Fractional CMO: What is it and Why Your Brand May Need One







Team Fratzke



Marketing is an essential aspect of any business, but not all companies have the resources to hire a full-time Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Thankfully, there is still a solution for these companies:  a fractional CMO

A fractional CMO is a part-time marketing executive who can provide expert strategy and leadership to businesses that don't require a full-time CMO. In this article, we will walk you through the responsibilities of a fractional CMO, their role in a business, and why your company could benefit from hiring one.

Article Summary:

  • Fractional CMOs can provide specialized expertise and guidance to businesses without the need for a full-time CMO.
  • Hiring a fractional CMO can be a cost-effective solution for businesses looking to improve their marketing results.
  • Fractional CMOs can help businesses develop and implement effective marketing strategies that align with their overall goals.
Unlock Marketing Success 🚀
Unlock Marketing Success 🚀

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is a part-time, outsourced marketing executive. They provide all of the same strategic guidance and leadership as a full-time CMO, but on a contracted basis.  This allows companies to leverage senior-level marketing expertise without the full-time salary and commitment.

Business trends are showing that many companies are reconsidering the CMO position and its responsibilities, leading to changes in the role's title and the hiring of fractional CMOs in consulting-style roles. Let’s take a look at a global corporation that recently made this change and how this major move is signaling a shift in how brands approach this role.

What is a  Fractional CMO?
What is a  Fractional CMO?

Starbucks is Rethinking the CMO Role

Starbucks, one of the biggest coffeehouse chains in the world, is leading the way with this significant shift in its marketing leadership. The company has recently eliminated the "global CMO" role and is searching for a "global brand creative leader" instead. The removal of the global CMO role suggests Starbucks might be leaning into regional fractional CMOs in the future. This approach could help them tailor their marketing strategies to specific regions while still having a strong central creative leader, which, of course, will still come with crucial responsibilities. 

Below are the most important responsibilities of fractional CMOs.

Responsibilities of a Fractional CMO

  1. Develop and manage short-term and long-term marketing strategies for the business, covering various channels such as SEO, content marketing, paid advertising, podcasts, etc.
  2. Solve marketing problems quickly and effectively as they arise.
  3. Lead and motivate team members in the marketing department.
  4. Hire new employees and build a strong and sustainable team for long-term success.
  5. Work with outsourced agencies to leverage their experience and expertise.
  6. Conduct market research to identify new opportunities and emerging trends in the industry.
  7. Develop and manage the marketing budget to ensure effective resource allocation.
  8. Measure and analyze the effectiveness of marketing campaigns using data analytics tools and adjust strategies accordingly.

We’ve covered the basics of what a fractional CMO is; now, we’re going to explore the reasons why your company may need fractional CMO services.

Responsibilities of a Fractional CMO
Responsibilities of a Fractional CMO

Reasons a Business Needs Fractional CMO Services

If a major player like Starbucks has gone the fractional CMO route, you may be asking yourself: “Do I need a fractional CMO for my company?”. We’ve compiled a list of reasons that your business may need fractional CMO services.

  • Marketing Leadership: Your company's marketing department needs an experienced leader who can make important decisions and guide the team.
  • Marketing Strategy: Your business requires a comprehensive marketing strategy for your niche and industry. 
  • Part-time CMO: You need someone with the expertise of a Chief Marketing Officer, but only for part of the week, ranging anywhere from 5 to 20 hours per week. The terms of your agreement should be flexible and customizable.
  • Experience: You have staff to implement marketing campaigns, but they need more strategic experience. Your business requires someone with prior experience who can anticipate unique challenges and obstacles.
  • Reporting & KPIs: You need to monitor the health and progress of your campaigns and have someone lead weekly KPIs meetings. You’re looking for someone to take the lead so your team has accountability and is always results-focused.
  • Optimization: You need to improve marketing campaign optimization by having an expert identify opportunities and new possibilities.
  • Efficiency: Your existing marketing team's efficiency is below optimal. It would help if you had leadership and management to maximize efficiency for your marketing department and drive results.
  • Go-to-market Strategy: If you are a startup planning to launch a new product or service, you will require a new marketing strategy for the short-term and the next few years. It is essential to plan your digital marketing efforts meticulously so that your marketers know what needs to be done. 
Full-Time CMO Vs Fractional CMO
Full-Time CMO Vs Fractional CMO

The Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO for Your Business

There are several considerable advantages to bringing on a fractional CMO for your company rather than employing a full-time one. Here are some of the key benefits:

The Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO
The Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO
  • Cost-effectiveness: This is a significant advantage. Fractional CMOs work on a part-time or project basis, resulting in a significantly lower cost than a full-time employee with the same experience level. This frees up the budget for other initiatives or allows you to scale up marketing efforts gradually.
  • Expertise on Demand: You can access senior-level marketing leadership without the full-time commitment. Fractional CMOs bring a wealth of experience from working with various companies, offering fresh perspectives and industry best practices.
  • Focus and Objectivity: A fractional CMO can provide an objective viewpoint on your marketing strategy, helping you cut through internal politics and prioritize tasks for maximum impact.
  • Flexibility and Scalability:  You can tailor the engagement to your specific needs. Need help developing a new marketing strategy? A fractional CMO can provide that. Need ongoing support with campaign execution? They can adjust their workload accordingly.
  • Streamlined Execution: Fractional CMOs often work with multiple companies, which can lead to speedier, streamlined thinking and execution. Since they are often well-rounded due to the nature of consulting, they can also bring in best practices from other industries to help your company innovate.
Strategize Smarter & Grow Faster💡
Strategize Smarter & Grow Faster💡



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The Takeaway

Fratzke Consulting's fractional CMO service provides a flexible option for businesses looking to improve their marketing efforts. Our expert fractional CMOs are powered by experience with leading brands and extensive industry knowledge. Each and every one of them has a proven track record of success in developing and implementing marketing strategies, managing teams, and optimizing campaigns.

Are you interested in learning more? Schedule a free consultation today!

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