TLDR: Fractional marketing provides cost-effective access to top marketing talent on a part-time basis, allowing businesses to fill skill gaps without the expense of full-time hires. Keys to hiring a Fractional CMO or Fractional Marketer include defining strategic goals, setting clear expectations, and defining success metrics. At RP, we act as a Fractional Marketing Agency, integrating seamlessly with your team to boost marketing capabilities and drive growth.

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If you want to hire great fractional marketing talent, you’re in the right place.

We’re going to break down what fractional marketing is, why it’s valuable, and key considerations when choosing who to hire.

Here are the sections we’ll be covering in this article:


What is Fractional Marketing? (And How Is It Valuable?)

Let’s start with a hypothetical (for most of you, this is NOT a hypothetical – it’s reality):

  1. You need more headcount and additional marketing resources to support growth.
  2. But your C-suite and board aren’t able to approve full-time hires right now.

Enter fractional marketers.

Essentially, fractional marketers are skilled marketers who work on a part-time basis to manage or enhance your company’s marketing initiatives. And despite not being on your payroll full-time, they are deeply integrated into your team.

The term itself doesn’t signify anything new or groundbreaking, but it does represent an ongoing shift in the marketing world.

Because in today’s digital marketing landscape, there are more channels than ever. You have email marketing, paid social, organic social, SEO, paid search, PPC, affiliates, influencers, referrals – it goes on.

And with so many different channels, we’re seeing a major increase in marketing “specialists” over “generalists”. Marketing teams want talent that can work in these channels at a very high level. But from a hiring perspective, companies simply can’t afford all of those full-time positions.

Fractional marketers offer a solution to this.

This arrangement allows businesses to leverage top-tier marketing expertise without committing to the overhead associated with full-time hires.

In short, the value of Fractional Marketing comes from:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Pay for top-level expertise only when you need it, without the added expenses of benefits, bonuses, and full-time salaries (as we said above).
  • Flexibility: Fractional marketers can scale their involvement up or down based on your business’s current needs, providing a flexible solution that adapts to your company’s pace and budget.
  • Expertise on Demand: They typically bring a wealth of experience and specialized skills that can be hard to find in a single full-time employee. Crucial for navigating complex issues and achieving specific strategic goals.

There’s no rules on what kind of marketer can be “fractional” either. You can find fractional marketers that will help you resolve technical issues with CRM integration, prepare venture capital pitches, offer executive-level strategic guidance, and everything in between.


How To Hire a Fractional CMO

The recent rise of the “Fractional CMO” is a big contributor to the increasing popularity of the “Fractional” term in the marketing world.

So why use the title “Fractional CMO” when the concept of fractional work is nearly synonymous with freelance work?

The difference is, freelance work has never really applied to higher-level leadership or C-Suite roles. These positions have always been filled by full-time, long-term salary hires.

The Fractional CMO changed that perception.

You can pay a Fractional CMO only for a fraction of their time – as needed. This lowers the cost for businesses, while giving them the benefit of an experienced leader who can steer the marketing ship with strategic vision and executive presence.

So how should leadership teams approach hiring a Fractional CMO?

  • Define strategic goals: Clarify what the Fractional CMO is expected to achieve, such as refining brand strategy or accelerating growth. This will vary based on your company size, goals, budget, and lifecycle.
  • Look for relevant experience and skills: Choose candidates with a strong track record in roles that showcase their ability to develop strategic visions, influence teams, and make decisions.
  • Consider cultural fit: Ensure your chosen Fractional CMO aligns with your company’s culture and can motivate and lead the marketing team effectively.
  • Discuss expectations: Agree on their on-site presence, availability for meetings, and response times for critical issues. Remember, they aren’t full-time. Setting clear expectations here can make or break a successful fractional hire.
  • Set clear success metrics: Define specific performance metrics such as marketing ROI, brand development, and customer acquisition costs. These will be the north stars that help you track progress and guide your Fractional CMO.
  • Establish an onboarding process: While this isn’t specific to fractional hires, it’s still important to implement a structured onboarding process to quickly integrate any new hire into your team and systems.
  • Have a plan for future sustainability: Due to the nature of fractional hires, your company likely won’t work with a Fractional CMO for years on end. It is typically a shorter-term agreement that is focused on specific goals. With that in mind, establish a system that will set up your company for success even after your Fractional CMO has left.


Hiring Other Fractional Marketers

When it comes to enhancing the rest of your marketing team with fractional talent, the hiring process remains mostly the same.

Examine your strategy for any gaps that might exist and consider your budget and team’s bandwidth. If your team is overwhelmed and unable to handle additional full-time roles, allocating budget towards fractional marketing resources could be the strategic lever you need.

Pinpoint exactly where a fractional professional can make the biggest impact.

For example: Your company needs to enhance its digital presence through advanced SEO and data analytics but lacks the in-house expertise.

Rather than hiring full-time employees, you could bring in fractional SEO specialists who can set up the necessary frameworks, train existing staff, and oversee the initial implementation of sophisticated strategies.

As mentioned earlier, skills, experience, cultural fit, expectations, and a good onboarding process are important for any new hire – fractional or not.

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Hiring fractional marketers allows companies to harness top-tier marketing expertise and drive growth while maintaining control over budgets and scaling operations efficiently.

With these recruitment and integration tips in mind, you’ll find fractional marketers who can significantly enhance your marketing capabilities and provide a competitive edge.

At RP, we’ve been acting as extended fractional team members and fractional marketing leaders for some of the biggest brands in the world for over a decade.

Acting as a Fractional Marketing Agency, our consultants specialize in various domains, allowing us to assemble the perfect combination of experts to augment your marketing operations with tailored solutions.

If you want to explore how we can fill the gaps in your marketing strategy, feel free to reach out to us here!