What is a Fractional CMO? Miguel Pujols August 30, 2022

What is a Fractional CMO?

“A Fractional CMO is an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer who provides part-time executive marketing services for a company. “

 – Giant Propeller


When it comes to executive leadership roles in marketing, everyone knows a CMO or Chief Marketing Officer is at the top of the ladder. But what is a Fractional CMO and what makes them different?


A Fractional CMO is an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer who provides part-time executive marketing services for a company.


They essentially work for a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost of an in-house CMO. They offer their marketing expertise, set objective marketing goals, provide strategy, and bring executive leadership to a company’s marketing efforts.The key difference between a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer and a traditional CMO is that fractional employees don’t work for the company full-time in a salaried position.


Nowadays, when it comes to outsourcing marketing professionals, you can outsource many roles outside of marketing leadership. In fact, you can outsource your entire marketing department if you want to – through a process called fractional marketing. If you’re wondering, what is fractional marketing, be sure to check our article on our Giant Propeller marketing blog.



What Does a Fractional CMO Do?

As a fractional marketing leader,  your outsourced CMO will provide a ton of value to your overall marketing strategy. These contractual CMO services typically consist of several key responsibilities:


  • Research and Planning: To set the foundation for a successful marketing plan, your fractional executive will use the research tools and data available to fully understand your company’s position in the marketplace. They will always try to stay ahead of the curve and your competitors to win over current or potential clients.


  • Budget and Goal Setting: Using market research and years of seasoned experience, your Fractional CMO will determine a marketing budget and goals for your marketing efforts. These departmental goals and budget will be determined by your overarching business goals. For example, if your company plans to increase revenue growth by 15% in the next year, your marketing initiatives should directly support this.


  •  Strategy and Execution: Fractional CMO’s are far more than a marketing consultant. In addition to the responsibilities outlined above, your marketing expert should be the driving force behind your strategy. Similar to other members of your executive team, they will be the head of strategy for their department (just like a traditional CMO). They will work closely with the leaders for each vertical and help determine a collaborative approach to each marketing campaign. As a marketing executive, your CMO won’t be heavily involved in execution. From there, the channel leads will execute on the outlined marketing strategy. 

  • Performance and Analytics: Since your Fractional CMO is the one leading your marketing strategy, they are also responsible for overseeing the ongoing performance of your marketing initiatives. They will help forecast performance, draw insights from each marketing effort, and assess if certain strategies need to continue or pivot to meet your business growth goals. They will also work closely with your sales team, tracking and managing MQLs and SQLs.


Now that we’ve covered the core responsibilities of a Fractional CMO, let’s discuss all the benefits to partnering with one.




What Are the Benefits of a Fractional CMO?

As the gig economy expands and the age of digital marketing is on the rise, Fractional CMOs are gaining popularity. There are many benefits to hiring a Fractional CMO or working with a fractional marketing agency. Here is why your company should consider working with these outsourced marketing professionals:


  • Fresh Perspective: Not only will you have a multifaceted and experienced marketing leader on your team, they’ll provide your marketing efforts with an entirely fresh perspective, bringing new strategies, ideas, and processes that your current marketing department hasn’t thought of before.


  • More Affordable: One of the more obvious benefits to partnering with a Fractional CMO is that they are much more affordable than a traditional CMO. When it comes down to it, you are paying for the same quality talent and services, but without the cost of employee benefits, full-time executive salary, PTO, or other expenses. 


  • Prevent Burnout: Support your in-house marketing team by leveling up your resources. Your team will appreciate the expertise and added direction. More marketing talent means much less burnout, creative fatigue, and inefficiencies. 


  • Expertise: Your in-house team might not have experience with every marketing channel. You could use support with tactics that are less familiar to you (for example: paid social media, email marketing, SEO, marketing communications, influencer marketing, public relations, marketing automation, etc.) Fractional CMO services will bring opportunities to test, learn, and grow.


  • Improve Goal Setting and Tracking: Like a traditional CMO, your fractional executive will be able to assess your strategy from a higher level. Sometimes a marketing team can be so focused on their individual channel metrics that they struggle to see the broader picture. A CMO will keep the goals of your company and marketing department at the forefront of your marketing strategy and performance tracking.


  • More Collaboration Across Channels: Sometimes marketing initiatives can become siloed. A CMO will ensure company branding and marketing campaigns are consistent across channels. Better collaboration among your team leads to synergy across your marketing efforts.

  • Revenue Growth: At the end of the day, a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer is an investment. They are more affordable than an in-house CMO, and they are going to provide just as much value to your marketing efforts. A quality marketing strategy is going to yield a greater return on investment. Plus, your fractional employee will need to routinely report on performance and prove their value to maintain their partnership with your company. 


Do You Need a Fractional CMO?

If your company does not have marketing support on the executive team you most likely could benefit from a fractional CMO. Even if you have leadership at the level of a marketing director or equivalent, your marketing strategy could benefit from the expertise of a seasoned part-time Chief Marketing Officer.


The Giant Propeller Solution

While fractional CMOs and CMO agencies have been around for many years, companies have recently taken notice of the evolving world of fractional marketing.While a fractional CMO provides a ton of value to your strategic approach at an executive level, they don’t provide you with execution.

 They might not even be experienced with newer forms of digital marketing. That’s where fractional marketing agencies like Giant Propeller come in.


Giant Propeller is a brand growth and digital marketing agency offering modern fractional marketing services. We provide customized solutions for your budget and business goals. Learn more about how Giant Propeller can elevate your marketing efforts today.