The Challenges to Hiring Experienced Chief Marketing Officers and the Rise of Fractional CMOs

by Maury Rogow

The average tenure for CMOs fell to 40 months last year, the lowest average since 2009. Meanwhile, marketing executives are under major pressure with tightening budgets coupled with a need to improve ROI.

As turnover continues to rise, businesses are scrambling to find new ways to hire experienced leadership and improve marketing and sales efforts.

One approach finding increasing favor across industries is to employ the services of a fractional executive—an experienced professional with a proven track record who serves the company on a part-time or project basis. Fractional CMOs can bring valuable experience and to a business, bringing new perspectives and major improvements to current or outdated practices.

While firms of all sizes are pivoting to part-time C-suite officers, the arrangement is particularly attractive to small and medium-sized businesses, especially startups. Benefits of the arrangement include:

  • Executive experience: Fractional CxOs, most of them veterans of more than 20 years in various capacities, have faced situations that many founders may not have been exposed to.
  • Cross-industry experience: Executives who have worked in a variety of environments can easily apply what they’ve learned from one business to another.
  • Focus on results: Knowing they must deliver tangible and measurable results quickly, CxOs tend to focus on the company’s immediate priorities and implement practical steps that lead to success.

A close eye on results is particularly important in the case of marketing, which tends to be poorly defined in many companies, thus creating an overall lack of trust between marketing and the rest of the organization. This estrangement is unnecessary. A fractional CMO can help with customer acquisition, sales development, and company growth.

Short of acquisition, there are only three ways to grow a business: new customers, new sales to existing customers, and increased revenue from the overall customer base. Any effective fractional CMO should possess—or have ready access to—the digital tools that can create these results, along with a verifiable track record in using them.

Rather than spending time and money finding or replacing a full-time CMO, Rogow urges business leaders to assess their company’s needs, develop an ambitious but achievable growth target, and hire an experienced fractional CMO to make it happen.

Marketing isn’t vague and it isn’t magic, any more than dentistry is. It’s a discipline with a full set of tools and metrics. If you run a company, you owe it to yourself and the people who depend on you to seek out a professional who can demystify marketing and help make your business grow.

Businesses need to grow their brand with visual storytelling. Maury Rogow is the CEO of Rip Media GroupExecutive Producer, and Author, and brings a rare combination of success in both business and Hollywood. He built his prominent career in business development at Avaya, Lucent Technologies/Motorola and GeoTel, a startup sold to Cisco Systems for over $1 Billion. Companies such as Cisco Systems, Comcast Universal NBC, Ben and Jerry’s, Black and Decker, Stanford and Harvard have relied on Maury and his hand-picked team to increase visibility and tell their stories more powerfully. Maury is a member of the Producers Guild of America, with several feature films to his credit. Revenue from campaigns he has created are currently in the hundreds of millions, with a portion of each going to charity.

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