the marketing spark logo

Why it’s Getting Tougher to Hire a Fractional CMO

Hiring a fractional CMO is tougher than ever.

The problem: the number of people jumping on the FCMO bandwagon.

It’s a sexy title (a heck of lot better than calling yourself a “marketing consultant).

But for companies, it’s more challenging to determine the right option for a key hire.

Here are some thoughts from somone who has been doing it since 2021:

• Fractional CMOs are not magicians. Just because they have experience and expertise doesn’t mean they can make results happen overnight.
• On a related note, establishing expectations from the beginning is crucial. If both sides aren’t aligned, it’s sets the stage for disappointment and frustration.
• Fractional CMOs are expensive (>$5K/month, usually) and it takes to get up and running. You need to invest the time and money for them to learn your business so they can make smart decisions.
• Take into account that a FCMO will ask you to spend money on marketing so be ready and willing to make a finanancial commitment.
• FCMOs are not one-size-fits-all propositions. They come in different shapes and sizes with different skills and experience. Hire someone who knows the type of marketing that want to do and, ideally, your industry.
• Fractional means they work for you some of the time (e.g. one or two days a week). They have other clients and commitments. They’re not watching your company’s levers and dials 24/7.
• If you are starting marketing from scratch, hiring a FCMO may not be the best option. It takes a lot of grunt work to go from nothing to something. Many FCMOs are planners not builders.
• The lifespan for FCMO is usually six to 12 months. They fill strategic gaps. At some point, you’ll want to hire a full-time marketing leader.

If you hire the right FCMO, you get someone who:

• Cost-effective. You’re not paying a full-time salary, perks, options or severance.
• Understands how to do strategic planning, implement systems, playbooks and a technology stack, and build a marketing team, if needed.
• Can move the marketing needle forward quickly and efficiently. They’ve have a proven track record; they have been there and done that.
• Offers flexibility. At some point, you go your separate ways. No harm, no foul. Another option is to re-engage at a lower cost to leverage what that know about your business. (e.g. strategic consultant or marketing advisor)
• Has access to a large network that they can leverage when needed like agencies, vendors, industry experts, and potential partner.

If you’re looking to hire a fractional CMO, we should talk. You can also check out my free guide.

Other Posts