7 Reasons Why CEOs are Hiring a
Fractional Chief Marketing Officer


Everywhere you look there’s a company that is bringing in part-time services to help them reach their growth objectives without hiring a full-time employee. Those business owners savvy enough to know they need marketing strategy and leadership are finding tremendous success in hiring a part-time chief marketing officer (a fractional CMO) from CMO Exponential.

1.) Strategy is King

Every successful sports team has one thing in common: Strategy. They have a playbook that says “When that happens, do this.” They have a coach that is able to step outside of the game, see what’s actually happening on the field of play and devise a strategy to get the key objective met.

Your business is no different. Without a strategy, your company is probably doing too many things. You’re running in five directions at the same time, forcing you to not move at all.

A CMO can provide the strategy to meet the growth objectives you set as CEO.

2.) Businesses need execution, not just ideas

Strategy alone isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need people to do the work and hiring a full-time CMO inhibits your team’s ability to get work done.

It doesn’t matter if your business relies on content marketing, paid ads or word-of-mouth; you need more execution happening more often. By hiring a part-time CMO, you’re able to invest in the right tacticians at the right time.

3.) A process gets predictable results

Most CMOs and Marketing Strategists do the best they can with what they have. And what do they typically have? A few years of experience, a handful of tradeshows they’ve attended and a pile of books they’ve read.

What they lack is a well-formulated process.

While a Project Manager can get a certification and trained in a system, there is no such offering for CMOs. That’s why Casey Stanton, our founder and former adjunct Professor at Tulane University, built the Functional Marketing® Framework. With this process, the part-time CMO’s at CMO Exponential are able to get impressive results in a short amount of time.

4.) The wider the experience, the better the strategy

If you go poach your competition’s CMO, you’ll get some useful insights into their business. But you won’t get any NEW and INNOVATIVE ideas. Instead, you leave it up to chance for your CMO to bring in new ideas.

CMO Exponential has solved this problem by creating a Think Tank inside the company for all of the part-time CMOs to talk about business problems. Through this group think process, the CMOx’ers are able to find innovative ideas that work in one industry and bring them over to yours.

5.) Teams want to know what to do

Maybe you’ve heard your team say “I just want to know what to do!” For so many, work gives meaning and without a clear understanding of what it takes to do a satisfactory job, team members feel lost and low confidence.

By having a part-time CMO step into your organization, you’ll be giving these well-meaning employees and contractors the leadership they’ve been yearning for. That means more work getting done by your team, while making everyone feel valued.

6.) Short-term commitment, long-term results

When you hire a part-time CMO at CMO Exponential, you are signing up for 90-days of CMO service. While the average contract length lasts 9 months, you’re only committing to a 90-day sprint. That means you’re able to mitigate the financial risk to your company and get the insights of a qualified CMO.

7.) No benefits, no problems

Glassdoor.com states that the average CMO is paid between $190,000 and $250,000 a year, plus benefits (and equity!).

Most companies can’t afford this level of insight and those who can often don’t need to tie their capital up in a single C-level hire.

By hiring a CMOx from CMO Exponential, you’ll be able to have the best brainpower and leverage of a CMO, without the full-time cost.

To schedule your call with CMO Exponential founder Casey Stanton, click the button below.


What’s a Fractional CMO and Who Needs One?

When your business is experiencing rapid growth, sometimes your needs don’t scale uniformly. You may find that you need specialized marketing and strategy services that can help you continue to move forward, but that you aren’t ready for multi-six-figure commitments. While traditionally businesses have either had to choose between options that were less than ideal, our CMOx model offers choices that are a perfect, customized fit. We’d like to introduce you to the Fractional CMO and what someone in this role can do for your brand.

What is a Fractional CMO?

In the usual course of events, when companies grow enough to need services a Chief Marketing Officer provides but are still not at the level where they can hire someone senior and experienced, they go one of two ways. In one scenario, they hand CMO tasks to a more junior person from within their organization. This is someone with a marketing experience and background. However, they lack the executive background, which is the other part of the CMO’s job. This person starts out handling tasks like posting to social media, writing blog posts and others. But, over time, they get overwhelmed. If they are tasked with creating strategy for the business, they may be over their heads. Not everyone can handle content strategy effectively. Sometimes you find a diamond in the rough who just needed an opportunity, but those people are rare. Maybe one in 100 effective marketers has the skill to move on to these important executive positions. 

The other path is to take the leap and hire a CMO, either from a competitor or from someone in a similar industry. This can wind up putting a significant drain on a growing company’s funds. When a company is bringing in revenue of around $750,000 per year, tying up a third of that in one salary can be crippling. It can be very hard to make that investment worthwhile. 

A Fractional Chief Marketing Officer is someone who performs the function of a CMO without forcing your company to commit to a full-time person in that role. Think of it as CMO as a service.  Many organizations already recognize the value of outsourcing other C-Suite functions, such as the CFO. They may not need the services of a Chief Financial Officer full-time. Instead, they need someone to come in and perform this function for a few hours a week. They bring in someone who has the top-level experience that they need, but who doesn’t tether them to the cost of having someone like that as permanent staff. 

By working with a fractional CFO, the business can get the benefit of a CFO’s guidance and skills without having to have one on staff full-time. A Fractional CMO can be the right fit for a number of organizations. They’ll help an organization maintain a lean structure and cut down on wasteful spending at a time when every dollar counts.

What does a fractional CMO do?

A fractional chief marketing officer acts as the executive level marketer who defines the strategy to make the dreams of the CEO and the board come true. A typical CMO has their tracks, has their head on the budget, they hire marketing talent to deploy campaigns, they occasionally act as a conduit or bridge between the product team and marketing as well as look for ways to create strategic relationships to drive more eyeballs to the website and more leads to the sales team.

