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How Fractional Marketing Works
You may well be reading this article because you’re seeking ways to improve your marketing efforts, switching up your approach to enhance performance and reduce budgets. Well, we’re here to answer once and for all: What is fractional marketing? We'll also discuss how it works and how your business can implement it.
What Is Fractional Marketing?
Fractional marketing is a strategy where businesses employ individuals outside of their business to carry out their marketing efforts – much like outsourcing. It’s a flexible strategy where companies can choose to use a mixture of external hires and in-house employees.
A Fractional Marketing Leader
Currently, the most popular method of fractional marketing is for businesses to hire a fractional CMO. Reasons for hiring an outsourced chief marketing officer include:
- Your in-house CMO has left the business, and you need someone to hold the position on an interim basis until you appoint a new person.
- Your business is growing rapidly, and you need guidance from an expert marketer about how to handle this process.
- Your marketing department is underperforming, and you need a fresh perspective, new ideas, and a winning formula.
- Your business is struggling, you need to turn it around, but you can’t afford to appoint a full-time in-house CMO.
No matter the current state of your business, it’s highly likely you would benefit from a fraction CMO. Usually, they are highly successful CMOs who have built an incredible wealth of knowledge, experience, connections, and skills, putting them in a unique position to benefit almost any business.
What Does a Fractional CMO Do?
A fractional CMO provides leadership, guidance, and accountability to your marketing department. Firstly, they’ll analyze your current marketing efforts, assess what’s working, and discover where you can improve. From here, they’ll formulate a marketing strategy that utilizes their knowledge, experience, and connections.
No matter the structure of your business, the outsourced Chief Marketing Officer will work within your remit. Usually, they’ll be an overseer – they won’t be involved in the day-to-day marketing activities. Instead, they’ll formulate the strategy. Then, they work with marketing directors, managers, and executives who will execute the tactics to fulfill the strategy.
A Fractional CMO vs. In-House CMO
The traditional approach is an in-house CMO, so let’s discuss what each brings to the table and how you might be surprised that the fractional approach could be the best fit for your business.
A factional CMO will work within your schedule, depending on the amount of work you have available for a C-level position. Yes, their hourly rate will be higher than a full-time in-house CMO, but they’ll be working less.
Alternatively, an in-house CMO often ends up doing the work of a marketing executive or assistant. Many businesses don’t have enough C-level responsibilities to fill the entire working week, meaning they’re paying a CMO salary to someone doing marketing executive work. In addition, they also come with a hefty salary and employee benefits such as paid leave and healthcare.
Mindset & Productivity
A fractional marketing director is running their own business, and the success of that company relies upon the work they do for you. If they don’t deliver on their promises, have an impressive work ethic, and motivate your team to achieve results, then their business won’t thrive.
On the other hand, an in-house CMO doesn’t have this drive. They know that no matter what, they’re going to get paid their salary and receive their benefits. While there is a risk of losing their job, many businesses find it harder to sever ties with high-level employees because it can cost a lot of money to do so.
A Fractional Marketing Team
The benefits of a fractional CMO are clear, which inspires many businesses to take things to the next level by converting their entire marketing department to a fractional marketing team structure. Anyone who has held a position such as Marketing Executive or Marketing Manager will tell you that their role is varied and every day is different. While this creates individuals with broad skill sets, it also means many marketers aren’t specialized in a particular area.
With digital marketing expanding, encompassing new technologies and skills, it’s difficult for businesses to keep up and successfully master every area – this is where fractional teams come in.
How to Implement a Fractional Team and Why
Whether you opt for an in-house CMO or fractional CMO, they’ll head up your fractional team. Having a focal point is crucial, someone who dictates strategy, focuses on the work your team does, analyzes results, and recommends changes. From here, the flexibility this model provides means you can build a team that changes and flows with the needs of your business.
For example, SEO and PPC are channels that need to be worked on consistently throughout the year for your business to reap the most reward. However, it can be difficult to find in-house team members with the in-depth skills you need, especially at a reasonable cost. However, employing an SEO and PPC agency to do this work for you will not only be cheaper than a salaried employee, but they’ll also generate better results.
On the other hand, you may need the services of a press release copywriter just a few times per year, meaning you can get in contact with them whenever you need their services, rather than having a team member who isn’t a PR expert, writing content for you.
This method is truly flexible and gives you on-demand access to experts in every field. While it is a transition from an in-house team, it’s time for businesses to embrace the switch. You won’t find an in-house team with the knowledge, skills, and experience you can get from creating a team of fractional experts.
Outsourcing marketing is a relatively new concept, which with the expansion of remote working and freelancing will only continue to become more popular. You can spend less money, loosen the shackles of being tied to full-time employees, and improve your marketing department's output – it just makes sense.