We asked ChatGPT what it thinks about the most asked questions about chief marketing officers. We used our very own engineered prompts which took hours to perfect. Hope you enjoy! Here's Part 1 and Part 2.
How can a fractional CMO benefit a startup or small business?
A fractional CMO (also called interim CMO) can help your startup or small business establish a strong brand and marketing strategy in the long run. For instance, they can work with your team to create a brand identity, develop messaging, refine your product positioning and create a comprehensive marketing plan that targets your ideal customers.
As you get more granular, your CMO may involved strategically or even be more tactically with certain objectives for your growth/marketing departments.
CMOs can provide expertise and experience without the cost and commitment of a full-time c-suite role. This means no more paying out $200,000 a year yet still getting the exact benefits “for a monthly subscription”.
When contracted the right way, they can help a company scale up and build a marketing team and necessary processes and systems to support growth. They can help a company navigate specific marketing challenges, such as launching a new product or entering a new market. This is a very common case for startups entering the DTC or SaaS space.
How to hire a fractional CMO: Tips and best practices
Although these tips are derived from reputable sources (that my model was trained on) the pointers below may or may not apply to your context:
- Consider the experience and expertise of the fractional CMO, and look for someone with a proven track record of success in marketing. This means looking for someone with a solid background in the industry you're in, someone who has worked with organizations in your industry. They must also have a strong understanding of the marketing channels to be utilized for your company’s traction.
- Look for a fractional CMO with strong communication and leadership skills. This means looking for the person who can effectively communicate with your team, manage marketing operators and lead a team. This also means someone who can effectively present your company's marketing strategy to the board of directors and investors as well. You’d be surprised by how many founders find this skillset important, as they prefer to not be too involved in communicating marketing updates / growth roadmaps up the chain.
- Consider their availability and responsiveness. This means looking for someone who is willing and able to work with you to establish a schedule that meets the needs of your business. A fractional CMO may have other clients on their radar/schedule. It’s always recommended to proactively communicate the time commitments necessary ahead of time. Align, align, align. Very important.
How to manage and work effectively with a fractional CMO
- Scope and set expectations: Scope out the work like your life depends on it. Because this is how you keep projects and budgets from blowing up. One way of doing this is by setting clear expectations and goals for your fractional CMO, outlining the specific tasks and responsibilities that they would be responsible for, as well as the goals and objectives that you hope to achieve. You don’t have to have all the answers, but it’s important to try to be as thorough as possible with your expectations from Day 0.
- Set up a cadence: Before you sign up your CMO, and especially in the first week, begin setting up a meeting/communication cadence. Communicate regularly and effectively with your interim CMO. Some may prefer email updates, others may be comfortable with Slack messages. Align on what works for you both as soon as you can.
- Over communicate: In addition to setting up regular meetings or check-ins between your team(s) and the CMO, you must provide clear and timely feedback on their performance. For longer term engagements (e.g., quarterly) this is important as it avoids a meltdown 4-6 weeks into a project and both parties realizing they expected totally different things from each other. Careful!
- Set them up for success: Provide your CMO with the resources and support they need to succeed - this might mean approving their budget on a timely manner, assigning the right marketer to implement the CMO’s marketing plan, acquiring that analytics tool so your team gets the A/B testing data on time, etc. Help them help you! It’s that simple.
- Autonomy (where needed): Give your CMO the autonomy to make decisions and take action if it fits the overall narrative you’re looking to achieve. Careful though if you’re a large organization - without consulting with the right stakeholders first, giving the newly onboarded person too much “liberty” might end up doing more damage than good in the short run. My advice? Take approvals wherever needed. Better to be safe than sorry, as you’re building a longer term relationship here with a CMO who might just change the game altogether for your startup’s growth! :)
I hope you enjoyed this one! We'll be posting a few more parts very soon. ChatGPT is something, eh. We've got some more articles on CMOs and startups if you're interested to read on! :)
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