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What is a fractional CMO, how are they different from a marketing agency, and how can they support your business?

A fractional CMO is an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer. They work on a part-time or contract basis with a handful of companies at the same time. They may also have a specialty in a specific industry.

However, unlike marketing consultants, a part time CMO is typically considered an extension of an internal team. They are highly involved in marketing strategy and business development. And in some cases, they can also oversee marketing implementation.

what is a fractional cmo

Watch our YouTube video where we break down what a fractional CMO is, and what value they can bring to a company!

What does a fractional CMO do?

A fractional CMO can do a lot for your company; however, their responsibilities will differ based on your company’s chosen relationship with them.

A fractional CMO usually works with companies in three different ways:

  • Do It For You: With a DIFY relationship, a fractional CMO will come with a fractional marketing team. In this situation, not only will the fractional CMO help develop a successful marketing strategy, but they’ll implement it, too. This team usually includes all the typical components of a marketing agency – content writers, designers, developers, digital marketing specialists, and more.
  • Do It With You: When you work with a fractional CMO in a DIWY situation, the CMO does not come with their own team. Instead, they’re likely supplementing and directing current (or future) internal marketing staff.
  • Do It Yourself: A DIY fractional CMO relationship usually only consists of one-on-one coaching and strategy development. They may also help you source budget-friendly freelancers to execute specific marketing initiatives. This is ideal for SMBs just starting to dip their feet into marketing.

Depending on which relationship your company decides to pursue, day-to-day activities can vary. This being said, there’s nothing marketing-related that a fractional CMO can’t help with.

A fractional CMO can help you:

  • Create a brand messaging playbook
  • Build and implement a marketing plan and execution roadmap
  • Grow and nurture your email list
  • Track and review monthly, quarterly, and annual data
  • Hire freelance, part-time, or full-time marketing employees
  • Build a marketing budget
  • Help with paid marketing campaigns
  • Assist with managing internal marketing employees
  • Create an SEO strategy
  • Align sales and marketing processes
  • And a whole lot more…

While a fractional CMO can help you with a variety of initiatives, they are considered a top-level, highly experienced executive.

In other words, you can’t expect your fractional CMO to be the one actually running paid ads, writing online articles, designing emails, or any similar marketing activity. This is where a fractional marketing team or internal marketing employees come into play.

How is an Outsourced CMO different from an agency?

A fractional CMO – and a fractional marketing team – operate differently from a marketing agency. Here are the four main differences:

  • This type of CMO is an extension of your team. A marketing agency is an outside provider.
  • A fractional Chief Marketing Officer and fractional marketing team customize marketing activities based on your company’s individual needs. A marketing agency typically works off a predetermined set of marketing activities based on their specialties.
  • Your CMO is part of company meetings and decisions. A marketing agency is usually not involved in internal meetings or decisions.
  • The CMO focuses on growth and results across all marketing initiatives. A marketing agency focuses on individual deliverables that fall within their tightly defined scope of work.

Who Needs a Fractional CMO?

Many companies can benefit from a part time CMO due to the fluid nature of the role. An outsourced CMO can join your team to supplement, oversee, or fully take over marketing initiatives (either on a short-term or long-term basis).

This type of CMO might be the right fit for your company if:

  • Your current marketing team needs more direction
  • Your company lacks a clear marketing strategy
  • You have no marketing team
  • Your sales and marketing team struggle to work together
  • You’re looking to expand into new markets
  • Your company wants to try digital marketing for the first time
  • You don’t have enough revenue or internal marketing needs to justify a full-time CMO

Let Us Provide A Fractional Chief Marketing Officer for You

At The Marketing Blender, we work with B2B companies all across the country who are looking to meet their marketing challenges head-on. Whether you’re looking to accelerate revenue growth, get strategic clarity & messaging, or improve ROI on marketing spend, we’d love to help.

Get more information on our fractional CMO services or check out our additional resources: