In the unfolding economic crisis of 2020, most business leaders are pushing forward into new territory in one way or another, whether it’s internal restructuring or a complete overhaul of your offerings. Marketing is a high priority to not only survive these relentlessly uncertain times, but also to make sure the work you’re doing now is building towards a more sustainable future for your business. Many early-stage and small businesses are finding that they don’t have the marketing leadership in their C-suite to keep up. 

There are plenty of ways companies end up in this situation: maybe you’ve gotten by without a CMO thus far, but other roles are too busy to manage marketing right now, or maybe things are changing fast in your industry and you need an expert with a wider range of experience. Maybe your company is growing faster than you anticipated and you need a marketing leader who can step in and chart the course until you can afford a full-time executive. An agency could do the trick, but you need a dedicated person “on the ground” with you who can strategize and implement with your team. 

The short-term, big-commitment marketing leader you’re looking for does exist: meet the fractional CMO. This role is typically brought in to build up or manage your company’s marketing function on a part-time or short-term basis. From a cost-benefit standpoint, fractional CMO services deliver an incredible amount of value for much less than what an in-house team of their caliber would cost. The average salary for a full-time CMO is $174,573, and they usually have a marketing director or marketing manager working under them to carry out tactical work (earning average salaries of $87,915 and $65,399, respectively). And that’s before any benefits, payroll taxes or bonuses. All told, hiring a team with all of these roles plus support for digital and social implementation would cost over $400,000 per year in salaries alone. Working with @revenue for fractional CMO services costs about 30% less than that—around $280,000. See what we mean by fractional?

Take a look at some of the benefits a CMO offers that you won’t find with a consultant or a typical agency:

Evolves existing strategies and processes

When tried and true marketing channels aren’t working like they used to, it might seem like you have to abandon your entire strategy and start from scratch with a new approach—especially if you see your competitors finding success with new technology, social channels, etc. and you can’t keep up. Trusting an agency to make these calls for you can feel like a huge risk, and it is. If you don’t know where to start with new channels or how to make the transition without breaking the budget, a fractional CMO will take the time to get to know your existing strategy and make incremental changes to evolve it along with new tools and best practices so you can keep your momentum and your audience as your marketing processes change. 

Crafts and manages a unified strategy with your team

Maybe you’ve tried some new marketing channels and been burned by one-stop solutions that didn’t do what they promised. Opening up new avenues for marketing takes an integrated strategy with someone experienced at the helm keeping a close eye on your metrics and making adjustments as you go. It takes a level of communication with your CEO and your team that most consultants and agencies don’t have the capacity for, but a fractional CMO is flexible to step in and actively manage your strategy in real-time.

High-level partnership

Speaking of communication, if you’ve made a big pivot recently and need to maintain consistency at a big-picture level, a fractional CMO often has the business leadership experience to take part in those C-suite conversations. Lots of companies are finding themselves in need of a high-level manager with the experience to build up a new marketing foundation while sales are lower than usual and they are still smoothing out the operations of a new business model. It can be a challenging time to hire the kind of full-time support you will eventually need, but a fractional CMO will fit the bill until the time is right.

Supports your sales team

Is your sales team struggling to work as a team while client responses are turbulent? Do they have any strategic marketing support, or are they creating their own materials? Often when there isn’t a robust marketing department, the onus falls on the sales team to generate, develop and close their own leads. Trying to get by without a dedicated marketing leader is a recipe for sales team burnout. A fractional CMO will find the gaps that are costing you sales and fill them so your salespeople can do what they do best.

A fractional CMO delivers the marketing leadership you need to keep growing your business while you need to keep cost, commitment and risk to a minimum. But the key factor that can really make or break this decision? The relationship you build with your fractional CMO is mission-critical. You have to find someone you trust, who will tell you the hard truths that will make for a better strategy in the end. At @revenue we call this Professional Love, and we insist on loving all of our clients, especially through their most difficult times.

But all good things must come to an end. Your team might absorb the new processes after the initial implementation, or the new revenue you generate might open up room for a full-time marketing executive. It takes about 6 months to see the full ROI from your CMO, but you may decide to work together for several years. Our team is great at documenting processes to hand back to your team whenever you’re ready. 

Are you as excited as we are about the benefits of a fractional CMO? Get in touch with us and let’s talk about it!