What Is A Fractional CMO? And Why Do You Need One?

To be an effective business leader, there are many hats you have to wear. So, where do you begin if you want to attain success in the start-up or scale-up phase? Every business is unique. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. And yet, in today’s business world, companies often treat marketing as a commodity. These businesses are missing out on the enormous potential of their marketing to affect the bottom line.

Many companies hire a fractional CMO (or chief marketing officer) to get the marketing guidance and expertise they need to increase revenue and attract new customers at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CMO.

Fractional CMOs are the marketing executives of the future. They are visionary masterminds that introduce a strong marketing direction into businesses, and know how to drive leading results.

So, what is a fractional CMO, and how can one help you develop a robust marketing department to ensure short and long-term success? In this guide, we’ll explore what they do, how they fit into an organization, and how you might benefit from hiring one.

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is an independent marketing expert who carries out the functions of a chief marketing officer without the full-time commitment. These professionals are a vital part of the marketing ecosystem and can apply the skills and experience of a CMO across the full spectrum of marketing.

A fractional CMO builds on brand equity, manages brand risk, maximizes revenue and brand health, and drives revenue growth. Without dealing with the high costs and hazards of recruiting in-house CMOs, your enterprise can gain from using marketing leadership very quickly.

Fractional CMOs, also known CMO-as-a-Service, may be under contract but are just as dedicated to it as any other senior marketing executive. This dedication extends from managing the daily operation of your marketing department to giving presentations at forums.

Why hire a Fractional CMO?

A fractional chief marketing officer works well with companies that may have pockets of marketing departments or require marketing leadership, mainly when the manager is not performing in this area or they lack a strong marketing strategy.

In any case, a fractional CMO can provide unique solutions for companies that are simply looking to add marketing direction quickly without hiring a full-time CMO. These masterminds help create and deliver more value to your brand by leveraging your best people’s expertise, creativity, and skills.

Many businesses would love to benefit from a superior marketing command structure. But it can be challenging to find the right mix of skills. Additionally, the ability to hire a seasoned executive in that position is frequently a snag. Considering the average lifespan of a CMO nowadays (about 40 months), in many circumstances, it’s actually wiser to hire a fractional CMO.

A Fractional CMO comes with fresh insight, brand-new perspectives, and a wealth of experience in various fields. They are skilled at developing growth-centered marketing plans. They are also perfect for short-term commitments.

With our team of high-caliber fractional CMOs available, ROAR CMO can assist you with finding the ideal fractional CMO immediately. Our CMOs have undergone extensive screening to ensure they possess the knowledge, insight, and abilities necessary to propel your company to unparalleled heights.

If you need help putting your marketing ideas into practice, give us a call and our staff will walk you through every step of the process.

Do Fractional CMOs Work In The Office or Remotely?

A Fractional CMO can either work in-office or remotely. However, some businesses prefer to hire a fractional CMO in person and have them visit their corporate brick-and-mortar office. In this case, the company will only choose to work with a local fractional CMO.

But it’s no news that we live in a digital age. There are many exceptional offers in every field, both in-person and virtually. Almost everything has gone digital nowadays, and the COVID-19 pandemic made remote working even more popular. So it’s not uncommon to see local fractional CMOs favor offering their services online.

What matters most is skill and experience. You can get top-notch services from a fractional CMO, in-person or remotely.

What Services Do Fractional CMOs Offer?

If you’re a CEO, CTO, or CFO, you’re tasked with implementing the best-in-class solutions for your company. But it can be challenging to find the right solutions for your needs. This is where a good fractional CMO can help.

You know that a company is growing when it needs to hire a chief marketing officer. But you can’t bring on a new full-time team member when you don’t have the budget for one. A fractional CMO takes over the short and long-term marketing strategy at a fraction of the price of regular marketing agents.

These experienced marketers can help you find the solutions you need to make your company grow.

What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is a different breed of marketing executive. As technology and trends change, so does how we run our businesses. In the past, there were no solid alternatives to the role of the chief marketing officer. Now, you can give your business the edge it needs by hiring a fractional CMO.

