Why Small Businesses Benefit from a Fractional CMO?

As a small business owner, growth can be a challenge. Your current set up might only allow you to get so far before you find your resources are depleted. You need to find solutions to help you move forward so you can meet your business goals. When you feel you don’t have the knowledge, the time nor the patience to find a marketing expert to help you on your growth journey, it might make sense to consider a fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO.) 

A fractional CMO provides you access to the intelligence, experience and input of a marketing expert when you need them. This way you don’t have to incur the cost of hiring a full-time CMO, but still reap the benefits their expertise contributes to your success.

Expertise on a Budget

When you work with a Fractional CMO, they become your go-to, on-demand expert. As a small business, you might not have the same workload and marketing plan as a larger business. This means your needs are on a smaller scale. If you choose to hire a CMO full time, they might often be twiddling their thumbs, while you still fork out a salary. The average salary for a CMO is $138,966, while fractional packages start as low as $3,500 per month.

Just some of the ways their expertise saves you money include: 

  • Industry contacts: Finding appropriate marketing vendors to provide extended marketing services takes time. These guys have their own proven contacts and often can even get better prices for their referrals.
  • Budget smarts: They are used to working with smaller budgets and can stretch your dollar further.
  • Accountability: Many small businesses fly by the seat of their pants for their marketing efforts. This means when things go south, no one is left holding the bag. You’ll finally have someone who knows they are responsible. This includes being accountable to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Metrics for ROI 

One of the biggest challenges small businesses face (and big ones for that matter) is trying to validate their marketing spend. You spend on PPC, create some pretty cool video, have people tapping out some awesome social posts, but all of this takes time and money. So how do you truly know what works and what doesn’t? More importantly, how do you know where to spend your marketing budget? Your fractional CMO understands all that analytic mumbo jumbo and can present it to you and your team in terms that are easy to understand. Voila. You can actually start making some informed decisions!

Ramp Up Your Strategy 

A fractional CMO can provide you with a much-needed upgrade to your marketing strategy. At best, you might have a handle on social media and have someone in your circle that can manage it for you. However, marketing today is pretty demanding and needs a strategy and goals to help you succeed. With a fractional CMO at your disposal, you can have them ramp up your strategy with ideas that will align with your business goals.


You might have a budget that could withstand some experimentation with your marketing efforts. The key to good marketing is to test and measure until you hit the right formula that works for you. If you don’t have expertise in this area, you could be going down the wrong path more often than not. This eats into your budget with little to show for your spend. A fractional CMO will know how to experiment to find the right formula for your team and offer advice to your people so they can take the ball and run with it.

Guidance and Mentoring

If you have an in-house team that makes up for lack of experience with commitment and gumption, a fractional CMO can offer guidance and mentoring. Although this can sometimes lead to resentment, when handled properly, your team can go from intermediate to expert for very little money. The fractional CMO also provides a fresh set of eyes that are less emotional and more business-like. This allows them to make worthwhile suggestions based on knowledge, not personal biases.

Do You Need Someone Full Time?

Although you’re working with a fractional CMO to serve as your marketing guru, they might also provide a solid clue as to whether you actually could use a full-time CMO. As you work with them, and you rely on them more and more, you might see you do need someone inhouse. On the flip side, if your interactions are minimal, you’ll know the fractional route makes more sense.

If you’ve been struggling with your marketing initiatives, the fractional CMO option is worth investigating.

For more information about our fractional CMO services, click here

Setting SMART Goals for 2020

2020 is off to a roaring start as everything in marketing hits the accelerator and we move quickly into new initiatives. It’s no different over here as we set goals for 2020 and make our plans to achieve them. We’re going to tackle how W3 Affinity makes goals and the steps to reach them.

Make your goals SMART

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Time-Sensitive

Make goals Specific

Making goals specific helps narrow the focus on what you’re going to do. “I’m going to grow my business” is more of a dream than a goal. How much are you going to grow this year? Setting a specific amount, number, figure or task to achieve sets the stage for whether the rest of the letters in SMART can be applied to it. A goal of “I’m going to grow my business 50%” is specific and can be measured, possibly achievable, and can have a deadline applied to it.

Make goals Measurable

If your goal isn’t measurable, how do you know if you’re trending towards obtaining it? If you want to grow your business 50% because you’ve set that specific goal, how do you measure the success over the time frame you’ve set to achieve your goal? With this specific goal, using a round number of $1,000,000 in revenue becomes a goal of $1,500,000. Now you can set incremental goals to help you achieve this. If your year is steady, it might be that by June you’ve reached 1,250,000 so that you know you’re on pace to reach your goal. If you’re seasonal and know that a certain time of year provides a rise in business or based on monthly retainers and know that to hit your goal, it must be done at a prime time (for instance, a retainer in January is 12x revenue vs one in July is 6x and so on). These goals have to be watched more carefully or the measure of success moves too quickly to hit the mark.

