Fractional marketing services are becoming increasingly popular with businesses. Outsourcing marketing services to agencies and freelancers has steadily increased over the years, so it stands to reason that fractional marketing would pick up steam as well.
In this article I’ll cover the basics of fractional marketing and what kind of benefits it could bring your business.
What Is Fractional Marketing?
Fractional marketing is a new approach to digital marketing. It uses fractional teams of experts and data-driven strategies to create more customized and effective campaigns that drive results.
Fractional teams are made up of specific specialists each with their own area of expertise, providing more specialized insights on customer behavior and the effectiveness of campaigns. They can also provide more detailed data analysis that allow for the measurement and optimization of campaigns in real time.
Put another way
Fractional marketing is a way for businesses to outsource part of their marketing department to part-time specialists. This allows businesses to access the skills and experience of a full-time CMO or marketing team, but at a fraction of the cost. With fractional marketing, businesses can supplement their existing marketing department or fill roles entirely, and pay only for the time and services rendered. Fractional marketing helps businesses to tackle all kinds of marketing-related tasks and is ideal for organizations that don’t have the financial resources to hire a full-time marketing team.
In short, it’s a form of outsourced marketing.
What Is A Fractional CMO?
A fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a part-time senior marketing executive that provides specific services and expertise to organizations, usually on a short-term contract. A fractional CMO usually has experience in overseeing full-scale marketing campaigns and initiatives, developing strategies, and executing tactics – all while managing the budget associated with the endeavor. They are also able to focus their knowledge and experience on the parts of a campaign or initiative where it is most needed.
What Is The Difference Between A Fractional CMO & Fractional Marketing Agency?
Some businesses may use a fractional CMO and fractional marketing agency interchangeably. The goal is to outsource marketing efforts to someone else. Of course, a CMO tends to be a single persona while fractional marketing tends to mean a group of people. At the end of the day, a business could outsource to a fractional marketing team who fulfills the services of both a CMO and additional marketing efforts.
Having said that, here is a generally accepted difference between the two:
The key difference between a fractional CMO and a fractional marketing agency is the level of control and ownership. A fractional CMO has direct control over how the marketing campaigns they are overseeing are executed, while a fractional marketing agency has less direct access to the inner workings of an organization and mainly provides external services such as strategy development, campaigns management, and analytics.
Again, this difference can be fluid and be dependent upon a business’ needs. For example, larger companies may be able to field a fractional CMO who oversees a marketing department that is a mix of in-house and outsourced resources. Smaller companies may not have a need for a fractional CMO in the traditional sense, but needs fractional marketing services. These services can include many of the capabilities of a CMO in addition to executing specific marketing efforts like Google Ads management, SEO or implementing an email marketing campaign.
Shameless plug: We offer fractional marketing services. If you are interested in learning a bit more about this, then please feel free to reach out >> contact us
The Difference Between A Fractional Marketing Agency & Traditional Marketing Agency
Fractional marketing agencies and traditional marketing agencies both offer marketing services to businesses, but they differ in a few key ways:
Staffing: Traditional marketing agencies typically have a full-time staff that works on a wide range of marketing projects for different clients. Fractional marketing agencies, on the other hand, provide businesses with a dedicated fractional marketing executive that works with them on a part-time basis.
Cost: Traditional marketing agencies often charge a retainer fee, which can be higher than the cost of working with a fractional marketing agency. Because fractional marketing agencies provide part-time resources, the costs are generally lower.
Flexibility: Fractional marketing agencies are more flexible than traditional agencies. As the company’s needs change, the fractional marketing executive can adjust their services accordingly.
Specialization: Traditional marketing agencies often provide a wide range of services such as branding, website development, and advertising, while fractional marketing agencies tend to specialize in a specific area of marketing, such as digital marketing or content marketing.
Ownership: With a traditional agency, the agency owns the work and the strategies, while with a fractional marketing agency, the business own the work and strategies. This allows the business to continue to use the strategies and tactics after the fractional marketing team leaves.
