The Benefits of a Fractional CMO

If you’re not familiar with the term Fractional CMO / Fractional Chief Marketing Officer, it refers to a senior marketing professional who works on a part-time or project basis for multiple companies.

With the rise of fractional leadership, the debate between Fractional vs Full-time is commonplace. But whilst both options have their merits, depending on the individual circumstances of the company (funding, size, complexity), the benefits of hiring a Fractional CMO are clear.

  1. Cost savings: Hiring a fractional CMO is typically less expensive than hiring a full-time CMO, as the company only pays for the services they need. For startups specifically, who often have limited budgets, hiring a full-time CMO may not even be feasible. Even taking into account consultancy day-rates, which can be significant, the time-to-value can be much shorter with fractional leadership resulting in lower overall cost.
  2. Expertise: A fractional CMO brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from working with multiple companies in various industries. This cross-section – or birds-eye-view – of the marketing landscape allows for more informed decision-making, which can be particularly important when entering an immature market or creating a new one entirely.
  3. Flexibility: A fractional CMO can be hired on an as-needed basis, allowing the company to scale their marketing efforts up or down as needed. Conversely, full-time hires are far more difficult to initiate and to terminate, which isn’t always suitable when a startup’s needs and goals may change rapidly.
  4. Objectivity: An external fractional CMO can bring fresh perspective and new ideas to a company, whereas an internal/full-time hire may become hindered by internal processes and politics.
  5. Access: Many fractional CMOs are independent consultants or part of a consulting firm, which have a wider network of talent and resources that they can tap into when looking to onboard a CMO.
  6. Speed: A fractional CMO can be engaged and deployed quickly on a project basis, allowing a company to implement new marketing strategies more efficiently. Startups often think in terms of runway, and the months it can take to hire a full-time CMO can see this runway depleted.

Despite the clear benefits, t’s important to keep in mind that having a fractional CMO only, means that the company will have to rely on other staff to handle specific tasks that are not covered by the fractional CMO, such as day-to-day marketing execution.

If you’d like to discuss whether hiring a Fractional CMO is the right move for your startup, please get in touch!