While there isn't an exact formula on when to hire a CMO, there are key indicators that should signal when you should seriously consider bringing one onboard onto your team. Although traditionally, Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) are a part of the group of founders, many brands don't have a CMO until later stages in the business. That's because, in the early stages, startups are still in the product development phase. In those stages, they may be more prioritized in the creation and new iteration of the product rather than brand awareness and sales.
As your business begins to mature, it may be more beneficial to hire a fractional CMO or outsourced marketing rather than an internal CMO. We'll cover everything you need to know about hiring a CMO, such as when to hire, the benefits, and how to pick the right one. Let's begin!
Signs You Need to Hire a CMO
A chief marketing officer can play a pivotal role in a company. However, there are many reasons to hire one. For an early-stage startup, a CMO could get the new product into the hands of an initial testing group. As the company begins to mature, a CMO is extremely vital to build brand awareness and gain traction quickly. This can be the launchpad that leads to the maturity of a company. Large companies need a CMO to develop concrete marketing systems, implement more robust technologies and implement more standardized training for employees. Here are some tale-tell signs that signify that you may need to hire a CMO:
Your competitors are growing much faster than your business.
A lack of growth can jeopardize your company's position within the marketplace. If your direct competitors are growing while your company remains stagnant, you risk falling behind the times.
When we say "competitors," we mean companies that are about the same company size (annual revenue) in the same industry along with a similar business model. It's unfair to compare yourself to larger companies with the bandwidth and resources to scale faster. However, there's no reason to fall behind direct competitors, especially for local businesses, where the audience is finite, and competitors are directly competing to capture the same pool of audience.
Hiring a CMO helps to redirect your brand's focus, pull it out of stagnation and ensure it's staying up to date with the latest trends and technologies within the industry.
You feel the need to revamp your marketing strategy.
Sometimes, your existing marketing plan may be failing you. Perhaps, you're using the wrong marketing channels, don't have a proper funnel place, or have a predictable lead generation system to capture prospects into your funnel.
A strong marketing plan should be optimized to fit your company's long-term and short-term goals. An outsourced chief officer can provide fresh new insights that move the needle in your company and take it to the next level.
Your company's brand voice lacks consistency or clarity.
Most marketing campaigns utilize different methods of communication such as social media platforms, advertising, email, content marketing, etc. Across all channels and campaigns, a company must ensure that the brand voice is consistent and clear.
Many companies will hire marketing personnel with varied skillsets. However, the marketing team doesn't work as a cohesive unit. There's because there isn't a person steering the ship. Having a single person who is in charge of the entire marketing department helps to create consistency within your brand message, no matter how the message is distributed.
Since there are so many platforms at your disposal in the marketplace, it's vital to convey passion in every piece of content distributed. A fractional CMO helps your business connect to the right audience while understanding what your company is all about. Typically, a unique brand voice will set your company apart from your competitors, who seem like they're all doing the same thing.
Your internal marketing team needs a CMO.
If your existing marketing team is small or non-existent, hiring an outsourced CMO will be beneficial. A chief marketing officer provides your staff with a leader who can assist with current and future projects while injecting their creativity and industry expertise. They'll be able to use forward-thinking strategies and innovative technologies and view your marketing campaign with a bird's eye view.
What does a CMO do?
A chief marketing officer (CMO) is a c-level executive responsive to activities that involve creating, communicating, and delivering the product offerings that have value for customers. Their primary goal is the increase sales and facilitate growth by developing a comprehensive marketing strategy that helps promote brand recognition and assist the organization in gaining a competitive advantage. CMOS must be exceptional leads and create a strong brand voice and help to communicate the company's unique value proposition to the audience.
Typically, the CMO is responsible for developing the strategy for branding, advertising, and customer outreach. They oversee the following functions across all product lines and geographies within the organization:
- Understand the organization's position within the marketplace, using data analytics and other innovative technologies
- Determine how and where the business should be positioned in the future
- Create the strategy to drive the company to the future market position
- Assist in the execution of that strategy
Full-Time CMO vs. Fractional CMO
Aside from rock, paper, and scissors, there's a better way to determine what type of CMO you need for your business. A fractional CMO is an outsourced marketing executive who joins a company to build or lead the company's marketing function on a part-time basis. Also, they may come from a third-party organization that specializes in marketing for your particular industry. Conversely, a full-time CMO is someone who works inside of your company and is a full-time member of the team.
