What is a Fractional CMO?

It’s the new buzz word in marketing, Fractional CMOs or CMOs-for-Hire. What is it? What do they do? And when should I use a Fractional CMO?


Fractional CMOs come in a couple of different flavors. There are professional Fractional CMOs. Professional Fractional CMOs have held the title, sat in the C-Suite, and are now doing marketing consulting as a profession. There are Fractional CMO services. They are agencies that offer Fractional CMOs services. Many times, you are getting an agency with a CMO in name only. Today, we’re talking about professional Fractional CMOs.


What Are Standard Fractional CMO Rates?


According to Glassdoor, the average full-time CMO makes $175K per year + benefits. Fractional CMO rates are between $15K – $20K per month. These rates can go up or down depending on the scope and time required.


When Should You Use A Fractional CMO?


  • Your organization is right on the cusp of needing a full-time CMO, but your budget does align. Typically about $30-$40M in revenue with some kind of external funding like Private Equity.
  • There is a special mission-critical project that must get done. For example, you need a new digital marketing strategy or you have a major website project to do.
  • Your current marketing plans are falling flat. Your current marketing function isn’t driving the revenue or delivering what you “think” it could. You need a revitalized marketing strategy.
  • You are in-between CMOs or your current CMO is on leave. Professional Fractional CMOs can step right in, so you don’t lose a beat.
  • You have an emerging marketing leader. A professional fractional CMO can provide coaching and mentoring to get your promising talent to the next level.
  • You just need a fresh perspective. A fresh pair of eyes with someone who has been there and can provide an executive view on how to improve your current marketing practice.

What Does A Fractional CMO Do?

  • They can truly be your acting, interim, or extended CMO.  Most likely what you thought a Fractional CMO did.  They will come in and be a part of your team.  Assist with your strategy, planning, and even manage the marketing team.
  • Take on and deliver a mission-critical project that must get done.  A professional Fractional CMO has the experience and has been to the other side of that “mission” critical project.
  • Provide you with RFP or agency selection.  Because of their experience Fractional CMOs, know the industry and have connections to the best agencies and technology providers.  Are you trying to decide between SalesForce.com or HubSpot?  or need a good paid search agency.  A Fractional CMO can help.  Insider tip: Often times Fractional CMOs can leverage their relationships to get you the best rates.
  • Assist in hiring a CMO or building out your marketing team.  They can put together job descriptions, help find candidates, do the interviewing, and make suggestions on skills and competencies needed to drive your business plans.
Whether you need help with that big project, or are in-between CMOs, or just need a fresh set of eyes.  Looking at a professional Fractional CMO can be a great way to jump-start your go-to-market strategies.

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