What is a Fractional CMO and How Can They Help You?

Marketing leadership is vital to a growing company. Much of the role of a marketing manager can be done internally for a SAMM company, but as the business grows and needs change, it’s an important move to bring someone in. However, many small to midsize companies don’t have the means to hire a full-time Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), and a freelance marketer doesn’t always have the same devotion or vested interest that a senior-level marketing professional would.

So, what’s the solution? Many companies are turning to a fractional CMO, which is basically the best of everything without the commitment, salary, and risk of an in-house marketing executive.

Marketing leadership is essential to any company, regardless of the size. The role of a CMO is a full-time gig that requires years of expertise and experience to be effective and get results. This can push your marketing up a notch to help expand reach and sales. Marketing is equal parts psychology and sales—and that delicate balance doesn’t come easy to everyone.

Acknowledging the need for a Fractional CMO means that you’ve come to a point where what you’re doing isn’t working and you simply can’t throw spaghetti at the wall anymore to see what sticks. The guessing game of amateur marketing is real, and it can take a real toll on your company if that’s your sole strategy for years.

Technology changes rapidly, best practices become outdated, new social media platforms gain steam, and every website needs to be refreshed from time to time. An investment in a Fractional CMO or a digital marketing agency, like Pico, who offers this service is an investment in the future of your company, and in your bottom line.

Marketing holds a unique power that requires finesse and strategy. It’s not a job to place on the shoulders of an intern, a sales manager, or yourself! Chances are you are in your zone of genius as a business owner, and that’s where you’ll make the biggest impact.

If you don’t have enough work to warrant hiring a full-time, in-house marketing manager but need some more marketing mojo in your business, a Fractional CMO is the best option.

What is a Fractional CMO?

A Fractional CMO is a contractor who takes on the role of a CMO on a part-time basis. This person is a marketing professional who works with a company virtually and puts into place marketing strategies and practices that otherwise would come from a full-time employee.

A Fractional CMO typically has a few other clients and splits time between them, most likely in the same industry. The proficiency and professionalism are equivalent to an in-house executive or employee, for a more affordable price with flexible hours.

If you’re not worried about someone coming into the office each day or being in every single meeting, a Fractional CMO can help a small to midsize company immensely.

Who Needs a Fractional CMO?

So many different companies across several industries can benefit from a Fractional CMO. The struggle is real when you have more work that you’re capable of doing in a day, or if you don’t have time to nurture your audience with email marketing.

Building an audience, speaking to them directly, and delivering massive value are all things that each and every company needs to succeed. But if that’s not your zone of genius, it’s better to outsource than to bang your head against a wall trying to figure it out.

If you resonate with any of these points, you can benefit from a Fractional CMO.

  1. Small to mid-sized companies who don’t have the budget to hire someone in-house full time
  2. A company who needs to retarget and reassess their current voice, tone, branding
  3. Any company who could benefit from an outside, an objective eye with tons of experience and expertise
  4. A company who isn’t ready for another full-time executive
  5. A company who is growing quickly and hasn’t established an official marketing department, or who hasn’t put time into marketing
  6. A company with a sales team who is creating marketing materials and doing minimal marketing themselves
  7. A new company that needs to focus on the brand and wants to establish a solid marketing foundation off the bat

Whether you’re a new company or you’ve been in business for years, it’s always good to take a step back and look at what is and isn’t working. Ideally, this would be done in the first quarter of the year. But you can also zoom out on your company anytime you feel a refresher is needed.

Taking an honest look at operations, numbers, conversions, data, sales, customer journey, and every single word on your site and your emails are vital. Many companies don’t want to look at this, and that’s when they get stuck in a pattern of forcing, frustration, and falling sales.

A Fractional CMO has a constant pulse on the beat of the marketing industry and can apply that knowledge and proficiency to your company. It’s literally their job to know what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s up next.

Beyond reevaluating where your business is now, they can help you create a projection plan for the future and fill in all the blanks to help you get there. And, they’re likely working with other companies in your industry so it serves you to know what the best practices are as well.

What Are the Roles of a Fractional CMO?

From email communications and social media to a complete launch strategy, anything under the marketing umbrella is what a Fractional CMO can help you with.