Fractional CMO works within your business for a set period of months with a specific goal in mind. This means they won't be fully integrated as a full-time CMO would. Here are some of the advantages of hiring a fractional CMO:
They're less expensive than a full-time internal CMO:
A full-time internal CEO can be quite expensive. They may require a large salary along with lucrative bonuses. Or perhaps, they may even ask for a partnership deal. If you want to improve your marketing and sales but don't have the budget from an internal executive, hire a fractional CMO to help you get your desired results without an internal hire.
You can experiment working with them for several months without fully committing to them:
A fractional CMO allows you to test the waters before hiring them. If they don't fit your ideal company culture or aren't able to meet the goals that they have laid out, you can move on from them once the contract ends.
You can hire them for a special marketing channel or campaign instead of being involved in your entire marketing strategy:
With a fractional CMO, you can choose which strategies and channels they work on based on their area of expertise. For example, you can hire a fractional CMO who is an expert in paid ads to help your ad campaigns succeed and achieve the desired ROI you're looking for.
How An Outsourced CMO Can improve Marketing ROI
The scope of responsibilities for a CMO is constantly evolving to adapt to the emerging marketing trends and technologies. Gone are the days of simply increasing top-line revenue generated by marketing activities. Nowadays, companies are searching for an outsourced CMO that can leverage innovative marketing strategies and technologies to reduce customer churn rate through a persona-driven brand. This means utilizing marketing content and personalized content based on where the consumer is in the buying journey. This means to increase conversions, decrease costs, and earn customer loyalty along with extending the customer's lifetime value.
Here are some ways that an outsourced CMO can improve your company's marketing ROI:
Reinvigorate your employees:
A new leader can help to inspire and reinvigorate company morale. If a marketing team is disjointed or dysfunctional, the members can lack morale which negatively affects the productivity of the team. A CMO can be the voice to help inspire and give the team a new sense of direction that it has been missing previously.
Invest in low-cost marketing strategies:
Strategies like content marketing and social media are affordable ways to build brand awareness and achieve long-term success. SEO-driven tactics allow your efforts to be compounded over time. As your business begins to rank, you'll start to rank for pages for months or even years. The cost to produce content is much less expensive compared to paid advertisement or other strategies.
Use innovative strategies:
If your company is still using outdated methods like radio, TV, newspaper, or simply word of mouth, it's time to upgrade your marketing strategy. Nowadays, people are searching online for your brand. When they are looking for a certain product or service, they tend to search Google first. Thus, it's important to use effective strategies such as SEO and SEM marketing strategies.
Better campaign results:
If you're already running ad campaigns, hiring a CMO can help you get better results. They often have decades of marketing expertise along with industry-specific expertise to help your business grow. They can analyze your existing campaigns and see what is currently wrong. From there, they can tweak or completely create new campaigns to achieve your desired results.
Incorporate back-end systems:
A CMO usually thinks big-picture. They may see that you are failing to engage existing customers. Thus, a CMO may recommend incorporating new revenue streams such as cross-sells, upsells, or even subscription-based models to increase the lifetime value of your customers.
These are just a few examples of how an outsourced CMO can immediately impact marketing return on investment.
Reasons to Partner With an Outsourced CMO
53% of B2B marketing executives in a Forrester survey claimed that they plan to outsource over half of their marketing activities. Now that you understand some of the benefits of an outsourced CMO, let's discuss why you should partner with one for your business.
Frees Up Cash Flow
When you decide to outsource marketing strategy and implementation, you get what you pay for. Since outsourcing costs less than a full-time hire, and you'll see increased profits compared to another employee on payroll, you are saving a lot of money. However, when you hire outsourced CMO services, you understand that the money you invest with them as an entity is effective, meaning there's a higher chance that they will help you achieve your desired marketing goals.
Leveraging a fractional CMO also helps your employees save time to perform their own jobs, furthering the cost-effectiveness. Outsourcing for marketing services means that you are paying for results, which is the only criteria. Having in-house staff members means that you are paying for the time they spend rather than the results. The extra money saved can be used for other areas of the business or can be reinvested back into marketing to grow even further.
