The Scope of Work for a Fractional CMO

The scope of work for a Fractional CMO in today’s digitally driven, globally competitive business world has expanded well beyond the traditional focus on brand awareness and advertising. The power to control the purchasing process has shifted from seller to buyer in the modern business environment, which has significantly impacted the dynamic between sales and marketing. Now

Today, the CMO bares the burden of developing strategies that generate revenue growth. As well as, representing the voice of the customer, storytelling, and providing a great customer experience, along with all of their original responsibilities. 

Furthermore, Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) are no longer enjoy the freedom of minimal accountability due to the difficulty of measuring brand awareness and advertising effectiveness. Now CMOs live and die by analytics, with reporting on a numerous metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) being readily available, the pressure to reach goals and achieve objectives is intentse.  

Achieving these objectives requires comprehensive strategies, strong business acumen, years of experience, and extensive knowledge of marketing, growth strategies, business development, and sales.

How Does a Fractional CMO Work?

“Fractional CMO” has become a buzzword adopted by various service providers that run the gamut of marketing functions, and even some temporary employment firms, advertising agencies, and website development firms. Thus creating a great deal of confusion about what exactly a CMO does and what is the actual Scope of Work of a Fractional CMO.

Basic logic would suggest that the scope of work for a Fractional CMO would be the same, or at least very similar to that of a traditional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). The primary difference is that a Fractional CMO provides CMO services on an as-needed or part-time basis, rather than as a full-time employee of an organization.

What Does a Fractional CMO do?

A Fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is a senior marketing executive who provides strategic marketing leadership and support to organizations on a part-time or project basis. The scope of work for a fractional CMO can vary depending on the specific needs of the organization, but it generally includes the following responsibilities:

  1. Developing and implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy that aligns with the overall business goals and objectives.
  2. Overseeing all marketing initiatives, including branding, advertising, public relations, digital marketing, and event planning.
  3. Conducting market research and analysis to stay informed about industry trends and customer needs.
  4. Building and managing relationships with key stakeholders, including customers, partners, and vendors.
  5. Developing and managing marketing budgets, ensuring that resources are allocated effectively and efficiently.
  6. Collaborating with sales and other departments to develop integrated marketing programs that drive revenue growth.
  7. Continuously measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of marketing initiatives, making data-driven decisions to optimize performance.

The scope of work for a fractional CMO can be tailored to the specific needs of the organization, but the ultimate goal is to provide expert marketing leadership and support to drive business growth and success.

How an Astute Fractional CMO Works With Clients

Fractional CMO Engagements

We offer our clients five types of Fractional CMO engagements to ensure we are providing the right solution for their needs. Because every business is different, each has its own unique challenges that require varying needs. Our engagements are designed to fill the most common gaps that Startups and SMB’s have.

Part-Time CMO (Continual)

A Continual Chief Marketing Officer available for as long as you need them and typically work in a manner similar to part-time CMO, for a specified term or on an ongoing basis. By engaging a fractional CMO on an ongoing basis, a company can benefit from a steady stream of strategic marketing guidance, without the expense of hiring a full-time executive.

This approach also allows the company to adjust the CMO’s level of involvement and hours as needed, based on the company’s changing marketing needs and budget. Overall, a continual fractional CMO engagement can be a flexible and cost-effective solution for companies that want to improve their marketing efforts without committing to a full-time CMO.

Temporary CMO (Interim)

An interim fractional CMO is hired by a company for a short period of time, typically to fill a gap in leadership caused by a sudden departure, a vacancy, or a strategic shift in the company’s marketing direction. They help a company navigate a period of change, such as a leadership transition, a major product launch, or a period of rapid growth or restructuring.

The temporary fractional CMO is usually brough in to fill a gap in the CMO position due to a sudden departure or a planned absence. Also to provide the additional support needed for a specific project or initiative, but not on a permanent basis. An interim fractional CMO engagement is typically focused on providing immediate value to the company, such as stabilizing the marketing function, identifying quick wins, and preparing the company for the transition to a permanent CMO.

