Fractional CMO Services: Everything You Need to Know

One of the key services I have been performing for clients over the last 5+ years is fractional CMO services. Even though they are part of my day-to-day, it’s surprising how few people understand exactly what I can do for them, what it means, and the benefits to their business.  

If you already know what a Fractional CMO is, and want to hire one, head straight over here and let’s talk!

What is a Fractional CMO? 

A fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is your company’s marketing leader hired as a consultant or on a part-time basis only. This means your fractional CMO works for either a set number of hours per month/week, or has an agreed framework of marketing tasks they are responsible for.

With this setup, fractional CMOs are able to work with different companies concurrently. Despite this, good fractional CMOs will be able to provide the leadership and direction your business needs.

What’s the main difference between a fractional CMO and an in-house CMO? 

There are two main differences: time spent and cost.

Fractional CMOs only spend a fraction of the time with your company. This could be several hours a week, or month depending on the contract. And they will likely be working with other clients. 

Because of the limited hours, the cost of hiring a fractional CMO is lower than having an in-house CMO. The benefit of this is that they are likely able to draw on more experience in the market right now. The downside is that they are not available all the hours as an in-house CMO without paying extra. 

If your business isn’t ready to hire a full-time and in-house CMO, fractional CMOs can provide high-quality services at a lower cost to you.

What are the benefits of fractional CMO services?

The biggest benefit of hiring a fractional CMO is that you get extensive and high-level marketing expertise at the fraction of the cost. A fractional CMO will be able to help you with all the things an in-house CMO can do, from leadership to strategy development to overseeing implementation. 

Another benefit is that fractional CMOs can provide additional insight from an external perspective. Because they work with different companies and industries, they can provide unique perspectives that can prove valuable to your business.

How do fractional CMO services fit into your business? 

Fractional CMO Services

A fractional CMO fits your businesses as a Chief Marketing Officer does but on a part-time basis. Businesses that are in the growth stage and need marketing leadership and direction will do well in hiring a fractional CMO.

In this role, they work with the other C-level executives to help the business reach its growth potential through the effective execution of marketing initiatives.

What does a fractional CMO do? 

The specific job role of a fractional CMO will vary based on a company’s existing needs and challenges. However, the primary role is to provide leadership and direction for the company’s marketing efforts. Aside from this, the other common responsibilities are:

  • Develop short and long-term marketing strategies.
  • Lead marketing transformation initiatives.
  • Oversee strategy implementation.
  • Manage the growth and development of the marketing team.
Fractional CMO Services job

Other tasks are dependent on the company’s needs. In some cases, fractional CMOs can set up strategies and frameworks or be involved in operations. But whatever the case, having a fractional CMO onboard, businesses will have a more cohesive marketing plan that will help the company reach its goals.

What makes a good fractional CMO?

A good fractional CMO is someone who has a rich experience in the field as a marketing leader, and is someone who has built and developed marketing teams with companies similar to yours.

This experience allows fractional CMOs to provide leadership and gain the trust of other executives, stakeholders, and more importantly, the marketing team.

Another thing that makes a good fractional CMO is the ability to work with different clients effectively and efficiently. This means being able to manage several projects or address various challenges simultaneously.

Fractional CMO job description 

As a high-level executive, a fractional CMO’s job role will mostly revolve around marketing strategy and leadership. As such, typical job responsibilities include:

  • Budget management: Ensuring the cost-effectiveness of marketing projects, allowing the business to grow its bottom line.
  • Strategy development: Developing short and long-term strategies that help the company meet its business objectives.
  • Data analytics: Reporting key performance indicators and the value marketing campaigns bring to the business.
  • Content strategy and creation: Something I specifically focus on is creating content across all channels with a purpose. So bringing things together to create conversions, rather than just ticking a box. 
  • Collaboration and communication: Bringing different together the different teams and communicating goals clearly for easier collaboration.

Fractional CMO Services job description

How many hours does a fractional CMO work? 

Because they’re hired on a part-time basis, fractional CMOs usually work around 20 hours per month, or less in some cases. But, ultimately, the hours are dependent on the scope of work agreed upon.

When should I hire a fractional CMO?

Companies will have various reasons for hiring a fractional CMO. But a few signs that indicate a need for one are:

  • Absence of a leader who’ll develop and execute marketing strategies.
  • Failure to meet marketing goals consistently.
  • Lack of understanding of how marketing works.
  • Poor coordination with marketing agencies and partners. 
  • The business isn’t ready for a full-time CMO.

The pros and cons of a fractional CMO: 

Hiring a fractional CMO has its advantages and disadvantages. The following considerations need to be made when deciding if a fractional CMO is right for your business:

Pros and cons of Fractional CMO Services


  • Extensive marketing experience: Fractional CMOs bring extensive marketing experience across various companies and industries which your business will benefit from. 
  • Brings more value: Fractional CMOs bring the same leadership as full-time CMOs but at a lower cost.
  • Quick execution: They can develop and execute strategies quicker due to their experience. 
  • Can help find a full-time CMO: Because of their network and familiarity with your business, they can help identify a full-time CMO who fits your company’s needs.


  • Limited time and focus: You’re sharing a fractional CMO’s time and attention with other companies. This means you’ll need to pay on an hourly basis for their time, rather than a sole focus. This can be a positive for some businesses, and a negative for others.

If you want help from a fractional CMO until you can find the budget or the right person for a full-time position, get in touch with me now to jump straight in!