Resources & Education
February 6, 2024
As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.
She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place.
Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.
As a cost-effective alternative to hiring a full-time CMO, a fractional CMO allows small businesses to access top-notch marketing expertise—but without the hefty price tag.
Here are a few frequently asked questions to help you decide if partnering with a fractional CMO is right for your business. You can also learn more about fractional CMOs by tuning in to “Episode 111” of The Priority Pursuit Podcast.
Is outsourcing key leadership positions something new?
No. In fact, many organizations already recognize the value of outsourcing executive functions such as the chief financial officer role.
For organizations with an annual revenue of $2-$30 million, they need a CFO’s expertise to stabilize and protect their business—but not on a full-time basis. The same philosophy applies to partnering with a chief marketing officer.
What do fractional CMOs do?
A CMO is an outside expert brought in as executive leadership to understand, refine, and manage your marketing initiatives, spending, resources, and staff in order to improve your overall sales.
Who needs a fractional CMO?
Usually, companies with $2+ million in revenue that lack the marketing leadership required to grow their business to the next level or are not happy with their current marketing strategies can benefit from hiring a fractional CMO.
What are the benefits of hiring a fractional CMO?
A fractional chief marketing officer assumes a critical role in shaping a small business’s marketing strategy and execution. With their wealth of experience, they can continuously analyze marketing performance, identify areas of improvement, and fine-tune strategies to maximize ROI.
Fractional CMOs enter a company with a fresh perspective, allowing them to provide insights about your current marketing initiatives and systems. Additionally, they are usually responsible for:
The benefit of partnering with Treefrog is that our professional agency teams have been helping small businesses implement their marketing strategies for more than two decades. Not only can we provide exceptional marketing leadership, but when warranted, our agency can also complete the implementation of projects such as brand development, brand messaging, copywriting, website design, SEO, and more.
When should you partner with a fractional CMO?
The best time to partner with a fractional CMO is when you’ve reached a sustainable revenue in which you can afford one (usually $2+ million) and when you’re not satisfied with your current marketing results.
It is important to note that the partnership is best served when a company has either an internal team or external vendors (or both) in place to execute a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Are there limitations to a fractional CMO?
A fCMO is not a full-time employee or someone who will personally execute specific marketing campaigns or tasks. This partnership is designed to lead the overall marketing strategy for your company, oversee the implementation, and manage your marketing department and any outside vendors.
If you don’t have a marketing team, our agency team would be happy to partner with you on a contractual basis. At Treefrog, our professional agency teams have been helping small businesses implement their marketing strategies for more than two decades. Not only can we provide exceptional marketing leadership (fCMO), but when warranted, our agency can also complete the implementation of projects such as brand development, brand messaging, copywriting, website design, SEO, and more.
How do I find a qualified fractional CMO?
Research indicates that about 36% of those presenting as fCMOs lack the skills and experience needed to perform their duties. But, there’s actually a way to quickly weed out less-than-qualified candidates.
Simply focus on the types of questions your potential fCMO asks. If they ask questions about your overall business, structure, products, current challenges, competition, and market fit, you’re off to a good start.
However, if they ask questions about marketing strategies currently in place and then immediately want to discuss implementation and execution, that’s not a fractional CMO. They’re a marketing manager in disguise.
How much does it cost to partner with a fractional CMO?
The agreed upon duties will play into your overall investment. However, most fractional CMOs charge an hourly rate of $200 to $500 per hour.
Additionally, it’s important to take into account the amount of time needed by a fCMO to learn the relevant aspects of your company. Since this is an executive role, they will need to become very familiar with your company—which won’t happen overnight.
On average, you should budget for at least 15 hours a week for the first month of your new partnership. Taking into account most fCMOs spend anywhere from 300-500 hours a year with a client, you can expect your investment to be somewhere between $90,000 and $150,000 per year—which is still half or less of the total cost of a full-time CMO.