What is a virtual CMO?

What is a virtual or fractional CMO?


A virtual CMO or fractional CMO is a Chief Marketing Officer who dedicates their time and expertise to your organization on a part time or a contract basis. Hiring a full-time CMO is not a viable option or an ideal investment for all companies. For those organizations who are able and willing to hire one or two junior marketing employees but not an experienced marketing executive, working with a virtual CMO can be the best way to have access to leadership and expertise to create a comprehensive marketing strategy.


Not every marketing agency offers the virtual/fractional CMO service. Most marketing agencies have a team of experts who are specialized in an aspect(s) of marketing such as SEO (search engine optimization), content creation, graphic design, etc. How a virtual CMO is different from these individuals is that s/he works with you to create an overall, unified, comprehensive strategy to help you achieve business objectives rather than focusing on few aspects of your marketing initiatives.

Who needs a virtual CMO and when to hire one?


Here are some of the signs indicating that a virtual/fractional CMO is exactly what you need:

  • You want to achieve a rather exponential organic growth of your organization. The growth rate has been flat for the last few years and you are ready to make some changes to increase it.

  • You need a high-level guidance to create a short-term and long-term go-to-market/marketing strategy. You are either an organization with junior marketing employee(s) who are great at executing some of marketing activities but lack the ability to build a comprehensive strategy or an organization with no full-time marketing employee.

  • Your customer acquisition cost has been going up and you want to know the effective, cost-efficient, proven ways to generate new leads.

  • You are ready to invest in marketing but need to understand what is the best way to spend your budget to bring the highest ROI possible.

  • You need a fresh perspective. You understand the world around you is changing rapidly and marketing is one of those things that constantly evolves. You want to have access to an executive who is always on the look out for new trends and insights.



What can and should a virtual/fractional CMO do for your organization?


The type activities that your fractional CMO perform can vary. Depending on your business need and objectives, your virtual CMO should tailor their service offerings. Some of the activities they typically perform include:

  • Conduct stakeholder interviews to understand your business and business objectives.

  • Review your current go-to-market strategy.

  • Create a comprehensive go-to-market strategy that can help you achieve your business objectives.

  • Build a marketing plan to turn the marketing strategy into actions.

  • Hire the necessary talents to execute the planned marketing activities.

  • Provide recommendations on marketing technologies and tools that are right fit for your organization.

  • Train your marketing staff on best practices.

  • Help you identify key results and indicators to measure so you can effectively measure your return on marketing investment.