If you run a small or mid-sized business, you may think you don’t need a chief marketing officer. But the truth is that a CMO isn’t just for the big guys. Here is how a fractional CMO can help you reach your goals and grow your business.

Proficiency And Experience

Expertise and experience are essential. A skilled fractional CMO understands which methods work and which ones don’t. They know which approach will lead you towards your business goals and craft the best strategies or make adjustments to suit your company’s demands.

Furthermore, a Fractional CMO knows which service providers to use and how to negotiate the best prices. They know how to fish where the fish are. Thanks to Fractional CMOs, your marketing initiatives will take a new and improved shape. Years of experience building predictable success across multiple industries have molded them into experts you can bank on.  

Lower Cost

Employing an accomplished full-time CMO is considerably more expensive than a fractional CMO. The average salary of a full-time CMO ranges between $150,000 and $300,000 – not including other full-time benefits – meaning their services are inaccessible for many companies at the start-up or scale-up phases.

Fortunately, you can get just the amount of CMO attention you require—and at a fragment of the price—with fractional CMO services. The entire contract cost for fractional CMOs are measurably less than hiring an in-house CMO indefinitely.

Build Your Marketing Team

Unlike consultants or freelance marketing experts, a fractional CMO can supervise and direct team members. A proficient fractional CMO has the leadership mindset to manage strategic hiring and firing that leads you to where you need to go. They will implement structures that improve the work culture in the marketing division and align this culture with your vision.

Your marketing department needs leadership from an experienced marketing professional. A fractional CMO can take on that responsibility with ease. Rather than dividing your team’s efforts among initiatives that don’t ensure success, CMOs make real-time result-centered judgments. They share insights and interact with the entire marketing department, as well as integrating your marketing with other departments in your business.

Cohesive Marketing Strategy

A common snag that comes with inexperienced marketing managers is the attempt to assemble different independent marketing contractors to implement their marketing plans. But with each contractor steering the ship in different directions at once, and no real leadership, coherent and effective results cannot be guaranteed.

Others might employ a full-service marketing agency, but they don’t put a capable decision-maker in charge of the marketing staff. The final authority on marketing issues may rest with the CEO or general manager, who may or may not be qualified to do justice to the role.

But a fractional CMO can bring order to situations like this. The bottom line is that you are more likely to succeed in the hands of an influential fractional CMO. They can synchronize your plans, create a comprehensive marketing strategy, and can serve as the last line of defense for the integrity of your marketing strategy.


The task of developing a scalable plan calls for a fractional CMO. Scaling is the key to effective marketing—creating a plan that will result in steady, repetitive growth. Why stop turning the dial once you have your hand on it?

A good Fractional CMO develops scalable plans. When they pass the baton to the internal marketing team, they have the means to keep the ship sailing, accelerate it and pull in results.


A short-term contract can give a fractional CMO a specific time to provide results. In many cases, a business will use fractional CMO services to add high-velocity results, ensure the team is equipped to maintain them, then move forward with a strong internal marketing team.

In other words, the fractional CMO drives results efficiently. They come up with a viable plan, test and refine it, and have it ready on time and within budget.

Long Term Results

The advantages of hiring a fractional CMO continue even after their short-term contract expires. A fractional CMO doesn’t just create strategies. They also set structures in place that produce long-lasting results long after they are gone.

A fractional CMO’s tasks involve developing best practices and operational standards that the marketing team may use to their benefit even after their contract finishes.  

Extensive Industry Knowledge

Businesses are all unique. However, there are parallels in the industry. The top chief marketing officers have cross-industry expertise and a solid understanding of how to provide business solutions regardless of where you’re starting from.

For instance, if paid advertising is the most distinctive approach to expanding your company, but you lack experience to implement it successfully, engage a part-time CMO who is knowledgeable about it.

How does a fractional CMO compare with other options?

You’ve heard about fractional CMOs and thought it might be an exciting option for your business. But how does a fractional CMO compare to other options like outsourced marketing or a full-time CMO?

Fractional CMOs are gaining popularity as more companies recognize the benefits of bringing in a professional marketing executive to help them strategize and plan for the future.

Historically, there have just been a few solutions available when you require marketing assistance:

  • Employ a chief marketing officer full-time.
  • Outsource to a marketing agency
  • Hire a part-time consultant.
  • Combine some or all of the options above

A Fractional CMO joins your team as a full-fledged member and offers you the same caliber of experience and efficient management that a full-time CMO would, but at a significantly reduced rate. They provide opportunities for business growth, unlike any of the other options mentioned above.

There may not be as much of a need for a fractional CMO if you are a big company with the resources to hire a full-time CMO. However, big organizations can still gain immensely from employing a fractional CMO to implement their plans and complement their marketing efforts. A fractional CMO can work as a project coordinator or an assistant strategist.

A fractional CMO is especially useful if your internal marketing team lacks the experienced marketing specialists needed for the current marketing activities.

How To Tell If Your Start-up Or Scale-up Needs A Fractional CMO

If you’re a start-up or scale-up, you know that having a skilled marketing leader can make all the difference in the world. But as your company grows, your need for marketing expertise grows too. This is where having a fractional CMO comes in handy. But how do you know when your company needs one?

You Lack A Marketing Plan

The start of your company is promising, but the conflicting priorities make it difficult for you to think clearly. Even though you’re trying your best to educate yourself on marketing, you struggle to differentiate the outcomes of one marketing concept from the next.

Regardless of whether your marketing initiatives are effective, they must fit into components of your overall marketing plan.

A part-time CMO will create a marketing plan and, as necessary, adjust it in light of new information. Since they are knowledgeable and have the time, they will give your campaign the necessary care.

Your Sales Funnel Is Unpredictable

Putting the finger on the best course of action to increase sales without professional help is hard. But that’s why you need a fractional CMO. With their help, you can find the right areas to invest more money or time, predict growth, and scale your business.

Your Team Needs Expert Marketing Leadership

You require a fractional CMO if your sales team struggles with creating coherent strategies or understanding the specifics of digital marketing. Remember that marketing staff have essential information and orchestrate how your brand interacts with customers. You’d be risking your image if you don’t provide a capable marketing leader for your team.

You’re Not Ready (Or Don’t Have The Budget) For A Full-time CMO

If your business is still growing, you may be unable to afford a full-time chief marketing officer. But your business still needs a good marketing plan to take it to the launch pad.

A fractional chief marketing officer is an outstanding solution. Let’s say your marketing department consists of a couple of employees who are competent at their roles but lack executive-level vision. A fractional CMO provides this direction, and builds your team up so they understand how to carry the torch in future.

How Do I Choose a Fractional CMO?

So you want to grow your business. You’re not ready for a full-time CMO, and you’re not sure what to look for in a fractional CMO. If that sounds like you, you’re in the right place. Here are valuable tips to consider before choosing a fractional CMO.

  • Their background as a marketing executive
  • Their marketing experience
  • Their strategy
  • Their approach to collaboration with other businesses in a marketing capacity
  • Their business structure

Even though they work part-time, hiring a fractional CMO is as important as employing a full-time team member of a marketing executive. The intricacies of a fractional CMO’s distinct business strategy for delivering temporary outsourced expertise will significantly impact your business’s performance marketing efforts.

Start by asking yourself “what is a fractional CMO going to achieve for my business?”. When you understand the direction you want to lead your company in – and the outcomes you want to achieve with your marketing department – all you need to do is pick up the phone and discuss your challenges with the executive of your choice!

The Bottom Line

As you know, business growth requires continuous innovation. Growth brings new challenges for business leaders, and one of the biggest hurdles is determining the best marketing strategy for your business.

At ROAR CMO, We’ve helped many companies build their business from the ground up, and we know that powerful marketing strategies can make all the difference. Our fractional CMOs use a high-velocity growth blueprint to enable start-ups or scale-ups to reach new heights.

Contact us if you need help getting started, and we’ll review it together.


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