May 31, 2024

What is a Fractional CMO?

In this article, I’m introducing a trending opportunity that all types of businesses, both big and small, are leveraging for outsized returns. That opportunity comes in the form of a Fractional CMO. So the question is, What is a Fractional CMO?

Bonus: The Juggernaut of Marketing, a Fractional CMO+

What is a Fractional CMO?

The day has come where companies are turning to innovative solutions to boost their marketing strategies, that is, without incurring the costs of full-time executive hires.

I know what you’re thinking…this blog is going to be all about AI. No, don’t worry, AI is not here to replace your Director of Marketing. In fact, I’m not even going to tell you that you should replace your marketing interns with offshore talent.

While that may be what many self-proclaimed marketing gurus are preaching, I’m here to introduce you to what I believe is the best possible solution for cost-effective marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognize the value in AI, in fact you can read more about my take on ChatGPTs latest updates here, but today, I’m going to answer one simple question that will change your business forever; What is a Fractional CMO?

Defining the Role of a Fractional CMO

A Fractional CMO is a part-time executive who performs many of the same duties as a traditional, full-time Chief Marketing Officer but on a part-time basis. This arrangement allows businesses to access high-level marketing expertise and leadership without the financial commitment of a full-time salary. Fractional CMOs work closely with existing marketing teams to develop and implement strategic marketing plans, optimize campaigns, and drive business growth. 

Fractional CMO+

Before we move on to the responsibilities of a Fractional CMO, I want to shed light on the juggernaut of Fractional CMOs; an all-star that I’ve dubbed the Fractional CMO+. Creative, I know. But what is it?

Picture this: If the Fractional CMO is the prince and you are the king or queen, the army is typically made up of another agency’s soldiers. In other words, auxiliary soldiers or mercenaries.

The Fractional CMO+ brings his own army in the form of a meticulously hired team to supplement his expertise. Better yet, they may even have their own agency. So as you search for a Fractional CMO, be weary of those without their own army. In the wise words of Niccolò Machiavelli:

“A wise prince, therefore, has always avoided [auxiliary] arms and turned to his own.”

What is a Fractional CMO?

Key Responsibilities of a Fractional CMO

Fractional CMOs take on a variety of responsibilities critical to the success of a company’s marketing efforts. For now, let’s stick to the battle analogy. You’ve recently declared war on your competitors. It’s time to ramp up your marketing efforts and begin conquering. Because you’re a very intelligent business owner, you’ve hired a Fractional CMO. So, what’s next?

Preparing for War:

First things first, you’ll need to hold a briefing to prepare for war. In this stage, the Fractional CMO is responsible for understanding your mission, your goals, what you’ve accomplished so far and what you aspire to do moving forward. As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to lay all of the maps out on the table. Show the Fractional CMO your empire; this is the land we have conquered, these are the lands we would like to conquer. We’ve lost these battles, and won these battles. This is how and this is why. In a more literal sense, your Fractional CMO needs to understand the ins and outs of your business, what your goals are, what your brand vision is, budget, etc. Once you feel that the Fractional CMO has embodied your mission, you’re ready to move on.

Building an Army:

As the king, you give the prince a military budget to build his army. This is arguably the most important responsibility of a Fractional CMO. Without the right army, you won’t win the war. Let’s say that the war is the battle for your customer’s attention. Depending on your business, you’ll need a slew of marketing experts, all specialized in a specific type of warfare. As an example, your team might need a web developer, an SEO expert, brand specialist, and social media guru. With a Fractional CMO, you don’t have to worry about assembling a team, they’ll do it for you. Better yet, they might already have one, that is, if they’re a Fractional CMO+.

CMO benefits

Strategic Warfare:

So now the team is assembled, all of the pieces are in place. Next on the list of responsibilities is strategic planning. You can’t lead your army into war on a whim. Typically, a Fractional CMO will spend a few weeks to months analyzing all of your competitors’ marketing wins and losses, identifying opportunities for repeat success, as well as room for improvement. After careful analysis and competitor research, your Fractional CMO will send the army off to do their reconnaissance. The SEO specialist will identify top ranking competitors and reverse engineer their success. The Web Developer will gather the most beautiful websites in your industry. The Social Media guru may start DM’ing your competition as a spy, gaining insight to the ways they leverage social media engagement. Once the recon is complete, they’ll reconvene to formulate a strategy.

Going to War:

Finally, the strategy is in place. The Fractional CMO has aligned their army’s mission with yours. They understand your competition, they understand your brand, and they know exactly what they need to do to win the war. You are now closing in on your competition. However, before launching the attack, it’s imperative that the Fractional CMO has systems in place should anything go wrong. Now is the time to minimize the margin for error. Oftentimes, a Fractional CMO comes prepared with systems and processes to mitigate any potential counterstrikes. They are prepared for everything. For example, what to do in the event of a malicious attack on your website, the suspension of your Google Business profile, etc. Once all backup plans and systems are in place, it’s Go Time.

