The digital marketing era has already begun, and turbulent changes in 2020 to how consumers purchase goods and services make a digital focus even more essential. According to ad agency predictions for the coming year, 60.9% of global ad spend will be digital, and your company's leadership needs to reflect this growing focus on digital — and ultimately omnichannel — campaigns.
Hiring a fractional CMO is a solid step in making your company more versatile and creating marketing strategies that more tightly align with revenue goals. This article will explore what a fractional CMO is and the considerations your executive team should make before the hiring process begins.
What Is a Fractional CMO?
Chief marketing officers, or CMOs, are executive leaders that head marketing strategies, and any marketing managers or marketing directors in the company report to them. A great CMO will oversee strategies and efforts often including:
- Market and competitive research
- Brand strategy and execution
- Digital and traditional marketing efforts
- Customer experience and retention
- Product and pricing strategy
- Revenue forecasting
Traditionally, CMOs are full-time, in-house employees. But small businesses and flexible 21st-century company structures have resulted in the creation of a part-time CMO that provides short-term consulting services.
A fractional CMO works a certain number of hours with a company, providing marketing experience, clear strategies, and guidance that your company needs. Both small and medium-sized businesses benefit from hiring CMOs for six-month terms; during this time, your fractional CMO can:
- Establish short-term and long-term key performance indicators (KPIs) to guide future department and company growth
- Carry out digital ad strategies through completion
- Create and analyze results from new initiatives
- Advise your executive team on marketing trends and requirements based on industry trends
If your company needs more robust marketing strategies and interdepartmental alignment without the salary costs of a full-time traditional CMO, a fractional CMO is the right fit for your company.
5 Things to Consider Before Hiring Your Fractional CMO
Once you decide that this is your next step, don't immediately begin hiring. It's important to find the right fit for your current company, your anticipated growth, and your leadership team. Before you start the hiring process, focus on these five considerations:
1. Determine What Your Organization Really Needs
Many small and growing businesses make do without a CMO. But as your marketing strategies become more complex and your marketing team continues to grow, the department can begin to fall apart. A CMO can analyze traditional, digital, and omnichannel campaign teams and ensure they're working together along the right trajectory.
However, growing businesses may not have the capital to pay a full-time CMO. Both CMO and CIO positions tend to be unfilled or bundled with other roles in developing companies, but this can create underdeveloped infrastructures or limit future growth. A fractional CMO provides the insight your organization needs at hourly or consulting rates. Start your search for the right fractional CMO by determining if your organization:
- Needs a complete overhaul of how your marketing employees are organized
- Has minimal communication between employees managing separate strategies
- Doesn't have KPIs to signify success, areas for improvement, or failure
2. Find Your Marketing Gaps
Different fractional CMOs specialize in different areas, such as aligning pricing with target markets and sales goals, identifying target markets, and transitioning organizations to digital marketing. While fractional CMOs — like any high-level employee — will spend their first 30 or 60 days learning about how your organization operates, it's important to have your own understanding of how your company operates. Look for:
- Undocumented, unclear, or outdated processes
- Vague goals and initiatives
- Clear and unclear identification of target markets
- Revenue gaps
Having clear insight into problems in your marketing department will help you find the right candidates for the position. This prep work also organizes your department so your new CMO can more easily develop an understanding of your company. To get started with your marketing gap analysis download our easy marketing audit template here.
3. Create a Plan for Your Marketing Department's (Short-Term) Future
A fractional CMO can help guide your company. Ultimately, though, your core executive team needs to decide what's missing and where your company should be going.
For example, a new and growing business may decide their top priority is forming a strong foundation for the marketing department. A small company may decide that it's time to grow the business and reach out to new audiences. Other companies may know their marketing department is underperforming but don't know how to fix it.
Talk to your executive team about the company's goals, friction points with the marketing team, and what you want your fractional CMO to achieve. Instead of looking for a long-term full-stack CMO, look for one with the focus your company needs now.
4. Communicate With Revenue Stakeholders to Determine Their Needs
The marketing department doesn't just coordinate with sales. Marketing initiatives include customer services and support, pricing strategies, and more. Even hiring new employees involves systematically building up your company's brand reputation.
Marketing touches every revenue-related function in your business, so revenue stakeholders should be involved in the hiring process. Talk to both the individuals who will report to the CMO and leaders who will work with the CMO — including your CFO, VP of Sales, and HR director — to see what they need. Involving them early on in the process can help align goals, interview efforts, and expectations for the first six months of the CMO's engagement.
5. View Your Revenue Ecosystem as a Whole
As we've discussed previously, marketing should not be siloed. Great marketing campaigns generate new leads and sales. They can also encourage highly qualified candidates to apply for roles in your organization. New pricing initiatives will impact accounting. Marketing campaigns built with the proper insight and organization provide data that all revenue stakeholders can use.
Before you begin hiring, determine (i) how your marketing efforts have hindered or helped revenue and (ii) what questions you can't answer because you don't have insight. Identifying unknowns and gaps in how your revenue ecosystem ties to marketing is just as valuable as knowing what you need.
Final Thoughts About Hiring a Fractional CMO
Hiring a fractional CMO is an excellent step toward organizing your marketing department and creating a strong marketing foundation your company may lack. Fractional CMOs also specialize in the fluid marketing trends taking over digital and traditional marketing fields. At House of Revenue, we work with CEOs who want to scale their business with a solid focus on their revenue ecosystem. Contact us today to build better alignment between your departments and scale your revenue's growth.