The Benefits Of Fractional Marketing Services
Fractional marketing also allows businesses to supplement their existing marketing departments or fill roles entirely, and to pay only for the time and services rendered . This can help businesses to stay within their budget and still achieve their goals.
Below are 5 benefits of hiring a fractions marketing team:
Flexibility: Fractional marketing allows businesses to be more flexible in their marketing efforts, as they can adjust their strategy as needed without having to make long-term commitments to staff or vendors.
Specialized Expertise: Fractional teams bring specialized knowledge and insights that can help organizations create more effective campaigns.
Cost Effectiveness: Hiring a fractional CMO or fractional marketing team provides access to top-level professional talent at an affordable cost. Most of these services are contractual. You would not be hiring W-2 employees. I wrote an article titled Should I Hire a PPC Agency. It may be specific to PPC but many of the points made in that article expand upon this. Give it a read real quick.
Scalability: As needs change, businesses can scale up or down as needed for their marketing initiatives.
Commitment: Hiring the services of an outside agency for marketing or hiring a CMO tends to have a different commitment level compared to fractional services. They tend to come with long-term contracts (with agencies) or a W-2 status with a CMO. You may not be ready for this type of commitment. Additionally, you may never need it.
Going the fractional marketing route, allows you to get marketing help without this type of commitment. As an example, we don’t require contracts. If you no longer require our services, you can cancel anytime.
Access to Resources: Fractional marketing providers often have access to resources, such as tools and technology, that can help businesses improve their marketing efforts and achieve their goals.
Who Is Fractional Marketing For?
Ok, so what types of businesses and organizations can benefit from fractional marketing services? Typically, startups and small businesses should take a serious look at fractional marketing in some capacity.
More and more businesses are finding that hiring a bunch of W-2 employees and having an in-house marketing team is too expensive. If your marketing budget is tight, and you need to make the most of your dollars, then fractional marketing services could be a great route to go.
Technology has allowed for team collaboration that does not require people to be physically next to one another.There are plenty of tools and software such as Zoom, Slack and Asana that can effectively allow for collaboration, communication and task management.
Additionally, almost any marketing task that needs to be done simply requires a laptop and internet connection. Again, we all don’t need to be under the same roof to run Google Ads, deploy an SEO strategy or run some email marketing.
Even if a business could afford to hire a full, in-house marketing team, it may not be necessary. Fractional marketing allows for a great deal of flexibility. As a business owner, you could hire a full time manager in-house while utilizing fractional marketing for the deployment of your marketing strategy. We have worked with business owners who still need to wear the CMO “hat” so to speak, and hire us to implement some of the marketing strategies they can afford.
The two most important things you could take away from fractional marketing and how it can benefit your company are flexibility and cost. These are two benefits which can go a long way to helping your company grow bottom line sales.
Example Of Using Fractional Marketing In Your Business
Let’s go over an example of how you could incorporate a fractional marketing team with your existing team.
- Marketing Director/Manager (In-House) – You can afford to hire a marketing director full time. She creates the overall marketing strategy, drives results and manages all additional marketing resources, tools and team members. She reports directly to the business owner. Let’s say the initial strategy involves the following marketing channels. Deployment and management of these task might look something like this:
- SEO – Hire fractional marketing team
- Google Ads – Hire fractional marketing team
- Facebook Ads – Hire fractional marketing team
- Social Media management and posting – In-house junior marketing team member. This person tends to wear many hats and even performs non-marketing tasks.
- Email marketing – Additional task the in-house marketing director does. This could be due to cost savings as you do not have the funds to hire outside help. Or, perhaps the marketing manager has a strong email marketing background and she can take this on as well. It is common for marketing directors or managers to have some strong specialized skills in specific marketing areas.
This is just a basic example for illustrative purposes. But, you get the idea.
The Wrap Up
Hopefully this article has helped to answer the question, “What is fractional marketing?” and how it could benefit your company. In today’s digital marketing environment, there are a plenty of resources you can take advantage of outside the “walls” of your business. It simply is no longer necessary to have your entire marketing team in-house. Between specialized marketing agencies, freelancers and software automation, you can put together an effective team that can get your results.