Fractional CMO? Originating from the US, it’s a term that has gained momentum in the UK in recent years – particularly in the fintech space. You may be wondering what it means and how is it different from a traditional Chief Marketing Officer. Well, a Fractional CMO (FCMO) is an outsourced marketing executive who performs the function of a CMO without your company having to commit to a full-time, in-house marketing leader. Generally speaking, a Fractional CMO is a seasoned marketing professional with a wealth of experience in crafting successful strategies. This means that you get all the benefits of decades of sector-specific marketing proficiency gained in multiple businesses without paying the sky-high salaries that top CMOs now command.
If you haven’t considered the benefits of hiring an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer for your fintech company, now is the time; you commit a fraction (‘fractional’) of the cost of a full-time Chief Marketing Officer, paying only for the time used, e.g. a few hours a week for a long-term or short-term contract, or for specific projects. This enables your company to garner the expertise of a CMO without committing to a full-time marketing executive.
Is outsourcing marketing popular? A survey carried out by Marketing Signals Limited (as reported by cybercrew.uk) revealed that 42% of UK businesses use a marketing service. The survey reported that many do so as they do not have the requisite skills (37%) or resources (35%) to handle it in-house. The cost of hiring staff is always increasing, but getting the right skill sets so that employees can hit the ground running is even harder. Growing fintechs can reap the benefits of a fractional CMO by gaining access to the specialist skills they need while saving time and money on recruitment, salaries, taxes and employee benefits.
- Enabling access to strategic expertise without the full-time commitment
As we all know, there are no shortcuts to experience. Decades in an industry like fintech means that you know the terminology, what drives buyer behaviour and what marketing strategies will work best for specific software products or services.
One of the key benefits in hiring an experienced sector specialist (in my case, fintech for the investment management industry) is that they can hit the ground running. You won’t have to spend lots of time educating them about the many nuances of investment management technology, or explaining what the plethora of acronyms all mean. They can readily understand your market, what your software does and why anyone would buy it. They know the regulation, understand the buying cycles and appreciate that software is rarely a straightforward sell. And they are a safe pair of hands for your business.
- Fractional CMOs are cost-effective
Most fintech start-ups face considerable financial challenges long before they reach a point where hiring a full-time CMO is essential. Often there have been many years spent conceiving a software product and writing code (and a business plan) and then trying to make that first sale. Without angel investors or VC backing, marketing is usually a secondary concern during this period in a firm’s lifecycle.
The mere thought of hiring an industry specialist marketer on a fulltime basis in a fintech’s early years would leave many fintech founders in a cold sweat – yet there are fundamental marketing decisions to be made ‘off the bat’: what is your value proposition; what is your target market; what is the competition’s strengths and weaknesses; what does your ‘market map’ look like (so you can effectively position your product); what does your ‘brand’ represent (not just a logo); how do you trademark and so on. You need expert guidance through this process. Leaving all this responsibility to someone whose primary focus is not marketing can result in expensive mistakes that may take years to unravel.
Fractional CMOs offer a cost-effective solution by working on a part-time or project basis. Start-ups and growth businesses can access top-tier talent without the burden of a hefty salary, benefits, and other full-time costs. This cost-efficient approach is particularly appealing to fintech start-ups with budget constraints but don’t want a novice running their marketing operation.
- Fractional CMOs can work flexibly and scale with your business
Tech start-ups can experience rapid shifts in their growth trajectory as the demand for their solutions grows. Once the firm has gone beyond its first beta client and has a small roster of proven customers, growth can be achieved at an almost alarming rate. This kind of high growth phase demands much more marketing commitment in order to maximise the many opportunities that arise. The amount of time required for marketing from a founder or other key employee with non-marketing responsibilities increases to the point where it becomes unsustainable.
A Fractional CMO provides the flexibility to scale marketing efforts up or down as needed, accommodating changing business requirements. Whether it’s launching a new product, entering a new market, releasing a solution upgrade or pivoting the strategy, a Fractional CMO can adapt quickly to support these transitions.
The working arrangement for a FCMO can align with these key times for businesses – perhaps shifting from mainly remote working to more hours in the office, or one or two days per month to one or two days per week.
- FCMOs offer objectivity and fresh perspectives
A Fractional CMO who specialises in fintech will make available all their expertise to cover every aspect of your fintech business, bringing fresh, creative ideas and an objective viewpoint. Their role would include creating your strategy and implementing it, but might also involve branding, content, PR, digital (including website development), launching your product, creative activities, market research and helping with the hiring of marketing staff.
Unlike a member of staff, an external Fractional CMO can bring an impartial perspective to the table. Since they are not immersed in the day-to-day operations, they can offer unbiased insights and innovative ideas that might not be apparent to the internal team.
This outside perspective can lead to breakthrough strategies and creative solutions that drive competitive advantage.
- Providing access to networks and resources
Fractional CMOs often come with extensive networks of industry contacts, partners, and resources. Years in the fintech industry mean strong relationships with people like journalists, consulting firms, potential software partners, staff, clients or even future acquirers of the firm. This network can be invaluable for start-ups seeking collaborations, partnerships, or exposure.
By leveraging the Fractional CMO’s connections, start-ups can accelerate their growth, gain market traction, and open doors to new opportunities.
Time to hire a fractional CMO for your fintech? Contact PMC today!
In the fast-paced world of tech start-ups, having a Fractional CMO on board can provide a range of benefits that contribute to the company’s success. An FCMO can deliver industry-specific knowledge and insights without the commitment of a full-time executive. It allows tech start-ups to tap into high-level expertise on an as-needed basis, aligning marketing efforts with business goals – and financial constraints.
From strategic expertise and cost-effectiveness to flexibility and fresh perspectives, this type of outsourcing empowers start-ups to navigate the complexities of marketing while focusing on their core competencies. You also don’t have to worry about them suddenly leaving to take a better job, or (worse still) going to a competitor!
With the guidance of a Fractional CMO, start-ups can position themselves for growth, innovation, and a competitive edge in the market – without breaking the bank.