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What is a Fractional CMO & what do they do?

You might have heard about outsourcing finance executives, but Fractional CMOs are growing in popularity across many industries too.

What is a Fractional CMO?

A Fractional CMO, much like any Fractional CXO, is an outsourced executive for your business. We’re specifically talking about the Chief Marketing Officer here, but you could outsource other experienced professionals for a fraction (see the link now?) of the cost of appointing them in-house. Let’s face it, you want the best for your business so it can thrive in good times and stand strong in the inevitable hard times, but access to top talent sometimes costs more than you could hope to pay in even your first five years — if you make it that far.

Why would you need a Fractional CMO?

Marketing is one of the most complex departments within any business organisation. As technology evolves as the most rapid pace we’ve seen in human history, pressure mounts on the shoulders of marketing teams to stay updated with what goes on both inside and outside the organisation at all times. If you know or understand a little about Marketing, that’s a good start but you’re already behind your competitors who have a dedicated Marketing team.

In our experience the top three drivers for hiring a Fractional CMO are:

  • You have an SMME that needs the best talent (for the best chance to survive and thrive) at rates you can afford to pay or raise funds for.
  • You’re entering a niche market and need to fill a skills gap in connecting with the target audience.
  • You want to turbocharge your business’ marketing and growth without the pain of exponentially increasing overheads.

What does a Fractional CMO do?

A Fractional CMO does the same thing an in-house CMO would do: champion your Marketing operations in sync with the rest of your business. Let’s run through some common myths about Fractional CMOs:

Myth: Fractional CMOs are expensive.
Reality: To appoint an in-house CMO your cost to company (CTC) would range between R60-90k monthly (US$4-7k monthly). That’s expensive. Our rates, depending on what you need us to handle for you, start from R3k monthly (roughly $200).

Myth: Fractional CMOs are hard to find.

Reality: You found us, didn’t you? You’re reading this right now which means you’re just a few clicks away from finding a Fractional CMO who can serve your business.

Myth: Fractional CMOs don’t get your business model.

Reality: Contrary to what most people believe, Fractional CMOs are among the most versatile professionals. This is because they study and apply methodology, and are constantly adapting, tweaking, evolving it for each client and each industry. Fractional CMOs who encourage you to test and experiment are the ones worth sticking with over the long run.

Fractional CMOs drive strategy

A Fractional CMO will usually start off the working relationship by asking you about the context of your business challenges and goals. Finding out what matters to you and how you measure it is at the heart of how we run things here at Perana Viosa. Once we know all the ingredients, we engineer the recipe for your success according to what you care about and what will take your business further.

Fractional CMOs are resourceful

It’s not always about who has the most money or the biggest network. Sure, those things can be useful, but what really counts is resourcefulness. Using what’s available to hit a target, and configuring resources in the most efficient and effective way is what makes a Fractional CMO a superb asset for your company.

A CMO with a personal background of resourcefulness is a keeper.

Fractional CMOs pay attention

It is so easy to get lost in the world of metrics. So many businesses assume that everything that can be measured should be measured, without really knowing or understanding the impact on the business. Everything you measure requires resource: human intelligence, server space to gather and store data, and time to interpret and represent the data (not to mention tool costs).

A Fractional CMO knows that the job is to pay attention to everything that can influence the way that the business generates revenue. Brand-building is important, however it’s more the CEO’s responsibility to drive brand while the CMO uses the brand strength to drive revenue, by executing strategic campaigns using available resources. Each and every campaign designed by a Fractional CMO should include recommended focus areas for evaluating performance, and you as the client should understand and sign off on those.

If a Fractional CMO can’t tell you how their strategy is going to help you hit your goals or overcome your challenges, it’s a red flag. RUN.

Fractional CMOs care

Paying attention and caring are in fact two different qualities, both necessary. When you choose a CMO you’re choosing someone who’s going to be responsible for the budget you make available. You’re telling that person to conduct the orchestra that is your business, through the marketing operation which enables sales and affects every other section and department down the line. If you ever feel that your Fractional CMO doesn’t care about you or your business you need to reconsider your agreement with them.

How do you know if someone cares? You’ll know, alright. You’ll get that feeling of being speechless at times, when that person reaches out or updates you and includes details of what could happen, how, why, what it means for you and your business, or when they take the initiative to do something before you can ask them to.

What a Fractional CMO is and does should be synonymous, and at all times aligned with what you want for your business. Working with one is a way to access years of experience that you would otherwise pay 20x as much to bring in-house. Our advice is to offer internships and junior positions in-house to work with the Fractional CMOs we can dedicate to your business, to also help train your staff to look after your business if ever you need to dial down your dependence on our seniors.

Two to three years of working with us will help you build a truly resilient marketing operation and team to rely on, no matter what comes your way. Get in touch if you’d like to take the first step toward that this month.

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