  • Brand Management
    From branding and logos to typography and imagery, branding is how people recognize your company. A Fractional CMO will help you put your best foot forward in the online and offline world so people get a sense of your company right off the bat.
  • Market Research + Target Market
    A Fractional CMO will research competitors in the market and ensure your company is always ahead of the curve. They’ll look at what competitors are doing, how companies in similar industries are succeeding, and what’s hot on social media. You’ll also get a good read on your target market.
  • Growth Strategies
    Growth is so much more than making tons of sales. It’s about establishing your company as an authority in your industry and pushing the limits. With the right marketing strategy, growth will feel effortless and fun, all while making you money. The customer journey is everything in a growth strategy, and a Fractional CMO specializes in growth.
  • Social Media
    Social media runs the world. With so many people searching directly on social media, it’s important to have a strong presence. Where does your target market hang out? How does that platform engage them best? What are they searching for and engaging with? A Fractional CMO can help you expand your social media reach to build a community of loyal customers and fans.
  • Communications such as emails, events, etc
    The way you communicate with current and prospective customers is everything. From email marketing to events, you want your communication to be clear and consistent. And the journey that a customer takes from signing up for your newsletter to the point of purchase is the most important.
  • Content and Messaging
    Words carry so much weight, and what you say matters. A Fractional CMO can help you establish consistent content and messaging across all your channels, including your website. You want your content and messaging to be recognizable, consistent, and effective.
  • Tone and Voice
    Some companies are serious and some are more playful. Cultivating your tone and voice is a reflection of your company’s culture and mission. You’ll also further attract your target market with a voice that represents your brand and what you’re doing in the world.
  • Public Persona
    Your company’s public persona is tied to your branding, messaging, communication, social media, and events. Turning a fan into a loyal customer comes down to a few things, and your public persona is one of them.
  • Collaborations and Creative Endeavours
    From brand collabs to creative strategy, cross-promotion is a huge aspect of success online. Marketing isn’t all numbers and data, it’s about the heartbeats that create the data. It’s also about having fun and ensuring your audience sees you doing more than just selling.
  • Reporting and data
    The stuff that makes you go crosseyed is why marketers get out of bed in the morning. CMO’s geek out on spreadsheets, graphs, and charts, and love analyzing all the data available. Leave the numbers to them so you can focus on what gets you out of bed in the morning.
  • SEO + PPC
    SEO is the engine of your website and it’s a fractional CMO’s specialty. Paired with paid media and advertising, you’ll be organically growing your business while also specifically targeting your ideal customer. It’s vital to have a professional in this role so they can impart their experience and expertise, as it can get quite hairy if you don’t know what you’re doing.

This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of all the ways you can incorporate a Fractional CMO in your business. And if you’re in over your head with any of these tasks, it’s best to bring someone in who lives and breathes marketing.

Placing people in a role that is an expression of the “zone of genius” will help you grow your company, focus on what matters to you, remove tasks from your list that you’re not proficient in, and unite the team on a shared mission.

The Bottom Line

Marketing is truly the heartbeat of a company. It’s what keeps things moving, keeps customers engaged, draws in new customers, and polishes everything off before it leaves the proverbial door.

Acknowledging that you’re overwhelmed or in over your head may be difficult to admit, but it will save you so much time and money in the long run. The driving force of hiring a Fractional CMO or a digital marketing agency that encompasses this role is to help your business grow.

If you feel like there’s not enough time in the day or you just don’t know how to do what you want to do, it’s really best to bring someone in. Allow a professional to take your business into their own hands and expand it beyond your belief. Even just one of the roles listed above has the power to completely transform your company when done right and when done consistently.

So, you know you need a Fractional CMO. Now, how do you find one?

At Pico Digital Marketing, we offer Fractional CMO services to our clients who need assistance and expertise. We treat each company as if it were our own and ensure that you’re comfortable and happy at the end of each day.

Our international team of marketing experts work across multiple industries and have different areas of expertise. By hiring a professional agency like Pico, you’re getting a conglomerate of expertise that can’t possibly live in one person alone.

We operate at an executive level with market insights, certifications, awards, best practices, and key performance indicators (KPIs). This is invaluable and expensive when obtained in-house. That’s why outsourcing can save you money and boost your business.

We’ll look through your entire site and start with an audit. Then, we’ll get clear on your goals, on what’s not working, and on how we can shake things up in the best way possible. You’ll have complete control over the direction, and we’ll be the support to help you get to your destination.

Fractional executives are nothing new. Small to midsize companies have been using them for decades, it’s just that many new companies aren’t aware that this is available to them. Tapping into this resource is not only an effective way to grow but also to learn.

When you see your own company through the eyes of a marketing professional, you’ll likely be surprised at the potential they can find.

Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help!

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