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How to Hire Fractional CMO

How to Hire a Fractional CMO: Step-by-Step Guide

Navigating the modern marketing landscape requires expertise, strategy, and adaptability.

For many growing businesses, hiring a full-time Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) might seem out of reach.

Enter the Fractional CMO-a savvy solution offering C-level marketing expertise without the full-time commitment. Below, we guide you through the process of hiring a fractional CMO to elevate your brand and drive tangible results.

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Considerations for Hiring a Fractional CMO

Considerations for Hiring Fractional CMO

Before hiring a fractional CMO, you must evaluate several important considerations. Some key factors to consider include:


  • Strategic Fractional CMO: These CMOs set the marketing direction, long-term planning, and high-level strategy. They are ideal for businesses needing clarity in marketing direction and alignment with business goals.
  • Operational Fractional CMO: These are hands-on experts who dive deep into the daily operations of your marketing, optimizing campaigns, overseeing team performance, and managing budgets. They're perfect for businesses seeking to enhance their current marketing efforts and processes.
  • Brand-building Fractional CMO: This type focuses on shaping a company's brand identity, voice, and marketplace position. Companies undergoing rebranding or looking to establish a stronger market presence can benefit immensely from their expertise.
  • Growth and Digital Fractional CMO: Specializing in growth hacking, digital marketing strategies, and lead generation, they are best suited for startups and companies looking to scale rapidly.
  • Analytical Fractional CMO: Data-driven and metric-focused, these CMOs leverage analytics and insights to improve marketing ROI. They are ideal for businesses that want to base their marketing decisions on solid data and detailed performance metrics.
  • Start-up Fractional CMO: Tailored for early-stage companies, these CMOs understand the unique challenges of startups, from budget constraints to rapid pivoting. They offer agile marketing strategies to help startups gain traction and grow.
  • B2B Fractional CMO: Catering specifically to businesses in the B2B sector, these experts craft strategies that appeal to other businesses. They know how to nurture B2B leads and understand complex sales cycles.
  • Industry-specific Fractional CMO: These professionals have deep expertise in specific industries, including healthcare, finance, or eCommerce. Companies in niche markets can greatly benefit from their specialized knowledge and tailored strategies.


Consider why you need to hire a fractional CMO. Clearly define the scope of their responsibilities to set clear expectations for all. Some common areas to consider include:

  • Strategy Development
  • Team Leadership and Development
  • Budget Management
  • Performance Analysis
  • Branding and Positioning
  • Digital Marketing
  • Vendor and Agency Relations
  • Product Marketing
  • Customer Journey Mapping
  • Crisis Management


Setting clear and measurable goals is paramount when bringing a Fractional CMO on board. It not only provides direction but also offers a metric for success, ensuring you're getting the most out of the partnership. Here are some guiding points to contemplate when setting goals.

  • Revenue and growth targets
  • Brand awareness
  • Customer engagement and retention
  • Digital presence
  • Content strategy success
  • Product launches
  • Campaign efficacy
  • Market research and insights
  • Team development
  • Innovation

How to Hire a Fractional CMO: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Hire Fractional CMO Steps

Identify Your Needs & Set Goal

Before jumping into the hiring process, take stock of where your company currently stands. Identify the marketing challenges you face and the gaps in your strategy. Understand whether you need high-level strategy guidance, hands-on execution, or both.

Determine the key outcomes you expect from the Fractional CMO. This could range from revenue growth and brand positioning to digital transformation. Be specific about your objectives to find a CMO who can meet them.

Research Potential Candidates

Start by gathering a list of potential Fractional CMOs. We recommend using MarketHire to source a list of quality, highly-vetted Fractional CMOs.

When considering a candidate, dig into their past roles, achievements, and client testimonials. Look for experience in similar industries or with analogous challenges. Their track record can offer insights into their capabilities.

Discuss Details

Once you've shortlisted candidates, request a preliminary plan or strategy outline. This doesn't need to be exhaustive, but it will showcase their approach and understanding of your business.


Once you've made your decision, ensure a smooth onboarding process. Introduce them to key team members, provide access to necessary tools, and align on communication protocols.