Make goals Achievable

This is a major part of goal setting. Make it achievable! There is no harm in setting a goal of 50% and nailing it in 2nd quarter and raising that goal to 100% because of this, great work! Making goals something you can reach is a mental state that can help you accelerate or stop everything. Ever felt “Well, we missed it, oh well” and then never reset the bar? That is where growth goes to die.

Do not make goals so easy to achieve you can kick your feet up and it happens. Goals should stretch you as a human and as a company. Make sure they require energy.

Make goals Relevant

Quite possibly the hardest to qualify is the “make it relevant” goal. As an individual, making a goal for yourself, that is something that YOU want to achieve, is easy. As a company, having a mutual goal among the entire team is something that can be difficult. This is why hiring a true team with a shared vision couldn’t be more important. How can you expect the entire organization to trek towards a goal if they don’t believe in it as well? Make goals that everyone can get behind and make everyone a stakeholder in that goal.

Make goals time-sensitive

Setting a timeline for this goal is more than a date on the calendar. It sets the pace towards completion, allows you to plan the stages of how/when to achieve portions of the goal and puts a clock on the wall to get things done.

If you have a year to get your goal completed, you know there are items every month, week, day that you need to do to make this goal reachable. If you’re not completing your monthly duties, you’re not going to hit your mark, the same with the weekly/daily items. If you start reducing phone calls, emails, advertising because things are going well, then you’ll quickly find out that the requirements for the remaining portion of that year are more burdensome.

Be held accountable

This is often left out when planning goals. You get your SMART goals written down and off to work you go. The trouble is, you get inundated with more tasks every day in personal and business life and often you reach a point where items that seem more important take your eye off the prize. Have someone, or a team of people, who stand there holding those responsible for the goal accountable. Whether it is a daily check-in or weekly status check, have some way of being held accountable to reaching your goals.

Check back often

This is your chance to make adjustments, reset the playing field and possibly move the goal post further out. We check in every month at a minimum to see how goals are going. Growth goals are often being broken here at W3, so when we see that it’d be easy to pull across the finish line for our annual goal, we move the goal post and increase the challenge. Take this time to look at the trend toward your goal, is it up or down? If it’s down, try to identify the cause and work towards improvements. The cause could be motivation, loss of clarity, or schedules that just simply don’t accommodate the goals. Clean the plates, slate time for the goal and get everyone back on task.

What Does a Fractional CMO Do?

The chief marketing officer, or CMO, is the leader of the marketing team in any company. He or she is responsible for effectively organizing and distributing marketing content and campaigns. Usually, a CMO has a team of marketing professionals working beneath them to delegate these responsibilities to. While the CMO role is common in large corporations, for small and mid-sized businesses it’s not always feasible. This is where the concept of a fractional CMO comes in.

As the name suggests, a fractional CMO is a partial or part-time CMO. You’re hiring the services of a CMO without the long-term commitment to a full-time paycheck and benefits. Fractional CMOs come in the form of a third-party marketing company, which specializes in achieving the goals you wish to reach. So, what exactly does a fractional CMO do?

Digital Marketing Management

The introduction of the internet to the marketing industry has been huge. With billions of consumers browsing the web every day, it makes sense that so many companies have begun focusing on digital marketing above more traditional avenues of advertising. Digital marketing encapsulates a wide assortment of content design and distribution, including:

Social Media Marketing: From Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and LinkedIn, social media is a huge factor in the online marketing world. According to research, approximately 3.2 billion people use social media as of 2019. That’s 3.2 billion possible consumers interacting on an assortment of digital platforms. Your fractional CMO helps manage these platforms, creating and posting content, reacting and interacting with followers, and a variety of other tasks which are required to keep your social media presence relevant and active.

Web Design: Your website says a lot about your brand. In fact, 94% of online first impressions are related to web design. This includes the visual aesthetics of your landing page, but also the performance of your site. Some of the things to bring to the attention of your fractional CMO are:

  • Loading times
  • Link stability
  • Mobile optimization
  • Graphics

When a website isn’t functional it sends the message that your brand might not be functional either. It’s the job of a fractional CMO to make sure those assumptions are never made.

E-mail Marketing: Whether manual or automated, the e-mail is a classic part of digital marketing and it’s still relevant today. E-mail marketing includes several forms of communication, such as:

  • Invitations
  • Exclusive promotions
  • Follow-ups
  • Abandoned cart messages
  • Newsletters
  • More

CMOs work with the digital marketing team to create and manage e-mail distribution lists, e-mail content, and synch it with your CRM software. Your fractional CMO can also monitor consumer responses to your e-mails through the analytics received back through the CRM dashboard.

Online Forms: Ever visit a website and fill in a form to receive a free consultation, or to create an account online? These online forms were designed and implemented by a marketing professional. A fractional CMO manages a team that will create and install any forms your brand requires.

