Frequently Asked Fractional CMO Questions - Fractional CMO FAQs

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Fractional CMO Questions You Should Ask

We’ve put together this list of the most frequently asked questions about Fractional CMO’s. They will provide valuable insight and a deeper understanding of the role, its benefits and how it works.  Of course, we start with the most frequently asked questions,

What is a Fractional CMO?

What is the standard Fractional CMO Hourly Rate?

Outsourced or Fractional Executives, including CMOs, have become common in the business world. This solution makes good business sense for small and mid-size businesses that need the leadership and strategic expertise of a high-caliber marketing executive, but do not have the demand or budget for a full-time CMO.

If you have a specific question or need further clarification on any aspect of a Fractional CMO, feel free to ask. Just submit your question via the form at the bottom of this page, we will respond within 1 business day.

The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Fractional CMOs

What is a Fractional CMO?

A Fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), an Executive-as-a-Service. A highly experienced senior marketing executive that offers their marketing expertise to help privately held businesses make the most of marketing to achieve their goals and generate profitable and sustainable growth.

What makes an Astute Fractional CMO a better solution is that we are actually marketing executives with a minimum of 10 years of experience as Marketing VP or CMO in a mid-market business. That is why we focus on providing the four functions that drive results:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Execution
  • Leadership
  • Development

These four functions are what really move the needle to generate results that improve the bottom line and increase Return on Marketing Investment (RoMI)

Learn more with our blog article – What is a Fractional CMO

What is the standard Hourly Rate for a Fractional CMO?

Fractional CMO hourly rates can vary greatly. Some of the former CMO’s from Fortune 500 companies can command as much $500 an hour and up. Keep in mind they are accustomed to big budgets and spend your money generously. On the opposite end of the spectrum, marketing firms claim to offer CMO services without having the experience or credentials, such as advanced education and certification. Their rates can get as low as $100 per hour, but they are not truly providing executive caliber leadership and strategic expertise. The average hourly rate for a Fractional CMO is around $250 to $300 per hour.

How to determine if a business would benefit from a Fractional CMO?

Below are some common situations where a Fractional CMO would be a wise choice, if multiple issues listed below apply to a business, the benefits received from a Fractional CMO increase exponentially.

Frankly, any business that wants to achieve its full growth potential and optimize its brand value would benefit from a Fractional CMO.

  • Have a marketing team, but do not have a high-caliber strategic leader that understands the company vision, and leads the charge to make it a reality
  • Operate without a documented strategic marketing plan that identifies goals and spells out how to achieve them
  • Lack strategies that drive reliable growth with consistency
  • Market by trial and error, executing random campaigns and returning inconsistent results
  • Operate focusing on immediate competitors, lacking big-picture perspective and an understanding of industry trends, market conditions, and an unbiased perspective from an external source
  • Do not realize marketing is an investment, not an expense. It generates a return on investment (ROI)

Frequently Asked Questions – Fractional CMO FAQs

We answer the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Fractional CMOs. More than just hourly rate, we dig deep into the heart of the matter to help you understand the who, what, why and how about Fractional CMOs.

What's The Difference Between a Fractional CMO and a Marketing Consultant?

While both are external resources (rather than employees of the business) a Fractional CMO from Astute Group operates at the executive leadership level, developing coherent strategies that are integrated from end-to-end to augment the effectiveness of each strategy. The are formulated into a strategic marketing plan to provide clear guidance and align all resources. 

Astute Fractional CMO’s incorporate a “Big-Picture” perspective bringing together external and internal factors, along with executive caliber marketing expertise, critical thinking, and extensive experience. They have a strategic understanding of all marketing disciplines. 

A marketing consultant usually focuses on one key function of marketing such as branding, advertising, or digital marketing. Their primary strength tends to be tactical activities. Any strategies are limited to only one marketing function, and research is often limited to known competitors and obvious markets and segments. SEO, or content development.

The issue with that is for optimal performance and sustainable growth, strategies should be unified across all disciplines of marketing for all products and services. The same message must be delivered across various channels, at the right time.

An analogy of the difference between an Astute Fractional CMO and a Marketing Consultant can be made with race cars. A Fractional CMO understands every system within the race car, tires, suspension, brakes, engine, drivetrain, etc., and how they impact performance.

A Marketing Consultant may know tires, brakes, or suspension, at best. Only concentrating on those areas, lacking the ability to integrate them in with the rest of the vehicle. Resulting in some improvement, yet not enough to reach full potential.

What's The Difference Between a Fractional CMO and a Marketing Management?

In a nutshell, the Fractional CMO will manage and guide the internal marketing management staff of an organization. An Astute Fractional CMO will identify the goals and develop the strategic planning needed to achieve set goals. The CMO will manage the execution of the plan to ensure it is executed properly and kept in alignment with expectations.

The type of engagement will determine how much interaction and the channel(s) by which the Fractional CMO and the Marketing Director or Manager work together. Astute Groups Fractional CMOs are committed to working closely with their clients and providing the leadership needed to ensure goals are achieved.

How to Determine if a Fractional CMO is Needed?

