The nature of the fintech world can make it hard to recognise the right moment to bring in external expertise. The industry moves at such a pace that it can be difficult for fintech founders to ‘look up’ long enough to realise that they have reached the point where they need to get serious about their marketing. But hiring a full-time Chief Marketing Officer is a big (and expensive) gamble. Will they understand our business? Will they fit in? Will they have an impact? Will they leave in a couple of years and join a competitor? Is there an alternative?
Making the call to outsource can make the difference between stagnation and explosive growth for fintech firms. For start-ups and businesses seeking strategic marketing leadership without the commitment of a full-time hire, a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (FCMO) can be a game-changer.
Fractional CMOs are beginning to look more and more like the future for fintech firms. These on-demand executives make sense in today’s multi-income stream economy. They’re quick to hire, and they work only as many hours as you need them to — which makes them a great fit for start-ups and small businesses worried about their bottom lines. These on-demand teams of experts assemble around a specific project (or marketing initiative) and disband once it’s complete. And it’s becoming clear that their role often carries value beyond the obvious start-up or growth phase. There’s a whole variety of ways that fintechs can benefit from hiring a fractional CMO
In this article we provide an overview of the key indicators that signal the need to look for support in the form of outsourced fractional CMO services, understanding how this decision can unlock a company’s untapped potential.
1. Stagnant growth or declining performance
If a fintech is experiencing stagnant growth or a decline in performance, it’s a clear sign that the current marketing strategies might not be effective. A fractional CMO can step in to assess the situation, identify shortcomings, and revitalise marketing efforts to spark growth.
Fractional CMOs have access to tried and trusted networks that can provide ways to diversify the marketing mix too – such as adding a new channel like SEO or broader digital strategy support.
2. Lack of in-house marketing leadership
Many start-up fintech firms often lack the resources to hire a full-time CMO. However, the absence of dedicated marketing leadership can lead to disjointed efforts and missed opportunities. In the early days of a firm, determining fundamentals like brand strategy, market segmentation and buyer personas must be accomplished effectively without running the risk of costly errors that only manifest further down the road. All too often these tasks are left to junior staff – or even totally neglected – because no one in the firm has the experience to handle them.
When the internal team lacks the necessary expertise, a fractional CMO can provide strategic direction, aligning marketing initiatives with business objectives. The outcome is a centralised point of direction, clarity for the wider team, maximisation of early new business opportunities and mitigation of risk.
3. Major business transitions or launches
Taking the plunge into new markets, launching products, or undergoing significant transitions requires a well-coordinated marketing strategy. Fractional CMOs have the experience to handle these pivotal moments, ensuring that the company’s efforts are both impactful and cohesive.
A European firm that has not sold software in the US before may find that it faces an experience gap. Or a firm looking at a mid-term horizon for a trade sale may need its marketing operation galvanised in preparation – building value and reputation in a rapid fashion. Or a firm that has for the first time developed its own IP, with the opportunity to sell this solution to multiple clients rather than simply one, needs someone with a particular skillset.
4. Budget constraints and cost-effectiveness
A fractional CMO makes perfect sense for early-stage companies. These executives have similar capabilities as full-time CMOs — directing strategy, managing teams, generating leads, overseeing the budget, monitoring competitors — but clients can scale their hours up and down as needed. That lowers CMO costs and makes for a more effective and agile C-suite hire than a full-time CMO.
Full-time CMOs come with significant financial commitments. Senior marketing executives command an average annual salary of over $150K, says Glassdoor, plus there are the hiring, benefits and tax costs – and perhaps even equity stakes – on top of that.
Fractional CMOs therefore offer a cost-effective solution for companies that want top-tier marketing leadership without the ongoing expense. This approach is particularly advantageous for start-up and growth phase fintech firms looking to optimise their budget.
5. Need for fresh perspectives and innovation
Sometimes, internal teams can become entrenched in their ways, leading to a lack of innovative ideas. The culture of the firm may be one of ‘that’s what we always do’ rather than ‘does it actually work’. Internal staff can become risk-averse after a time or become embroiled in office politics, losing sight of the real objectives. Often internal staff can sometimes be pulled in many different directions as founding partners seek to influence the pathway of the firm’s growth, effectively ‘competing’ for marketing spend.
A FCMO brings an external viewpoint and a wealth of experience from different industries. Most have worked in many different fintech firms, either inhouse or as a consultant. They can spot where marketing monies are being wasted and opportunities are being lost much faster than an internal employee, often simply because they are less affected by the company culture or office politics. This injection of fresh perspectives can lead to breakthrough strategies and creative campaigns.
Embrace an outsourced fractional CMO for your fintech firm
Deciding to hire a fractional CMO is a strategic move that can rejuvenate a company’s marketing efforts and unlock its untapped potential. Whether a business is facing growth challenges, lacks in-house expertise, or is embarking on critical transitions, the fractional CMOs role is to provide tailored solutions and strategic guidance.
By recognising the indicators that signal the need for external marketing leadership, businesses can position themselves for accelerated growth, improved performance, and a competitive edge in the market. Whether you’re ready to embrace effective outsourced resource, or if you’d like to find out how PMC can support you with our fractional CMO service, simply get in touch today to learn more.