A Wealth of Knowledge and Experience
Outsourcing is incredibly advantageous, especially since the CMO has a wealth of expertise and knowledge you can lean on. For example, if you're planning on entering new markets, such as targeting new audiences or starting a new product line, the worst option is probably to hire an in-house employee. That's because an external expert with a proven track record can ensure that you also see success in your new marketing campaigns.
Additionally, small or mid-sized companies with a lack of clear vision and marketing strategy should hire a fractional CMO. They offer dozens of years of experience with tactical execution and strategic planning. They've gone through challenges in many industries and offer a unique skill set that most likely doesn't exist within your company.
With the expert skillset of an outsourced CMO, you can launch your marketing initiatives smarter and faster. Not to mention, an experienced fractional CMO has connections with other influential industry leaders and can help recruit talent or lend their information to your company. As a result, it means you'll reach your marketing goals faster and save you a lot of trouble with trial and error.
Boost in Company Productivity
Hiring is one of the many tasks you'll need to solve. Having someone you trust who you can hand over the keys to regarding marketing lets you focus on the essential areas of the business. As a business owner, you can double down on the key drivers of your business and help to deliver exceptional customer service further. Furthermore, your employees will have more time, leading to increased productivity.
The CMO helps to monitor the customer experience from a marketing perspective. This means taking a closer look at how people perceive your brand and the overall experience when going through the customer journey. A CMO helps analyze your existing marketing strategy and make big-picture changes to help your business thrive.
How a CMO can help Your business
Every CMO is different; some may have different expertise than others. Here are some of the common services of a fractional CMO:
- Marketing strategy: Your CMO will work with your leadership team to establish 30, 60, 90, 180, and 365-day goals. These goals allow them to craft the right long-term strategy. When performing market and analytical research, the goals become top of mind. As the goals are executed, quarterly assessments are performed to ensure goals are being met.
- Paid advertising: Paid advertising is a great way to capture leads and gain more sales. Skilled ad specialists can provide a great ROI with your ad campaigns.
- Sales copy: Strong and persuasive copywriting is needed to connect with prospects and build urgency in converting the sale.
- Content and SEO: Content marketing and SEO are necessary to rank on search engines. Doing so gives you a consistent flow of traffic to your website from an audience searching for your products or services.
- Web and funnel design: Websites need to be optimized properly to help facilitate engagement and lead to the sale. Every site should be optimized in accordance with the search engine algorithms, such as fast site speeds and mobile-friendly optimization.
- Social media: Interacting with the right audience on social media is a key foundation for any brand. There are billions of engaged users on social media, and tapping into this large audience can help further grow your brand.
- Email marketing and automation: Email marketing is a powerful way to connect and nurture your prospects through the buying journey. A strong automation system can help you predictably close deals or at least nurture prospects until they are ready to buy.
- Lead generation: Acquiring leads is the heart of any marketing campaign. Most CMOs work to reduce the cost per lead, increase the number of qualified leads and warm up the prospects so that your sales teams can close them.
- Conversion rate optimization: Conversion is important with any campaign. Optimizing the campaign, strategy, targeting, website, copy, and ad creative can help to improve conversions.
What to look for in a CMO
When hiring for a CMO, it's crucial to look for the following qualities:
- Strong knowledge of market research: CMOs should know how to perform market research to identify potential opportunities for your company to leverage or find potential threats that could inhibit growth. It can take from finding keywords to ranking for SEO or audiences that can resonate with your brand.
- Expertise in product marketing: The CMO should know everything it takes to launch a marketing initiative for a product. This means crafting campaigns finding the right audience, and strategies that help to build trust with prospects.
- Strong communication and team management skills: You likely already have some marketing personnel in place. In this case, you'll want a CMO that can help drive company culture by managing and inspiring your team to work efficiently. They can provide the most up-to-date training and software, which helps to invigorate current staff members.
- Digital marketing skills: Digital marketing is an essential skill set in today's evolving market. It's important to know how to leverage different social media platforms, and strategies like SEO paid digital advertising and content marketing.
If your company is struggling to hit your business or revenue goals, it's time to hire a fractional CMO. The right person for the job can help your business grow faster and more efficiently with their expertise.
Fortunately, at Universal Creative Solutions, we offer all of these qualifications to help your brand succeed. We listen to your company's needs and develop a customized marketing solution designed to help you reach your business goals. Rather than pay an internal CMO that can suck up your checkbooks, we deliver results for a fraction of the cost. Book a consultation call with us and learn how we can help!