Launching the Attack:

The leg work has been done, the strategy is in place, and you have the upper hand on your competition. Now it’s time to launch the attack while you rule the kingdom from the comfort of your throne. That’s the beauty of having a Fractional CMO. They are out in the world conquering other kingdoms while you tend to the palace. It’s the Fractional CMO’s responsibility to execute the strategy, to lead the army, and to report back to you with any and all news. If you’ve hired a good Fractional CMO, they’ll report back with analytics and reporting for all channels, including Return on Investment (ROI), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), and all other relevant metrics. Their responsibility is to make sure that the war ends in your favor.

fractional cmo

Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO

Cost Effectiveness

One of the primary benefits of hiring a Fractional CMO is cost savings. Companies can access top-tier marketing talent without the expense of a full-time executive salary, which can be particularly advantageous for small to medium-sized businesses (B2B Marketing World) Read this other article of mine if you’d like to know, how much does a Fractional CMO cost?


Fractional CMOs offer a high degree of flexibility, allowing companies to scale their marketing efforts up or down based on current needs and business cycles. This flexibility ensures that companies receive the right level of support when they need it.

Diverse Expertise

With experience across various industries, Fractional CMOs bring a wealth of knowledge and fresh perspectives to your marketing strategies. This diverse expertise can help identify new opportunities and innovative solutions tailored to your industry and target audience. (GrowthRocks).

Industry Specific Applications

  • Local Service Businesses: Strategically implement small scale marketing strategies with a focus on budget and time efficiency.
  • Tech Startups: Focus on rapid testing and iteration of marketing strategies to quickly find the most effective approaches.
  • Manufacturing: Emphasize brand differentiation and customer relationship management to stand out in a competitive market.
  • Healthcare: Navigate regulations and patient confidentiality while crafting effective marketing strategies

Expert Opinions and Thought Leadership

Incorporating insights from seasoned marketing professionals can significantly enhance your strategies. Fractional CMOs, with their extensive experience, can provide valuable thought leadership and innovative ideas that drive your business forward​.

Use Cases and Benefits of Fractional CMO vs Alternatives

Scenario 1: Fractional CMO vs Full-Time CMO

Company: A mid-sized tech startup aiming for rapid growth.

Challenge: The startup needs strategic marketing leadership but cannot afford the high salary and benefits of a full-time CMO.

Solution: The company hires a Fractional CMO from Momentum Digital. The Fractional CMO works part-time, providing the necessary strategic direction, optimizing marketing campaigns, and mentoring the existing marketing team. This arrangement allows the startup to allocate resources more efficiently while benefiting from top-tier expertise.

Scenario 2: Fractional CMO vs Marketing Agency

Company: A manufacturing firm looking to revitalize its brand and improve customer engagement.

Challenge: The firm previously worked with a marketing agency but found that the generic solutions provided did not fully align with their specific needs.

Solution: The firm decides to hire a Fractional CMO from Momentum Digital. Unlike a stand-alone marketing agency, this part-time CMO becomes an integral part of the company’s team, developing a tailored branding strategy and directly overseeing its implementation.

Scenario 3: Fractional CMO vs Salaried Marketing Person

Company: A small healthcare provider seeking to expand its patient base while navigating strict regulations.

Challenge: The company initially hired a salaried marketing person, but they lacked the strategic vision and experience needed for significant growth.

Solution: The healthcare provider transitions to a Fractional CMO from Momentum Digital. This Partial CMO brings extensive experience in the healthcare sector, crafting compliant yet effective marketing strategies and leading the marketing team to execute these plans.

Momentum Digital's Approach

At Momentum Digital, we don’t provide you with a Fractional CMO, we provide you with a Fractional CMO+. With 10 years as an agency under our belt, we pride ourselves on keeping up with the ever-evolving digital landscape. We recognize the advantages of having a Fractional CMO for your business, but also the important role that agencies play. So, we’ve combined the two, providing you with a Fractional CMO that brings with them an army i.e. Momentum Digital.

Why Choose Momentum Digital?

  • Proven Expertise: Our team of Fractional CMOs brings a wealth of experience across various industries, ensuring tailored and effective marketing strategies.
  • Comprehensive Solutions: From SEO and content marketing to digital advertising and social media management, our full-service approach ensures all your marketing needs are met.
  • Results-Driven: We focus on delivering measurable results, helping your business achieve its marketing and growth objectives.

Other Marketing Tips!

I’m always promoting myself and Momentum Digital with various blog updates, social media posts, graphics, podcasts and videos. Check out some of my social channels to stay up to date with Momentum and some big moves we’re making in the industry.

Instagram: @LukeMcCallion_

LinkedIn: Luke McCallion

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“My name is Mac and I used to work for Google. Now I help small businesses grow online and rank higher on Google”