In today's era of fast-paced, trend-driven marketing… embracing a fractional marketing strategy could be your business's key to unlocking hyper-fast growth and solidifying your organizational structure.
As opposed to traditional agency work, fractional marketing experts are highly specialized and creative omnichannel marketing campaigns that are custom-tailored to your business's goals and tailored to your business's specific needs.
It also comes with significantly lower overhead costs than traditional agency hiring, as you can access experienced marketing professionals without committing to a full-time hire.
Let's walk through the basics of fractional marketing and how it can help take your business where you want it to be.
Table of Contents
- What is Fractional Marketing?
- Benefits of Fractional Marketing
- Fractional Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing
- Hiring a Fractional CMO
- Implementing Fractional Marketing Strategies
- Measuring Success in Fractional Marketing
What is Fractional Marketing?
Fractional marketing is an innovative approach to business growth that has picked up a lot of steam in recent years. Businesses hire independent contractors or freelancers and outsource certain aspects (or all) of a business’s digital marketing operations.
This marketing model can be particularly beneficial for small businesses, start-ups, or those that lack a dedicated in-house marketing department or team, allowing business owners access to top-tier marketing talent without bearing the cost burden of a full-time CMO or marketing team.
Fractional marketing typically covers a wide range of digital marketing disciplines, such as:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content creation and management
- Social media management
- Email marketing campaigns and automation
- Website design and development
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
- Analytics and Reporting
- Public Relations & Communications
- Lead generation activities
However, depending on who you work with, they may have more expertise in one area than the other. Having a candid conversation about your goals is the best way to assess ‘fit' in the context of hiring the right candidate.
Benefits of Fractional Marketing
Cost-effective Marketing Solutions
Companies can significantly reduce expenses associated with hiring a full-time CMO or marketing team, such as salaries, benefits, and office space by opting for a fractional marketing approach.
Access to Expertise
Fractional marketing provides businesses access to industry veterans who bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and proven strategies to drive growth and improve marketing ROI. When working with a fractional CMO or a vCMO, you get personalized attention that you simply cannot get elsewhere.
As your business grows and evolves, fractional marketing professionals can seamlessly adjust their level of support, providing flexible and scalable solutions that meet your organization's needs.
Given the personalized nature of each engagement, services can be added and subtracted fairly easily. You end up with a very fluid marketing strategy that adjusts with the ebbs and flows of your business. This is one of the primary benefits of going with a vCMO versus the traditional cookie-cutter agency route.
Diverse Industry Experience
Fractional CMOs often have experience working with multiple industries and verticals, allowing them to apply cross-industry best practices and strategies to drive growth for your business. This expert industry knowledge adds immense value to any marketing endeavor.
These are typically individuals who have previously held the role of chief marketing officer or director at large companies and are well-versed in holistic marketing approaches that take more than just the digital side into account.
Fractional Marketing vs. Traditional Digital Marketing Agency
There are several key differences between fractional and traditional agency models.
The most significant difference is the level of customization you receive with hiring a fractional CMO or vCMO, as contrasted to having an agency create a standard one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing. With fractional marketing, you get tailor-made solutions designed specifically for your business to create long-term success.
Also, you get a hands-on approach when you hire a fractional CMO or vCMO. Your marketing expert will work closely with you to understand your goals and objectives while providing ongoing consulting and guidance during the entire marketing process.
A fractional CMO can help you with everything from setting up an effective Google Adwords campaign to creating SOPs and structuring internal processes. On the other hand, a traditional digital marketing agency is limited in its ability to provide this level of customization and personalization. You'll likely get the same campaign structure and, in some cases, even the same media as their other clients.
Hiring a Fractional Marketing Expert
Define Your Goals
Before hiring a fractional CMO, clearly define your company's marketing goals and objectives. This will allow you to communicate your expectations effectively and select a professional who aligns with your business needs.
