Fractional CMO’s are on the rise! If you’ve not yet heard of one, you likely will very soon.

But what exactly is a Fractional CMO? How do they work?

And why are they a great choice for startups and small businesses?


We’ll delve into these topics now!


The Fractional CMO – a definition


A Fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is an experienced marketing executive who is typically hired on a part-time basis to provide high-quality marketing advice and strategy oversight to a company. Fractional CMO’s may also be brought in to provide mentorship and guidance to less experienced marketing teams, or to coach other marketing professionals on areas that they may not yet have touched upon.


Fractional CMO’s are becoming more and more popular among startups and SMEs that don’t have the resources or need for a full-time CMO. This is especially true for startups who need to ramp up resource around busy times – for example, in advance of a new product launch or a rebrand. Equally, it could be to help with specific challenges that a SME is having – say, identifying new areas for growth or testing out a different GTM (Go-To-Market) approach.


In many instances, a Fractional CMO can help diagnose what the problem is too…

– Are your customers not renewing?

– Are your leads not converting?

– Is your brand not getting enough reach?


With the breadth of experience that a Fractional CMO brings, they are perfectly placed to be able to get under the skin of these issues and diagnose exactly where the problem is in order to fix it.

How does a Fractional CMO work?


For the most part, the role of a Fractional CMO is to develop, plan and implement marketing strategies that align with the company’s overall business goals.

This usually starts off with some form of audit of your business. This allows the Fractional CMO to get up-to-speed quickly on how your company works, and it gives you the chance to explain in more detail what the context is or where you feel your problems might lie.

From here, your Fractional CMO can start to create and develop a marketing (or remedial!) plan. In carrying out both this stage and the audit, they’ll very often work closely with other members of your management team, so be sure they have full access to these people and any systems or resources they may need so they get the full picture!


Your Fractional CMO should also start off any engagement with a project plan – be that in Excel, or an online tool such as Asana or Trello. This will ensure that deliverables are kept on track as much as possible, and that everyone on your team is clear about what is happening and when.

With time, this ‘project approach’ may disappear and will likely morph into standard KPI or quarterly goals – this is as the Fractional CMO becomes more embedded in your organisation and aligned with the ways your team normally works.


What’s the difference between a Fractional CMO and an Interim CMO?


A Fractional CMO will typically work on a part-time basis, embedded with your team and representing your company when necessary.

An Interim CMO is more likely to be full-time, but for a shorter period of time to cover absence or to bridge a gap between your permanent marketing hires.

The table below is a useful guide to how a Fractional CMO may differ to other non-permanent roles.

Why is a Fractional CMO a good choice for startups and small businesses?


One of the key advantages of hiring a Fractional CMO is that it allows your company to access the expertise of an experienced marketing professional without the cost of hiring a full-time employee. This can be particularly beneficial for startups and small businesses that may not have the budget to hire a full-time CMO.

As a Fractional CMO is part-time and often working across multiple clients, they can also bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to the table. Something that helps your company to stay competitive in the marketplace and on top of key trends.

The fact that a Fractional CMO can be brought in for specific needs is another benefit. This means you can ramp up your resource as and when required – for example, to launch a new product or to overhaul your brand. Fractional CMO’s with a number of years’ experience can also ensure that these projects are executed quickly and efficiently – although, be warned, they’ll often keep you on your toes in order to hit deadlines and high standards!

And finally, a Fractional CMO is really well placed to assess new opportunities for your business. Say there’s a new marketing tool has come on the market and you want to assess if it’s right for your business or if it will fit in with your existing tech stack. Enter the Fractional CMO who can take a broad look across your business processes and make unbiased recommendations for whether or not you should invest in this shiny new tool!



It’s easy to see why Fractional CMO’s are on the rise right now. Many companies are looking to cut budgets, but they can’t afford to turn off their marketing or cancel planned launches – and, of course, they shouldn’t be doing so either! A great solution to fill this gap is with a Fractional CMO.


With the right Fractional CMO on board, your company can therefore access the expertise and know-how of an experienced marketing executive without the cost of hiring a full-time employee, something that’s cost-effective and a great way to drive business growth.

Got a Marketing problem you can't diagnose?

Then you need a Fractional CMO! Get in touch and we’ll be happy to talk through your issues and come up with a plan of attack!