Unlocking Growth: Why Your Business Needs a Fractional CMO Over Hiring a Marketing Strategist or Outsourcing to a Marketing Agency


A fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a senior-level marketing executive who works for an organization on a part-time or temporary basis, typically through a consulting arrangement. Fractional CMOs provide strategic direction, leadership, and expertise in marketing, but without the commitment and cost associated with hiring a full-time CMO.

Organizations might choose to hire a fractional CMO instead of investing in a full-time marketing coordinator for several reasons:

  1. Expertise: Fractional CMOs often bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table, having worked in various industries and with different types of organizations. They can provide strategic guidance and help develop effective marketing strategies tailored to the organization’s goals and target audience.
  2. Cost-effectiveness: Hiring a fractional CMO can be more cost-effective than hiring a full-time marketing coordinator, especially for small or medium-sized businesses with limited budgets. Fractional CMOs typically charge a fee based on the hours worked or the scope of the project, making them a more flexible and affordable option.
  3. Flexibility: Fractional CMOs offer flexibility in terms of time commitment and engagement duration. Organizations can engage them for specific projects or periods of time, allowing for scalability and adjustment based on the organization’s needs and budget.
  4. Objectivity: Fractional CMOs bring an outsider’s perspective to the organization, which can be valuable in identifying blind spots, uncovering opportunities, and offering unbiased advice. They can assess the organization’s marketing efforts objectively and provide recommendations for improvement.
  5. Strategic planning and implementation: Fractional CMOs can help organizations develop comprehensive marketing plans and execute them effectively. They can oversee the implementation of marketing initiatives, monitor performance, and make adjustments as needed to achieve the desired results.

Five reasons why organizations might choose to hire a fractional CMO instead of investing in a Marketing Agency:

  1. Building an Annual Strategic Marketing Plan: Fractional CMOs can work closely with the organization’s leadership team to develop a comprehensive, long-term strategic marketing plan that aligns with the company’s goals and objectives. Unlike marketing agencies that may focus more on individual campaigns or short-term tactics, fractional CMOs prioritize the development of a cohesive strategy that considers various marketing channels, target audiences, and performance metrics. This strategic approach helps ensure that the organization’s marketing efforts are aligned with its overall business objectives and can lead to more sustainable growth over time.
  2. In-Depth Analysis and Insights: Fractional CMOs provide an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the organization’s marketing efforts, offering valuable insights and recommendations for improvement. By conducting thorough audits and assessments of the organization’s current marketing activities, fractional CMOs can identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis), providing actionable recommendations for optimizing performance and maximizing ROI. This level of insight and analysis is often more personalized and tailored to the specific needs and challenges of the organization compared to the more generalized approach taken by marketing agencies.
  3. Experience in Organizational Dynamics: Fractional CMOs bring extensive experience working within organizations, understanding the unique dynamics, challenges, and opportunities that exist within different industries and company cultures. This firsthand knowledge allows fractional CMOs to navigate internal politics, collaborate effectively with internal stakeholders, and drive long-term growth initiatives that align with the organization’s values and objectives. Unlike marketing agencies that may operate more independently, fractional CMOs integrate seamlessly into the organization, functioning as an extension of the internal team and fostering stronger relationships and collaboration across departments.
  4. Long-Term Growth Focus: Fractional CMOs are invested in the long-term success and growth of the organization, focusing on sustainable strategies and initiatives that drive continuous improvement and value creation. While marketing agencies may prioritize short-term results or quick wins, fractional CMOs take a more holistic and strategic approach, considering the broader implications of their recommendations and actions on the organization’s overall growth trajectory. By focusing on long-term growth objectives, fractional CMOs help organizations build enduring competitive advantages and achieve sustainable success in their markets.
  5. Comprehensive and Consistent Support: Fractional CMOs provide comprehensive and consistent support across all aspects of the organization’s marketing function, serving as a trusted advisor and partner to the leadership team. Unlike marketing agencies that may offer piecemeal or ad-hoc services, fractional CMOs take a more holistic and integrated approach, overseeing the entire marketing lifecycle from strategy development to execution and performance measurement. This continuity of support ensures that the organization’s marketing efforts are aligned, cohesive, and consistently driving towards its goals, resulting in greater efficiency, effectiveness, and impact.

Overall, hiring a fractional CMO can be a strategic decision for organizations looking to set up their marketing functions for success, particularly when they need access to senior-level expertise, strategic guidance, and flexible support without the commitment of a full-time hire.

Client Testimonials

“We were referred to Kathryn and her team after working with a larger agency in Victoria. Swank Creative Inc. provided us with the holistic approach to our marketing that we needed, rather than just focussing on a particular campaign. This involved providing us with a strategic marketing plan, refining our website and social media channels, providing immediate insights and optimizations that had a substantial impact. They also furnished us with a detailed analysis of results, editable templates, and checklists for membership renewals and event promotion, allowing us to replicate successful campaigns.

Our goal was to evolve to be more savvy and proactive about our marketing and promotional activities. Kathryn and her team have moved us forward in achieving that goal not only by designing and managing our campaigns, but by helping us develop insights and skills that allow us to leverage the advice and technical work we receive from her.

We have experienced concrete results since starting to work with Swank Creative Inc. as we claw our way back from the pandemic’s impacts. We have seen a direct relationship between our marketing efforts and our 36% year-on-year revenue growth and 51% increase in subscriptions. Most importantly, we are seeing not only the recapture of our pre-pandemic market, but the building of a new audience, with 69% of the growth represented by new audience members, and a 35% increase in our mailing list.

Kathryn’s responsiveness, transparency and willingness to share her knowledge and expertise truly set her apart.”

William Jamieson | Artistic and Executive Director
Early Music Society of the Islands

“Swank Creative offered to support Design Victoria in developing our marketing strategy for 2024. Kathryn’s deep knowledge of the Victoria media landscape was incredibly helpful in making decisions about where to market, how much to spend and what audiences to target. We are meeting regularly in the months leading up to our second edition of the festival in May 2024. During our meetings, she and her team offer ongoing accountability, strategic thought partnership and lots of encouragement and support. Although I have marketing experience myself, Swank Creative has helped me to formalize my strategy, get the support I need, and commit to schedules that we co-created. Kathryn’s experience and knowledge of the arts and culture sector have been helpful in our positioning, and it is clear how much she cares about advancing arts in the region. “

Carla Sorrell
Founding Director, Design Victoria



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