Should You Hire a Fractional CMO?

Should You Hire a Fractional CMO?

As a fintech company, have you considered the benefits of hiring a fractional or outsourced Chief Marketing Officer? It allows you to leverage CMO-level expertise at just a fraction of the cost of a full-time executive. You only pay for the specific amount of time and services you need – perhaps just a few hours per week on an ongoing basis or for dedicated short-term projects.
Author: Portfolio MC –

As a fintech company, have you considered the benefits of hiring a fractional or outsourced Chief Marketing Officer? It allows you to leverage CMO-level expertise at just a fraction of the cost of a full-time executive. You only pay for the specific amount of time and services you need – perhaps just a few hours per week on an ongoing basis or for dedicated short-term projects. This gives your company elite marketing leadership without carrying the full overhead of a permanent C-suite role.


Fractional CMOs are an increasingly popular solution across industries but can be particularly valuable for fintech start-ups and scale-ups. According to research by Fiverr, 85% of marketing leaders had to lay off team members in the past year due to economic pressures. Many companies will turn to freelance and fractional talent to backfill that lost expertise in a more cost-effective way.


For small to medium fintech businesses, the cost and commitment of hiring a full-time CMO can feel daunting or unrealistic given their current stage. Most early-stage fintechs face significant financial constraints for years before reaching a level where a permanent CMO becomes essential.


The founders have often spent years conceiving the product, writing code, crafting a business plan, and trying to make that critical first sale – all before having meaningful revenue to support a full marketing hire. Without investor backing, marketing is usually an afterthought in these earliest phases.


However, there are still fundamental marketing decisions and strategies that need to be formed upfront, such as defining the value proposition, target market, competitive landscape, market positioning, branding, trademarks, and more. Leaving these foundational elements to someone without dedicated marketing experience can lead to costly mistakes.


Bringing in a Fractional CMO allows you to access elite marketing talent and expertise during this critical inception stage, without the burden of a full-time salary. An experienced Fractional CMO can provide high-level strategic guidance and mentorship to properly set up your marketing function for long-term success – or focus on delivery, doing the simple things well.


This blog will provide an actionable strategy for key decision makers wondering if they should hire a fractional CMO.


Understanding the concept of a Fractional CMO


A Fractional Chief Marketing Officer is a part-time CMO hired by a company to establish and build their marketing function. While a Fractional CMO can get involved in tactical details if needed, their primary role is to provide strategy, advice, coaching, and mentoring.


When hired by a company, a Fractional CMO works regularly with the marketing team and broader organisation. They typically serve on the leadership team to enable close collaboration with other departments, delivering integrated and impactful marketing support across the business. Since the role requires significant involvement, Fractional CMOs are employed part-time for longer engagements, often 18-24 months, compared to Interim CMOs, but clearly on a much shorter-terms basis than traditional full-time CMOs.


Fractional marketing offers a cost-effective and efficient solution for businesses lacking leadership skills or resources to implement successful campaigns. By hiring a highly experienced marketer on a part-time basis, companies can access expert guidance without committing to full-time employment costs, enabling rapid growth through data-driven insights. Here are three key benefits.


  • Hiring a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (FCMO) or other fractional marketing leaders allows businesses to save money by only paying for the services they need when they need them.
  • In addition to being more affordable than hiring full-time staff members, working with Fractional CMOs provides access to seasoned professionals with extensive experience in specific industries. These experts are adept at creating targeted content marketing strategies designed specifically around your company’s unique offerings and customer base.
  • Thirdly, Fractional CMOs provide unrivalled flexibility: companies can scale up or down their fractional hire’s involvement based on current needs and demand generation goals.

Assessing your marketing needs


There are some key considerations for businesses when choosing between Fractional CMOs and hiring a full-time CMO. A few of these include budgets set, availability of skills and experience in your industry, timescales involved, stage of the company lifecycle, goals of the business and objectives of the marketing function.


I would always encourage businesses to evaluate their unique needs and growth goals. The key is making an informed decision that aligns with your resource allocation and growth strategies. Identify areas where a Fractional CMO could provide the most value, such as strategic planning, campaign execution, or team leadership. There may even be specific tactical activities where hands-on expertise is required – firms may choose a FCMO with branding expertise, or perhaps hiring a FCMO to drive SEO growth.

There are many examples of the different aspects of marketing that a FCMO can support.


Being opportunistic with your resource


The concept of a Fractional CMO is flexible, rather than fixed – and strategic business leaders ought to see this as an opportunity. Flexibility has its benefits – whether it’s to meet a short-term objective or to start working towards a long-term goal.


It may be, for example, that a Fractional CMO is available to hire with the experience of preparing a fintech firm in your sector for a trade sale. That three-year pre-sale period is key to driving up the transaction value, yet not all CMOs have that practical knowledge. And a Fractional CMO will not have an issue with their contract ending soon after the sale – for them it will be ‘mission accomplished’.


Finding the right fit


Getting the right fit for your business is crucial. Not every Fractional CMO will be right for your firm – and there is plenty of choice out there. Explore strategies for sourcing and vetting Fractional CMO candidates. For example, make sure that you choose someone with a proven track record in your industry – this familiarity will be invaluable. If you must brief your candidate on the basics of how your industry operates then you’ve probably got the wrong person. The ability to hit the ground running is a fundamental advantage of having a Fractional CMO.


As with any hire, the importance of finding someone who aligns with your company culture, values, and objectives should also not be neglected, even for a fractional hire.


Hiring a Fractional CMO can be a strategic decision for businesses looking to bolster their marketing efforts without committing to a full-time executive.

By understanding the key tactics involved in making this decision – from assessing your marketing needs to evaluating costs and finding the right fit – you can determine whether a Fractional CMO is the right solution for your business’s growth and success.


Wondering if you should hire a Fractional CMO for your business? We’re here to help you to make the right decision to drive ROI and operational success. To arrange an initial call, get in touch with us today.

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