOs. But what do these things look like in action? What kind of changes can you expect from working with one?

First, a fractional CMO will help your company understand what needs to be changed and how to implement those changes. In one example, Fractional CMO Allison Hart helped a company execute a game-changing website refresh.

She figured out what would keep visitors on a page, what kind of messaging would resonate best with visitors, and what key differentiators the company should highlight. 

Another example features Jay Gordman, who helped a company that was facing two distinct issues: 1. Customers were browsing products on their website but weren’t adding anything to their cart, and 2. Customers who did add products to their cart didn’t finalize their purchase.

He helped the company identify a clear bottleneck in the buyer journey and followed up with customers who left the page—and their carts. You can read all about the process here.

Our third story shows just how transformative working with a fractional CMO can be for an early-stage startup. Fractional CMO Chris Daniello helped a company that—despite its substantial funding—was struggling to translate its funding into actual revenue streams and build a foundation in its target market. You can about his process here, but we’ll highlight just some of the results:

  • In just six months, the company increased its revenue by 150%.
  • By optimizing its sales processes, the company increased conversion rates by 30%.

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

Is Fractional Marketing Right for You?

If you need to tap into what your audience is thinking, want to problem-solve hiccups you just can’t seem to get over, or even want guidance knowing which marketing tools to use, reaching out to a fractional CMO can be the right step.

Stay tuned for the next installment in this series, where we’ll go over what you should keep in mind when looking for and hiring a fractional CMO.

If you’re already two steps ahead, you can schedule a no-obligation, 30-minute call to see what a fractional CMO can do for you!

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

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