A fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), sometimes referred to as an Outsourced CMO, is an experienced marketer who lends expertise to businesses part-time. They’re a great solution for organizations that need part-time strategic marketing guidance.

For many organizations, hiring a fractional CMO is a great business move. They get expert marketing leadership and guidance as often or as little as required.

If your business is ready to propel its marketing results, you might want to hire a fractional CMO. They’re dedicated to strategizing, managing, and increasing your ROI. You receive expert marketing guidance, strategy, and input that suits your time and budget.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO?

Fractional CMOs offer the marketing expertise necessary for businesses to thrive today. They’re experienced marketing strategists brought in to develop and execute specific marketing campaigns. They can set in motion new product marketing campaigns for your company, elevate your brand and help you meet new growth goals.

However, they can be hired on a fractionated basis — hence the term fractional CMO. This is because they come in and work with you for a selected number of hours that you determine. This is especially beneficial for small-to-medium-sized businesses with less budget.

By hiring a fractional CMO, you get both expert knowledge and a fresh pair of eyes. They’re able to spot gaps, issues, or missed opportunities that your team hasn’t seen. They lend their marketing expertise to organizations so brand development can bloom. Further, they plan and execute a growth-oriented marketing strategy for the long term. This can include everything from advertising to lead generation to networking.

A fractional CMO analyzes, adjusts, and optimizes your business’s long-term marketing strategy. They monitor and optimize your marketing strategies monthly. By doing this, they can make the necessary adjustments to keep you on the growth path. Their breadth of knowledge and perspective can give your business the upper hand.

Lastly, since they’re only in the office for as long as you need, there’s less chance of getting caught up in office politics. A good fractional CMO is there to help you get the highest quality marketing results only.

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How much does a fractional CMO cost?

Pay rates vary. Costs are mostly determined by experience and availability. However, fractional CMOs offer flexible, cost-effective marketing expertise. In the long run, they cost most businesses a fraction of the price of hiring a full-time CMO officer to do the same job.

While some CMOs do charge hundreds of dollars per hour, you pay for only as many hours as you need. This flexibility means you can scale month by month. Compared to hiring a full-time CMO, fractional CMOs are statistically more cost-effective. 

The average base salary of a full-time CMO is around $175,000. But, with a fractional CMO, you only pay them for what you need, when you need them. They charge by the hour. A fractional CMO’s average hourly rate is $200-350. Their average annual salary is $133,385.  

Should Your Company Hire a Fractional CMO?

Deciding whether to hire a fractional CMO comes down to your unique circumstances. There’s no hard and fast rule. However, there are several instances where it makes perfect sense.

First, if you’re a start-up or an SME, hiring a fractional CMO is a great option. They’re well suited for businesses that want to grow but need to budget. Plus, they provide an interpersonal approach, which many organizations appreciate. 

Fractional CMOs are self-employed, which means they’re driven to achieve the best results. They come in and dedicate themselves to your positive marketing progress and results.

Here are some primary cases for when to hire a fractional CMO:

  • Your company needs marketing leadership and guidance.
  • You want to improve your marketing to grow your business.
  • You require new digital marketing strategies and implementation.
  • You need fresh eyes to look at existing marketing campaigns and make necessary changes.

How to Find and Hire a Good Fractional CMO

There are several methods for finding good fractional CMOs. You can:

  • Ask peers and partners for referrals.
  • Browse LinkedIn, freelance websites, or do an online search.
  • Post a job ad on a business-oriented platform like LinkedIn.

To determine if someone is the right fit, you need to ask them the right questions. Probe them on their relevant experience. Ask them for references. Generally, the best fit will be one who has direct experience in your industry.

How Are They Different From Chief Marketing Officers?

Getting down to brass taxes, the main difference is cost. A chief marketing officer is a corporate marketing executive. They’re responsible for an organization’s marketing activities. Unlike fractional CMOs, a chief marketing officer doesn’t offer the same level of flexibility.

As we’ve discussed, you can hire a fractional CMO for a specified number of hours. This flexibility makes them ideal for those who need to budget. Even at high hourly rates, being able to hire one for as little or as many hours as required means you can budget accordingly.


What does fractional CMO mean?

A fractional CMO, also referred to as an Outsourced CMO, is a marketing expert that works part-time for companies. They provide marketing leadership and guidance. They help companies achieve their marketing goals. They help organizations increase growth and profitability through optimal marketing.

What does the abbreviation CMO stand for?

CMO is short for Chief Marketing Officer. A CMO is a marketing expert and leader. They work to optimize an organization’s marketing strategies and execution.

How much does a fractional CMO cost?

The cost of hiring a fractional CMO depends on several factors. These include their experience and expertise, the project scope, and the number of hours required. Fractional CMOs usually charge hourly. The average rate is between $200-350 per hour.