What’s the difference between strategic marketing consultants and fractional CMOs?
As a business, you need to be able to do marketing in order to grow your business, but if you are a smaller business, you might not be able to afford a full-time CMO to manage your marketing strategies. So, what are your options?
There are two different primary options.
A Strategic Marketing Consultant, and a Fractional CMO, so what is the difference between these two, and which is better for your business? Both options have some pros and cons.
What is a Strategic Marketing Consultant?
A Strategic Marketing Consultant is someone who is hired by an organization in order to solve a problem from the outside. They come in to address the problem and create a plan and show how the plan can be implemented. Once they have given the business the plan to correct their issue, then that is when their job is done. They do not stay and implement this plan or provide leadership. And this may be all your business needs, if you have some specific problem that your team can’t figure out how to solve, a strategic marketing consultant is a great way to get past this problem without needing to pay for a new CMO or to hire someone full-time.
These people though usually have a specific niche, they are good in one area of marketing, and their plan will use these niches and strategies that they know best. If you know that you’re weak in say public relations, then you should look for a Strategic Marketing Consultant that has a niche in public relations in order to help out your company’s weak spot.
Strategic Marketing Consultants have a more hands-off methodology. They are not part of your business or team, they are an outside perspective on what to do in order to help your team develop plans, and strategies, and assess your current plans and strategies. They deliver these results to their contact on your team. After that their job is done and it’s up to your team to implement what the Strategic Marketing Consultants have recommended.
What is a Fractional CMO?
A Fractional CMO is someone who works for your company, becomes part of your team and internal leadership, figures out the problem, make the plans for how to solve it, and then helps your business implement these plans. Because these people have the expertise then they provide results and lead your team to achieve these results. This can be beneficial as it means you don’t have to incur the full cost of a permanent CMO but are still getting the benefits.
Fractional CMOs work for you for a set number of hours that their contract dictates, but when they are working with you it is as part of your team and they will work with a hands-on approach. They will work with your team in order to create and implement a strategy and execute it. They are here to deliver results that prove their worth as a Fractional CMO so that more businesses will hire them, which means they are invested in the success of the overall marketing program, not just an individual aspect.
Because they work within your company, they have an official role at your company as your CMO, they provide leadership, optimize your marketing strategy, create plans for growing your company, and are accountable for budgeting and return of investment.
The major difference between a Strategic Marketing Consultant and a Fractional CMO is how involved they are. Fractional CMOs will be more involved in implementing the plan for your company, while a Strategic Marketing Consultant is focused on giving you a plan and it’s up to your business to implement it themselves.
So, which should you hire?
Do you want to hire a full-time employee? An in-house marketing leader? Or have the knowledge of someone outside of your business?
Hiring a full-time employee is a good option if you can afford the investment of such an employee. CMOs are expensive, especially if you are hiring one that already has expertise and knowledge. If you’re hiring a newer CMO they might not have the on-the-job knowledge of someone more experienced, they would be learning how to do things for real, instead of just what they learned in college.
For a growing business, the budget to both afford a full-time CMO and to have the money to implement their plans might be tough, and it might not be worth it to have a full-time CMO at your current stage of development.
Which means your business needs some other option in order to help your business. One that is less expensive and more flexible to your current needs.
This means you need to know your business’s needs in order to make the best decision possible for your company. Do you need help in one specific area of marketing, or do you need help across the board? Or perhaps you know what you’re doing, but your team is directionless and unable to work efficiently together because there is no clear leader. Or you might have the opposite, a good team, but no plan or direction.
Depending on what you answered above will give different answers.
If you need help in one specific area and have a good team, then a strategic marketing consultant would be what is best.
If you need help across the board and don’t have a good leader, then a fractional CMO is what your company should be looking for.
As a business, hiring either of these is a smart business decision, what isn’t smart is ignoring your marketing efforts, or only using generic marketing solutions. Each company is different and will require its own unique marketing method in order to achieve bigger growth. Because marketing strategy is important, and if you’re not using the right strategy for your company, then it will affect your growth over time. The success and failure of a business can often come down to marketing. So make sure you’re hiring the right people for your marketing needs.
A fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a professional who works on a part-time or project basis to provide marketing leadership and strategic direction to an organization. There are several reasons why a company might choose to hire a fractional CMO:
1. Flexibility: A fractional CMO can be hired for a specific project or for a set period of time, allowing the company to have access to marketing expertise when it is needed without committing to a full-time hire.
2. Specialized expertise: A fractional CMO may have specialized expertise in a particular area of marketing, such as digital marketing or content marketing, which can be valuable to a company that needs to focus on a specific aspect of its marketing efforts.
3. Temporary coverage: A fractional CMO can provide temporary coverage during times when the company’s full-time CMO is unavailable, such as during a leave of absence or while the company is searching for a permanent CMO.
Hiring a Part-Time CMO can be a cost-effective and flexible way for a company to access marketing expertise and leadership on a part-time or project basis. Please contact us if you would like a Free Consultation with an Experienced Chief Marketing Officer