A fractional chief marketing officer differs in their capacity. While many tout being a fraction CMO and are instead just a glorified funnel builder, a true fractional CMO builds a strategic plan and identifies the right talent to do the job at the right time. A fractional CMO must understand the appeal and the profitability of different products and services. They must understand the entire sales sequence and how sales happen. They must be conversion-rate focused; they must be able to focus minutely on the conversion rates, as well as on the macro problems that face marketing including positioning authority.

What does a fractional CMO cost? What is a fractional CMO’s hourly rate?

As reported by Glassdoor, the average salary for a chief marketing officer is $173,000 per year. For chief marketing officers that are in highly competitive spaces, including SaaS, tech, medical, digital goods, e-commerce, and sub-manufacturing, it is not uncommon to find full-time CMOs who charge $250,000 per year or more, plus benefits and potentially equity in start-ups.

These high fees burden organizations and they become top-heavy when hiring a CMO if they can’t afford to get the labor done that the CMO requests. Therefore, by hiring a fractional CMO at a discounted rate for less capacity, the organization is able to deploy the marketing campaigns the CMO identifies with the right talent. While many call themselves fractional chief marketing officers, they’re likely not driven by a proven process to ensure that they can produce predictable results. Fractional CMOs could cost on an hourly basis $200 to $300 an hour, although it is not advisable to hire a fractional CMO hourly. The reason for this is that a fractional CMO needs to understand the business holistically – its assets, its people, and its direction – before they can create the right marketing campaigns and strategy. Therefore, it is recommended to work with a fractional CMO ten hours per week, or approximately forty hours per month. 

Who needs a fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO should be hired when a company either cannot afford a full-time CMO or run the marketing campaigns that the CMO identifies, or simply do not need a CMO due to the relative simplicity of the marketing of the business. It is not necessary for many businesses to have a CMO. Instead, smaller businesses under $1,000,000 would do well to have an advertising technician support them on creating a campaign to get them to the $1,000,000 mark. Companies between $1-50,000,000 a year depending on their profitability would do well to hire a fractional CMOs. They are at a critical growth phase and typically need the strategy that only an experienced CMO could bring; however, these companies are typically unable to afford a full-time investment.

What makes a good fractional CMO?

When hiring a fractional CMO, the first question to ask is what process they follow. There are firms that offer CMOs who have experience in big businesses spending tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars per year on marketing budget. These experienced CMOs rarely make sense to employ in your business simply because the way that they solve problems is by buying agency time or hiring an agency. A good fractional CMO is one that is process-driven, who has a track record of helping companies scale that are similar in size or offering to your own. While there are some similarities between B2B and B2C marketing approaches, it is best to choose a CMO who is experienced in your particular business type or industry. If you’re in a new industry, find a fractional CMO who has proven themselves time and again of following a rigorous, predictable process.

How do I hire a fractional CMO?

When hiring a fractional CMO, there are three qualifications that you must identify: the first is that they are experienced; the second is that they follow a process; the third is to review their intake form.

First is their experience – how long have they been acting as a fractional CMO? Remember that strategy is the most important aspect of a fractional CMO. Second to strategy is their ability to hire and lead and manage from a high level the rest of the direct report team in the marketing department. Experience here will pay dividends on your investment as you find someone who has confidence in leading the team to deliver on the outcomes that the CEO and board have defined for the organization.

The second aspect is their process. A predictable process will always produce predictable results. Therefore, a CMO that you hire must have a process they follow, and they must be clear about what the process is and how it works. An effective CMO follows a process so that they don’t have to guess at the next step but instead know what they’re doing.

The third is their intake form. Ask anyone that you’re considering hiring to share their intake form. This is the questionnaire that they send out when they start doing business with an organization. Look for depth; look for breadth. What you want to make sure of is that they’re asking the right questions. Rarely does an organization ask to review this important document before they do work. What we found is that most fractional CMOs are experienced without process, and their intake form is a series of questions that come up at the last minute before a call. Ensure anyone you hire has a rigorous detailed long form to make sure they’re asking the right questions to give them the insights they need to make the right decisions. 

How do I know if a fractional CMO is right for my business?

If you’re at a critical point in your business where you need to grow and you’re not flush with cash, or you want to reduce your risk as you grow, hiring a fractional chief marketing officer will provide to you the insights and security that an executive can bring while reducing your financial burden. If you know that marketing would help drive more revenue in the business, consider hiring a fractional chief marketing officer to ideate campaigns, build your team, and lead them to success. 

These three guidelines will let you know if a fractional CMO is right for your business. 

1.) You recognize that you need to delegate.

We feel that a company does best when each person in the organization is engaged in the tasks that they are best at. As the CEO, you have a specific skill set and value that you bring to your business. It is likely that you do not have up-to-date knowledge about marketing tasks. It is also likely that you don’t have the time to learn or to engage with these tasks on a regular basis. 

2.) You know that your enterprise is not ready for a full-time CMO.

A CMO with the experience and skill you need will likely cost $250,000 per year. This is before benefits like health insurance and retirement accounts are worked in.  At the level where you are now, there might not be enough for a full-time CMO to do. If you hired one, their average week would probably involve 10 hours of essential tasks, then another 10 to 20 of tasks that are a level down in urgency. They’ll check in with people and write emails. The final 10 each week would be filled with busy work. 

3.) You are committed to a lean organization.

Why spend a quarter to a third of your revenue on something that provides only diminishing returns? With a Fractional CMO, you have someone who is there specifically for those essential 10 hours each week. They are subject matter experts who can help your business reach new heights.

Intrigued? We’d love to talk more. Please accept our invitation for a 30-minute Clarity Call with our CEO, Casey Stanton. We’ll waive the cost.