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What is a fractional CMO?

The Hidden Market's guide to fractional CMO's

We've set out here all you need to succeed

Fractional CMO's what they do and how can they help your business grow:

As Marketing Recruitment specialists we've set out here all you need to know about fractional CMOs.  

What is a fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO, also known as a part-time outsourced chief marketing officer. This is a marketing executive who works on a part-time, ongoing or temporary basis to provide strategic marketing leadership and expertise to an organisation. The term "fractional" indicates that the CMO's role is not full-time but rather a fraction of the time commitment compared to a traditional CMO. Now there are lots of buzzwords and acronyms in business, but this term has been around for a number of years now and has got traction with the community. 

Who are fractional CMO's for? 

Fractional CMOs are typically engaged by small to mid sized companies, startups, or organisations that may not have the resources, desire, or need for a full-time CMO but still require strategic marketing leadership. They can also be employed by larger companies for specific projects or to fill a temporary leadership gap.

What are the responsibilities of a fractional CMO? 

The responsibilities of a fractional CMO may include developing marketing strategies, overseeing marketing campaigns, managing marketing teams, analysing market trends and competition, identifying growth opportunities, and measuring marketing performance. They bring their expertise and experience to help the organisation achieve its marketing goals and drive business growth, even on a part-time basis.

What are the benefits of hiring a fractional CMO?

By hiring a fractional CMO, companies can access high-level marketing expertise without the cost and commitment associated with a full-time executive. It allows organizations to tap into the skills and knowledge of experienced marketing professionals on a flexible basis, tailoring their involvement to the company's specific needs and budget.

How much does a fractional CMO cost?

Costs will vary depending on the industry and experience required. On a day rate, a fractional CMO can be charging £600 to £2k+ a day. The day rate cost is higher than you would pay a permanent CMO, typically, but you're paying on a part time basis, and often for an ongoing project or short term basis so the cost can actually be really cost effective. 

Why do you need a fractional CMO (or someone with equivalent skills)?

Constrained or changing need for marketing resources:

  • Firstly, a fractional CMO is typically due to either a gap in strategic resources or a change in your resource needs that's either likely to be temporary or that a business might not need significant marketing leadership in the long term. Typically the projects a CMO will work on can be project focused by definition and as such when complete can be left to manage by a marketing team.   

Changing in market conditions

  • Business conditions change rapidly and businesses can find themselves needing marketing leadership to respond to the market conditions in order to capitalise on market conditions and stay competitive. 

Rapid growth producing opportunities: 

  • Growth can create challenges and opportunities regarding your product market fit and resource allocation, branding, or general marketing growth as a business matures. We see that businesses that experience rapid growth often need increased marketing leadership which can be fulfilled by a fractional CMO.  

Launching new products or service lines:

  • New products and services need to be marketed. This new product or service can cause a spike in demand for marketing leadership. We see that businesses often do require fractional CMO's to manage the process and develop and execute a product launch strategy. 

Rebranding & restructuring: 

  • Depending on a businesses structure from a human resource perspective, a business may require fractional CMO support to manage branding or restructuring of the marketing team. The projects are strategic in nature and it is worthwhile to ensure that a business invests in hiring the right talent. 

Other short term business projects: 

  • Any other strategic project that requires communication to customers or stakeholders, or to strategically change the marketing function then there can be a need for a fractional CMO. Examples might include a business that is going public, and there is a need for a fractional CMO to manage the investor relations piece. 

What sort of business challenges does a fractional CMO solve? 

  • Ensure your product or service is well aligned to your target market - Target market research: product market fit and consumer and business research. Fractional CMOs develop comprehensive marketing strategies aligned with the organization's goals and objectives. They assess market conditions, target audience, and competition to formulate effective marketing plans. Market Analysis: They conduct thorough market research and analysis to identify market trends, customer insights, and competitive landscapes. This information helps inform marketing strategies and optimize targeting and positioning efforts.
  • Improve your campaign performance - Strategic campaign management - They oversee the execution of marketing campaigns, ensuring they are properly implemented and monitored for optimal results. This includes managing advertising, digital marketing, content creation, and other promotional activities.
  • Improve the performance of your teams - Team Leadership: Fractional CMOs may lead and guide marketing teams within the organization. They provide direction, set goals, and offer support to team members, fostering a collaborative and productive work environment. 
  • Unlock additional revenue streams & growth Opportunities - Fractional CMOs identify potential growth opportunities for the organization. This may involve exploring new markets, expanding product offerings, or finding innovative ways to reach and engage customers.
  • Ensure high performance of your marketing team - They establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing initiatives. By tracking and analyzing performance data, fractional CMOs assess the success of campaigns and make data-driven adjustments as needed.

