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How to Hire a Fractional CMO: The Smart Way to Scale

How to Hire a Fractional CMO: The Smart Way to Scale written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Are you looking at your business goals and feeling your marketing strategy just isn’t cutting it? You’re not alone. Many businesses reach a point where the usual approaches no longer produce the desired results and everything they try just falls flat or I believe the technical term is “meh”. This is where hiring a fractional CMO can make a significant difference.

As the founder of Duct Tape Marketing, I’ve spent 30 years helping small and medium-sized businesses achieve their goals through effective marketing strategies and our Fractional CMO+ approach. My passion for empowering entrepreneurs has led me to publish best-selling books, host a popular podcast, and share insights with thousands at conferences worldwide. The Duct Tape Marketing System, born out of my desire to solve the frustrations business owners face, has revolutionized how organizations approach marketing and drive sustainable growth.

Let’s explore how hiring a fractional CMO could be the key to pushing your business forward. And if you find the concept intriguing, why not learn more?

Business owners get your FREE Marketing Success Toolkit with the Ultimate Case Study for Hiring a Fractional CMO & the Marketing Audit Checklist so you know exactly where to focus or you can schedule a strategy session to see how this could work for you.


The Role and Benefits of a Fractional CMO

How to Identify the Right Fractional CMO for Your Business

How to Work with Your Fractional CMO for Best Results

The Advantages of Bringing a Fractional CMO into Your Marketing

FAQs in Relation to How to Hire a Fractional CMO


The Role and Benefits of a Fractional CMO

So you’re thinking about hiring a fractional CMO. But what exactly do they do? And how can they help your business grow? A fractional CMO is a part-time marketing executive who provides strategic leadership to help companies achieve their goals.

Fractional CMOs usually work on a contract basis, typically for a set number of hours per week or month, and bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. Unlike a full-time CMO, a fractional CMO can be hired for a specific project or time period, making them a flexible and cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes.

Fractional CMOs can work on hourly basis. Most fractional CMOs who work on an hourly basis will charge an average of $200/ hour. However, this number varies greatly based on level of expertise, experience and what they bring to the table.

You can learn more about What a Fractional CMO is and does here.

Cost-Effectiveness and Strategic Value

Hiring a full-time CMO can be expensive, with salaries often exceeding $250,000 to $480,000 per year. For many businesses, this simply isn’t feasible. But a fractional CMO can provide the same level of strategic thinking and leadership at a fraction of the cost.

According to a Forbes article, fractional CMOs typically cost between $3,000 and $36,000 per month, depending on the scope of work and the CMO’s experience level. This can be a game-changer for businesses that need high-level marketing expertise but don’t have the budget for a full-time executive.

Flexibility and Scalability

In my experience, another key benefit of hiring a fractional CMO is the flexibility and scalability they offer. As your business grows and evolves, your marketing needs will change. A fractional CMO can help you navigate these changes and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly. They can also help you scale your marketing efforts up or down as needed, depending on your current goals and resources. This level of flexibility is especially valuable for startups and small businesses that are still figuring out their marketing strategy and may not have the resources to commit to a full-time CMO.

“A fractional CMO can provide the strategic guidance and leadership that businesses need to scale, at a fraction of the cost and commitment.” – John Jantsch

How do You Know If Your Business Needs a Fractional CMO?

To find out if hiring a fractional or part-time CMO is right for your business it’s worth considering some key questions, as highlighted in an article from Inc.

Some of those questions are:

  • Project Management: Do you lack someone in-house who can oversee and drive various ongoing marketing and branding projects?
  • Expert Insight: Are you in need of fresh, professional insight into complex marketing challenges, with the ability to turn these insights into actionable strategies?
  • Specialized Leadership: Is there a long-term project on your plate that demands specialized marketing expertise not currently available within your team?
  • Cultural Transformation: Do you require a leader to foster a shift towards a more brand and marketing-focused organizational culture?
  • Completion of Initiatives: Are there numerous marketing projects initiated but left unfinished that need driving to completion?

Answering “yes” to any of these suggests that hiring a fractional CMO could be a beneficial and strategic decision for your business at this time.


How to Identify the Right Fractional CMO for Your Business

Okay, so you’re sold on the idea of hiring a fractional CMO. But how do you find the right one for your business?

You want someone with:

  • A proven track record of success
  • Experience working with businesses of your size and stage of growth.

Experience tells me that first, you want to look for someone with a proven track record of success in your industry or a similar field. Ask for case studies, references, and examples of their work to get a sense of their expertise and the results they’ve achieved for other clients.

You should also look for someone who has experience working with businesses of your size and stage of growth. A fractional CMO who has worked primarily with large enterprises may not be the best fit for a startup or small business. Or a Fractional CMO who has worked only with national eCommerce companies might not be the best fit for your local service based remodeling company.

Aligning with Business Goals

It’s also important to find a fractional CMO whose approach aligns with your overall business objectives. Before you start your search, take some time to define your marketing goals and the specific challenges you’re facing. Then, look for a fractional CMO who has experience tackling similar challenges and can provide a clear plan for how they’ll help you achieve your goals.

So how do you define your marketing goals and challenges?

Start by identifying what you want to achieve in simple terms—like increasing sales by 20% or growing your subscribers by 500. Then, list down the main obstacles you currently face, such as limited budget or lack of specific expertise.

