Fractional CMO

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by Foti Panagiotakopoulos Founder at GrowthMentor

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If your company’s size is expanding, you will need someone to make sure that your marketing strategy is contributing to your growth. 

In most businesses, this falls under the responsibility of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). They can help you develop new strategies to attract customers and maintain growth. 

But one common problem with CMO is that they tend to be very expensive to keep on the payroll. Small or medium-sized businesses may find it difficult to pay them. That’s where the fractional CMO (fCMO) comes in: they can offer you the same service but at a fraction of the cost.

Here is how they can do that and why you should consider hiring one as soon as possible!

What Is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO (fCMO) does everything you would expect a marketer-in-chief to do. The “fractional” in the job title refers to their short work hours and smaller salary compared to a full-time CMO. Here are some of their tasks:

  • Take responsibility for every marketing program. 
  • Develop new acquisition strategies. 
  • Provide critical insights into the latest trends in the market for business growth.

The only difference is that they aren’t full-time staff members. Instead, they will only work with you for a fixed amount of time in a month (typically for a few hours).

Fractional CMOs can help with the marketing strategy and only cost a fraction of the money it takes to hire a full-time CMO. 

This is especially important for startups and bootstrappers with a tight marketing budget.

Why You Should Consider Hiring a Fractional CMO

The biggest benefit of hiring an fCMO is the cost. They are far more affordable than a full-time CMO.

Hiring a fractional CMO is a more practical choice than employing a full-time one. Not every company will need a CMO working around the clock. 

Startups should hire a fractional CMO over a full-time one if they:

  • Are budget-constrained
  • Have a small scope of tasks to do
  • Only need help with creating an overall strategy
  • Don’t have a big team to manage
  • Already have marketing managers, coordinators and executives to execute on the strategy

A fractional CMO can spend a few hours working with you to think up a plan to set everything straight.  

Additionally, you most likely won’t even need to provide your fCMO with an office or amenities in certain cases. Plenty of fractional remote CMO out there that can do their job fully online. That further reduces the costs you must spend on accommodating them.

Related: Learn more about what VPs of Growth and T-Shaped Marketers are

How a Fractional CMO Can Help Your Company Grow

As their job title suggests, the fCMO will fit in as the head of your marketing department. 

They will:

  • Take control of your marketing campaigns: This includes helping you plan. They put in place and manage new marketing projects using their expertise.
  • Develop marketing strategies: They will analyze the market and help you come up with new marketing strategies to boost sales and maintain growth.
  • Provide training: fCMOs can be “personal trainers” for your in-house marketing teams. They will act as a mentor and help improve the working skills of everyone.
  • Give feedback: fCMOs will write feedback to you about the overall state of your company. You can use these reports to draw up future improvement plans. Because they aren’t a permanent part of your team, fCMOs will be very honest. They won’t shy away from giving you a no-BS picture of your company’s work. Their reports can be invaluable in improving and maintaining future growth.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Fractional CMO?

The rate varies depending on the experience and skill level of the fractional CMO in question. 

On average, the hourly rate is between $200 to $375. If you contracted them to work with you for about 40 hours a month, that’s $8,000 to $15,000 a month (or $96,000 to $180,000 a year).

This doesn’t include the retainer fee, which most fCMOs on the market will charge. The fee is typically in the region of $8,000 to $10,000.

That may sound like a very steep cost for an executive only working part-time, but if you compare that with the cost of hiring a full-time CMO, you will see how much of a bargain it is.

According to Glassdoor, the average full-time CMO makes around $200,000 per year in the US. Even if you hire the best fCMO at the rate of $375 an hour, you will still make a saving of about $20,000 a year!

Where You Can Find Good Fractional CMOs?

Finding fCMOs is no different from finding regular staffers and employees. You need to have all the bases covered because recruiting fCMOs can be a competitive business.  

To find the right fCMO for your start-up take at look at: 

  • Trade associations are a great place to start in your search for a fractional CMO. You can find a list of US-based ones here. They will often maintain lists and directories of professionals who cover all aspects of marketing, including fractional CMOs.
  • LinkedIn and Twitter can be an invaluable resource for anyone looking to hire a new recruit. LinkedIn allows you to post job postings. Both social media platforms have lively business communities where your typical fCMO will tend to hang out online.
  • Peers or business partners are great at providing referrals if they have used someone good in the past. Word-of-mouth spreads if the person doing the work is good at their job so keep an eye and ear out for what your industry colleagues are saying.
  • Specialized agencies can help here too. This might be an executive recruitment agency or a broker platform that brings businesses and freelancers together.

Find a Fractional CMO with GrowMentor

Kickstarting a start-up is hard, but keeping it alive and thriving is even harder. Besides the correct strategy, you will also need the right people in the right position at the right time. 

A fractional CMO might be who you’re looking for, especially if your company has started to take off. If you need advice and mentoring on how to proceed, you can drop us a call at GrowthMentor!

Suggested mentors to help you make sense of Fractional CMO

Michelle Hsu

B2B SaaS Marketing Strategist | Fractional CMO | Founder and CEO of KJMH Digital 👩‍💻

I help SaaS startups get clear on their marketing roadmap, take effective next steps, and connect them with customers. Let’s chat about content marketing, social media, demand generation, emails, events, paid acquisition, marketing operations, or conversion optimization!

Evan Read

B2B SaaS Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

I’m a fractional CMO for vertical B2B SaaS. I can help architect a growth marketing strategy to acquire customers in a scalable way. I can help with growth marketing strategy, forecasting/reporting, team building & development, optimizing CAC, LTV, or other meaningful business metrics Chat soon 🚀

Michael Stroe

Fractional CMO for Ecom/Saas companies

Always up for a chat about growth strategy, scaling an ecommerce brand, finding non-paid strategies for Saas products, CRO, go-to-market strategy.

Also an expert in:

Oren Greenberg

On demand Chief Growth Officer

Hybrid consultant / run a digital marketing agency.

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