What is a Fractional CMO? An Ideal Option for B2B

What is a Fractional CMO?

Are you looking for expert marketing guidance without the heavy costs and long-term commitment of a full-time hire? Or do you need marketing support, now – and don’t have time to waste investing in the longer-term process of hiring in-house? If so, a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) might be the perfect fit for your company. 

A Fractional CMO, sometimes referred to as a part-time CMO, interim CMO, outsourced VP of Marketing or similar, is a senior-level marketing professional who works on a part-time or temporary basis to provide strategic marketing leadership and guidance.

Unlike a marketing consultant, freelancer or marketing agency, a Fractional CMO is someone who has held senior-level marketing positions in an organization before.

They’ve likely worked their way up in the marketing trenches, so they have direct experience and knowledge of many areas of marketing and business. They have hired and managed teams, vendors, contractors and marketing agencies, and understand how an organization like yours operates. 

In the case of B2B, it would be important to look for a Fractional CMO who has come from the B2B world and understands how organizations like yours work, including the importance of liaising with various departments, such as sales, product development, and customer success.  

The Fractional CMO role is particularly common among startups, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and organizations that may not have the resources or need for a full-time CMO.

It is also an ideal fit for B2B organizations that have grown to a certain level (often $3 to $10 million) on primarily sales-led initiatives, and now have a need to invest in marketing to move past revenue plateaus.

What does a Fractional CMO Do? 

At a high level, a Fractional CMO will act in a similar capacity to an in-house CMO hire and hold similar responsibilities. This includes:

Strategic Planning: A Fractional CMO develops and leads the execution of the marketing strategy. It is key that the marketing strategy be aligned with the company’s overall business goals. They may conduct market and customer research, analyze industry  and competitive trends, and identify opportunities for growth and quick wins.

Resource Allocation and Team Management: Once a marketing strategy is in place (and this doesn’t have to take several months – <<Link Out To Strategy First Page on Website>>), Fractional CMOs will determine the type and number of resources needed to execute on the strategy. Depending on the scope of their engagement, Fractional CMOs may oversee in-house marketing teams, external agencies, or freelancers. They ensure that the marketing team is working effectively and efficiently.

Budget Management: They are responsible for managing the marketing budget, allocating resources to different marketing initiatives, and ensuring that the budget is used optimally to achieve desired results.

Campaign Development: Fractional CMOs contribute to the development of marketing campaigns, including branding, advertising, content marketing, social media, and other promotional efforts. They often bring expertise in various marketing channels.

Performance Monitoring: They establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of marketing initiatives and regularly monitor and analyze the results. Adjustments are made based on performance data and any shifts in the market or competitive landscape.

Vendor and Agency Relationships: If necessary, they manage relationships with external marketing agencies, vendors, or contractors, ensuring that they deliver on their commitments and align with the company’s goals.

Leadership and Training: Fractional CMOs may provide leadership and mentorship to the marketing team, helping them develop their skills and capabilities.

Fractional CMO or Fractional CMO + Expert B2B Marketing Team – What’s the Difference?

When you bring on a Fractional CMO, you’re engaging a senior marketing leader who will really get to understand your business goals, collaborate with your sales, product and customer success leaders, create your marketing strategy, and put a plan in place to execute on the strategy. 

However, they will typically not execute the strategy themselves. They will identify and bring in the right resources to execute the strategy, and manage these resources. This could include any internal junior marketing people you already have in-house, freelancers, consultants or marketing agencies. 

Some Fractional CMOs come with their own expert B2B marketing team, a group of tactical marketing specialists who are ready to come in as needed to execute your marketing strategy.

The benefit to this model is that the Fractional CMO already has a well-honed team they have vetted and trust – a team that has worked together on a variety of projects in the past, and has established ways of working together, systems and processes. The result is a smoother, faster and more efficient execution of your strategy and ongoing marketing. 

Is a Fractional CMO Right for You?

Fractional CMOs offer flexibility and expertise without the long-term commitment and expense of hiring a full-time CMO. You access high-level marketing guidance without the need for a permanent executive-level hire. Best of all, you get the instant senior marketing leadership you need, now. 

To help you make important decisions around hiring and working with a Fractional CMO, we’ve created a comprehensive eBook: The B2B CEO’s Ultimate Guide to Hiring & Working With a Fractional CMO.

In this eBook, we walk you through the six most important questions B2B CEOs need to answer in order to build their first marketing team and choose the right marketing model for their stage of business:

  • What is a Fractional CMO?
  • Benefits of Working with a Fractional CMO
  • Is a Fractional CMO Right for Your Organization?
  • Choosing the Right Fractional CMO
  • What to Expect from Your Fractional CMO
  • Working with your Fractional CMO
  • A Typical Fractional CMO Engagement and Cost

You can download the eBook RIGHT HERE.

If you have any questions about this blog post or the eBook send an email or book a consultation time. Not ready? Sign up and learn from our Ask a Fractional CMO monthly newsletter.

Jen Kelly leads New Initiatives Marketing, Inc., a Fractional CMO & Expert B2B Marketing Team company. Since 2009, our team of senior marketing leaders and expert marketing specialists has been helping B2B CEOs with the strategic leadership and real-world marketing execution needed for practical, long-term results.


Get the Ultimate Guide Now:



First Name(Required)
Get the Ask a Fractional CMO Newsletter