Back to Blog

August 1, 2022



What to and Not to Expect From a Fractional CMO

Richard Byrd
What to and Not to Expect From a Fractional CMO

One of BlueByrd’s core offerings is providing Fractional Chief Marketing Officers to our clients, and we often get asked, “What should I expect from my Fractional CMO?”

Many of our clients have never had a CMO or even high-level marketing expertise inside their organizations, so it is a valid question. Most of the time, our clients have historically underinvested in marketing, and when they have had internal staff working on marketing, they have one or a combination of the following scenarios:

  • An admin who is also handling social media and other odds and ends
  • A sales leader who got handed the marketing role
  • An inexperienced but smart recent marketing graduate
  • A staff exit, and now they have no marketing staff at all

These scenarios are all fine for companies that want to maintain their current position, but the companies that come to BlueByrd are looking for growth, and their current teams lack the expertise to build a strategy and then execute the strategy. 

But perhaps a better question is what should a company not expect from their Fractional CMO?

What to expect from a CMO 

Not all FCMOs work the same way, but when we work with clients we begin a deep dive into their business and then we develop a go-to-market playbook that aligns with their business strategy. Every client has different needs depending on their size, industry, and business goals, but most of the time we engage with the client to:

  • Develop an overall go-to-market strategy
  • Develop a commercialization strategy for new offerings
  • Establish and manage the marketing budget
  • Oversight of all marketing activities and agency management
  • Provide a "stop doing" list for low-value activity
  • Art direction and project management of creative projects
  • Content planning and oversight of execution
  • Copywriting for short content types (emails, slide decks, etc.)
  • Salesforce guidance and support
  • Voice of customer research
  • Competitor research
  • Lead generation activities
  • Reporting on marketing initiatives to the management team
  • Mentoring of marketing staff
  • Succession planning for ourselves

All of those items help our clients get on the path to meaningful growth, and many times once the strategy is in place, their existing resources can run with the strategy.

Fractional executives can’t do it all

Many times when we start with new clients, they think of us as a creative firm that can execute on all of the company’s marketing tasks and endeavors. 

The reality is that no one employee should be expected to be a graphic designer, copywriter, website developer, marketing analyst, project manager, event planner, publicist, and media buyer. No one full-time employee can do all of those activities at a high level. And Fractional CMOs are fractional, meaning you only get a fraction of their time. No matter how experienced the person is, they can’t be expected to do everything in one to four days a week. 

The highest and best use of a Fractional CMO is to create and oversee the company’s growth strategy.

What not to expect from a Fractional CMO

Deep execution

CMOs are not graphic designers, social media specialists, video editors, copywriters, or any of the craftspeople who make up the marketing landscape. Fractional CMOs hire, manage, and oversee the quality of work and ensure it is aligned with your marketing strategy.

Advertising/media costs

Once a strategy is formed, a good Fractional CMO will recommend some form of advertising. This will require an advertising budget. We call it “talking to strangers.” If you want the company to grow, you must introduce yourself and your value proposition to people who don’t know you. The Fractional CMO will recommend a budget, manage it, and help you optimize it.


Many Fractional CMOs are good writers, but for longer or more complex content types – websites, brochures, technical papers – you’ll want to go with the wordsmithing of an experienced pro. The Fractional CMO will find the right talent, ensure they are delivering high-quality content that aligns with your strategy, and that they deliver on time and within budget, but they won’t write all of the content your company needs. 

Social media specialists

Your Fractional CMO shouldn’t be the person who writes, posts, and responds to every post on your social media channels. They will most likely work with one of your internal resources or an external third-party resource to execute day-to-day posts. 

No surprises

While a Fractional CMO can’t execute all of the marketing activities you need to grow your company, they should have plenty of trusted industry contacts. They should be able to provide an accurate scope of work, get an accurate proposal, and hold the talent team accountable.

The Final Chirp

Use your Fractional CMO for the good and meaningful stuff that will drive your company. Lean on them to build and oversee a marketing strategy that will help grow your company. Bring a strategic adult to the management table who can provide sound advice to your organization and be your advocate, and then hold them accountable for the growth of your organization. 

If you want to talk to us about what a Fractional CMO could look like for your organization, let’s get together for lunch and discuss the value we could bring to your organization.

Your new revenue growth partner.

Revenue growth is coming. Are you ready for takeoff? We are.