What results can I expect from a fractional CMO?

The outcomes you can anticipate will vary depending on your business objectives and the extent of the project. Nevertheless, successful engagements with a fractional CMO can typically yield the following benefits:

  1. Enhanced Website Traffic: By implementing effective SEO and content marketing strategies, a fractional CMO can drive increased traffic to your website.

  2. Lead Generation: Through targeted messaging and lead generation campaigns, a fractional CMO can assist in generating more leads for your business.

  3. Revenue Growth: The ultimate aim of any marketing initiative is to drive revenue growth. A fractional CMO can identify and execute strategies that help achieve this objective.

  4. Improved Customer Engagement and Loyalty: With compelling messaging and marketing materials, a fractional CMO can enhance customer engagement and loyalty, leading to improved retention and repeat business.

  5. Enhanced Marketing Strategies: A fractional CMO brings valuable expertise, experience, and insights to help businesses develop more effective marketing strategies aligned with their goals, objectives, and ROI expectations.

  6. Increased Brand Awareness: Through ongoing brand-building activities and short-term lead generation efforts, a fractional CMO can elevate brand awareness and recognition among the target audience.

  7. Improved Lead Generation: By implementing lead generation programs, a fractional CMO can attract a higher quantity of marketing and sales qualified leads, ultimately increasing conversion rates.

  8. Enhanced Market Positioning: A fractional CMO can help businesses identify and target the right audience, differentiate themselves from competitors, and establish themselves as industry leaders.

In summary, engaging a fractional CMO can result in increased website traffic, successful lead generation, revenue growth, improved customer engagement and loyalty, refined marketing strategies, heightened brand awareness, improved lead generation, and better market positioning for your business.


Finding & selecting the right fractional CMO

Technically speaking, finding fractional CMO's is the easy bit. LinkedIn is what the Yellow pages was to businesses in the 80' & 90's. A people directory, so finding people is simple, but the process of engagement, qualification, and selection is not. 

The selection process is the value add to your business. Hiring a better CMO results in a more effective and efficient marketing strategy, and marketing execution which ultimately feeds into your revenue as a business and your bottom line. 

How can you find a good fractional CMO?

This will depend on your experience in recruiting, your network etc, but, generally speaking you have the following options: 

  1. Use a marketing recruitment agency - we are marketing recruitment specialists and can help but do check out our complete list of marketing recruitment agencies for a UK-focused list should you need to review some options. We cannot make individual recommendations but these are other agencies we're aware of in the space.
  2. Your network - should you have experience in marketing you likely will have a network that might be able to recommend fractional CMO's to you. A caveat here is that no all fractional CMOs are created equally. We vet and recommend CMOs and the issue with personal recommendations by non specialists is that you hire someone without the credability & serious experience to drive growth for your business. 
  3. Search engines - googling fractional CMO's there are a number of independent contractors there. Similar to point two, ensure you do your due diligence in the hiring process.
  4. Jobsites - you can advertise roles on marketing related jobsites and follow a typical interview process. We would recommend that you really complete your due diligence on who you hire here and ensure that you are thorough in your recruitment process.
  5. Social media - you can post on social sites such as LinkedIn. This can be a good strategy but by definition the strategy is limited to your audience, and LinkedIn over the years has invested more in restricting organic posts, to push more commercial posts. The risk with this is that you might not get the breadth & depth of candidates to find the best option for your business.

Hiring fractional CMO's - what to look for? 

When hiring a fractional CMO, it is essential to consider the following factors to ensure you find the right candidate for your organisation:

Expertise and Experience: Look for a fractional CMO with a proven track record of success and relevant experience in your industry. Consider their depth of knowledge in marketing strategies, lead generation, brand management, and digital marketing. Assess their past achievements and the results they have delivered for previous clients or organisations.

Strategic Thinking and Vision: Seek a fractional CMO who demonstrates strategic thinking and can provide a clear vision for your marketing efforts. They should have the ability to align marketing strategies with your business goals and objectives, and offer innovative ideas to drive growth and market positioning.

Flexibility and Adaptability: Fractional CMOs often work with multiple clients or projects simultaneously. Look for a candidate who can handle the demands of a part-time role, juggle different priorities, and adapt to various business environments. Their flexibility should enable them to seamlessly integrate with your team and organization.

Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration are crucial for a fractional CMO to work successfully with your team and stakeholders. Assess their communication skills, both written and verbal, as well as their ability to build relationships and collaborate across different departments. Look for someone who can effectively convey ideas, listen attentively, and foster a positive working environment.

