In the world of marketing, there are a lot of different terms that get thrown around. With so many services available, it can be hard to know which one will best meet your needs and offer you the best return on investment. One term you may not have heard before is fractional CMO. If you're wondering what this means exactly or how it differs from other types of consultants, keep reading
In this piece, you'll learn about the definition of a Fractional CMO and how it differs from other types of marketing consultants. We'll also cover some strategies for finding a marketing consultant that will meet your specific needs so you can have peace-of-mind when moving forward with any campaign or project.
What is a Fractional CMO?
A Fractional CMO is an alternative to hiring a full-time Chief Marketing Officer to work for a company. While very similar to a Marketing Consultant, this person fulfills an executive role within the company by participating in strategic discussions, accessing data to make decisions, and playing the role of your overall marketing decision maker.
The biggest difference between a Fractional CMO and Marketing Consultant is that this person is likely looking closely at your financials, digging deeper into operations, and sitting in on executive meetings. This relationship takes on a role more closely resembling an employee, but without the expense of a full-time salary, office space, or benefits.
Why do companies hire a Fractional CMO?
Every company experiences similar stages of growth and development. One stage we don't often discuss is that of rapid growth. At this point in a company, they experience quickly growing revenue, but the company isn't stable enough to start investing in hiring long-term executive roles. A "Fractional" executive is essentially part-time and serving other companies in a sort of shared-services capacity, so they can make the full salary between several companies rather than just one.
When comparing the option to hire a Fractional CMO versus a Marketing Consultant or Marketing firm, there are two questions to ask:
1) Is someone in the company well-equipped to manage the marketing decisions?
Working with a Marketing Consultant or Marketing Firm often requires working with their teams to make decisions. Someone at the company with intimate knowledge of the financials, sales pipeline, and other data sets needs to be able to assess how to proceed with marketing strategy. Without that knowledge of inner workings of the company, decisions are not going to be as impactful and might simply waste money.
A Fractional CMO can invest time in reviewing the company financials and sales structure to make better decisions regarding marketing strategy and where to invest valuable cash.
2) Do you have the cashflow available to pay someone to serve as a manager?
A Fractional CMO is essentially a manager who earns their income by helping you make decisions. They will hire and manage a Marketing Consultant or Marketing Firm on your company's behalf.
While having a manager can potentially save thousands, it also guarantees that you'll spend thousands per month on their monthly fee.
Fractional CMO's have a large range in pricing based on the number of clients they serve and number hours they provide to your company. The fee can range between $1,500-$7,500 per month.
Your Marketing Consultant or Marketing Firm will directly fulfill your marketing needs by executing services such as digital advertising, SEO, email marketing, content marketing, etc. This means for every hour they work, you're receiving marketing services. These teams usually provide monthly data monitoring and reporting to help you understand how your marketing is performing and make decisions to pivot strategy.
Should I hire a Fractional CMO or go with a Marketing Consultant or Marketing Firm?
If you're not sure how to manage your Marketing Consultant or Marketing Firm, a Fractional CMO can help bridge the knowledge gap within your team and get more out of your advertising spend.
But if someone on your executive team is capable of linking the financials, goals and overall strategy to the marketing you don't need to hire a fractional CMO.
When comparing a Marketing Consultant with a Marketing Firm, the decision will depend on the marketing mix you need to achieve your goals. Marketing Consultants are often specialized and provide only a few service options in order to stay within their areas of expertise. A full-service firm can often perform most of the functions required to manage all of the marketing requirements of your company from pipeline to client management.
When it comes to cost, Marketing Consultants are usually less expensive than Marketing Firms due to lower overhead and more efficient service strategies. A Consultant may require a fee minimum as low as $300 per month while firms often require $3,000 and up for monthly services.