We’ve had a few questions recently from people asking about the role of a Chief Marketing Officer, CMO, CMO for Hire, Fractional CMO and vCMO (virtual Chief Marketing Officer) so….. we are sharing more info to clarify, here.
So, here are some of the FAQs about working with a CMO for Hire.
What is a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer, or Fractional CMO?
What does a Fractional CMO, vCMO or CMO for Hire do?
Why do organizations need a vCMO?
How much does a vCMO cost when compared to a full time CMO?
As a result, we are sharing the answers to the FAQs above and adding in some additional details to help organizations understand the benefits of a vCMO.
First, we will start with a definition. What is a CMO?
What is a fractional CMO?
A fractional CMO is a marketing executive hired by an organization that helps with customer acquisition, sales development and company growth. The hiring company gets marketing executive experience and leadership without the full-time cost of hiring a CMO.
Is a fractional CMO the same thing as a CMO for hire?
According to Forbes, a fractional CMO is “a marketer who works with businesses for a fixed amount of time in a given month, often just a handful of hours.”
At KIRated Communications, our vCMO or CMO for Hire services equate to a fractional CMO. That is to say, for a monthly retainer, we offer our marketing expertise. In other words, a company will get the benefits of a CMO without the capital outlay of hiring someone full time.
What are three key things a vCMO or CMO for hire does for an organization?
- First, they develop strategies to support a brand and achieve company goals
- Second, the CMO provides executive level marketing leadership and motivates an in house marketing team
- Thirdly, they keep marketing efforts on track with unique and creative ideas & resources
Are there any other tasks or responsibilities a vCMO or CMO for hire handles for an organization?
YES! There are many tasks the vCMO can handle. For example, they
- Work with C-Suite executives to achieve agreement on marketing goals
- Oversee development and implementation of marketing campaigns
- Secure and manage marketing budgets
- Improve internal communications, for example, during the campaign the vCMO shares outcomes with other C-suite execs, and reports to Board of Directors on achieved KPIs
- Develop fresh and impactful strategies to achieve goals (i.e., drive awareness, new customer acquisition, employee retention or overall business growth)
- In addition, they may work with national and local marketing partners to build campaigns that engage new and current customers
- Most importantly, the vCMO will plan, activate and oversee campaigns and promotions to help your company stand out in the marketplace
What are the benefits of hiring a vCMO or CMO for Hire?
Hiring a vCMO or CMO for hire, allows the hiring company to leverage the expertise and insights of an experienced marketing leader. A vCMO or CMO for hire is an established marketing executive that can be hired at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full time CMO. The hiring company can find the right combination of experience and executive presence at a fixed price point they can afford.
In other words, the hiring company gets marketing executive experience and leadership without the full-time cost of hiring a CMO.
At KIRated our CMO for hire has led marketing for brands in nearly every category of business including auto, education, entertainment, finance, healthcare, pharma, and technology. We have built campaigns for many well known brands. Some of these include American Express, Blue Cross, Eli Lilly, Intuit, Quicken Loans, Verizon and Zillow.
How much does it cost to hire a full time CMO vs. a vCMO or CMO for hire?
Compensation for full time CMOs vary widely. Depending on the skills, experience and region the person may get paid more or less. The salary range looks to be $178k – $700k+ as annual base salary. This does not include bonus pay, and the salary range quoted are based on a quick Google search. Fractional CMOs, a CMO for hire, or vCMO by contrast, usually collect a set fee or monthly retainer. The vCMO fee covers a block of hours of dedicated time to manage marketing for a company. The vCMO fee or retainer is a much smaller outlay that a full time CMO salary.
At KIRated our vCMO retainer usually ranges from ~$5k-$10k a month. Each CMO for Hire engagement is customized to meet particular client/organizational needs. An individual Scope of Work (SOW) will be prepared and agreed to prior to any agreement being signed.
What does a typical Scope of Work (SOW) include for a vCMO engagement?
A typical SOW outlines the agreement terms between the company and consultant. For example, it could say, the vCMO will work with the team to plan, implement, and oversee marketing activity for a specific time period, with clear deliverables outlined.
How many hours per month will a vCMO work with a company?
Depending on the complexity of the project there could be more or less vCMO time spent. We recommend reviewing in detail the expectations and the needs for the vCMO. There is typically a startup phase, where the vCMO is gathering intel and evaluating how best to proceed. During the onboarding, we have found it best for the vCMO to be involved in all relevant meetings (even as an observer) to get a gauge on the team dynamics.
Since a vCMO is not a FTE (full time employee) they will not be on call 24/7.
At the onset, the vCMO will share the days/times for her dedicated on call blocks of hours each week. Depending on the agreement, it could be a few hours, or a few full days every week. With a set schedule, the team knows when the vCMO is “on call” and available for meetings etc… In addition, there may be additional separate status calls with the vCMO and the organization. The timing and cadence of these calls would be determined at the onset of an agreement. These could include, one high level status call with Founder/C-Suite members. The second meeting could be just the marketing team. For instance, this could be an all hands on deck status call or meeting with the marketing team members who are directly involved in delivering results for the company.
What else will a vCMO provide that an in-house mid level marketing team doesn’t?
Throughout the engagement, the vCMO will provide high level feedback. They will review operationally how the campaign/s are progressing, discuss findings, explore recommendations, and share ways to maximize ROI. In addition, at the end of a campaign or project, the vCMO will brief the executive team and provide analysis of campaign performance versus goals.
There are a number of additional deliverables that an experienced senior marketing leader can provide to an organization. But a more junior level or less experienced marketers won’t have the ability to provide.
For instance, all of the below can be included as part of the virtual CMO SOW agreement as needed…
- a SWOT analysis
- a marketing audit
- historical performance analysis & feedback
- creative review & recommendations
- department structure & responsibilities
- forward planning strategy
To sum it up, as a result of hiring an experienced vCMO there will be positive changes to your marketing campaigns. In addition, it will help improve the marketing team. Most importantly, the positioning of your company will be poised for future growth. Certainly, that is what every company is striving for.
Learn more about hiring a fractional Chief Marketing Officer, fractional CMO, vCMO or CMO for Hire from this article in Forbes.
The basics for any successful marketing campaign are quite simple…
To learn more about the marketing expertise provided by KIRated Communications and view other services offered.
Kirsten has been a landscaper, a lifeguard and a liquor store clerk. An entrepreneur at heart, her early paychecks came from various roles, including babysitter, pachysandra broker, pet-sitter, cashier, receptionist and office clerk. After almost 30 years living/working in NYC, in 2019 Voege moved to the 518. The 518 is the Capital Region of NY state, and includes Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga counties. The Nielsen DMA is Albany-Schenectady-Troy (#57) with a population of more than 1.2MM people. (IYKYK)
The consultancy Kirated Communications provides strategic marketing and business consulting. Since its founding, Kirated has been working with companies in the real estate, financial services, technology, entertainment, SaaS, healthcare and auto industries. Founded by Kirsten Voege who has led marketing & media for many well known consumer brands, including, Amazon, American Express, Anthem, Bacardi, Eli Lilly, Intuit, J&J, L’Oreal, Merck, Match, Nordic Track, Quicken Loans, Verizon and Zillow.