Interim verus Fractional CMO & their benefits

At some point in the life of your company, especially when your business is experiencing rapid growth or change, you might need to add a marketing leader to your senior team.  You’re going to need a Chief Marketing Officer to help you craft your marketing strategies, lead your team and integrate all marketing activities. More and more companies turn to outsourced resources to face their marketing challenges.
A great solution can be hiring an Interim or Fractional CMO. To define the perfect fit for your company, it will be helpful to have a clear understanding of these two engagement models.

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Interim verus Fractional CMO & their benefits

What is an Interim CMO?

An Interim CMO is usually hired for a short-term or undefined period of time during a period of business transitions. Most Interim CMO roles are full-time or near full-time and their primary goal is to keep the team moving forward and reduce loss and risk.
Hiring an Interim CMO is a common solution for medium to large organizations who need an executive marketing leader to operate effectively.
Many different circumstances call for an interim leader: an expansion into new markets or territories, anticipated or recent mergers / acquisitions / integration, leadership turn-over and  business turn-around. Interims can step in quickly and deliver the outcomes your business needs in short, medium or long-term assignments.

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is a part-time marketing leader for a longer period of time (often 18-24 months or more). They work on a part-time basis, but act as any other leader within the company, building and evolving marketing functions and being accountable for results.

With hiring a Fractional CMO, your company gets executive experience without the full-time cost. Depending on your needs, you may work with your fractional CMO 10, 15, 20 hours a week or more. Then other companies will use the remaining fraction(s) of the CMOs weekly hours.

Hiring a fractional CMO is more common among small to midsize companies who have never had an executive marketing leader. The primary goal of a fractional CMO is to build the team, and create revenue-producing marketing programs.

Why you may want to hire a Fractional CMO?

  • Your company doesn’t have enough work or budget for a full-time hire

If you’re a startup or a small established business in need of marketing leadership, outsourcing your CMO can be a smart solution. A fractional CMO offers an affordable entry-point for early stage companies.

  • Your company brand has been built but you don’t have an executive marketing leader

Maybe you no longer have the expertise necessary to handle marketing and public relations on your own and  your company is ready to shift marketing leadership responsibility from Founder / Head of Sales to someone with proven strategic marketing experience but can’t afford to hire a full-time CMO on a permanent basis.  A fractional CMO can guide your company through marketing transformation. 

  • You need to fill an unexpected gap

A Fractional CMO can quickly step into a vacated position while you conduct your talent search for the perfect candidate or fill a seat during a leave of absence. A fractional CMO provides quick-relief for marketing needs and complete urgent marketing tasks while the company finds the right long-term fit. 

What a Fractional CMO can do for your brand?

All businesses need a strong brand with a great reputation to grow successfully. Brand positioning can make or break a company. An experienced part-time CMO brings life-long career expertise across multiple industries, offering a fresh perspective while helping you to build a strong brand. A good Chief Marketing Officer will strategically plan and scale your growth marketing plans that increase customer acquisition and reach new target audiences. They will develop a content strategy, brand positioning, and increase online presence and a brand awareness. A great part-time CMO can also inspire a renewed sense of values, direction, and purpose for your business and increase positive brand awareness.

A fractional CMO approach

A fractional CMO will conduct an advanced research of your business. They will immediately assess your marketing team, consumer mindset toward your product and your competition.

Understanding the existing team, strengths and weaknesses and filling any gaps is their key priority. The goal is to get a functional team who can successfully deal with the marketing challenges.  

A fractional CMO can solve your marketing challenges

Integrated Marketing Plans

Your outsourced CMO can develop strategic and comprehensive marketing plans that will set your business on a clear path to achieve marketing goals. The purpose is to create a seamless branding experience and encompass advertising, public relations, content strategy, direct marketing, digital marketing, performance metrics, and any other aspects displaying the company’s brand.

Data and Analytics

A good outsourced CMO helps business to understand and analyze market data and use market intelligence to reach their target audiences, improve customer experience, and increase conversion.

Products & Services Launch

A fractional CMO can provide guidance and leadership throughout all stages of product marketing, from product development to launching the product for global distribution. They can also add value in the strategy and launch for new campaigns, products and services.

New Market Entry

Experienced CMOs are valuable when entering new markets, especially when international markets are concerned. They bring expertise in managing the risks and maximizing the opportunities.

Lead Generation

An experienced CMO can help develop lead generation strategies. They are experts in capturing leads, identifying prospects and creating sales materials.

Sale, Mergers, and Company Spinoffs

Guidance from an outsourced CMO is essential for companies that are expanding quickly - for businesses that are recently acquired or merged.  They are experienced in leading teams through organizational transformation and creating integration plans and marketing strategies.

Building and supporting marketing teams

Creating a new marketing team will benefit from deep knowledge and broad skill set of an Interim CMO. They can quickly identify the best people and the team structure while providing strategic direction and leadership.  Fractional CMOs are valuable as advisers, mentors and coaches.

Once an interim or fractional CMO has set clear marketing strategies, they are able to hand off the keys to a team that they mentored and trained. The team becomes well equipped to continue to run with strategies and techniques thanks to the fractional CMO’s guidance.

If you want to hire a Fractional CMO, it is important to understand the role yourself and to know what you want your business to achieve.


View our ultimate guide to hiring Interim CMOs



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