Analytical and Data-Driven Approach: A strong fractional CMO should have a solid understanding of data analysis and be capable of making data-driven decisions. They should be proficient in interpreting marketing metrics, conducting market research, and using analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of campaigns. This analytical mindset enables them to optimize marketing strategies and allocate resources efficiently.

Leadership and Mentoring: Evaluate a fractional CMO's leadership skills, as they may need to provide guidance and mentorship to your marketing team. A candidate with leadership experience can inspire and motivate team members, delegate tasks effectively, and drive collaboration to achieve marketing goals.

Cultural Fit: Consider how well the fractional CMO's values and working style align with your organization's culture. Look for someone who will integrate smoothly into your team, share your company's mission and vision, and contribute positively to your work environment.

References and Recommendations: Request references or testimonials from previous clients or colleagues who have worked with the fractional CMO. This will provide insights into their professionalism, work ethic, and the impact they have made in their previous engagements.

By carefully assessing these factors, you can identify a fractional CMO who possesses the necessary expertise, strategic thinking, flexibility, communication skills, analytical mindset, leadership abilities, cultural fit, and positive recommendations to effectively drive your marketing efforts and achieve your business objectives.

Request more information on Fractional CMO's:

Example Fractional CMO Job Description

Job Description: Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Company XYZ is seeking an experienced Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to provide strategic marketing leadership on a part-time basis. As a fractional CMO, you will play a key role in developing and executing effective marketing strategies to drive business growth and enhance brand visibility. This position offers flexible hours and the opportunity to contribute your expertise to a dynamic and innovative organization.


  1. Develop and Implement Marketing Strategy:

    • Collaborate with executive leadership to define marketing goals and objectives.
    • Conduct market research and analysis to identify target markets, customer insights, and competitive landscape.
    • Formulate comprehensive marketing strategies and action plans to achieve business objectives.
    • Oversee the execution of marketing initiatives across various channels.
  2. Brand Management:

    • Define and maintain the company's brand identity, positioning, and messaging.
    • Ensure brand consistency across all marketing materials and touchpoints.
    • Develop and implement strategies to enhance brand awareness and recognition.
  3. Lead Generation and Conversion:

    • Create targeted lead generation campaigns to attract qualified leads.
    • Optimize marketing funnels to increase conversion rates.
    • Monitor and analyze lead generation metrics to identify opportunities for improvement.
  4. Digital Marketing and Online Presence:

    • Develop and execute digital marketing strategies, including SEO, content marketing, social media, and email marketing.
    • Drive website traffic and improve user experience through effective online marketing tactics.
    • Utilize data and analytics to measure and optimize digital marketing performance.
  5. Marketing Communications:

    • Craft compelling messaging and value propositions for various target audiences.
    • Oversee the creation of marketing collateral, including website content, blogs, whitepapers, and presentations.
    • Ensure consistent and impactful communication across all marketing channels.
  6. Team Leadership and Collaboration:

    • Provide guidance and mentorship to marketing team members.
    • Collaborate with cross-functional teams, including sales, product development, and executive leadership, to align marketing efforts with overall business strategies.


  • Proven experience as a marketing executive or fractional CMO.
  • In-depth knowledge of marketing principles, strategies, and best practices.
  • Strong analytical skills with the ability to interpret data and make data-driven decisions.
  • Demonstrated expertise in digital marketing, lead generation, and brand management.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to effectively collaborate with internal teams and external stakeholders.
  • Strategic mindset with the ability to think creatively and provide innovative marketing solutions.
  • Strong leadership skills to guide and motivate the marketing team.
  • Flexibility and adaptability to work on a part-time basis and handle multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Bachelor's degree in marketing, business administration, or a related field. A master's degree is a plus.

Join our team as a Fractional CMO and make a significant impact on our marketing initiatives, driving business growth and success. To apply, please submit your resume, cover letter, and examples of past marketing accomplishments. We look forward to reviewing your application and discussing how your skills and expertise align with our organization's goals.

How we work at The Hidden Market - hiring CMOs

Providing you with marketing recruitment expertise specific to fractional CMOs:

We work with businesses to ensure that they make the best hire that adds the most value to their business through improved commercials. Selecting the best fractional CMO talent has a multiplier effect on your business. We have a unique offering and processes in how we acquire and select talent that is unparalleled by our competitors: we're a tech-enabled business but have significant network relationships with fractional CMOs and as such can add a lot of value to your selection choice. 

Types of businesses we support:

Our business has worked with a range of businesses hiring for fractional CMOs. Typically these would be small to medium sized businesses that required fractional support. We also have significant experience in working with larger businesses providing interim solutions too. With regards to industry we have candidates across B2B and B2C, services and products.