Assess the experience and expertise of potential fractional CMOs by having an in-depth discussion and reviewing their portfolios, case studies, and testimonials. Ensure they have a proven track record of success in driving business growth.
Assess Cultural Fit
Choosing a fractional CMO who shares your company's values and culture is essential. This will ensure seamless collaboration and integration with your existing marketing function and team.
This occurs during your discovery call and initial meeting, where you get to know them and their own strategic thinking and marketing approach.
By understanding the critical differences between fractional marketing services and traditional agency models, businesses can decide what type of solution best meets their needs. With its personalized approach, scalability, and access to expert knowledge, fractional marketing offers an excellent way for companies to
Set Clear Expectations
Establish clear expectations regarding communication, reporting, and performance metrics. This will help to ensure a successful working relationship between business leaders in your organization and the fractional CMO.
Tips for setting clear expectations with your marketing consultant:
- Define reasonable timelines and deadlines for deliverables.
- Document the scope of work and list specific tasks that must be completed.
- Set goals, objectives, and KPIs upfront.
- Establish a system for ongoing reporting and performance tracking.
- Address any questions or concerns early on in the relationship.
- Create a contract that outlines all expectations and terms.
By following these steps, companies can ensure they hire the right fractional CMO or marketing executive to help them reach their marketing goals. With a tailored approach and access to expert knowledge, businesses can
Implementing Fractional Marketing Strategies
Develop a Comprehensive Marketing Plan
Work with your fractional CMO to create a strategic marketing plan encompassing all aspects of your business, including customer acquisition, retention, and brand awareness. While they will be doing all of the ‘heavy lifting', you (the owner) play a critical part in the beginning stage of making sure all of the necessary preliminary information is communicated.
It's important to remember that good marketing plans are fluid – they serve as a foundation to build on and a base to pivot from.
The most successful marketers can create and optimize a plan in real-time as the campaign progresses, ensuring you never miss an opportunity for more growth or better results.
Leverage Data-driven Insights
Utilize data and analytics to inform marketing decisions and optimize campaigns, ensuring a higher return on investment.
Using data to inform your decisions will help you to continually test, analyze, and optimize marketing strategies to identify areas for improvement and capitalize on growth opportunities.
Encourage collaboration between your fractional CMO and your in-house marketing team to create a cohesive marketing approach that drives success.
One of the most significant selling points of vCMOs and Fractional marketers is that they are generally well-versed in working with internal and external marketing teams. This means you should have no problem plugging your new team member into your existing marketing team structure.
Fractional Marketing is all about flexibility and innovation.
Measuring Success in Fractional Marketing
As with anything else regarding business, it's essential to have measures in place to track progress and measure ROI. Here are some metrics to consider when measuring success in fractional marketing.
Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Work with your fractional CMO to identify relevant KPIs that will help measure the success of your marketing initiatives. Examples of common KPIs to track include website traffic, conversion rates, and customer acquisition costs.
Regularly Monitor Performance
Monitor your marketing performance regularly, comparing your results to your established KPIs. This will help you understand the effectiveness of your marketing strategies and make data-driven decisions for future campaigns.
Utilize Analytics Tools
Employ advanced analytics tools to track the success of your marketing efforts. These tools can help you identify trends, discover opportunities for improvement, and make data-driven decisions.
Here are a few of the best tools to monitor your marketing performance:
- Google Analytics (Free)
- Google Search Console (Free)
- Active Campaign
- Sprout Social
Conduct A/B Testing
In addition to tracking performance, it's more important than ever to experiment to find out what works best for your business. To determine which variations yield the best results, perform A/B testing on various marketing elements, such as ad copy, landing pages, platforms, and email campaigns.
Your fractional marketing expert will then use these insights to optimize your strategy and resource allocation further and ultimately pivot as needed to make your campaign successful.
Aligning Fractional Marketing with Business Objectives
Effectively aligning your fractional marketing efforts with your company's overall business objectives is crucial for maximizing the value of a fractional marketing approach.
