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Nov. 29, 2021

What is a Fractional CMO? And How Can One Help My Digital Marketing?

What is a Fractional CMO? And How Can One Help My Digital Marketing?

If you were to look at my LinkedIn profile headline or the main menu on my website, you might see a title that you don't recognize:

Fractional CMO

A lot of people ask me exactly what a Fractional CMO is and what I do as one, while others, after learning about it, want to follow in my footsteps.

So what exactly is a Fractional CMO? And why might you want to hire one to help you with your digital marketing?

Listen in as I reveal all!

Key Highlights

[02:31] How My Journey Into Becoming A Fractional CMO Began

[04:13] What Got Me Into Fractional CMO

[06:30] The Reason I Wrote The Age of Influence Book

[07:22] What Are the Requirements to Become A Fractional CMO?

[08:48] The Concept Of A CMO

[09:23] Ways of Working With Fractional CMO

[10:19] The Bad Side of Being Fractional CMO

[13:10] The Key Benefit of A Fractional CMO

[13:23] Fractional CMO vs External Consultant

[14:16] My Role As A Fractional CMO

[17:18] Summary

Notable Quotes

  • It's the reason why I'm writing my next book on general digital marketing. Because so many companies wanted help with their influencer marketing, yet, there were so many other things they needed help with. 
  • This requires obviously, to have a certain amount of experience that you could create and implement a digital and social media marketing strategy for any business.
  • Social media changes over time, you know how well you perform on the different digital marketing channels changes over time. So the needs are always evolving.
  • In other words, you may want to work with a fractional CMO, they may not have the capacity, the bandwidth to work with you. But I believe it is great because it allows you to work with different companies. It allows you to gain experience working with different companies in different industries.
  • In other words, if you're not quite ready to hire a full-time CMO, but don't want to outsource your marketing leads to an agency or a general project-based consultant, a fraction of the CMO brings experienced leadership to help accelerate your strategic objectives, and reach the next level growth and profitability.
  • The role that a fractional CMO will play will come down to a combination of the needs of the company hiring them, and the skills and experience that the marketing professional brings to the table.
  • If we can find the right person, I hope this really opens your eyes to the potential because look, digital marketing, can be done anywhere in the world, but it requires a lot of different skill sets. And there aren't a lot of really, really experienced people out there.

Learn More:

Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

He needs so it says on your profile that you're a fractional CMO. What exactly is a fractional CMO? And it's something that maybe I should consider becoming to find out all the deets on this next episode of The your digital marketing coach podcast digital social media content influencer marketing, blogging, podcasting, blogging, tick tocking, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, SEO, SEM, PPC, email marketing, whew. There's a lot to cover. Whether you're a marketing professional entrepreneur, or business owner, you need someone you can rely on for expert advice. Good thing you've got, Neil, on your side, because Neal Schaffer is your digital digital marketing marketing coach, helping you grow your business with digital first marketing one episode at a time. This is your digital marketing coach. And this is Neal Schaffer. Everybody. Neal Schaffer, here. I am your digital marketing coach, and welcome to my podcast, you know, just recently, and it's not the first time but I was on a live stream slash podcast. I listen, Meredith, that's you if you're listening. And I was asked, Hey, Neil, I see that you're a fractional CMO. What? What exactly is that? And is it something that maybe I should consider too. And if you are a consultant, I know that there is a group of you listening to this podcast, that are digital or social media or content marketing, or whatever, consultants, or maybe you have your own agency. And you see that I am doing this and you're like, Huh, well, what the heck is it. And so in this podcast, I not only wanted to talk about what I do. But also, I think it is an interesting option for companies that need help with their digital marketing as well. So there's a lot that you can learn from this podcast, but you're probably already hiring people, outsourcing work, utilizing third party services to help with your digital marketing. And I believe that a fractional cmo type of service is an additional type that you should consider. And of course, if you are a marketing professional, with some expertise, your consultants are already providing these types of services, it is an additional offering that I think you should consider as well. So let's start with how my journey into becoming a fractional cmo began. And I think the definition of it will, then it will really begin to make sense for you. So I began as a social media strategy consultant back in January of 2010. I had written a book on LinkedIn, windmill networking, understanding, leveraging and maximizing LinkedIn, I was speaking about LinkedIn locally, but not just speaking about LinkedIn, but also about social media marketing back then, in general. And that's when over the course of two weeks, I had four different companies for different industries reached out to me wanting help with their social media, I did not come from an agency background, I was a b2b sales, and bizdev background. So to me, consulting just seemed like a more logical approach. And to both educate as well as help provide strategy to companies that were looking to leverage social media marketing. Now, at that time, it wasn't just open ended consulting, I created a package called social media strategy consulting. And for those of you that read maximize your social back in the day, that basically that book is the blueprint for the work that I did for my clients. It was a fixed time, with a fixed deliverable, basically creating a social media marketing strategy that was customized to their own unique situation for them. So what happened over time, though, is and I tell this to a lot of people, I've done consulting, have done speaking, have done teaching, I've done corporate training, have lunch, my own agency, I get paid as an influencer. And every year sort of the revenue mix for my own company. And for those other authors slash speaker slash consultants out there, definitely changes. Now, what got me into the fractional cmo was a company that had hired me here locally, in actually in Cypress, California, in Southern California. And they originally wanted help with their social media marketing strategy, and they had me come out and speak to their executive team. After that speech, they said, Neil, we know that you can create a strategy for us, but to be honest with you, we need your help in implementing it, and specifically, we have a marketing person, and we want you to work together with her and really reinvent our entire digital marketing and social media marketing. And that's sort of where this all began. Now, interestingly enough, that's the same reason why I launched an agency before for a Japanese startup who did not have any resources you You're locally in the United States, but yet wanted to target the market wanted feet on the ground, and didn't have any marketing resources. So I became for I should say, my agency became their marketing department. But in this case, they already had a marketing department, they didn't want to outsource to an agency, they wanted my help in basically building up and training and educating all the other departments around what we were doing. And therefore, in order to do that, it wasn't based on a project it was based on time it was based on I am going to go to their office four hours a week. And it was based on a monthly contract. And obviously, I tried to make it as long term of a contract as possible. So that that recurring revenue is is repeatable, and obviously predictable. So that's really what began this. And literally, how I spent my time with this company was as an employee, they were in complete control of my agenda. And I was reporting to the CMO, excuse me, CEO. So in essence, I was their marketing leader, working with them on creating and implementing the strategy while training all their other marketing personnel. Now fast forward to Coronavirus. And I wrote the age of influence before this whole pandemic started, obviously, but I didn't publish it until the day we went on lockdown here in California, back in March of 2021. Becky, correct that back in March of 2020. And after writing that book, I obviously got a lot of companies reaching out to me looking for help. And I tell this to a lot of people, it's it's the reason why I'm writing my next book on general digital marketing. Because so many companies wanted help with their influencer marketing, yet, there was so many other things they needed help with. And influencer marketing is just another channel, it doesn't sit in a silo, it really affects