Fractional CMO explained

What is Fractional Marketing, and how does it work?

Do you need a part-time CMO?

You may have seen the term “Fractional CMO” used recently. But what does it really mean? Perhaps you feel silly asking for an explanation. It can be embarrassing to admit you don’t know something, particularily if you’re a CEO or a marketing leader.

What is a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer?

Fractional CMO meaning by HPZ Marketing | Minneapolis

A Fractional Chief Marketing Officer is a part-time executive marketer who adds seasoned experience for a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee. This service is intended for companies that do not have marketing staff and/or cannot afford to hire executive marketing leadership. Fractional CMOs can also be referred as outsourced executive marketing, marketing consultant, outsourced CMO, gig marketer, fractional marketing manager, or even a CMO for rent. You can choose an agency to provide this service or a solo-preneur as a 1099 contractor. This can be temporary such as three months or a long-term contract. Businesses sometimes need a highly-skilled marketer, for only a few hours per week. (Note: this discussion doesn’t apply to large organizations that already have the depth of talent and deep resources to support a vertical marketing team.)

Fractional Marketing Services Gaining Market Traction

Fractional Marketing Services Gaining Traction by HPZ Marketing | Minneapolis

Fractional executive services are becoming more commonplace, particularly in the Finance and IT disciplines for small businesses. Engaging a “CMO for rent” assists organizations in achieving their market penetration and growth objectives without having to pay for full salary and benefits. Think of it as on-demand executive staffing to meet the ebb and flow demands of the business.

Do you really need a Fractional CMO?

5 signs you need a fractional CMO - HPZ Marketing

Now that you have a better idea of what they are, is a Fractional CMO right for you? Companies exploring this option may have struggled with the traditional hiring methods whether they are B2B or B2C. Often, their sales and marketing is stuck and believe by hiring the right marketing person their problems will magically be solved. The stark reality is that marketing has become such a specialized discipline that it’s rare to find the perfect marketer with deep expertise in everything. Digital marketing, web, social media, PR, content strategy, lead generation, analytics, P&L, sales partnerships, and customer advocacy. The list goes on and on. Sadly, another reason to explore a Fractional Marketer is that some companies are so soured on marketing because they’ve wasted money on shiny MarTech tools which did not help deliver real results to the top or bottom line. A Fractional CMO will wisely guide you on the strategies and tactics to deliver ROI and bring on the appropriate skilled resources to get the job done.

An added bonus. Extra help to mentor and coach employees.

Hire a Fractional CMO | The Extra Benefits to a SMB

Perhaps you’re considering hiring a Fractional CMO because you have a tiny (or non-existent) marketing staff, consisting only of a marketing assistant and social media coordinator. Not only will a fractional CMO give your business an added boost, but he or she can help guide and mentor teams. They’ll show staff what “good” looks like and learn from the battle wounds they’ve garnered over decades of experience. Without deep resources and gargantuan teams, you don’t have the luxury of time to recover from young employee’s missteps, which could negatively impact customers and satisfaction. That support and guidance is priceless.

Choose the Fractional CMO best suited for you.

Make sure to take the time to interview multiple people. Consider this process just like hiring a new FTE – one who is essential to business operations. Your Fractional CMO should act as if she is a W2 employee by keeping your company’s best interests at heart.

“No matter your company size, every dollar spent must be justified, 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.”

I just hired a Fractional CMO. Now What?!

What does a Fractional CMO do?A fractional chief marketing officer’s responsibility is to help companies achieve their sales growth goals. They are relentlessly focused on customer acquisition and retention strategies. Additionally, Fractional CMOs act as a W2 employee, keeping businesses best interests at heart with total candor and neutrality. A “CMO for hire” gives the unbiased truth, presenting data and evidence to eliminate wasteful spending and investing in marketing that delights customers. Organizations receive the best of both worlds – a hardworking, results-oriented and deeply experienced fractional marketer who delivers real ROI.


Your fractional CMO hits the ground running on day 1 with these 5 crucial to-dos:

  1. Meet 1:1 with team members
  2. Connect with customers
  3. Bolster the sales funnel
  4. Audit digital properties
  5. Build customer-based budget

Are you interested in finding out more about fractional marketing?

Ask us how a Fractional CMO might be right for your business.

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Keeping marketing accountable.


Jessica Kelley is a seasoned leader with more than two decades of marketing and finance experience in B2B and B2C channels. She has worked extensively within healthcare, consumer, commercial, and software industries in diverse environments ranging in size from a $200 billion corporation to a startup firm. Her company, HPZ Marketing is certified by the WBENC as a Women’s Business Enterprise.

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