Fractional CMO versus an inside CMO

It’s time to bring the big dogs in.

Your company has grown so much that it is time to bring marketing know-how to the table. When you started your business, you probably thought this was an easy setting.

You find someone who is a marketing savvy and you give them Green Paper in return for more Green Paper coming your way.

Unfortunately, the setting is not that easy. When hiring your Chief Marketing Officer, you have a choice of two types of appointments. You can hire a fractional chief marketing officer or an in-house chief marketing officer. Since word count doesn’t matter, we’ll be using CMO instead of Chief Marketing Officer. 🙂

A fractional CMO works part-time. They may only work with your company or have some other marketing clients. Fractional CMOs work as contractors and freelancers that are not on your regular payroll. Together you decide how many months you will work together and what results you expect (also known as the Green Paper?).

An internal CMO works full time. They work exclusively with your company, and their LinkedIn Page will promote the work they do with you (because we know that employee-generated content generates conversions). Internal CMOs get health benefits and all the other fun incentives you give your employees. They plan to work with you over the long term (we’re talking years here) to grow your brand and create a predictable sales system.

How do you know what type of CMO to hire?

Somebody brings the blackboard … it’s time for the pros / cons list.

Fractional CMO versus an internal CMO

Rock, paper, and scissors aside, the best way to find out what type of CMO you need is with a Pro / Con list. We explain the pros and cons of each type of CMO so you can figure out which option is best for your company.

However, before we get into this list, there is one more thing we need to go over.

Just because you’re hiring a partial CMO today doesn’t mean you can’t hire a full-time CMO across the board. You don’t get stuck on the option you choose. Yes, we are talking to those of you who feel analytical paralysis when making this decision.

Working with all of the marketers is a great idea. Okay, someone hands us the chalk.

Benefits of a fractional CMO

Fractional CMOs work with your company for a specific number of months to achieve a specific result. This means they are not as integrated as a full-time CMO would be and there are many benefits to this.

You can set them up for a specific campaign or channel instead of your overall marketing strategy: With a fractional CMO, you can choose which strategies to work on and hire an expert in paid advertising, email marketing, content marketing, and more.

You can test working with them for a few months without a full-time commitment: If your fractional CMO doesn’t fit your company culture or is unable to get the results you need in a timely manner, your contract will end and you can start working with someone else.

They’re not as expensive as an in-house CMO: If you’re looking to take your business to the next level but don’t yet have the budget to be a full-time executive, hiring a fractional CMO can help you get to a point where you can afford an in-house CMO. (PS you also have the option to set your Fractional CMO as your internal CMO!)

Of course, hiring a fractional CMO also has disadvantages.

Disadvantages of a fractional CMO

The disadvantages of hiring a factional CMO all stem from their temporary work in your company. Unlike an internal CMO, fractional CMOs can see their way out once their contract has expired. Sometimes this is a good thing, but sometimes it doesn’t help the company.

You won’t be as available as an in-house CMO: Fractional CMOs have other customers to focus on, which means they only have part of their time each week.

You need to bring in another CMO after them: Training can be the hardest part of hiring new employees, and with a faction CMO, you could be training a full-time CMO in a matter of months (right after training your faction CMO), which can reset your profits.

You may not see your new marketing strategy through: Once your contract has expired, a faction CMO can decide whether to continue working with you or prioritize another client. This means you may have a marketing strategy they’ve created that will require you to hire another marketer (and chances are the marketer wants to do things their own way).

Before deciding whether a fractional CMO is right or wrong for your company, we need to give internal CMOs a chance or their fair share of disadvantages.


Benefits of an internal CMO

Internal CMOs work closely with your team and are one of the main points of contact for your employees. You will need someone who fits your company culture and makes your employees feel empowered and excited to get their jobs done – which can lead to a lot of professionals in your company.

Your only focus is your company: Having a CMO fully focused on your marketing strategy is a huge advantage in creating a predictable sales system. (How Much Better Do You Work With Just One Business Focus?)

You don’t have to train anyone for this role anytime soon: Once you’ve hired your in-house CMO, you can expect to work with them for years, saving you the time you need to retrain for the same position in the future.

You can build your entire marketing funnel: Building a marketing funnel takes time and expertise. With an in-house CMO, you can create a funnel of lead magnets, entry-level offers, and challenges that lead to sales.

Fair is fair, so now we need to cover the downsides of working with an internal CMO …

Disadvantages of an internal CMO

Hiring a full-time employee has a number of disadvantages. Internal CMOs are great for some reason (see above), but they also have their 2-star ratings …

They are more expensive: In addition to being a full-time employee, an internal CMO is also an executive. This makes them more expensive than a fractional CMO hired part-time for a few months.

You have a longer commitment to them: If you hire an in-house CMO and find that after a few months they may not fit as well, it can be difficult to let them go. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort educating them about your customers and products, and developing their version of your marketing strategy – it can burn.

You are working on your entire funnel: Sometimes this is a great thing and sometimes it isn’t necessary. If you have a great paid ads funnel and just need help with content marketing, you might not need a full-time marketer. A fractional CMO with expertise in content marketing could help.

Ultimately, we cannot recommend an internal CMO or a fractional CMO for your company. (We really wish we could because we live to make your marketing life easier).

We can only point out the pros and cons of each type of CMO and let you decide which makes the most sense for your company today.

Get this green paper friend.

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