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Why Fractional CMO Services Are "So Hot RN"

Updated: Apr 29

It's not often that an industry staple undergoes a seismic shift, but that's exactly what's happened in the world of marketing leadership. In recent years, the concept of hiring fractional marketing services has transformed from an edgy alternative into a mainstream powerhouse, changing how many businesses approach their marketing strategies.

I recently received a text message from a mentor and esteemed colleague inquiring, "Why are fractional CMOs so hot rn?" This inquiry prompted a comprehensive examination of how organizations derive substantial value from fractional services, encompassing roles such as corporate board members, advisory boards, agency work, consultants, and beyond.

For several reasons, small businesses, startups, and even larger established companies are turning to fractional marketing services to take advantage of this unique approach to marketing leadership. This post is an in-depth look at why fractional marketing is not just a passing trend, but a significant shift in the marketing industry landscape, and how businesses can leverage it effectively.

Fractional CMO—More Than Just a Buzzword

According to a report by Chief Outsiders, the demand for fractional CMOs increased by 68% from 2019 to 2021.

Imagine being able to tap into the experience and strategic genius of a high-level marketing executive without the overhead and long-term commitment. This is the essence of fractional marketing. Unlike traditional agency models or independent consulting, fractional marketing professionals are embedded members of your leadership team. They work with you on an ongoing, part-time basis, providing the insight, experience, and strategic direction typical of a full-time executive. This model is flexible, cost-effective, and tailored precisely to the needs and budget of the business.

Understanding Fractional CMO Services

84% of businesses value the flexibility that fractional CMOs provide in terms of adjusting their level of involvement as needed, according to a survey by The CMO Club.

Fractional marketing is an investment in expertise, not just labor. The concept is often mistaken for traditional agency work, which focuses on execution more than strategy. A fractional marketing leader, however, is a strategic partner embedded within your organization. They help define your marketing vision, set goals, and guide your marketing team toward achieving them. It’s more than a contract; it’s a relationship based on trust and continuous collaboration.

The Value for Small Businesses and Startups

76% of businesses hire fractional CMOs to scale their marketing efforts up or down depending on business needs, according to a report by

Small businesses and startups face unique challenges when it comes to marketing. They often lack the resources to hire a full-time chief marketing officer (CMO) but can’t afford to miss out on the critical expertise such a role provides. This is where fractional marketing services shine. They offer a scalable, tailored solution that can grow with your business and provide the strategic direction needed to stand out in competitive markets.

A Customized Approach

68% of businesses report that fractional CMOs help them accelerate their time to market for new products and campaigns, according to a survey by Gartner.

One size doesn't fit all in the world of business marketing. What works for one company might not yield the same results for another. Small businesses and startups can benefit from accessing a range of marketing professionals through a fractional service to build a strategic plan that aligns with their specific goals and market conditions.

Choosing the Right Fractional CMO Partner

87% of businesses believe that fractional CMOs are more aligned with their strategic goals compared to full-time hires, according to a survey by McKinsey & Company.

Selecting a fractional marketing partner is perhaps one of the most important decisions a business will make. The right partner will not only have the appropriate skills and experience but will also fit seamlessly within the culture and vision of the business. With a methodical approach to vetting potential candidates, businesses can ensure they make the best choice for long-term success.

Key Selection Criteria

When evaluating potential fractional marketing partners, consider factors such as their availability, industry experience, access to resources and networks, and a track record of success. It's also crucial to evaluate their fit within your business's specific needs and culture. A comprehensive approach to the selection process will help you make an informed decision that you can be confident in.

The Future of Marketing

As the marketing landscape continues to evolve, the role of fractional marketing services is set to become an integral part of the industry's structure. Instead of replacing in-house CMOs, fractional marketing services complement their efforts, providing expertise, and support that might otherwise be unattainable. By understanding and integrating fractional marketing into their strategies, businesses can position themselves for future success.

In Collaboration with In-House CMOs

While it may seem counterintuitive, many companies with full-time CMOs are turning to fractional leaders to bring unique perspectives and specialized skills to the table. This approach not only enriches the in-house team but also maximizes the impact of the marketing efforts, resulting in a strategic advantage that pushes businesses ahead of the curve.

Making the Most of the Fraction

Adopting a fractional model requires a shift in thinking and an openness to collaboration. Leaders and their teams must be prepared to work with fractional CMOs effectively to harness their full potential. By establishing clear communication, aligning on goals, and nurturing the relationship, businesses can ensure that their fractional marketing service delivers value at every turn.


The rise of fractional marketing services isn’t merely a fad; it's a response to the growing need for flexible, strategic, and cost-efficient leadership in marketing. Whether you're a small business looking to make a big splash or an established brand seeking to refresh your approach, fractional marketing services offer a unique and compelling solution. With the right partner, your business can enjoy the benefits of fractional marketing and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Take the first step toward leveraging the power of fractional marketing services for your business. Reach out to potential partners, gather information, and prepare for a strategic collaboration that could transform your marketing and drive success like never before.

To celebrate this new wave in marketing, I am offering a free marketing consultation to the first 3 businesses to reply with "I'm thinking big!" on LinkedIn. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to start your fractional marketing journey. It could be the game-changer you've been looking for.


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