Fractional CMO woman working in office

Why a Fractional CMO is Better For Your Bottom Line

The right chief marketing officer (CMO) is instrumental in guiding a company’s marketing and branding. Quality leadership can clarify and define your marketing mission to ensure everyone is working toward the same goal. A clear vision of the company’s branding and communications strengthens relationships with customers and dramatically improves a company’s bottom line. The question? Is a fractional CMO better for your company than a traditional C-suite hire?

Many companies face significant hurdles when it comes to finding a CMO who checks all the boxes. While many companies consider the possibility of leaving the role unfilled, there are better ways to get the benefits of a CMO while navigating around any potential drawbacks.

fractional CMO employee quitting

Issues with Traditional CMOs Make the Case for a Fractional CMO

When you think about filling a vital role in your company, it’s natural to think about full-time hiring, especially at the C-Suite level. However, anyone who has looked at the possibility of adding a CMO, or who has hired one already, has also encountered the role’s many complications.

The Shortest Tenure Around

First of all, CMO tenure is notoriously short. A recently released study showed that the average tenure of a chief marketing officer dropped to just 25.5 months last year. This sort of high turnover can be extremely expensive, both in terms of financial outlay and the amount of time it takes to put someone new into the role. The short tenure is both a symptom of the difficulties surrounding the role of a CMO and a major cause of the problems you’ll face attempting to fill the role with a full-time hire.

A Weakness for too Much Focus on Short-term Goals

This lack of tenure also contributes to prioritizing short-term goals over long-term strategies. New CMOs may not wish to continue programs started by their predecessors. And, when departing C-Suite officers leave, a lot of institutional knowledge leaves with them. All of this means a lack of continuity. This makes it hard for future marketing successes to be built on previous actions.

Keeping Up with New Practices and Skills Proves Difficult

It can also be hard to find traditional CMOs with the training and knowledge to navigate today’s ever-changing marketing landscape. Formal marketing education rarely includes the realities of digital marketing or multi-platform relationships with customers. A CMO with a deep understanding of the channels that are most useful for your brand is a rare and valuable find.

The Money Doesn't Make Sense

Many companies look at the financials and realize it does not make financial sense to hire a qualified CMO. With average salaries that range from $86K to as high as $375K per year, many companies would have trouble justifying the cost.

That cost can be much harder to justify when you realize how hard it can be to quantify the exact benefit of a CMO in your company. Revenue can be attributed to a number of factors. Your market share in your industry, the news cycle, the activities of your sales department, and, yes, marketing all play a part. But, it can be nearly impossible to draw a straight line from any single action to a specific, concrete result. This becomes one of the many reasons company’s look into scaling their marketing and begin looking into a fractional CMO.

How a Fractional CMO Is Different

All of this can make it difficult to hire a CMO. But, there is still an undeniable benefit to bringing in a CMO’s expertise.

A fractional CMO can offer all the benefits and reduce any drawbacks for far less cost.

A fractional chief marketing officer is not a full-time employee. Instead, they are a consultant who can serve your company on a part-time or limited-time basis. Contracts can be custom-fit to the needs of an individual business. Some work for anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a week. Others will take on full-time hours for a set time duration or for the length of a specific marketing campaign.

With a fractional CMO, you are getting the benefit of a highly skilled and experienced employee. However, fractional CMO costs are far lower. Typically, a fractional CMO is paid by the hour. This allows your company to create a contract based both on your current needs and your budget.

The savings associated with a fractional CMO don’t end with lower salary costs. Because a fractional CMO is a contractor, you can also save the other expenses that go with full-time employees. Expenses such as benefits, bonuses, retirement programs, and payroll taxes are all lower.

fractional CMO man presenting marketing strategy

Who Needs a Fractional CMO?

Outsourcing CMO duties can benefit companies in many sets of circumstances. While different companies have different needs, the offerings of a fractional CMO can be customized to meet them. A few instances when a fractional CMO can be an ideal choice:

Your Company Is Seeking More Financial and Organizational Flexibility

Over the past year and a half, many companies have reassessed their needs for in-person, full-time employees in many roles. If you are looking toward a hybrid or fully remote office, a fractional CMO can fit your new structure well.

May Make Sense for a Start-up with Limited Resources

Lean organizations do not always have the funding for six-digit executives. A fractional CMO can be brought in on a basis that fits your budget while providing the marketing leadership that will drive growth.

You Are Facing Financial Uncertainty

Many companies are cautious about spending right now. But, failing to spend enough on marketing can damage your profits. Fractional CMOs allow you to invest where you need to without overspending.

You Need High-Level Marketing Expertise

Fractional CMOs have all of the experience and skills that traditional CMOs do. But, you are only hiring them for the tasks and hours you need. This means you get access to expertise for far less than you would spend on a full-time CMO.

Bringing a fractional CMO in can help you develop a long-term marketing plan. They can guide you in details such as market research, long-term goals, and ongoing marketing calendars. Then, the day-to-day work can be handed to the rest of your marketing team. Ultimately, a fractional CMO is an excellent resource for when you’re current marketing team has reached their maximum capabilities, but your company is ready to go further.

Final Thoughts for Why a Fractional CMO Makes Sense

To stay competitive, companies need to balance top expertise with reasonable costs. Not every company needs a full-time CMO, but most can benefit from the leadership a CMO can give them. By bringing in an on-demand CMO to address your most critical needs, you can realize great benefits without an outsize investment.

Is it time to address your company’s marketing needs? Get in touch with Pollock Marketing Group to learn more about the role a fractional CMO can play in your future success.