This process ensures that your various marketing programs and initiatives support your broader goals and foster a sense of cohesion and synergy within your organization.
Here are some practical steps to help align fractional marketing with your business objectives:
1. Define Your Business Objectives
Start by clearly laying out your company's overarching goals and objectives. These might include increasing revenue, expanding your customer base, entering new markets, or boosting brand awareness. With a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, you can better align your marketing efforts with these objectives.
Some questions to consider when outlining your business objectives:
- What are our long and short-term goals?
- Who Is our ideal target client and audience?
- How can we best reach our target audience?
- Where will we be investing the most resources?
- How can we measure success?
Starting with a framework of basic key questions will allow you to build a solid foundation to expand upon as the ideas flow.
2. Communicate Objectives and Pain Points to the Fractional CMO
Ensure your fractional CMO is fully informed about your business objectives from day one.
From discovery to strategy layout, the process of developing your fractional marketing strategy with a marketing consultant should be very open and candid. This means you must be honest about the business's current situation and provide as much detail as possible from day one.
This will allow your fractional CMO to develop marketing strategies that are specifically tailored to support your company's goals, ensuring that their efforts and spending are directed toward the most critical areas.
3. Set Marketing Goals that Align with Business Objectives
Work closely with your fractional CMO to establish marketing goals that directly support your business objectives. For example, if your objective is to increase revenue, set specific goals for customer acquisition, lead generation, and conversion rates. This alignment ensures that your marketing efforts are targeted and effective.
4. Develop a Unified Strategy
Collaborate with your fractional CMO to create a comprehensive marketing strategy encompassing all business aspects, including product development, customer service, and sales.
This unified approach ensures that your marketing initiatives are seamlessly integrated with other aspects of your organization, creating a cohesive strategy that supports your business objectives.
Fractional marketing refers to the practice of hiring an experienced marketing professional, such as a fractional CMO, on a part-time or project basis to support a company's marketing efforts. This approach allows businesses to access top-tier marketing expertise without the costs and commitment of a full-time CMO.
Practical Examples of Fractional Marketing in Business
Now that you have a decent understanding of what fractional marketing is and how fractional CMOs operate within a business, let's take a look at a few quick examples of areas where fractional CMOs operate:
Content Marketing Strategies
A small business that wants to increase brand awareness and organic website traffic hires a fractional CMO to develop and implement a content marketing strategy. Your fractional CMO works closely with you (the owner) or your in-house team to craft high-quality content across platforms, ultimately driving more traffic and generating leads.
Product Launch Campaigns
A startup preparing to launch a new product enlists the help of a fractional CMO to design and execute a product launch campaign. The CMO uses its marketing strategy, public relations, and digital advertising expertise to generate buzz around the product, reach the target audience, and achieve a successful launch.
Social Media Management
A company seeking to improve its social media presence and engagement hire a fractional CMO with a strong background in social media marketing. The CMO manages social media content, engagement, and analytics to improve the company's strategy.
Platforms commonly managed by fractional marketing directors:
- Google My Business
Every platform has its own demographic and audience, and no platform will work for every business. A vCMO helps you figure out what works as fast as possible – allowing you to hone in your focus and scale where it counts.
Lead Generation and Nurturing
A B2B marketing company seeks a fractional CMO for improving their sales pipeline through lead generation and nurturing. To attract and convert high-quality leads, the vCMO develops and implements a multi-channel marketing strategy, including search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and targeted email campaigns.
A company going through a rebranding process hires a fractional CMO to oversee the transition and ensure a smooth rollout. The CMO develops a plan for a new brand with the in-house team, including identity, messaging, and strategic marketing plans.
Should I Hire a Fractional Marketing Expert?
If you're seeking marketing expertise or a strategy but can't commit to a full-time CMO, fractional marketing is an excellent choice. They bring fresh ideas,The best way to find out is to continue learning and having conversations.