Can’t Afford a CMO? Get Fractional CMO Services Instead.

By Raubi Perilli

      Sep 9, 2022     Solutions    

If you want to improve your marketing and grow your brand but feel stuck because you don’t have the funds to hire a chief marketing officer (CMO), you aren’t alone. Many business owners, especially in the restaurant and bar industry, can’t quite justify hiring a full-time CMO.  

But not being able to afford a full-time CMO doesn’t mean your business can’t reap the benefits of having access to marketing expertise.  

You can simply — and affordably — use fractional CMO services to get the marketing expertise you need.

What Is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is a partner who provides high-level marketing services on a part-time basis. A fractional CMO isn't a full-time team member but rather an outsourced partner who works with a company on a retainer or contract basis. An outsourced CMO can provide CMO services at a more reasonable cost than a full-time CMO, allowing smaller and growing businesses access to high-level marketing expertise.  

Like a CMO, a fractional CMO, oversees high-level marketing strategy. They are responsible for designing and leading marketing efforts but not always responsible for the execution of marketing activities.

What a CMO does:  

  • Drives revenue and increases sales through marketing activities.
  • Works with business owners, product development, sales, and customer service to understand company needs and challenges.
  • Sets marketing goals and creates marketing budgets.
  • Directs pricing and promotions.
  • Creates buyer personas, marketing strategies, and sets marketing calendars.
  • Manages a marketing team and/or hired marketing consultants and agencies.

Hiring a CMO is different from hiring a freelancer or vendor for a specific marketing activity. A CMO may not perform all marketing tasks, but they should be able to offer guidance, direct planning, and manage all marketing tasks.  

What a CMO may NOT do:   

  • Branding
  • Website design and development
  • Search engine optimization
  • Search engine marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Copywriting
  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Digital advertising
  • Print advertising

A CMO may not engage in specialized marketing tasks, but they often will have a network of partners who can. (If you hire fractional CMO, look for one who also has access to a team of marketing experts.)

Related: 6 Regional Marketing Tips for Brands Trying to Tap Into a Local Market

The Benefits of Fractional CMO Services

If you aren’t ready to hire a full-time CMO, consider how fractional CMO services can support your marketing and growth goals. When you have a fractional CMO, you get the following benefits.

  • Higher Level of Expertise: Don’t try and figure it out on your own. Get insights from an expert with years of experience.
  • Less Stress on Your Team: Stop asking team members to fill the role of a CMO in addition to their other roles.
  • Better Results: Drive better results with more strategic, informed marketing plans.
  • Organized, Holistic Marketing Vision: Rather than having your marketing plans scattered across multiple departments or individuals, create a united marketing plan.
  • Improved Accountability: When marketing is assigned to one entity, it improves accountability as roles and expectations are clearly defined.
  • Access to Better Tools: A fractional CMO will typically have access to marketing tools your company otherwise wouldn’t have.
  • Access to Specialized Experts: Don’t worry about finding experts and freelancers to assist with specialized marketing activities. A CMO typically has a network of experts available to work on your projects and campaigns.

If you can’t afford a full-time CMO, you don’t have to miss out on these benefits. You can reap all of these benefits with a fractional CMO partner.  

Related: 12 Tactics to Create a Restaurant Sales Funnel That’s Always Full

How to Hire a Fractional CMO

If you find that your business could benefit from fractional CMO services, here are the steps to get started.

#1) Assign a marketing lead within your company.

While a fractional CMO will take over the marketing management for your company, you still want to assign someone within your organization to lead the process. A point-person will be especially important at the beginning as a CMO partner begins to learn about your brand and gain access to your team’s knowledge, tools, and profiles.  

A marketing lead in your company can help guide the CMO and provide the support they need at the beginning of the partnership and continue to provide internal support and insight. Over time, the marketing lead may need to be less active in the marketing department, but it is still a good practice to keep an assigned point-person within your full-time team.

#2) Find a fractional CMO partner.

To find a fractional CMO partner, talk to other business owners and get recommendations. Look for a local company or an organization that specializes in your industry.   Meet with two or three potential partners and ask questions to help you identify the right fit. Ask potential partners:  

  • How do you define success?
  • Do you have case studies or examples of past success?
  • What type of clients and industries do you have experience with?
  • What should we expect over the first three to six months of working with you?
  • How will we communicate?
  • What tools do you use?
  • What will you need from us?

#3) Set realistic expectations, and measure results.

When you hire a fractional CMO, start with a plan for what to expect and how to measure results. Knowing what success looks like and having a way to measure success will be key to building a strong relationship with your fractional CMO.  

Define goals. Set key performance indicators (KPIs), and create a dashboard or process for sharing data. You don’t want to be left in the dark on what your outsourced CMO is doing. Start on the right foot with a plan for reviewing their work.

Related: How to Use Restaurant Data Analytics To Improve Your Business

Need Fractional CMO Services? Talk to MyArea Network.

MyArea Network is ready to be your marketing partner. In addition to offering the guidance and support of fractional CMO services, we also have a team of specialized marketing experts who can provide marketing support for everything from website development and customer database management to digital advertising and search engine marketing.  

If you are ready to improve the effectiveness of your marketing and grow your brand, talk to MyArea Network about how we can provide fractional CMO services for your business.