everything else you do in your social and digital marketing. So what happened was, I realized that this template that I created a consulting for this other company, this can work for any company, because now we're all working from home. In fact, one of the clients I picked up literally on the day we went into lockdown was looking at had me come into their office, because they were local here in Irvine, California. But after the pandemic, I never went in their office again. And I did it all remotely with their team. And since then, it has really become how I do my marketing consulting. Okay, so fractional cmo CMO, you're a leader, you're experienced, you can talk to the CEO, you can talk to other executives. And you can also train and lead other marketers and really other employees if it's necessary. This requires obviously, to have a certain amount of experience that you could create and implement a digital and social media marketing strategy for any business. So I don't think that anyone and everyone can do this. But depending on your expertise, maybe your client doesn't need everything, but they just want your help with a specific strategic social network like Instagram, or in the example of my friend, Elise Meredith from yesterday's live stream, Pinterest marketing, but regardless, it requires you to have expertise, it also requires that you're going to be flexible, right, you are not in charge of your hours your customers are. And I find that this is really liberating. It frees me up of pressure and stress, and then allows me to be the most useful that I can be to my clients and that I'm nimble enough to be able to adapt whatever their needs are. Because guess what, once you start working with a fractional CMO, and you begin to see what's possible, your needs definitely do change over time. Obviously, social media changes over time, you know how well you perform on the different digital marketing channels changes over time. So the needs are always evolving. Here's where it gets interesting. So it sounds like I am a part time CMO. But the concept of a CMO is sort of like someone that is not necessarily doing hands on work. And I mentioned this and that's not to say not every CMOS not doing hands on work. But what I mean by this is that some of my clients say, Neil, we want you to do the work for us, and then report back to us every month, or we just want you to do the work for us. And you know, just send us an email. We don't even have to do like monthly calls or weekly calls. Being a fractional CMO at the heart of it is a type of marketing consulting, which then, like I said, gives your client the flexibility. So you know, do we need your help with SEO this week or blogging. Next, we want you to just, we want you to just work on this project. You don't have to work on it together with as a resume, work on your own time report back to us. And that's it. So there's many, many different ways of working together with a fractional CMO. Now, fractional is the term that I've yet to discuss. But fractional basically means it's it's a fraction, you're a fraction of a CMO. I'm not there from there part time there may be You know, four hours a week could be eight hours a week could be one hour a week or two hour a week. That's how I structure my contracts. And obviously, because the work is done by me, and my clients write that into my contracts anyway, that the work is going to be done by me that there is a limitation on how many hours you can work a week, or how many clients you can take on. So when my capacity is full, I'm full, I require clients want to work with me to be put on a waiting list. And in fact, the fewer fractional CML hours that I can devote to my clients, the higher the quality is going to be right, I'm not going to be sort of drawn out having too many clients. So this is something to consider that the fractional is good and bad, it is limiting. In other words, you may want to work with a fractional CMO, they may not have the capacity, the bandwidth to work with you. But I believe it is great because it allows you to work with different companies. It allows you to gain experience working with different companies in different industries. And I think for companies that want to hire fractional CMOS, it means that you are getting someone that is constantly working with lots of different companies with lots of different experiences, lots of different data, obviously, everything is is covered under NDA. So I'm not talking about bringing in specific customer data, but lots of different data to be able to say, based on my experience, this approach might work better, or we found at a previous company, when we did this, actually, that worked better. So I think it's the best of both worlds, you want to hire a CMO based on their experience, a fractional cmo might have more varied experiences than a CMO that's only worked at one company, for instance. So that's the concept. It is a type of marketing consulting, it is fractional, and that you're not getting someone full time. But you can treat them as if they're your employee. And they come very, very experienced because they've been doing this and continue to do this for a lot of companies now sort of go into further depth, and I want to make sure that I cover the main points in you deeply understanding what this is, and I want to give you some actual case studies of the types of things that I've done as a fractional cmo to help my clients, a fractional CMO is sometimes called an outsourced CMO. But as I said, it is an experienced marketing leader who becomes a part time executive addition to your company. But as I mentioned, you can consider a fractional cmo to be the same as a part time CMO. But as you might guess, fractional means the time spent by your CEO will be shared amongst multiple companies he or she is serving. In other words, if you're not quite ready to hire a full time CMO, but don't want to outsource your marketing leadership to an agency or a general project based consultant, a fraction the CMO brings experienced leadership to help accelerate your strategic objectives, and reach next level growth and profitability. Regardless of products or services, you might be marketing and wait for it at a fraction of the traditional cost of hiring someone full time for your business. The key benefit of this type of outsourced cmo services that you can hire someone to be involved as if he or she was a CMO, but without needing to pay the salary of a full time marketing executive. One important distinction