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Should I hire In-House, a Marketing Agency, or Fractional Marketing?

Lauren Hawthorne May 18 2023
Should I hire In-House, a Marketing Agency, or Fractional Marketing?


As businesses evolve and adapt to new challenges, fractional marketing has emerged as a revolutionary solution for organizations seeking cost-effective and flexible marketing strategies. This innovative approach enables businesses to access the expertise of seasoned professionals without incurring the financial burden of hiring full-time employees. According to Gartner, 80% of B2B Sales Interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025 - meaning your marketing department's future deserves planning and thought. 


What is Fractional Marketing?

Fractional marketing offers a cost-effective and efficient solution for businesses lacking leadership skills or resources to implement successful campaigns. By hiring a veteran marketer on a part-time basis, companies can access expert guidance without committing to full-time employment costs, enabling rapid growth through data-driven insights.

Cost-effectiveness compared to full-time employees

Hiring a fractional chief marketing officer (CMO) or other fractional marketing leaders allows businesses to save money by only paying for the services they need when they need them. Small businesses with limited resources may find that hiring a fractional CMO is an ideal solution to provide strategic direction and oversight without committing to a full-time hire's expense.

  • Affordability: Fractionals typically charge an hourly, monthly rate, or project-based fee, making it easier for companies with limited budgets to afford high-quality expertise.
  • Flexibility: Companies can scale up or down their fractional hire's involvement based on current needs and demand generation goals.

Access to experienced marketers with industry knowledge

In addition to being more affordable than hiring full-time staff members, working with fractional CMOs provides access to seasoned professionals with extensive experience in various industries. These experts are adept at creating targeted content marketing strategies designed specifically around your company's unique offerings and customer base. It's time you consider tapping into this wealth of knowledge as you work towards achieving your business objectives.

  1. The breadth of expertise: Fractionals often have diverse backgrounds spanning multiple sectors, allowing them insight into best practices across different markets.
  2. Proven track record: Many fractional marketing professionals have a history of success in driving revenue growth for other organizations, making them well-equipped to help your business achieve similar results.

Fractional marketing offers a cost-effective solution to access experienced marketers with industry knowledge, allowing companies to maximize their resources. Conversely, weighing up other possibilities, such as internal personnel and outside firms, is prudent when deciding which approach best meets your organization's objectives.

Learn more about fractional marketing - What is Fractional Marketing? A Guide for Business Leaders

Comparing Fractional Marketing, In-house Teams, and Agencies

Mid-sized companies often have dedicated in-house marketing departments, but smaller organizations may struggle with accessing enterprise-level expertise at affordable rates. Let's compare fractional marketing teams' prices, authority, and expertise against traditional in-house teams and agencies.

Price comparison between the three options

In-house marketing teams can be expensive due to salaries, benefits, and overhead costs. On the other hand, marketing agencies charge based on project scope or retainer fees, which can also add up quickly. Comparatively speaking, fractional marketing leaders, like those at House of Revenue®, offer cost-effective solutions for businesses needing expert guidance without committing to full-time employment costs. According to, the average CMO salary was $178,447, and marketing managers were around $70k. VPs and Directors fall in between that range.

Authority levels within each option

In an in-house team setting, marketers report directly to company leadership; however, their focus might be divided among multiple tasks or projects. A marketing agency operates as a separate entity from your business which could result in less control over campaigns' direction and execution. Meanwhile, fractional chief marketing officers (CMOs) work closely with company executives while maintaining autonomy over their strategies - ensuring alignment throughout every aspect of your customer experience.

The expertise offered by each choice:

  • In-House: While some employees may possess specialized skills, they may lack the breadth of experience needed to tackle complex marketing challenges and may not have the support to be highly efficient. 
  • Agency: Agencies typically have a diverse team with various skill sets, but their expertise might be spread thin across multiple clients or projects. Typically, agencies are fast-moving and efficient but don't ingrain themselves into your business. They may run with high-cost work that doesn't pivot or stay in tune with the direction your company is moving.
  • Fractional Marketing: Fractional CMOs are seasoned professionals who bring years of industry knowledge and proven strategies to your business, ensuring you consistently attract, engage and delight customers while driving revenue growth. The downside of this option is that it may take some time for the CMO to learn about your industry or company.
Roles Within Fractional Marketing Teams

A key role within fractional teams is the fractional Marketing Director (or Chief Marketing Officer), responsible for optimizing existing resources through automation where possible and setting KPIs tailored to achieve organizational objectives while creating prospect personas crucial for targeted outreach efforts. In addition to this pivotal position, other roles can be filled by fractional team members.