Mobile App Creation: Mobile apps are becoming more prevalent as mobile technology takes the place of desktop computers. As of 2018, more than 50% of all websites visited globally took place on a mobile device. Offering customers a mobile app to order services or products is a great way to stand apart from competitors. This is another digital marketing service your fractional CMO can provide.

Video Creation and Distribution: Video content is in huge demand right now. YouTube has more than 1-billion users to interact with. For a company looking to increase brand recognition, traffic, and ROI, taking advantage of the current video buzz is crucial to your success. Many fractional CMOs have content management teams or would be willing to work with your content management team in the organization of video creation and distribution.

Task Delegation Both Internally and Externally

The initial idea of a fractional CMO might have you envisioning a third-party marketing manager with their own team to delegate to. While many fractional CMOs do have marketing professionals working under them, you’re not limited to their team. A fractional CMO is becoming an honorary member of your brand. They will learn everything they need to know about your company and how you want to be perceived by your public. They will then work closely with your team to supply the results you’re looking for.

If you have marketing professionals but no management to oversee and maintain campaigns, a fractional CMO will take the reins. A fractional CMO can delegate to an internal member of your team, an external member of their own team, or even a third-party contractor.

The Benefit of a Fractional CMO

A fractional CMO removes the responsibility of marketing from your shoulders at an affordable rate. This provides peace of mind that your brand is being represented well and gives you more time to manage the company as a whole.

5 Benefits of a Fractional CMO

More than two-thirds of B2B companies outsource at least some element of their marketing. There is also an increase in freelancing in America with one in three members of the U.S. workforce working in a freelance capacity. Combine this with the fact that LinkedIn’s workforce survey found a shortage of talent for those with marketing skills, and you can see why it might become a growing trend for more companies to consider a Fractional CMO

Fractional CMOs provide companies with the broadband talent of a seasoned CMO when needed, without the hefty price tag of having them on the payroll full-time. CMOs tend to earn in the five figures each month, making them a costly leader that might not be needed in a full-time capacity. Here are five benefits of a Fractional CMO for your organization. 

  1. Focused CMO Objectives

A Fractional CMO can provide focused objectives that do not get blurred by organizational politics. They are less subjective than a full-time CMO as they are not concerned about advancing their careers. This allows them to set objectives that are completely focused on reaching organizational goals, including:

  • Ability to bring teams together that tend to work in silos, such as product managers, sales teams, media planners, and digital marketers
  • A keener understanding of marketing analysis to define messaging and positioning 
  • Spotting opportunities for inbound marketing and lead generation without stepping on toes
  • Improved, refined brand image
  • Relevant storytelling
  • Smart advice on appropriate marketing technologies or software to improve efficiencies
  • Company-aligned strategic direction
  • Unbiased decision-making
  • Optimization of performance tracking without any personal investment
  1. Budget Wise

When you outsource your CMO, you will have more money to put towards marketing strategy. A Fractional CMO costs less than the high salary of a full-time CMO, yet they are just as invested in achieving their goals. They can determine where you can increase profitability without fear of losing their own jobs when too much money is going towards their own paycheck. They will identify where the money saved on a full-time salary can be best spent to leverage your marketing dollars.  

  1. Efficiency Through Continuity

If you have been bringing in outsourced talent to manage different aspects of your marketing needs, you tend to get a breakdown of operational excellence. Your marketing team needs continuity to remain efficient. A Fractional CMO will be a consistent member of your team, providing a central director who is aware of what is happening and also responsible for setting goals and objectives. 

They will be the one constant who is helping ensure everything is executed to plan. This improves efficiency by avoiding overlaps and repeat tasks when too many people are trying to run the show. The goals will not be bent or distorted as each new “expert” tries to fill their own agendas. Your team will be happier as they will always know what they need to do. Time will not be wasted, and the focus will remain on reaching the same goals. The strategy is executed effectively, results are tangible, and money is saved. 

Timelines are also shortened because a Fractional CMO combines quality and speed while focused on the job they need to do. They don’t get bogged down in minutia or worry about optics. They simply keep things moving without their own agenda complicating things.

  1. Improved Productivity

When there is a single person assigned to the duty of CMO, everyone else can focus on their own work. This increases productivity. While the CMO develops strategy, the team knows what they need to do to improve lead generation, build brand awareness, execute tactics, and so on. They can take in the valuable information the CMO provides, creating a progressive, ongoing strategy that is driven by effectively recorded and analyzed data. 

Customer churn is also minimized as the team can create more meaningful client and target engagement. That also reduces drag on your marketing ROI. 

  1. Specialized Scope of Service

When outsourcing your CMO, you can outline the specifics for what you want them to achieve. This allows you to find professionals specializing in your area. They will be able to get up to speed more quickly than a new hire who have to learn the ropes of the company. 

A Fractional CMO will get right into the thick of strategy and positioning. They are today’s solution to an on-demand world, providing the tools you need for a streamlined sales pipeline, a marketing strategy, and the smooth execution of tasks.

Want to learn more about W3 Affinity’s Services? Download our Playbook: