Published 27 Jun 2022
Hiring a fractional CMO is often a good strategy for a medium-sized company that either cannot afford to hire a full-time chief marketing officer or has too few projects to keep them busy. They provide useful leadership and offer the expertise of an experienced executive without the hefty price tag.
Worked with Zuellig Pharma, Manulife, & Philips.
Marketing departments are finally shrugging off the pandemic’s effects. The 28th edition of the annual CMO Survey found that marketing spending increased by 10.3 percent within 12 months before February 2022 – the highest growth rate in more than a decade.
Meanwhile, the size of marketing teams grew by an average of 12.2 percent over the same timeframe, with marketing executives now expecting the number of marketing professional hires to increase by 10.5 percent over the next year.
As the global economy bounces back, chances are you’re thinking to expand your marketing capabilities as well, and hiring a fractional chief marketing officer (fractional CMO) might be your best next move.
Here’s everything you need to know before making the decision to outsource one.
A fractional CMO is someone who performs the role of chief marketing officer on a contractual basis. They’re called fractional CMOs because they work at your company for only a ‘fraction’ of their time, often for just a few hours every month. Thus, they are part-time employees.
Hiring a fractional CMO is often a good strategy for a medium-sized company that either cannot afford to hire a full-time chief marketing officer or doesn’t have that many projects. They provide useful leadership and offer the expertise of an experienced executive without the hefty price tag.
Typically brought on for a minimum of six months, fractional CMOs are responsible for developing a marketing strategy, optimizing marketing efforts, and managing your marketing department. They provide leadership and executive-level expertise to help companies deliver clear and unified marketing campaigns on a short-term basis.
Their exact job responsibilities are flexible and should adapt to the needs of your company.
The key differences between a fractional CMO and a chief marketing officer are the hours they work and the salaries they receive.
Hired on a temporary contract, a fractional CMO typically works part-time, for no more than 20 hours per week, whereas a chief marketing officer works full-time hours and is compensated accordingly.
As a result, fractional CMOs’ salaries are just a fraction of the cost of chief marketing officers’ wages. Job insights company Glassdoor reports that the average salary for a chief marketing officer is about $177,000 a year. Salary.com suggests the median salary is even higher, at $253,000.
A fractional CMO, meanwhile, charges about $200-$300 per hour. So, they will be compensated about $48,000 per year to $72,000 annually if you hire them for 20 hours a month.
In 2015, a team of researchers led by the University of Notre Dame’s Frank Germann analyzed data from up to 155 publicly traded firms to determine the value that chief marketing officers add to their companies. They found that companies with a CMO performed 15 percent better than companies without one on average.
Here are some of the specific benefits of hiring a fractional CMO:
The exact cost of hiring a fractional CMO depends on their years of experience and expectations. As mentioned earlier, a fractional CMO’s hourly rate is between $200 and $300 per hour.
If you hire them for 20 hours a month, you’ll pay between $48,000 and $72,000 every year.
The best time to hire a fractional CMO will vary from company to company. But generally, you should use fractional CMO services if:
Mike Trigg, an angel investor who previously worked as a chief marketing officer for recruitment firm Entelo and file-sharing service Hightail, says startups often make the mistake of hiring a chief marketing officer before they need one.
He says if your company wants to overcome a specific problem – such as too little media coverage or too few customers – then you should consider hiring for these specific skills rather than taking on an experienced executive who demands C-suite remuneration.
“If your needs are acute and specific, it may be early to hire a CMO, pay them a C-level salary, and put them in charge of tactical tasks,” he told his LinkedIn followers.
“That approach is going to be frustrating for everyone involved.”
Trigg offers a general rule of thumb when it comes to hiring a CMO: “Your marketing team should be at least 10 people – either already hired or approved to-be-hired headcount – to justify a C-level marketing hire.”
Whether you should hire a fractional CMO, engage a marketing agency, or form a stronger in-house team will depend on the needs of your company.
Jobs site Indeed lists the following six skills as essential for chief marketing officers:
Asking your social and professional network for referrals is a good place to start your candidate search. And freelance websites and job platforms like Indeed and LinkedIn are also helpful.
But such methods are time-consuming and not guaranteed to deliver results, which is why business owners across the world trust Hire Digital as their go-to market for marketing experts that help meet business needs.
We make it easier for you by helping you engage with the right talent from a pool of pre-vetted outsourced CMOs who can get started as soon as 48 hours. Get in touch with us today to gain access to a network of highly skilled global talents.
Join thousands of other marketers and digital professionals and stay ahead of marketing, digital and content trends.