A straightforward exercise to help this process is to draw two columns on a piece of paper: label one “Goals” and the other “Challenges”. Fill these columns with concise points. This visual approach can quickly clarify your priorities and hurdles, making it easier to tackle them systematically.

Cultural Fit and Communication Style

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of cultural fit and communication style when hiring a fractional CMO. This person will be working closely with your team and representing your brand, so it’s crucial that they share your values and communicate in a way that resonates with your team and customers.

In general you should look for someone who is a good listener, communicates clearly and effectively, and has a collaborative approach to working with others.

How to Work with a Fractional CMO for Best Results

You’ve found the perfect fractional CMO for your business. Now what? The first step is to ensure that your marketing efforts are closely aligned with your broader business goals. Your fractional CMO should work with you to understand your overall objectives and develop a marketing strategy that supports those goals.

This might involve conducting market research, analyzing your target audience, and identifying key metrics to track your progress.

Developing a Strategic Marketing Plan

Once you’ve aligned your marketing with your business objectives, it’s time to develop a strategic marketing plan. Your fractional CMO should lead this process, working with your team or your leadership and their implementation team to identify the most effective tactics and channels for reaching your target audience.

We call our strategic process Strategy First. By name, by brand name, but it’s still it’s an approach. Do they have an approach that says, well, before we get into doing x, y, and z, we are going to study what our strategic direction is going to be. We’re going to study how we’re gonna differentiate. If your Fractional CMO is not coming with that strategy first approach, and they’re really just doing random acts of marketing, is that really what you need?

Then, after they develop your strategy (with you) they get into the tactics. This might include a mix of digital marketing, content marketing, social media, email marketing, and traditional advertising.

The key is to develop a plan that is tailored to your specific business needs and goals and then how they are going to execute on that plan. Of course, even the best marketing plan is useless if it’s not executed effectively. Your fractional CMO should work with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that tasks are being completed on time and on budget.

They should also have the authority and support to hold your team accountable for meeting key metrics and milestones, and provide regular updates on progress and results.

Customer Focus for Premium Brand Positioning

Finally, your fractional CMO should help you focus on the customer experience as a way to elevate your brand perception and loyalty. This might involve developing customer personas, mapping out the customer journey, and identifying touchpoints where you can create a more seamless and enjoyable experience. By putting the customer first, you can differentiate your brand from competitors and charge a premium for your products or services.

Remember your Fractional CMO should be the advocate for the customer.

“A fractional CMO can help you align your marketing with your business objectives, develop a strategic plan, and execute it effectively while keeping the customer at the center of everything you do.” – Duct Tape Marketing


What a Fractional CMO provides for a businesses marketing strategy.

The Advantages of Bringing Fresh Perspectives into Your Marketing Efforts

One of the biggest advantages of hiring a fractional CMO is the fresh perspective they bring to your marketing efforts. When you’ve been working on your marketing for a while, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and keep doing things the way you’ve always done them. But a fractional CMO can challenge your assumptions and introduce new ideas and approaches that you may not have considered before. They can help you think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to your marketing challenges.

In short, you want to hire a fractional CMO that is going to challenge you when it comes to how your marketing strategy can help you reach your business goals.

Leveraging Cross-Industry Experience

Another advantage of hiring a fractional CMO is the cross-industry experience they bring to the table. Many fractional CMOs have worked in a variety of industries and can draw on that experience to create unique marketing strategies that stand out from the competition.

For example, a fractional CMO who has worked in the tech industry might be able to apply some of the innovative marketing tactics used in that space to a more traditional industry like healthcare or finance. By leveraging this cross-industry experience, you can create marketing strategies that are truly one-of-a-kind and help you differentiate your brand in a crowded market.

“Fractional CMOs bring a wealth of experience and fresh perspectives to the table, helping businesses think outside the box and create truly unique marketing strategies.” – Forbes

Key Takeaway: 


Bringing in a fractional CMO can inject fresh, innovative ideas into your marketing efforts, drawing from a diverse range of industry experiences to uniquely position your brand in a crowded marketplace.

FAQs in Relation to How to Hire a Fractional CMO

How much does it cost to hire a fractional CMO?

The price varies, but you’re looking at around $3,000 to $10,000 per month based on experience and hours worked.

Where can I find a fractional CMO?

Check out professional networks like LinkedIn or niche agencies that specialize in executive marketing placements.

When should I hire a fractional CMO?

If your business is scaling up but has maybe hit a plateau or isn’t ready for a full-time executive leadership, it’s time to consider hiring a fractional CMO.

How much can a fractional CMO make?

Average earnings fall between $50k and $200k yearly. This swings widely with the deal’s specifics and their workload.


Hiring a fractional CMO is a game-changer for businesses ready to scale their marketing efforts. By bringing in a seasoned pro with a proven track record, you can inject fresh ideas, tap into cross-industry expertise, and align your marketing strategy with your big-picture goals.

The key is finding the right fit – someone who gets your vision, meshes with your team, and knows how to drive results. With the right fractional CMO in your corner, you can take your marketing to new heights without the overhead of a full-time exec.

So, if you’re ready to ditch the marketing “meh” and scale your biz like a boss, it’s time to start the hunt for your perfect fractional CMO. Trust me; your bottom line (and your sanity) will thank you.

Get your FREE Marketing Success Toolkit with the Ultimate Case Study for Hiring a Fractional CMO & the Marketing Audit Checklist so you know exactly where to focus or you can schedule a strategy session to see how this could work for you.