Whether you’re a brand new startup or a tenured business, at some point during your company’s growth, you may find the need for an experienced chief marketing officer (CMO) who can lead your marketing team and efforts. 

When hiring a CMO, many businesses assume their only option is someone who will be full-time. The truth is, hiring someone part-time may be a better fit for their needs. This is where hiring a fractional CMO is the best option. 

A fractional CMO is someone who works on a part-time basis, usually for around 20 hours per week. So, when is the best time to hire a fractional CMO? And why would you want to hire one? Keep reading to find out!

Who is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is a Chief Marketing Officer who works on a part-time basis. This means that they aren’t employed by your company full-time but instead work for you for a set number of hours each week – usually around 20 hours. 

Fractional CMOs can be freelance or employed by an agency, and they will work with you to create and implement a marketing strategy that meets your specific needs and goals.

They are experienced marketing professionals who deeply understand how to market businesses effectively. And because they are not employed full-time, they can often offer their services at a fraction of the cost.

The Responsibilities of a Fractional CMO

The fractional CMO will work with you to create and implement your marketing and organization strategy that meets your specific needs and goals. This may include developing and managing campaigns, conducting market research, overseeing social media and content marketing, managing budgets, and more. 

In short, the fractional CMO will be responsible for all aspects of your marketing, just as a full-time CMO would be. 

Some responsibilities can include:

  • Directing your marketing team
  • Recruiting and onboarding new employees
  • Designing customer retention strategies
  • Designing content marketing strategies
  • Determining ideal product pricing, go-to-market strategy, and launch
  • Directing branding and PR efforts
  • Overseeing marketing communications
  • Directing brand management
  • Conducting market research to identify market needs and understand the competition

The Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO

You may be thinking that bringing on someone in this role part-time is doing your business a disservice. However, that just isn’t true. There are some compelling benefits to hiring a fractional CMO, like:

Cost Savings

The most significant benefit to hiring a fractional CMO is cost savings. An average CMO in the US earns $150,000 annually. While the value they drive for businesses justifies the cost, your small business might be better off putting that amount to work in other business areas.

Because they are not employed full-time, fractional CMOs offer services at a lower rate than a full-time CMO. 


Fractional CMOs offer you the flexibility to scale up or down your marketing efforts without committing to a full-time CMO.  


As an outsider, a fractional CMO can offer you an objective perspective on your marketing efforts. They are more inclined to challenge the status quo and help you to think outside the box.

What Are The Cons of Hiring a Fractional CMO?

While hiring a fractional CMO offers several benefits, it also has some drawbacks. 

Limited Availability

Because fractional CMOs are not employed full-time, they may have limited availability to work on your marketing efforts. 

Slow Onboarding

If a fractional CMO is one of your first marketing hires, you may find it challenging to onboard quickly. It’s important to have clear communication set in place with a designated person that fractional CMO can ask questions of and reach out to when needed.

When Should You Hire a Fractional CMO?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question – it depends on your specific needs and goals. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you to decide whether or not hiring a fractional CMO is right for your business. 

If you are a small business with a limited marketing budget, hiring a fractional CMO can be a great way to get access to experienced marketing help without breaking the bank. 

If you need help with specific aspects of your marketing but don’t want to commit to a full-time CMO, hiring a fractional CMO can also be a good option. 

And if you are not sure whether or not you need a full-time CMO, hiring a fractional CMO can give you the opportunity to test out the waters and see if having a CMO is right for your business.  

If your small business could use some marketing direction, but you aren’t sure you have the means to bring someone on full-time, a fractional CMO is definitely something you should consider. Don’t feel like you have to default to someone full-time, try your hand at a part-time, fractional CMO first.