The concept of a fractional C-suite is something that has only recently been popularized in the ‘gig economy.’ But as that concept has boomed, so have searches for the idea of a Fractional CMO. As a service I have offered in the past on a very select basis, I somehow ended up ranking very highly for this term with Google. So I thought it was time to provide a detailed article on what exactly is a fractional CMO, and how do you find a good one!
What is a Fractional CMO?
A fractional CMO is an excellent resource for a company that doesn't necessarily need a full-time, in-house individual to manage its marketing initiatives but does have a lot going on and needs help keeping everything organized.
What does a Fractional CMO do?
A fractional CMO will typically come in on a contract basis, get to know the company's long-term goals, and evaluate its current marketing efforts to ensure that they are serving those goals. It's essential to note that they need to understand the company's long-term goals beyond just wanting to grow because they are the individuals responsible for ensuring that the messaging aligns with those goals.
As the business owner, you are the one who evaluates all the marketing opportunities that come your way, and the fractional CMO is typically the one who helps you decide whether to pursue them. They will also evaluate software that may or may not be implemented and help facilitate campaigns. Once a campaign is underway, they will monitor it to ensure that it's meeting KPI goals and provide reports to the owner. They are also responsible for ensuring that vendors, contractors, or team members are aligned with the long-term goals of the company.
How to find a fractional CMO?
Simply searching for the term is a decent start, but it's important to evaluate them just as much as you would if you were hiring them to be an employee. They should have a marketing background and be able to show you some of the marketing they have done for other companies to get an idea of their style and if it works for you.
Beyond that, I'm a huge advocate of making sure that whatever fractional CMO you hire is a fit for your company culture, that means they should be matching your core values, and they should be getting along with other members on the team, even if they're not going to be interacting with those members of the team all the time.
The importance of communication.
This is still someone who's an acting member of your C-suite and should be invited to leadership retreats, team meetings, and other important company events. Communication is also vital because when done well, a fractional CMO can be a great asset to your team. But poor communication or lack of due diligence on hiring can lead to wasted resources.
My advice is to find a few potential candidates on LinkedIn or through other sources, set up interviews, and have conversations to get to know them better. This will allow you to evaluate not just their marketing skills but also whether they are a good fit for your company culture and values. Hiring the right fractional CMO can help accelerate your company's growth, while the wrong one can be a drain on your resources.
In conclusion, a fractional CMO can be a valuable asset for a company that needs help with its marketing initiatives but doesn't require a full-time, in-house individual. When searching for a fractional CMO, it's crucial to evaluate them for their marketing skills and whether they are a good fit for your company culture and values. Taking the time to find the right fit can make all the difference in accelerating your company's growth.