Responsibilities of a Fractional CMO/Marketing Director

The primary responsibility of a Fractional CMO or Marketing Director is to develop and execute data-driven marketing strategies that align with the company's goals. They often work closely with founders, owners, CEOs, and presidents to ensure seamless department integration.

Key tasks include:

  • Analyzing market trends and identifying opportunities for growth
  • Developing comprehensive marketing plans encompassing content marketing, demand generation, social media management, SEO optimization, email campaigns, etc.
  • Evaluating campaign performance using analytics tools and making necessary adjustments based on insights gained
  • Mentoring in-house teams or collaborating with external agencies as needed.

For small businesses, hiring a full-time marketing team may not be feasible. This is where fractional marketing leaders come in. By hiring fractional CMOs or other marketing specialists, small businesses can access top-tier talent without the expense of a full-time hire.

Aligning Strategy With Organizational Objectives

In essence, a fractional marketing director ensures that every aspect of an organization's strategy is aligned with its overall objectives. They conduct comprehensive audits and refine company goals based on their findings, which help businesses reassess budgets for maximum impact while maintaining cost efficiency.

Comprehensive Audits Conducted by Fractionals

Fractional CMOs perform thorough audits to identify gaps in your current marketing strategies and pinpoint areas where improvements can be made. These audits may include analyzing your content marketing efforts, demand generation initiatives, customer experience touchpoints, etc. By deeply understanding your business's strengths and weaknesses, fractional leaders can develop tailored plans that address specific challenges while capitalizing on existing opportunities. Are you ready to scale? 

Refining Company Goals Based on Audit Findings

  • Data-Driven Insights: Armed with the information gathered during the audit process, fractional CMOs use data-driven insights to establish clear objectives for each campaign or initiative within your marketing plan. This approach helps ensure that resources are allocated effectively toward achieving measurable results.
  • Budget Optimization: As part of their role in aligning strategy with organizational goals, fractional marketers also work closely with finance teams to optimize budget allocations across various channels and tactics. Doing so enables companies to maximize ROI without sacrificing quality or reach.
  • Performance Tracking: To ensure ongoing alignment, fractional marketing leaders establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your organization's objectives. They then monitor and report on these KPIs regularly, adjusting as needed to maintain progress toward goals.

For small businesses, fractional hires can be a game-changer, providing access to top-tier talent without the cost of a full-time hire. It's time to consider fractional marketing for your marketing campaigns and team.

Adapting to Changing Market Conditions and Priorities

Fractional marketing leaders offer a unique advantage in today's dynamic business environment. They provide the agility needed during economic downturns or other challenging times when employees hold the upper hand over employers due to layoffs or unfilled positions. By leveraging their expertise, fractional CMOs can launch new marketing campaigns in response to changing market conditions or evolving strategic priorities while maintaining cost efficiency.

Agility Offered by Fractional Marketing Teams

  • Rapid Response: With a deep understanding of various industries and markets, fractional marketing teams can quickly adapt strategies and tactics based on real-time data and insights.
  • Versatility: Fractional marketers have experience working with different types of businesses, enabling them to apply best practices from one industry to another seamlessly.
  • Innovation: As external experts, they bring fresh perspectives that challenge conventional thinking and encourage innovation within your organization.

Scaling Expertise Based On Unique Needs

Fractional marketing bridges the gap between smaller firms and enterprise-level expertise by giving them access to top-tier talent capable of scaling based on each company's unique needs. This approach enables startups and small enterprises to access enterprise-level expertise at affordable rates, ultimately helping them stay on track toward achieving long-term success within today's rapidly changing marketplace landscape.

In today's environment, it's essential for companies to stay agile and adapt quickly. By leveraging fractional marketing services, businesses can access top-tier talent on-demand without breaking the bank - making it an ideal solution for small businesses looking to scale their marketing strategies effectively.

When working with a reputable firm like House of Revenue®, you can trust that the fractional hires have been thoroughly vetted for their expertise and proven track record in driving results. Learn more about fractional marketing services.