Frequently Asked Questions

Interim and Fractional

Executive Marketing

FAQs about Fractional Chief Marketing Officers

What is a Fractional Marketing Executive?

A fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a part-time senior-level marketing executive hired by businesses to provide expert knowledge and skills in place of or complementary to full-time employees. Companies opt for a fractional CMO when they need specific marketing skills but don’t have the resources to hire a traditional full-time CMO executive.

Blog: What is the role of a fractional CMO?

Why are the benefits for companies hiring fractional marketing leaders?

Businesses increasingly opt for fractional marketing leaders because it gives them access to an experienced and knowledgeable executive. Fractional leaders can help a business with everything from developing a marketing strategy to executing that strategy to measuring the results. They can also help with branding, digital marketing, content for the sales team and mentoring staff.

A fractional marketing leader offers businesses the benefits of a full-time marketing executive without needing to employ them full-time. They may be hired on a part-time or project basis and can cater to businesses of all sizes. Additionally, they bring extensive experience in the entire marketing function.

Forbes article: How C-suites can leverage the new wave of fractional leaders

Forbes article: Why fractional marketing leaders are increasingly attractive to companies

Outsourcing C-level executives has gained market traction
Forbes began writing about Fractional executive services years ago and accelerated during the pandemic and acute staffing shortages (the great resignation hits CMO’s). Engaging a fractional CMO ensures clear accountability and results tied to business outcomes.

Is a Fractional CMO necessary?

Answering “yes” to any of the scenarios could merit hiring a fractional CMO for your company:

  1. It may be beneficial to seek marketing help, but hiring a full-time marketing executive may not be financially feasible.
  2. The existing team may not have the bandwidth to deal with the growing workload or complexity of marketing.
  3. Your team is lacks expertise in a particular area, such as strategic and digital marketing, lead generation, branding, or persona messaging.
  4. You’re looking for expertise in a specific area (e.g., marketing artificial intelligence) that your team doesn’t have.
  5. There is a need for an objective third party to evaluate and improve your current marketing performance.
  6. The team is experiencing difficulties in generating leads and acquiring high quality leads.
  7. You’re not getting the results you want from your past and current marketing efforts and need someone who can get things back on track.
  8. You don’t have a marketing strategy and are reactive rather than proactive.

Infographic: Five signs you need a fractional CMO

What does a Fractional Executive Marketer do?

A Fractional CMO is typically responsible for creating and implementing a marketing strategy, monitoring overall marketing activities, controlling the marketing budget, and leading the marketing team (if there is one).

A Fractional CMO will assist you in determining your TAM (total accessible market), generating customer personas, formulating effective messaging for target audiences, and creating an actionable marketing plan to include both digital and offline marketing tactics.

Hiring a fractional CMO can be beneficial for small to medium sized businesses as they will take on the responsibility of managing their marketing strategy, aligned to business goals, thus freeing up the CEO’s time. If your business needs help with growth, a fractional CMO may be an excellent choice.

Infographic: A to-do list for your fractional CMO

How do I choose a Fractional CMO that’s right for our company?

Fractional Marketers vary greatly in terms of their skills and expertise.

When hiring a fractional marketing executive, ensure that you take adequate time to interview each as if was for a full-time employee that is essential to business operations. The fractional CMO should act as if they are a W2 employee who will serve the company’s best interests.

“No matter the size of your company – start-up, mid-size or large –  every marketing dollar spent must be scrutinized, including expenditures for outsourced CMO services. Hiring a fractional CMO immediately adds depth and breadth of experience to an organization, and that person acts as a financial fiduciary for your budgets to help drive business growth and ROI.”

Video: How to choose the right fractional CMO for your business

What is the price for a Fractional executive's services?

A fractional CMO’s hourly rate is dependent on their expertise and the industry they are in. For instance, a marketing executive with extensive experience may command a higher fee compared to someone early in their marketing career.

Hourly rates for services typically range from $200 and $375, with the lowest being $150 and the highest $500.

When considering hiring a fractional CMO, it is recommended to request references from existing clients. This can provide an idea of their level of expertise and what results could potentially be achieved through the collaboration.

Find out how much your fractional CMO budget would be by using this calculator:

What fractional executive services are available from HPZ Marketing?

Fractional marketers posses varying skills.

Our focus is on three priorities:

  1. 10x marketing ROI
  2. Customer acquisition
  3. and customer retention

Get customers. Keep customers.”

We solve this as a marketing math problem aligning outcomes with budget and revenue, entirely focused on the customer journey.

Learn about our sales funnel methodology

Video: Create a customer-based budget your CFO will love!

What is the typical workload of a fractional CMO in hours per week?

