Fractional CMO | Fractional Chief Marketing Officer

Fractional CMO Leadership

"We need a fractional Chief Marketing Officer who is a marketing leader."

Engage an executive marketer on a part-time and flexible basis who will lead, manage your marketing strategy, and drive accountability.

Growing businesses need executive marketing leadership to help them make marketing a strategic partner in building revenue results. But not all businesses need a full-time, permanent executive role. 

A fractional CMO provides the leadership your business needs, on a part-time, flexible basis. We will help you move forward with confidence and Overcome Random Acts of Marketing® to achieve revenue results. A good fractional CMO should integrate seamlessly into your existing marketing team and ensure your company’s marketing initiatives target your company’s goals to achieve long-term success.

Our unique approach combines Marketers + Methodology + Mindshare to build strong, strategic, sales-aligned marketing teams and programs. Our CMOs also help client teams engage the right external partners for marketing activation through our vetted Ally Network of providers.

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a professional who offers extensive marketing expertise to companies on a part-time, interim, or project basis. This model allows businesses, especially small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups, to leverage the strategic insights and leadership of a seasoned marketing executive without the full-time expense or commitment associated with a traditional CMO role.

A seasoned fractional CMO will be adept at crafting marketing strategies, building marketing teams, and implementing processes to drive growth and increase brand visibility. They offer a cost-effective solution for organizations seeking executive-level marketing guidance to achieve their business objectives while managing budget constraints effectively.

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Is Hiring a Fractional CMO the right model for you?

When business leaders contact Authentic, they are often trying to decide between making a full-time hire or bringing on a fractional CMO on a contract basis. They also want to know the differences between independent consultants, agencies,  interim CMOs and fractional CMOs. Finally, they want to understand the value of a fractional CMO compared to other options. 

The video below explains more about the role of an Authentic Fractional CMO and how we help our clients build strong, sales-aligned, sustainable marketing teams and programs.

Finding the right marketing leadership solution for your business

There are a lot of ways for your businesses to access marketing talent. You could hire a full-time leader. You could contract with an independent consultant. You could engage a recruiter or staff augmentation firm, or hire an interim CMO to fill the role during a period of transition. Or you could work with a  partner that specializes in Fractional CMO services – like Authentic. 

No matter which path you choose, it’s important to understand the differences so you can determine which path aligns best to your goals.

At Authentic, we help our clients build strong marketing teams and programs through our unique model which is powered by three key elements: Marketers + Methodology + Mindshare. 

Authentic's Unique Model

Marketers + Methodology + Mindshare

The value of a fractional CMO: Quick impact and low risk

There’s a point in a company growth cycle when businesses recognize that they need to invest in marketing for continued growth. Often these companies have been sales-driven until they realize they need a marketing leader dedicated to building brand awareness and driving meaningful engagement to support business objectives. They often choose between hiring a full-time leader, a fractional CMO, or a marketing agency.

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Authentic Mindshare

The power of the Authentic Mindshare™ and CMO peer community

Clients have learned that they get more than a solo independent consultant when they hire an Authentic Fractional CMO. They get the collective expertise of senior-level marketers with diverse experience across a variety of business models and industries. We call the power of this community our mindshare, and it’s part of everything we do.

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Authentic Growth Methodology

The Components of Authentic Growth™ Methodology

Authentic Growth™ Methodology is Authentic’s proven and proprietary marketing operating system that helps small and mid-sized, growth-focused businesses build strategic marketing departments and create alignment between sales and marketing. It’s a habit-forming system that teaches a simple, but powerful, set of components that drive alignment, accountability, and activation.

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What is the Cost of Fractional CMO Services?

When determining whether to hire a fractional CMO to help lead your marketing team, a key inquiry often revolves around the cost involved. The investment required for fractional CMO services varies, influenced by differing models of engagement, levels of expertise, and pricing frameworks.

Understanding the cost of fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) services is crucial for businesses considering this option. Here’s a consolidated overview, including key points to consider:

Diverse Models and Value Assessments

Fractional CMO services vary in model and focus, impacting their cost and the value they provide.

  • Flyover CMOs: Offer strategic guidance, dividing their time across multiple clients (typically 5-10), which is more cost-effective but provides limited marketing accountability due to their broad client base and limited engagement.
  • Fully-Immersed CMOs: Work with fewer clients (1-3) to offer deeper, more dedicated support and strategic leadership, resulting in higher costs but potentially greater value and impact.

Speed of Impact and Reduced Risk

  • Fractional CMOs, particularly those using proven methodologies like the Authentic Growth™ Methodology, can quickly align leadership, sales, and marketing for immediate impact, contrasting with the longer onboarding and higher risks associated with full-time hires.
  • Less risky than full-time hires, Authentic’s fractional CMOs are pre-vetted, with easy transition options if changes are needed, mitigating the high costs and risks of turnover.

