What is a Fractional CMO

4 Minutes Read


What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a marketing professional who provides strategic marketing guidance and leadership to a company on a part-time or project basis. Unlike a traditional full-time CMO, a fractional CMO works with multiple clients, offering their expertise and resources as needed. And the best part? It won't break the bank, making it a great option for smaller businesses. A fractional CMO who has years of experience can help develop and execute a marketing plan, manage campaigns, and provide insights and guidance on the latest marketing trends and techniques in global marketing to provide competitive advantage.


Some of the key roles and responsibilities of a fractional CMO include:


  • Marketing Strategy: The fractional CMO works with the management team to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that supports the overall business goals. They help identify target markets, create a roadmap for growth, and set realistic marketing objectives.


  • Brand Management: A fractional CMO is responsible for developing and maintaining the companyโ€™s brand. They help to define the companyโ€™s unique value proposition, create a consistent brand message, and ensure that all marketing efforts align with the brand.


  • Customer Insights: The fractional CMO leverages data and insights to understand the target customer and develop effective marketing campaigns. They analyze customer data, conduct market research, and use customer feedback to make informed marketing decisions.


  • Digital Marketing: A fractional CMO helps organizations stay ahead of the curve in the digital marketing space. They provide guidance on digital marketing channels, such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, and online advertising.


  • Campaign Management: The fractional CMO manages the development and execution of marketing campaigns. They work with the creative and production teams to ensure that campaigns are delivered on time, within budget, and to a high standard.


  • Analytics and Measurement: A fractional CMO uses data and analytics to measure the effectiveness of marketing efforts. They track key performance indicators (KPIs) and use the results to make informed decisions and continuously improve marketing strategies.



What are the benefits of hiring a Fractional CMO:


  • Strategic Marketing Vision: A fractional CMO can provide a fresh perspective and a strategic vision for the company's marketing efforts.


  • Cost-Effective: Hiring a fractional CMO can be a cost-effective solution compared to a full-time CMO as the company pays only for the hours worked.


  • Flexibility: A fractional CMO can be hired on a project-by-project basis providing the company with the flexibility to bring in marketing expertise as needed.


  • Access to a Wide Range of Skills: Fractional CMOs often bring a diverse set of skills and experiences providing the company with a wealth of knowledge and expertise.


  • Access to External Networks: A fractional CMO may have established networks and relationships in the industry which can benefit the company in terms of collaborations, partnerships, and more.



Frequently asked questions about Fractional CMO answered by Elizabeth Krohn, Founder and CEO of Krohn Marketing -


1) Why are we hearing more about Fractional CMO these days?


Answer: Fractional Chief Marketing Officers have become more popular in recent years because they provide smaller and mid-sized businesses with access to top-level marketing expertise and strategy without the cost and commitment of hiring a full-time CMO. By working with a fractional CMO, companies can get the benefit of a seasoned marketing professional without the cost and overhead of a full-time hire. Additionally, fractional CMOs are flexible and can be scaled up or down depending on the needs of the business.


2) Why should I hire a Fractional CMO?


Answer: Hiring a fractional CMO is a smart choice for businesses that want to benefit from top-level marketing expertise without the cost and commitment of a full-time hire. A fractional CMO can provide a customized marketing plan tailored to your specific business goals, bring a fresh perspective, and help you identify new opportunities. They can also bring their network of resources and connections in the marketing industry to help drive your marketing efforts.


3) Is it better for startups to hire a fractional CMO or outsource marketing entirely to an agency? 


Answer: Whether a startup should hire a fractional CMO or outsource marketing entirely to an agency depends on several factors, including the size and stage of the startup, the budget, and marketing goals.

Outsourcing marketing to an agency can be a good option for startups that are just starting out and need support in building their marketing infrastructure and executing on specific campaigns. An agency can provide a team of experienced marketers who can work on a project basis and startups can benefit from the agency's specialized knowledge and resources.


Hiring a fractional CMO can be a better option for startups that are looking for a more long-term strategic approach to marketing. A fractional CMO can work with the startup to develop a comprehensive marketing plan that aligns with the business goals and provide ongoing support and guidance.


Ultimately, the best option depends on the specific needs and goals of the startup. Startups should carefully evaluate both options and choose the one that best fits their situation.


4. What should I look for in a fractional CMO?


Answer: When searching for a fractional CMO, aside from their qualifications, there are some key factors to consider:


  • Experience: Look for a fractional CMO with a proven track record of success in marketing and a deep understanding of your industry.


  • Strategic thinking: A good fractional CMO should have strong strategic thinking skills and be able to develop a comprehensive marketing plan that aligns with your business goals.


  • Communication skills: A fractional CMO should be able to effectively communicate their marketing strategies and plans to your team and other stakeholders.


  • Adaptability: Look for a fractional CMO who can work effectively in a fast-paced dynamic environment and be able to adjust their strategies as needed.


  • Technical skills: A good fractional CMO should have a strong understanding of the latest marketing technologies and trends.


  • Availability: Make sure the fractional CMO you choose is available to work with you on a schedule that meets your needs.


By looking for a fractional CMO who possesses these qualities you can ensure that you find someone who can help drive your marketing efforts and contribute to an increase of your market share.

Picture of Elizabeth Krohn

Elizabeth Krohn

Elizabeth "Beth" Krohn is the founder and CEO of Krohn Marketing Inc.