Early in a startup’s lifecycle, the CEO is usually the only one available — and qualified — to do what a typical CMO does. The CEO has to provide leadership and strategy, build awareness, bootstrap and manage marketing functions, accelerate sales and ensure campaigns get ROI.
That can take an increasing percentage of the CEO’s time.
So much so that it can become overwhelming. Growth work is critical, but it takes time away from setting strategy, rallying employees, developing products, talking to customers and meeting investors.
And getting sleep!
Delivering Rapid Growth While Freeing Up CEO Time
A fractional CMO removes the responsibility for planning, executing and reporting on marketing completely from the CEO’s plate. The CEO is now free to monitor and manage the marketing function at its highest level, without getting stuck in the details.
Hiring a full-time CMO at this point would be too early. The hiring process is lengthy and involved. The cost is high. The risk is great.
A fractional CMO can provide the optimal amount of executive support and execution, while not using a full work week to do it. The typical fractional CMO will work 40 hours a month or about 10 hours a week. Just like a “typical” team member, they will be available via Zoom, Google Meet, email, Slack and phone during all normal working business hours.
Later, when successful growth leads to a full-time need, any new full time marketing hire will be walking into a perfect CMO situation. A fractional CMO builds a well-managed, humming marketing engine with rigorous a/b testing.
Moving Beyond Founder-Led Sales and Marketing
CEOs have large networks to tap. These connections take their call, hear them out and take a chance as buyers and subscribers in the early days.
These valuable associations are usually the source of the first round of loyal customers. However, they can’t be relied on for long term growth.
Turning a successful founder-led marketing effort for “warm” connected prospects into a repeatable, holistic system for “cold” marketing is not easy. Many of the marketing lessons learned in the early days need to be tested and unlearned to unlock rapid growth as customer ICPs become more targeted.
Ten Ways a Fractional CMO Can Help My Company Grow
A fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) can be a valuable asset for your company. This is especially true if you’re a smaller or mid-sized business that doesn’t need a full-time CMO.
At a fraction of the cost, a fractional CMO will contribute to your company’s rapid growth:
1. CMO-Level Expertise for Strategy Development:
A fractional CMO brings a wealth of experience and expertise in marketing strategy. They assess your current marketing efforts, identify areas for improvement and develop a comprehensive marketing strategy aligned with your business goals.
2. Efficiency with Fractional Cost:
Hiring a full-time CMO can be expensive, especially for smaller companies. A fractional CMO allows you to access high-level marketing expertise, around the clock, without the costs associated with a full-time executive.
3. Flexibility when You Need It Most:
Fractional CMOs work on a part-time or project basis, providing flexibility in terms of commitment. This allows your company to scale up or down based on your specific needs and budget. It allows the strategy to be tested and changed quickly to meet new customer and market needs – not tired legacy campaigns.
4. Stay Current with Best Practices:
With experience across multiple industries, a fractional CMO brings best practices to your marketing efforts. They weave together their current experiences with other fast-growing companies. They implement proven strategies and tactics that are tailored to your company’s unique challenges and opportunities.
5. Gain an Objective, Expert Perspective:
An external CMO provides an objective view of your marketing efforts. They aren’t tied to internal politics or biases, allowing them to make decisions based on what’s best for the company’s growth. Their role as a fractional chief marketing officer means they are treated – and they act – as insider members of the company’s leadership team, with the same commitment, drive and energy expressed to the team. This means they are ideal for transformations and growth into new areas, where the role combines delivering results while also selling the strategy positively to all internal stakeholders.
6. OKR Goals and Sprint Mindset:
A fractional CMO will quickly assess your marketing needs with a comprehensive research dive and focus on delivering results. They come in with a goal-oriented mindset, ensuring that their efforts contribute directly to the growth of your business with relevant OKRs and timetables for growth.
7. Access to Networks and Resources:
Fractional CMOs have extensive networks and reputation to tap for use in quickly gaining awareness for your brand. This can be beneficial for forming partnerships, collaborations, and accessing resources that can fuel your company’s growth. However, it can also be a good idea to seek out a fresh fractional marketing perspective from a related industry when your goal is to disrupt with a new branding idea.
8. Marketing Technology Stack Advice:
Fractional CMOs stay current with the latest marketing software and AI tools to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing tech stack while also improving integration, ease of use and cost efficiency. It is important that all stakeholders see the data they need to see – in real time – without difficulty or having to log in to multiple systems.
9. Data-Driven Decision-Making:
Fractional CMOs are well-versed in data analytics and use data to drive marketing decisions. This ensures that your marketing strategies are not only creative but also based on measurable and actionable insights. A fractional CMO will make sure you have a real time data dashboard to show the progress of all relevant KPIs and OKRs.
10. Team Leadership and Development:
Many companies combine internal marketing talent with a variety of vendors and software. A fractional CMO provides hiring, leadership, guidance, and mentorship to help your team grow and perform more effectively.
Define Your Expectations First to Get Success
Before engaging a fractional CMO, it’s essential to clearly define your expectations and goals. You can’t draw a map to the mountain if you can’t see it.
It is best to begin here:
- What is the 3-5 year view: where do we need to be?
- Then think about the next 90 days: where do we need to be?
- Think about your ideal, most loyal, most excited customers. Why are they so excited about you?
These ideas, combined with deep competitive and market research, will create a powerful roadmap for growth. The fractional CMO is the driver to take you there by the fastest roads.
With these ideas and measurable goals in hand, a fractional CMO will make a difference from day 1.