Why use a Fractional CMO

You know that your small business needs an impetus to get to the next stage of growth. You feel that you are trying to do too much and need to outsource some of the tasks for the greater good of the business. But why choose a fractional CMO?

  1. Complete marketing: the foundation of business plans.

Too many people think that marketing is just the department of colouring pencils and pretty pictures. Marketing, however, covers much more than the social media posts and adverts. Starting with defined SMART goals, a SWOT analysis, research into your market and the environment that you are trading in (PESTLE analysis and competitor analysis), through stakeholders and buyer personas to the well-known marketing Ps of price, product, place, promotion, process, physical evidence, people and planet.

All of those appear in a business plan too. Whether you are writing a plan for internal use only or for investors, get a handle on the true marketing remit and see your company move forwards more rapidly.

  1. Expertise

As marketing is such a broad church, then you need someone who is expert in the field. Your Fractional CMO should have the professional credentials that show that they are at the top of their field. Your business doesn’t deserve any less!

In addition, they should have experience in helping SME and microbusinesses be successful. If they have only worked in large big name companies, they will not understand your specific trials and tribulations.

  1. Affordability

OK, so now you are starting to think, “Yep I should have a Fractional CMO helping me, but will I be able to afford it?”

Let’s turn this around and look at it from another direction.

If you decided to employ someone in your company, you’d have to pay them probably between £120,000 – £150,000 for a CMO / VP / Director level person. The spending doesn’t stop there: you have all the benefits, bonus (let’s say 20%), car allowance, not to mention employer’s National Insurance and pension contributions, plus the other employer overheads of desk space, IT equipment, mobile phone…. That salary in reality is between £175,000 – £220,000 per year or between £14,500 and £18,300 a month.

Wow! That is some heavy duty spend there!

Why not use a Fractional CMO instead? If you only need someone for a couple of days a month to ensure everything is on track, why pay for all those peripheral bits like health insurance, life insurance, car, bonus and so on. A Fractional CMO covers their own IT costs, their own NI.

So put a Fractional CMO on retainer starting at £2,000 a month (actual amount depends on the support needed), and still get the guidance you need, but allowing you to boost your bottom line or to spend the money elsewhere, like on marketing collaterals or events to drive your business forwards.

  1. Flexibility

Still need convincing? Then with a Fractional CMO, if you need extra days per month they can be scheduled in – why pay full-time if you don’t need full-time?

Most companies don’t keep an in-house solicitor, but have a retainer with a law firm for when the requirement does arise. Why shouldn’t strategic marketing be similar?

  1. Strategic oversight v tactical implementation

We know your next objection, you can use a marketing agency. Yes, but, are they also owning your strategic oversight or just implementing the tactics? Many agencies are focussed on a sub-section of marketing: social, research, PR, advertising, graphic design. You need someone who has the overview, who decides which tactics are needed when and why.

Of course, that could be yourself, but that brings us neatly on to reason number six.

  1. Focus on your goals

You are running a small business and you wear many hats. Sometimes you just don’t have time to focus on the overall goals, or in some cases to even write them, as there is a quotation to be done or a customer meeting to attend instead of working on that social media strategy or website integration with the CRM system brief to be written.

Employing a Fractional CMO can take that workload from your hands so that you can concentrate on what it is that you do best – making your company successful!

  1. Leave commoditisation behind

If you are not showing your clients exactly why they should come to you, if you don’t have a clear value proposition, then you will find you end up fighting on price. Who wants to do that? It drives profit down!

By having clear messaging and segmentation then you will be targeting an audience that appreciates the additional value that you offer. Think about Jane Smith, she wants clothes predominantly to cover her modesty and stay warm. She has various choices – George at Asda or Primark, through M&S or Next up to Gucci or Chanel. If Jane is only concerned about spending as little as possible she’d opt for George or Primark; if she is wanting good value and something that will last a little longer she’d opt for M&S or Next; now if she wants to show that she has made it then she’d go for Gucci or Chanel.

Where does your company sit? With good input from a Fractional CMO you can decide where you want to play.

  1. Better marketing budget utilisation

So many companies waste their marketing budgets. They concentrate on shotgun tactics instead of close targeting. They dream of shiny new customers, instead of maximising the wallet share of the current customers with repeat business. Sometimes this is due to a lack of knowledge, sometimes it is about doing what is easiest instead of what is right.

Let a Fractional CMO guide you. They could even save you enough money that they pay for themselves – so what is not to like?

  1. Sounding board including tough love

Running a company is a lonely place to be. The buck stops with you. The responsibility for all those lives depending on their salaries is yours.

Having an external resource means that you can float ideas and concepts around without worrying those internal to the company. You keep a lid on the rumour mill.

That will mean that the Fractional CMO also has the right to dole out tough love when it is needed. You don’t need someone to blow hot air your way, you want someone who will help you and your company be the best versions of themselves.

  1. Change catalyst

Sometimes the internal team just doesn’t have the bandwidth to take on the change that is needed.

For example, one client Cut Through Marketing worked with had been through a series of acquisitions following PE backing. All of the brands needed to be pulled under one new international company name. The internal team still had to run the companies on a day to day basis. CTM as Fractional CMO project managed the renaming process and co-ordinated all departments from HR and facilities through production and legal to IT ending with sales and marketing internally, but also all the various external agencies.

Fractional CMOs are used to ensuring that the various external agencies are delivering as per SLAs and bringing them on track without the internal team having damaged relationships. Bad cops, in the nicest possible way, are needed sometimes so that your company pushes through to the next level.

  1. Process improvement

It isn’t always about taking on additional sales personnel, sometimes it is about them working more effectively. Are they writing every RFQ from scratch or do they have a template which will mean that they can save valuable time? Drowning under too many unqualified leads for them to follow up missing the gem? Why not put in a nurturing process using marketing automation?

From a customer or prospect point of view, what is your customer experience like? What is the journey that you take them on? Where are they dropping off? What can you do about that?

A Fractional CMO can help you here by bringing best practices from elsewhere. After all they have the experience so don’t replicate mistakes that they have made before, short cut to the best solution instead.

  1. Increased customer loyalty

Relationship marketing is often forgotten, but as alluded to in point 8 above retaining customers and growing them is both easier but also more cost effective than finding new clients.

If you have an effective plan for communicating with your current customers then you can prevent customer churn, and increase your profit line.


Now that you have read through the 12 reasons, can you afford not to have a Fractional CMO advising you? Why not drop us a line to find out how Cut Through Marketing can help your company without the overhead of a senior in house marketing person?

[originally issued 13/4/22; edited 13/3/24]