Cost of Inexperience

  • Lack of experienced marketing leadership can lead businesses to engage in random, inefficient marketing efforts, wasting resources.
  • Authentic aims to prevent these “Random Acts of Marketing®” by providing strategic and tactical guidance, emphasizing the importance of both immediate and long-term marketing strategies for sustained value and growth.

The cost of a fractional CMO can vary widely based on the engagement model, with options ranging from strategic, high-level guidance to deeply involved, strategic leadership. 

While costs may be higher for more dedicated services, the value in terms of quick impact, reduced risk, and strategic alignment can justify the investment. Moreover, the potential cost of not having experienced marketing leadership can far outweigh the expense of hiring a fractional CMO.

Fractional CMO models - Which one would be the best fit for your in-house marketing team?

As more companies look to include fractional CMOs into their comprehensive marketing strategy, it is important to understand the different service models that have developed in the industry. A good fractional CMO will have a proven track record and possess specific industry knowledge to work with your leadership team and marketing department to successfully achieve your marketing goals. Here is a brief overview of the different types of fractional CMO services:

  • Independent fractional CMOs offer a low-cost option with talented consultants dividing their time across clients. They bring cost efficiency due to low operating expenses and possess diverse talents and experiences. However, their depth of experience and expertise can greatly vary, potentially limiting strategic growth. Some may not offer the executive leadership needed, and their attention is divided among multiple clients.
  • Agency fractional CMOs, often rebranded account directors, provide a one-stop solution for strategy and execution. Yet, they may push their agency’s services over what the business actually needs, and their expertise might not cover all marketing subspecialties.
  • Collective fractional CMO firms consist of independents under a unified brand, offering vetted executive marketing resources and collaborative opportunities. Despite their independence, they come with overhead costs and may lack consistency in approach.
  • Organized fractional CMO companies, like Authentic, employ a team of vetted executives working closely with clients’ teams, offering dedicated resources and a supportive executive community. They provide consistent services and support but at a higher cost due to operational expenses.
Authentic positions itself as an integrated solution for businesses seeking strategic marketing leadership, combining experienced marketers, a proven growth methodology, and collaborative mindshare to enhance marketing effectiveness and align with business goals.

The Authentic Way

Authentic is a specialized fractional CMO company focused on assisting growing businesses in navigating marketing challenges. 

Our team, composed of W-2 employees across the U.S., is dedicated to preventing random acts of marketing through a blend of experienced marketers, effective methodology, and collaborative mindshare.

Our fractional CMOs, seasoned in various industries, work closely with client leadership teams to ensure marketing strategies are closely aligned with business goals, overseeing resources, budgets, and hiring. Our Authentic™ Growth Methodology instills business discipline through a proven marketing process that emphasizes alignment, accountability, and activation. Our Authentic Mindshare™ fosters a community where CMOs share insights and solve client problems, supported by a network of experts. This comprehensive approach is designed to accelerate client progress by building strategic, sales-aligned marketing teams and programs. 

Considering the vast landscape of opportunities, we invite businesses contemplating the integration of a fractional CMO into their executive team to explore if an Authentic Fractional CMO could be the solution they need.

Explore Fractional CMO services for your business

Authentic has consulted with numerous businesses to help them determine their best path forward for marketing. In today’s complex marketing landscape, the options feel endless:

Understanding the different models available, and how fractional CMOs work, is a good starting point to determine the attributes and experience your business needs to ensure the proper execution of your marketing strategy.

Fractional CMO services are highly effective for creating a quick impact with low risk for many businesses. However, not all companies have reached the point when it makes sense to hire a fractional CMO. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your marketing options and learn whether an Authentic Fractional CMO might be what you need to scale your business to its next level.

What are things to look out for when hiring a Fractional CMO?

When considering hiring a fractional CMO, it’s crucial to be wary of the widespread issue of professionals labeling themselves as such without genuine executive experience. The rise of the fractional CMO has led to a “Wild West” situation, with individuals from various marketing backgrounds (designers, SEO specialists, agency marketers) claiming the title without having been part of a leadership team or having responsibility for profit and loss. These are not the types of professionals who can guide your marketing strategy and perform to the level of a true chief marketing officer.

Authentic highlights the importance of discerning true executive talent amidst a market filled with those who may have only superficial qualifications, such as costly certification courses from organizations lacking in executive marketing experience themselves. 

For small businesses and founders looking to invest in strategic marketing for growth, selecting a fractional CMO without the necessary skills for holistic business support can result in stalled growth, wasted resources, and potential damage to the brand’s reputation. 

Authentic emphasizes the need for careful consideration of a candidate’s background. Our Fractional CMOs are selected because they are proven, holistic marketing executives with a track record of building, mentoring, managing teams, and executing a go-to-market strategy to foster sustainable growth.

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