Why the Differences Between a FCMO and a FMD Matter
Building a fractional marketing team is becoming a popular solution for small business owners. Fractional chief marketing officers (FCMOs) and fractional marketing directors (FMDs) are two in-demand positions that differ in terms of skills, scope, and cost. Knowing their differences is key to choosing the right role based on your business needs.
Here is a brief overview of what a San Diego fractional CMO agency does for a small business vis-à-vis having an FMD:
- Key differences between a fractional CMO and a fractional marketing director
- How to know which type of expert is more helpful in reaching business goals
There is a lot to discuss, so get ready to take notes.
Wondering what a Fractional CMO can do for your business? Watch this video below.
Setting Apart Fractional CMOs and Fractional Marketing Directors
These days, you can outsource almost any part of your business. It is common practice in marketing for business owners to bring in experts to fill fractional marketing positions. These include the C-level (CMO), department-level (marketing director), and marketing specialists.
The point of fractional marketing is to procure services only on an as-needed basis. Leadership roles, such as fractional CMOs and fractional marketing directors, are the top choices because they are often harder to employ and cost more to retain than any staff position.
Here are three specific points that set fractional CMOs apart from FMDs:
1. A Fractional CMO Has Much Broader Responsibilities
A fractional CMO performs the same functions as a full-time in-house CMO while operating as a part-time contractual employee. This puts them in a prime position to overhaul marketing ROI. For instance, they can course-correct your strategies or realign them with your business goals.
They sit near the top of the office totem pole and are responsible for decisions that directly affect the profitability of a business. In short, the scope of a fractional CMO includes everything that falls under marketing. Whether a strategy works or fails depends on their ability to lead a team.
On the other hand, a fractional marketing director takes on a more specific role, often managing a marketing department subsection. However, if there is no CMO or VP, the marketing director holds an interim position in whichever role is open. That makes them more flexible than a CMO.
They are no less valuable than fractional CMOs because they help keep their teams focused on the task. Directors also bring the valuable skills they honed in marketing. For instance, a social media marketing director knows much more about Instagram than a CMO would.
2. Fractional CMOs Provide More Options for Better ROI
A fractional CMO’s job is primarily to oversee the entire marketing department of their client's business. That means setting goals that align with the shareholders’ financial goals and deciding what strategies to use. Being a generalist means they can maximize marketing ROI.
On the other hand, the FMD usually only has one area of specialization, such as social media, SEO, or advertising. Although they can improve ROI in that area, they struggle to do the same elsewhere. Their focus is solely on a single marketing strategy.
To put it into perspective, say a small tech startup in La Jolla hires a San Diego fractional CMO agency for its marketing needs. The CMO creates multiple strategies that fit the goals of their client. Combining email, social media, and content strategies yields a 35% ROI.
Meanwhile, if they had hired a fractional marketing director focusing solely on content marketing, their overall results would have dropped to 20% ROI. It costs less to hire a director than a CMO, which offsets the low ROI. However, their growth potential is limited.
3. An FCMO Works Excellently in Any Marketing Setup
Fractional CMOs are equipped to deal with a variety of possible scenarios in marketing owing to their extensive practical experience in all facets. They can seamlessly fit into any existing team or even build their own fractional team by making recommendations to their client businesses.
For instance, a restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego wants to expand its marketing to beat competitors. They hire a San Diego fractional CMO agency that helps them attract more walk-ins through paid ads. The CMO also creates a marketing plan for TikTok.
FMDs function best within their area of expertise, so choosing the right fractional leadership for your business is critical to success. In other words, a social media director is unlikely to perform well (i.e., generate ROI) working with advertising or SEO content.
For example, a Del Mar law firm hires a social media marketing director to oversee its TikTok strategy and improve its ROI. The same firm will need to hire an SEO director if they want to address website issues as well. An FCMO is the better choice here because they can handle both.
How to Know Which Role Your Business Needs
The jobs of a fractional CMO and a fractional marketing director overlap in many places. As mentioned above, the latter can assume the role of the former in cases where the marketing department is much smaller. That makes FMDs ideal for small, local businesses.
An FCMO is just as effective in helping small to mid-sized businesses improve ROI, but they come at a higher cost. A fractional CMO is usually the best option for large businesses and corporations due to the size of their marketing teams.
Given that automation is fast becoming necessary in marketing, hiring an FCMO works just as well for startups and small businesses. They can craft effective strategies that require minimal attention. Email marketing is an excellent example of low-cost, low-maintenance marketing.
In contrast, an FMD works better in cases where you already know what you want to achieve in marketing or to fill a gap in your team. For instance, an m-commerce store in Old Town selling custom woodwork will likely get a better ROI from hiring a social media director.
When considering your options, it is more practical to approach a San Diego fractional CMO agency. They have experts who can fill either role, allowing you to shop around. Get sensible advice and make an informed decision.
Although small business owners do not have the same financial capacity as large corporations, they are just as much in need of excellent marketing tactics. Fractional marketing has made it possible to bring in seasoned executives and directors without hiring costly full-time employees.
Fractional CMOs yield the best results owing to their extensive experience in marketing strategies, but a fractional marketing director fits the budget of small-to-medium businesses better. The line is unclear and necessitates careful consideration of factors involved in marketing outcomes.
Need help filling a fractional marketing position at your San Diego business? Contact Digital Authority Partners to learn how we can help.
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