In a city like San Francisco, according to local Austin job board Indeed, the average Chief Marketing Officer earns approximately $173,000 per year in salary. In a place like Austin, Texas, it can float around the average of $120,000. Each location has outliers that stretch into the hundreds of thousands, but the fact of the matter is, an experienced CMO comes at a price that many startups or small businesses do not have the luxury to afford. This is where a Fractional CMO can step in and help drive a marketing team from an executive-level, and help a junior marketing team execute in a way that a company may not otherwise have the means to afford. A Fractional CMO can do this by sharing their time and expertise between several companies in a way that technology, communication, and project management platforms previously did not allow for. CFO’s have been doing this for many years and it is only natural that the sharing economy has reached the marketing and business community.
How Can My Business Leverage A Fractional CMO?
Fractional CMO’s can assist companies that are just beginning by assisting on a project basis, for instance, as they build out their initial marketing strategy. At The Pony Group, we work with our clients in a variety of ways that include as-needed hourly consulting for when a business or CEO needs guidance through a problem they are facing, on a project basis, then on an ongoing basis depending on the level of hands-on a business may need. Often, this can shift from month-to-month as specific seasonal needs are required, such as holiday marketing planning, planning for a new fiscal year, or as a new product may be rolled out and marketing implementation is required.
What Services Can a Fractional CMO Provide?
There is no shortage of items a Fractional CMO or outsourced CMO could provide, but here we will take a look at three primary areas of focus, which include market insights and analysis, strategic planning, and marketing channel implementation. It is important to understand that as a business owner, CEO or executive, there are reasons why a Fractional CMO will want to work through specific phases in an effort to get to an end strategy, which will ultimately help you achieve your goals and end results. This is by no means a complete overview of what we can provide, so to learn more or see if we can help with your current business needs, feel free to get in touch with us.
Stage 1: Market Insights & Analysis
Each company is different, but looking at the competitive marketplace for all businesses is a necessity. Depending on the industry, a few variables can come into play, but at the very basics, you will want to understand the competition and market size. This also takes you into the competitive landscape and understanding where your business fits in. A few other factors can be considered in this area, including branding, technologies, customer experience and brand perception, then last, but not least, an overarching SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis takes a look at your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, so you can understand where to focus your time, money, and resources.
Stage 2: Strategic Planning
There are many different areas that fall into this broad category and they can help a new business develop their initial marketing strategy and go-to-market strategy from the ground up, or they can dive into specific channels of marketing to have a Fractional CMO help your business analyze, understand, and optimize existing strategies that your company is using. Here are a few areas to give you an idea, are you struggling with any of these areas in your business?
- Website Audit & Conversion Rate Optimization
- Marketing Strategy
- Content Strategy
- Social Media Strategy
- Paid Advertising (Facebook, Search Engine Marketing, etc…)
- SEO Planning & Strategy
- Offline & Guerilla Marketing
- Sales Funnel Development
- Branding & Positioning
- Launch Planning
- Technology & Innovation Planning
As you can see, there are a variety of areas that each business must consider within their marketing strategy and often these can fall into several areas within a company, including their engineering team, sales team, finance team, or operations. A Fractional CMO can help you take a step back from your business and look at everything from a different vantage point, then help guide you to the right areas based on your time, money, resources, and human capital.
Stage 3: Marketing Channel Implementation & Execution
Many early-stage companies skip directly to this step without considering the first two. A common comment when we begin working with a client that came to us is to say, “We’ve tried content for SEO, it doesn’t work.” We then audit their content to find that they’ve written three blog posts over the past year with very little relevance to what their audience wants to know. This falls across many marketing challenges. Whether a startup, corporation, or small business is working with a CMO, Fractional CMO, or marketing team, they want to spend time in the first two stages before implementing. The phrase throwing pasta at the wall and hoping it will stick rings true here. If you merely throw marketing channels at the wall, without a plan, it is likely you will walk away learning little, if not anything, and you will feel defeated. Marketing, like exercise, needs to become a consistent habit. Though only a few highlights, the many channels of marketing each business should consider include the sampling below:
- Content & SEO: Blogs, Whitepapers, Research & Case Studies, Podcasts, Webinars
- Organic Social Media: YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat
- Email Marketing: Transactional, Newsletters, Promotional
- Paid Digital Ads: Facebook, Google, Bing, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter
- Affiliate, Partner & Influencer Marketing
- Traditional Marketing: Billboards, TV Ads, Print Ads
- Other & Guerilla Marketing: Events, Conferences, Street Teams, Experiential
- Outbound Sales Development & Sales Resources
Once you fully understand the market, what competitors have done, how they have invested in their own marketing and growth, then you can develop your strategy and ultimately begin implementing the channels of marketing mentioned above. Here you can start to build and test within each channel strategy through a cohesive marketing funnel and plan. Now is the time you finally execute on your strategy and monitor the progress. Keeping in mind that your analytics need to link up with your specific business. Your friend that claims a CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) of $4 for their T-shirt shop will not be the same for your $400 per hour legal services firm. These are important things to understand as you implement each channel of marketing. Equally important, is understanding the woven mesh that a variety of marketing channels provide to develop and weave together your marketing strategy.
You’ve now gone through the full cycle that a typical CMO goes through within a business, but there is a fourth step that is often left out. Measurement and analytics. A Fractional CMO also will help a business understand the tools and resources they will need to successfully test and monitor their marketing strategy, then report back on the findings. No marketing consultant, CMO, or Fractional CMO has a crystal ball that says their strategy will miraculously result in explosive company growth (If they promise this, run the other way), so the important final step that a Fractional CMO will help your business with, is measuring results and identifying the KPI’s that matter most to your business. In paid advertising, it means very little if specific ads are giving a higher number of clicks and traffic to the website if you are not actually seeing conversions to leads or purchases. A well-versed Fractional CMO can identify where leaks in a marketing and sales funnel exist by analyzing the data and implementing adjustments to grow your business.
Summarizing A Fractional CMO’s Role
A Fractional CMO wears a lot of hats and with these many hats comes a lot of varied responsibilities. Understanding where a Fractional CMO can fit into your business can rely on several factors and needs, including the stage of the company. A Fractional CMO can help build a competitive analysis for your business, can help devise strategies, and can help implement and execute on a plan. Not all CMO’s are created equal for each stage in this progression or company size, so as you consider your own business needs, a full-time CMO may not be what your business, or your finances need in terms of a hire. Many times a junior level marketer with a Fractional CMO can help your business grow more effectively at a more efficient cost.
If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities that a Fractional CMO from The Pony Group can provide, contact us, or if you would like to learn more about building your own marketing strategy, we developed an in-depth guide to building a B2B Marketing Strategy.