Review and Adjust

Regularly assess the performance and impact of your Fractional CMO. Hold periodic reviews to discuss achievements, challenges, and potential strategy adjustments. This ensures a dynamic and evolving partnership tailored to your business's needs.

What Does a Fractional CMO Do?

What Does Fractional CMO Do

A Fractional CMO offers high-level marketing expertise to organizations on a part-time basis. They provide strategic marketing leadership, align marketing initiatives with business goals, and drive growth without the full-time commitment and cost of a traditional CMO.

Leveraging their vast experience, they can:

  • identify gaps
  • optimize campaigns
  • mentor in-house teams
  • offer insights on the latest market trends.

Essentially, they bring C-level marketing acumen to businesses that might not need or afford a full-time executive.

When to Hire a Fractional CMO

When to Hire Fractional CMO

Consider hiring a Fractional CMO when your business is experiencing growth but isn't quite ready for a full-time CMO. Another sign is that you need expert guidance to refine marketing strategies or face specific marketing challenges that require seasoned leadership.

Additionally, if you're looking to optimize budget efficiency, pilot new marketing initiatives, or bridge a transitional period without committing to a permanent executive, a Fractional CMO can be an ideal solution.

What to Look for in Fractional CMO

What to Look for in Fractional CMO


You need a Fractional CMO professional who doesn't just bring expertise to the table but also seamlessly integrates into your organization.

Here are the top characteristics to look for in a Fractional CMO:

  • Versatility: Given their part-time nature, a Fractional CMO should be able to quickly adapt to various industries and challenges. Look for someone who has demonstrated flexibility across different sectors and marketing dynamics.
  • Strategic Vision: A top-tier Fractional CMO should have the foresight to set long-term strategic goals. They must anticipate market changes and align with your company's broader objectives.
  • Hands-on Experience: They should also have a strong operational background, understanding the nuances of executing a marketing plan efficiently.
  • Strong Communication Skills: They'll be working with diverse teams and stakeholders. Effective communication ensures alignment and smooth project flow, and it prevents misunderstandings.
  • Data-Driven Mindset: A modern CMO must be analytical, basing decisions on hard data and measurable outcomes. They should always seek ways to optimize.
  • Leadership and Mentorship: Even in a fractional role, they should inspire, guide, and uplift the marketing team, fostering growth and a culture of continuous learning.
  • Up-to-date with Trends: The marketing landscape is ever-evolving. Your Fractional CMO should be abreast of the latest trends, tools, and technologies to keep your strategies cutting-edge.
  • Problem-Solving Abilities: Challenges are inevitable. A desirable Fractional CMO will approach obstacles creatively. They must create innovative solutions and turn challenges into opportunities.
  • Ethical and Transparent: Trust is paramount. Ensure your Fractional CMO upholds the highest ethical standards. They should maintain transparency in their strategies, decisions, and communications.
  • Cultural Fit: Beyond skills and experience, it's essential that they resonate with your company's values, culture, and vision. This ensures a harmonious and productive relationship.


What to Look for in a Fractional CMO: Essential Skills

Seeking a Fractional CMO with this diverse skill set ensures that they bring a holistic approach to marketing.

Here are some of the skills to look for in a Fractional CMO:

  • Digital Marketing Mastery: From SEO and SEM to email marketing and social media strategies, they should have a deep understanding of the digital landscape.
  • Strategic Planning: The ability to design and implement effective, long-term marketing strategies is crucial. They should balance both short-term wins and sustainable growth.
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation: Beyond gathering data, a Fractional CMO must be able to interpret insights, measure ROI, and adapt strategies based on these findings.
  • Branding Expertise: They should be proficient in crafting, refining, and maintaining a consistent and powerful brand identity.
  • Budget Management: Allocating, monitoring, and optimizing a marketing budget effectively requires a deft hand and experience.
  • Content Strategy Development: With content playing a pivotal role in modern marketing, they should be able to devise a content plan that resonates with target audiences and drives engagement.
  • Customer Journey Mapping: A deep understanding of the customer's path-from awareness to conversion and advocacy-is vital to optimizing marketing touchpoints.
  • Team Leadership and Development: Beyond individual expertise, they should have skills in team management, mentoring, and fostering a productive marketing department.
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: The ability to work harmoniously with other departments, executives, and external partners ensures a cohesive marketing effort.
  • Tech-Savviness: Marketing tech evolves rapidly. Familiarity with the latest marketing software, CRM systems, and automation tools is essential to stay ahead.
  • Crisis Management: When faced with PR challenges or market upheavals, they should be adept at steering the company with effective communication and strategy realignment.