to make here is that compared to an external consultant a fractional cmo will often be involved in the day to day operations, as if they were an employee as a post to a project based external consultant, who is often utilized as someone who was brought in from and often remains in the outside of key decision making activities. So what does a fractional cmo actually do, while being an external resource, once again, think of a fractional cmo as a part time executive addition to your management team. This means the role of a fractional cmo will vary from company to company and project to project. But regardless of role, this part time CEO or full time interim executive, glass half full glass half empty should bring innovative digital marketing strategies and unparalleled experience to your team. In my own experience working with several companies as a fractional CMO. My role serving small and large, b2c and b2b companies has included Strategic Projects support for the marketing of multiple new brand launches for a b2b company strategic marketing advisory services for CEOs of multiple online brands, head of digital transformation of marketing project for an E commerce company, in charge of revamping the social media marketing strategy of a global b2b enterprise, key strategic leader in the establishment of an employee influencer program for a b2c enterprise completely recreated digital content strategy for an E commerce business, create strategy and help with implementation of executive online branding, replace dependency on PPC ads with inbound content Mark strategy creation and implementation launched new overseas sales territories for b2b brand completely using digital and social media marketing, complete management of a b2c brands influencer marketing program. As you can ascertain from all this, the role that a fractional cmo will play will come down to a combination of the needs of the company hiring them, and the skills and experience that the marketing professional brings to the table. If you are a marketing professional or a consultant, you should go back and listen to episode number 234. Should you niche down or become a generalist with your digital marketing? My answer might surprise you. And it's the fact that I am a generalist that brings all this value that gives you the flexibility to be able to do all these different things for different clients. So if you're a company, and you're looking for digital marketing help, but you don't want to work with an agency, you don't want to work with a consultant, you may not have the budget or not be able to find that full time employee with that experience that you're looking for. That is where a fractional cmo can help plug that gap fill that need, whether it's for and my contracts or a minimum of three months, or whether it's for several years. That is a unique role that a fractional CMO, if you can find the right person can help you with now, if you are a marketing professional for your marketing consultants, if you provide agency services, this is something that you might want to consider adding or you might want to become in fact, interestingly enough, I have this digital first mastermind community. And a lot of people that joined digital first want to become a fractional cmo like me, they want to understand more deeply how to do it, how to transform what they're doing, into what they see as a more attractive and potentially more lucrative way of doing business. So if that is you, I really urge you to look into my digital first community, you can go to my website, there is a tab at the top, there's obviously a fractional cmo tab as well, if you're interested in you know, requiring or requesting my services. But also looking into my digital first community. For any of these you can also just directly reach out to me, there are links for both the fraction CMOS services and the digital first community in the show notes of this and every episode. But I hope this for those of you that always wondered, what the heck does Neal Schaffer do for a living, but for others that think, Hmm, this might be an alternative. If we can find the right person, I hope this really opens your eyes to the potential because look, digital marketing, can be done anywhere in the world, but it requires a lot of different skill sets. And there aren't a lot of really, really experienced people out there. Japan is a country that has a severe shortage of digital marketing professionals. So if you find that you can't find the right person, there are other options available. And I would love and be honored, obviously to help your company but if not me, there are others out there. And you know what, if you're looking for a fractional cmo for a specific industry reached out to me, I might be able to recommend someone from my mastermind community, for instance, for your needs. Well, this was a different type of episode. But I really want to introduce more of not only what I do, this isn't like a big sales pitch. But hopefully it opens your eyes to the possibilities both for the businesses and for the service providers. And I look forward to your feedback as always, through reviews, always honored by reviews of the your digital marketing coach podcast, on whatever podcast app you're listening to this to, as well as just reaching out to me or tagging me on social media saying that you enjoyed or you found this episode to be enlightening. Alright, everybody we are well hopefully this is published before Thanksgiving. So I want to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving weekend, I am going to do my best to take the week off. I hope that as many of you are able to take off as much time as possible. And then I'm going to come back we're going to be heading into December. And we're going to close this podcast really strong, still publishing two episodes per week until I get caught up in December. Lots of great content to come make sure you hit that subscribe button. And as always, thank you for your support. This is your digital marketing coach signing out. You've been listening to your digital marketing coach, questions, comments, requests, links, go to podcast dot Neal schaffer.com. Get the show notes to this and 200 plus podcast episodes and Neal Schaffer calm to tap into the 400 Plus blog posts that Neil has published to support your business. While you're there, check out Neil's Digital First group coaching membership community if you or your business needs a little helping hand. See you next time on your digital marketing coach.