An Astute Fractional CMO is ideal for organizations that want to generate reliable growth with consistency. Whether a startup or an organization that has existed for generations, we help gain market share, build great brands, optimize product value and generate sustainable growth. 

If these statements describe your organization and its marketing efforts, you will benefit greatly from an Astute Fractional CMO 

  • Have a marketing team, but do not have a high-caliber strategic leader that understands the company vision, and leads the charge to make it a reality
  • Operate without a documented strategic marketing plan that identifies goals and spells out how to achieve them
  • Lack strategies that drive reliable growth with consistency
  • Market by trial and error, executing random campaigns and returning inconsistent results
  • Operate focusing on immediate competitors, lacking big-picture perspective and an understanding of industry trends, market conditions, and an unbiased perspective from an external source
  • Do not realize marketing is an investment, not an expense, it generates a return on investment ROI 

What's are the Benefits of a Fractional CMO?

There are numerous benefits to engaging an Astute Group Fractional CMO into your organization,

  • Access to C level Marketing Executives expertise for a fraction of the cost of a full-time C Level executive on staff
  • Implementation of a structured methodology to drive growth and achieve marketing goals
  • Elimination of trial-and-error marketing activities that generate sporadic, if any results
  • A fresh big-picture perspective to identify new opportunities and optimize growth strategies
  • Dedicated focus and leadership of the only department in an organization that generates revenues. Marketing is an investment, not an expense because marketing drives revenues. 
  • A fractional CMO will accelerate growth and take the business to the next level.

What to look for when choosing a Fractional CMO? (How to qualify)

The term Fractional CMO is a popular “buzzword” in the industry. Fractional or Outsourced executives have gained popularity in the modern gig economy.

Unfortunately, there is not a standard for qualification as a Chief Marketing Officer. Hence, many marketing consultants that lack the education, experience, or skills to lead an organizations marketing and generate reliable growth are labeling themselves Fractional CMOs.  A CMO should be versed in all aspects of marketing and focus on strategic planning, development, and executive level leadership. Their scope should be much more than one concentration such as digital marketing or advertising for example.

One way to qualify a Fractional CMO may be to look for someone who has experience as a CMO for a large corporation. That qualification is truly clear, however someone with that level of experience would bill at a very costly hourly rate. Approximately an average of $400 to $500 an hour. This caliber of CMO is also accustomed to having the resources a large corporation at their disposal. Including big budgets, large staff, and access to top notch resources such as advertising agencies.

Another method for qualification may be education and years of experience. Chief level executives often hold advanced degrees such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA). In addition, they have 15 or more years of experience in their respective fields.

Ideally, a Fractional CMO would have a big picture perspective with knowledge beyond just marketing. Strategic planning and sustainable growth must account for external factors in politics, the economy and other challenges that impact markets.

How are Fractional CMO engagements structured?

Astute Group offers two types of engagements for a Fractional CMO.

 1. Outsourced CMO which is essentially a part-time or temporary member of your team

or

2. Advisory CMO which provides advisory services, training, development and On-Demand support.

LEARN MORE

How to measure the performance of a Fractional CMO?

The most effective measure of a Fractional CMOs performance is Return on Investment (ROI). A Fractional CMO should generate results that can be connected to revenue growth, increased brand value, successful products and improved margins.

I thought only Corporations and Large Enterprises have a CMO.

Every organization should have a dedicated marketing executive to lead its strategic planning, keep the team focused, and ensure goals are attained. A visionary that can identify the path to prosperity and lead the charge.

Regardless of the size of the organization, it needs the right  marketing strategies. The one thing that almost all prosperous enterprises have in common is the right marketing strategy. 

Why does Astute Group quote Projects vs Hourly Rate for a Fractional CMO?

If you are concerned with the hourly rate of a Fractional CMO, then you probably do not fully understand why your business needs a Fractional CMO. That is the wrong question because a Fractional CMO should be able to quote a price based on the project and goals.

Hourly rates are for production work, such as designing graphics, posting on social media, or writing emails. You do not want a CMO to do that tactical work.  

The value of a Fractional CMO is based on the ROI gained from the strategies and leadership they provide. 

Of course, it is not an exact science and would require an hourly rate for additional or unexpected work. However, quoting projects by the hour leaves the client open to big surprises, especially if the CMO lacks the experience or knowledge to effectively implement the project.

We have developed Outsourced CMO marketing packages that provide a great example for greater clarification.

What is meant by the term Fractional?

Fractional in Fractional CMO refers to the amount of time spent working for a client. A traditional CMO is a full-time employee of a single organization. They dedicate all of their working hours and efforts to their employer.

A Fractional CMO engages with several organizations splitting up his or her working hours between those clients. Engagements can be structured in various ways, and time can be split on a daily, weekly, or in some cases monthly basis. 

What is a CMO

CMO is an acronym for Chief Marketing Officer. One of the four common Chief level executives in a corporation (the others are CEO, COO, CFO). CMOs are big-picture strategic visionaries. It is this vision and strategic mindset that drives growth and success for any size business.

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