Fractional CMO - 6 Unique Use Cases
A Fractional Chief Marketing Officer can be incredibly beneficial to an organization in several ways. In addition to the usual responsibilities associated with this role, they also have the flexibility to provide assistance across different departments. We share six unique ways to use your new CMO
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As a business owner, you need to be constantly adapting to the new realities that each technological advancement, or changes in society, bring. The way you did business a few years ago no longer makes sense if you want to remain competitive and grow your business.
Finding ways to stretch your limited budget requires creativity and the willingness to try new things. We often receive calls from business owners who have had several quarters or even years of stagnating growth. They see their margins shrinking and verbally state that, if things don’t change, they are not sure how much longer they can make it. Spending the tens of thousands of dollars that a good marketing agency would demand may seem like a good idea, but for a company already stretched, they often stick to what is already not working.
A crisis has a way of forcing paradigm shifts in the way we do business. In 2009, as a result of the financial crisis, people were forced to work multiple jobs to survive, and the gig economy was born (Derby). In 2020, when most companies were forced to learn how to operate remotely, we learned that even the C-Suite could operate and manage a company remotely. The Fractional CMO position grew out of these two world crises (Marketing Brew). Having workers work remotely does not diminish their contributions, in fact, they tend to be 13% more productive (Stanford).
In two prior articles, we describe the concept of using a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer, (Fractional CMO/CGO - Is the Agency Model Broken?) and how to hire one (How To Hire and Manage a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer). Today, we are going to share examples of some of the best use cases for a Fractional CMO. Understand that this is not an all-inclusive list but the ten areas that companies find most beneficial.
What Can a Fractional CMO Do?
A Fractional CMO is supposed to take ownership of the success of your company’s marketing program and overall growth. They bring to your organization a unique perspective and real-world experience working for similar organizations in your industry. A fractional CMO offers a large array of services that can impact the success of any company. Some of the more traditional duties include:
Establishing the Key Performance Indicators that will be tracked
Demand Generation Campaigns
Managing the Company’s brand through public relations and brand awareness
Creating and implementing a comprehensive omnichannel marketing program
Developing corporate and product messaging based on buyer personas
Development and implementation of a go-to marketing strategy for new products
Training and mentoring of existing marketing and sales personnel.
Enhancing and optimizing clients’ online presence for the most impact.
Establishing nurturing campaigns for lead conversions
Optimization of budget spending for paid-demand programs
Identifying and recruiting top talent.
Develop budgets, forecasts, and system reporting
To take full advantage of this highly qualified expert, take a look at the following often overlooked areas where they can excel.
Startup Funding – Every new and early-stage company lacks the financial resources that it needs to propel its growth. One of the main reasons that they hired an individual to work on a fractional basis is the lack of funds to hire a person of similar skills full-time. Many Fractional CMOs have the experience of securing funds for other organizations. They also can build a strategic growth plan that will demonstrate to investors the market potential of the company. They will craft a story that has a compelling narrative about the company’s marketing position, competitive advantages, and its growth potential.
Investor Relations – When a company is running smoothly, and has a strong growth curve, investor relations are easy. Everyone is happy and enjoying the ride. Usually, when a Fractional CMO is being brought in, that is not the case. The company has had little, or no, growth, and the investors are becoming discontent with the management. It is not unheard of that a founding CEO is replaced by someone that the investors trust more. When discontent is on the horizon, having someone who knows how to market ideas and has been in similar situations before can be very helpful. The Fractional CMO will identify how to deal with the pain points and concerns that the investors have with management. They can share a growth strategy and reporting system that will help appease the investors, giving everyone the time to implement it.
Product Positioning – I have often been in a Fractional Chief Growth (Marketing) Officer position where it was apparent that the company was missing tremendous opportunities due to poor product positioning. After the initial startup phase, most companies stop looking at the marketplace with the same intensity. A Fractional CMO will (should) do a deep dive into the industry and competitive marketplace when they first come on board. They will talk to all relevant in-house team members including those from Sales, Support, and Product.
It is not unusual for a company to have overlooked, or passed over, what could be a game changer. In previous roles, we have identified, in the first year, an opportunity that brought an increase of eight million dollars in recurring revenue.
Product Pricing - It is often the case that companies who are facing difficult times make bad decisions about pricing policies that reduce revenues and hurt profitability. For example, I came into an organization, on a fractional basis, and discovered that they got into the bad practice of offering a product discount every month. This had a tremendous negative impact on revenues and profitability. The net effect was that the product pricing was never the stated amount, because prospects came to learn to just wait a few, and they would be rewarded with a 30% discount. We restructured the pricing policies and only offered one end-of-year discount. The sales went up by 47%, because we trained the Sales team to sell on benefits, not on price.
Executive Mentorship - The Fractional CMO has a wealth of experience helping far more successful companies achieve greatness. They can provide a fresh set of eyes to look across all departments to find ways to improve systems, processes, and coordination. Allow them to bring the best of what they have seen and introduce it to other members of your C-Suite. Take only what works for your organization, but allow the conversations to happen.
Client Retention & Loyalty - Unfortunately, most organizations bring in a Chief Marketing Officer to strictly perform what they view as traditional marketing. That is, to generate sales-qualified leads for the Sales team. Every Marketing department needs to have an expanded charter that allows them to not only generate leads but also help at every stage of the buyer's journey. That buyer's journey does not stop when a sale is made but continues on to help ensure that the new customer remains happy and loyal. They make additional purchases, and, eventually, become advocates that generate new opportunities for the company.
If you bring on a Fractional CMO, give them an extended and broad mandate to generate growth. That means increasing client retention and finding ways to cross and upsell existing clients. Don't sell your brand, or your company, short by limiting a CMO's reach.
A Fractional Chief Marketing Officer can be incredibly beneficial to an organization in several ways. In addition to the usual responsibilities associated with this role, they also have the flexibility to provide assistance across different departments. This freedom allows them to utilize their expertise and bring a fresh perspective to various areas of the company. Moreover, fractional CMOs often come with a wealth of experience gained from working in more established organizations. This experience equips them with the knowledge and skills to tackle similar issues and problems that may arise within the organization. By leveraging their expertise and insights, a fractional CMO can help drive growth, improve marketing strategies, and enhance overall business performance.