Advisory CMO (On-demand)

An advisory CMO is fractional CMO available on demand, typically works on a project basis or as needed. Similar to how a law or CPA firm is available without a commitment. As an advisor, the Fractional CMO does not take on operational activities, rather provide guidance and sound advice to executives, for implementation by staff or other resources.

The most common engagements include annual, semi-annual, and quarterly planning. As well as specific projects or areas of the company’s marketing efforts, like new product launch, market expansion, rebranding, or other non-recurring projects that are not often required. This can be particularly valuable for smaller companies or startup organizations that have limited budgets, yet require the expertise and advanced marketing skill sets.

Recovery CMO (Turnaround)

A recovery CMO is a Chief Marketing Officer who specializes in helping companies recover from significant setbacks or crises. This type of executive is typically brought in after a company has experienced a major disruption, such as a financial crisis, a reputation-damaging event, or a significant decline in sales. This highly specialized Fractional CMO Advisory engagement is the equivalent of an emergency responder that revitalizes growth.

The recovery CMO is responsible for developing and implementing a marketing strategy that helps the company regain its footing and rebuild its business. In addition to marketing expertise, Astute recovery CMOs have strong crisis management skills and are able to lead teams through periods of uncertainty and change.

We work closely with the company’s leadership team and other key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive 90 day recovery plan. One that ensures that all business development, sales, and marketing efforts are aligned with the company’s overall recovery strategy.

Virtual CMO (Remote)

A virtual fractional CMO is similar to a regular fractional CMO in that they are typically hired to provide high-level marketing expertise and leadership to a company without the expense of hiring a full-time executive. However, the key difference is that the virtual fractional CMO works remotely rather than on-site at the company’s physical location.

This approach delivers a viable solution for the logistical challenges and limitations associated with having physical presence in the office. Companies that are located in rural areas or lack space now have  access to a wider pool of talent and potentially save on travel and relocation expenses. Communication is typically conducted through video conferencing, email, project management apps, and other online tools, allowing for efficient collaboration and project management.

The virtual CMO has the same level and amount of responsibility, and is held accountable to reach equivalent goals as any other Fractional CMO engagement. Demand for Virtual Fractional CMOs has increased greatly after the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Marketing Strategies

A Fractional CMO needs to have a broad knowledge of marketing strategies, however, they do not actually perform tactical and operationas functions. They devise strategies to achieve short and long-term goals. An experienced CMO knows the importance of developing a strategic marketing plan that synergizes key marketing strategies for greater results. A Fractional CMO should have the knowledge and skills needed to devise the following marketing strategies:

Fractional CMO scope of work and implementation

What a Fractional CMO Actually Does

The term Fractional CMO has become a common buzzword adopted by a wide variety of marketing consultants and service providers that do not, and probably cannot provide the scope of work of a Fractional CMO. Primarily because Fractional CMO billing rates are higher than what they should be getting paid for their tactical-level services.

The problem is that you, the client, are not receiving what you are paying for. If you are paying a Fractional CMO hourly rate for these services, you are throwing money away by overpaying for day-to-day operational activities. If you hire a low-priced impostor, you are being hit with an immeasurable cost, that of lost opportunities.

Chief Marketing Officer Does

  • Formulate innovative strategies for your Brand, Products, Digital Presence, Markets, and Promotion
  • Devise and implement strategic marketing plans including Go-To-Market, Digital Marketing, and Product plans.
  • Provide a new perspective, focused on the big picture with guidance to achieve goals and sustainable growth.
  • Develop a strong competitive advantage to position for optimal perceived value and seize profitable opportunities
  • Improve marketing operations, identify and implement the right people, processes, technology, and metrics to efficiently, yet effectively grow your business

Chief Marketing Officer Does Not

  • Design graphics
  • Post on social media
  • Write blogs
  • Run ads
  • Write emails
  • Create videos

or any other day-to-day marketing activities.