What to Look for in a Fractional CMO: Qualifications

Qualifications provide a benchmark and should be considered in conjunction with the candidate's overall fit, experience, and demonstrated ability to drive results.

Some qualifications to look for in a Fractional CMO include:

  • Educational Background: While a degree isn't the sole indicator of capability, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Marketing, Business Administration, or a related field ensures a solid foundational understanding.
  • Professional Certifications: Recognized certifications in digital marketing, project management, or data analytics can add weight to their expertise. Examples include HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Certification and Google Analytics Certification.
  • Relevant Experience: A proven track record in senior marketing roles, preferably with a mix of startups, mid-sized businesses, and large corporations, showcases versatility and depth.
  • Industry Knowledge: While not always mandatory, experience in your specific industry can be invaluable. They’ll have insights into market dynamics, challenges, and opportunities unique to your niche.
  • Portfolio of Past Work: Ask for case studies, campaigns, or strategies they've led. This provides tangible evidence of their impact, creativity, and execution prowess.
  • Recommendations and References: A strong network of recommendations from past employers, colleagues, or clients demonstrates their reputation and effectiveness in the field.
  • Continuing Education: The marketing landscape evolves rapidly. A Fractional CMO who actively pursues ongoing learning-be it through courses, workshops, or conferences-demonstrates a commitment to staying updated.

How Much Does a Fractional CMO Cost?

How Much Do Fractional CMOs Charge

Much like most marketing job salaries, the cost of a Fractional CMO varies widely based on several factors, including:

  • Experience level
  • Your business industry and size
  • Geographic location
  • Scope of responsibilities

Furthermore, Fractional CMOs may charge an hourly rate, monthly retainer, or project-based fee. It can cost between $100 and $500 an hour to hire one. Monthly retainers for Fractional CMOs tend to range between $2,000 and $10,000. Depending on the scope of your project, a project-based arrangement with a Fractional CMO may be between $5,000 and $50,000.

Where to Find a Fractional CMO

Where to Find Fractional CMO

Find a quality Fractional CMO using MarketerHire (learn more in our review). They partner with you to understand your business needs, and then match your requirements with their robust talent pool. Receive vetted talent matches in only 48 hours and streamline the entire process of hiring a Fractional CMO. MarketerHire offers the best balance between freelancing and a marketing agency.

To see even more options, use Agency Matchmaker and get paired with an agency in no time.

Best for Freelance Marketers

MarketerHire Logo


  • Strength in brand marketing, growth marketing, and fractional CMOs.
  • Elite, “Top 3%” of marketing talent in the world.
  • 48-hour talent matching, with 75% of clients hiring their first match.

Learn More

Best Full-Service Marketing Agency

Brenton Way Logo

Brenton Way

  • Data-driven and highly customized solutions
  • Growth agency that excels in SEO, PPC, Social, and eCommerce marketing
  • Full-service marketing team, great for small-to-medium sized businesses

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a fractional CMO do?

A Fractional CMO offers part-time, high-level marketing expertise, guiding strategy, and driving growth without the commitment of a full-time executive role.

Are fractional CMOs worth hiring?

Yes, fractional CMOs provide businesses, especially growing ones, with strategic marketing leadership at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CMO, optimizing budget and resources.

Where is the best place to find a fractional CMO?

The best place to find a Fractional CMO is through MarketerHire. They pair you with high-quality marketing talent in less than 48 hours.

How much do fractional CMOs make?

Fractional CMO earnings vary, ranging from $100-$500 per hour or monthly retainers of $2,000 to $10,000+. Factors like experience, industry, and responsibilities influence compensation.