The number of hours per week a fractional CMO works for a client varies, depending on the needs of the business and the specific services being provided. Generally, a fractional CMO will range from 3-10 hours per week. This is an investment in the business which yields a high-level marketing executive attention at a fraction of the cost for a full-time CMO.

Some companies may require a limited level of support, whereas others may need a marketing executive to take part in both strategic and day-to-day operations.

Calculate cost of a fractional CMO:

FAQs about Interim Chief Marketing Officers

An interim CMO is a position that provides temporary leadership for the chief marketing officer role

What is an interim CMO?

An interim CMO is a chief marketing officer appointed on either a part-time or full-time basis for a limited period of time. This executive typically has expertise in various areas of marketing, such as strategic marketing planning, digital transformation, customer experience, demand generation, marketing technology and revenue growth. Occasionally, the role may be used to temporarily fill an open head of marketing role.

Wall Street Journal Article: Companies See Value in Part-Time CMO Jobs: The pandemic and private investment have fueled an increase in interim roles for senior marketing executives

What are the responsibilities of an interim CMO?

The interim CMO is responsible for overseeing the organization’s marketing strategy, marketing initiatives and all execution deliverables.

The interim CMO should also:

  1. Utilize agile marketing
  2. Make decisions quickly and decisively
  3. Execute flawlessly, and
  4. Know how to inspire staff and increase customer engagement

The interim CMO must be responsible for ensuring a smooth transition, and may be tasked with recruiting and on- boarding of their replacement before their contracted time ends.

Infographic: The three benefits of hiring an interim CMO

What is the purpose of hiring an Interim CMO on an interim basis for businesses?

There are four main reasons that businesses might opt to recruit an interim CMO:

  1. The existing employees aren’t suitable for the job,
  2. The company needs to quickly hire for a vacant position
  3. Business growth has stagnated
  4. They require someone who can deliver results quickly

Video: Four reasons to consider an interim CMO

What criteria should be considered when selecting an Interim CMO for our company?

When searching for an interim CMO, it is important to interview multiple candidates to determine if they are an ideal fit for the marketing department. Make sure to probe about their marketing philosophies and strategies. The candidate should also have a proven history of producing ROI and executing tactics that prepare an organization for the transition to a new marketing leader.

Video: Do you need marketing help asap? Hire an Interim CMO

How much does it cost to hire an interim CMO?

An interim CMO’s fee can be hourly, retainer-based, or day-rate and determined by the scope and time commitment. Rates usually start at $150 per hour but could be as high as $500 per hour depending on the industry. The average rate for an interim CMO is typically between $200-$375/hour.

Cost calculator: Estimate your Interim CMO budget

What are the benefits of hiring an interim CMO?

An interim CMO can benefit your business in many ways, but most importantly they can help protect business continuity. An experienced interim CEO will be able to hit the ground running and work well under pressure. They will also have a focus on delivering results that improve both the top and bottom line for your company.

Video: Did your head of marketing just quit? Hire an Interim CMO

Fractional vs Interim Chief Marketing Officer FAQs

What is the difference between a fractional CMO and an interim CMO?

A fractional CMO is a marketing executive who works for a fixed number of hours each week or month. An interim CMO is a marketing leader who works for a fixed number of months.

A fractional CMO typically is a short-term solution for businesses who need marketing help but don’t have the budget or need to hire a full-time CMO. An interim CMO, on the other hand, is more of a mid to long-term alternative for companies who are looking for an experienced marketing executive to help them during a transitional period (like when they’re about to go through a big change, like a merger or acquisition or to fill a vacant marketing role ASAP).

How do I choose between a fractional CMO and an interim CMO?

There are a few factors to consider when making this decision.

First, how urgently does your business need marketing expertise? If you’re in the early stages of growth and not seeing the results you want, then a fractional CMO may be the better option.

Second, how much can you afford to spend? A fractional CMO typically costs less than an interim CMO, but it’s important to find someone with the right skillset who can help grow your business.

An interim marketing executive is ideal if you need someone to take over the role full-time for a certain period of time, either because you’re looking for a permanent CMO and don’t have one yet, or because your current head of marketing is leaving.

What is best for my business – an interim or fractional chief marketing officer?

When it comes to deciding whether to hire a fractional or interim CMO, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The right decision for your business will depend on your specific needs and situation. However, both types of marketers bring valuable skills and insights for your business—so if you’re considering bringing on a new marketing executive, be sure to vet them thoroughly first to determine organizational fit. Ask about their marketing process and methodology as well as referrals from past clients.

Whether you choose a fractional or interim CMO, their priorities are exactly the same. They MUST help you gain customers and keep customers satisfied. They also must constantly optimize your marketing to deliver brand and performance KPIs and achieve your business goals.

For more in-depth information about fractional and interim chief marketing officers, read the FAQs above.

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