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What is a Fractional CMO, and does your business need one?

Are you wondering what a fractional CMO is and whether you need one?

If you are, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about a fractional CMO.

In recent years, the idea of the Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (FCMO) has risen in popularity. 

 An FCMO is a senior marketing professional who operates on a part-time or temporary/contract basis, serving multiple clients or businesses concurrently. 

This allows senior marketing professionals to share their valuable skills and knowledge with companies that don't require a full-time executive but require expert marketing direction at a senior level. 

This setup enables businesses to tap into high-quality marketing leadership without the obligation of a permanent hire. 

Opting to introduce an FCMO could stem from an immediate business requirement, such as a newly acquired project demanding heightened focus. 

Moreover, organisations commonly enlist the services of an FMCO when they need to temporarily fill a role due to events like maternity leave, sabbaticals, or prolonged illnesses. 

Among the reasons observed by the EMR team, businesses often opt for a short-term FCMO appointment while they deliberate on selecting a permanent chief marketing officer. 

 Working with a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer comes with its own set of benefits due to the unique nature of the role, and to get the most out of this valuable resource, you’ll need to consider the following:

1. Time Management 

The FCMO typically has multiple clients, balancing the demands of each as required. Each client will have their own needs, priorities, and timelines. 

This means it is critical to manage their time effectively to ensure that your business receives the required attention. 

An experienced CMO will be able to work with you to effectively determine your business priorities to ensure that you are always reassured that they’re delivering what your business needs in the allocated time. 

2. Depth of Understanding

The FCMO is not a full-time employee, so the intricacies of your business, industry, and target audience must be thoroughly mapped out. 

An experienced FCMO can effectively create and oversee strategies that extend far into the future, and seeking an FMCO with experience in your industry can help ensure they hit the ground running much quicker. 

Therefore, you need to consider how you onboard and support your CMO; what information will they need to succeed? Who do they need to be introduced to? All this should be considered before you make your hire.  

3. Cultural Fit

An experienced Fractional CMO will have much experience integrating into different businesses. Their adaptability is undoubtedly one of their greatest strengths. 

Their experience working with other businesses means they can make informed decisions that will benefit your business as a whole. 

4. Influence 

The part-time status of the role might limit the influence of contractors over key decisions and initiatives within the company. 

However, this shouldn't be an issue if the Board communicates their trust with and authority of the new senior hire. 

Hiring a fractional CMO can be a valuable solution for companies seeking specialist expertise and flexibility in their marketing leadership. 

It's important to assess your company's needs and have a clear plan for how the fractional CMO will integrate into your team and contribute to your marketing objectives. 

If you’d like to talk with the EMR team about whether this is the right solution for your business, please reach out or email us at hello@emr.co.uk. 

Or find out more about partnering with EMR to support your hiring here.

Frequently asked questions

What does it mean to be a fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO, or Chief Marketing Officer, operates part-time or temporarily, providing strategic leadership and guidance to a company's marketing efforts. 

Instead of being a full-time, permanent hire, a fractional CMO is typically brought in for a specific period or project basis to address a company's marketing needs.

How much does a fractional CMO cost?

The cost of a fractional CMO can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, expertise, and the scope of the engagement. 

Generally, businesses pay a fraction of the cost of a full-time CMO, making it a more cost-effective option for companies that don't require a full-time executive but still need a high-level marketing strategy.

What is the average rate for a fractional CMO?

The average rate for a fractional CMO can vary, depending on the CMO's experience level and the complexity of the marketing tasks. 

Industry trends, location, and the specific needs of the hiring company may also influence rates.

What is the difference between a marketing consultant and a fractional CMO?

While both roles offer external expertise, a marketing consultant typically provides advice and recommendations on specific projects or aspects of marketing. 

In contrast, a fractional CMO assumes a more hands-on leadership role, actively participating in the development and execution of overarching marketing strategies. 

Fractional CMOs often function as part-time members of a company's leadership team, bringing a higher level of involvement than a consultant.


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