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It’s not easy being a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) these days. According to featured search at Forbes, the average seniority of a CMO is only 3.5 years. Compare that to the average 6.9-year term as a CEO, and you’ll get a sense of how sad that statistic is.

average graph of seniority of C-level executives

If you’ve worked in marketing, you probably have an idea why such a vital role can be replaced so quickly. Marketing (find out why we don’t call it “digital marketing” specifically by clicking here), is a very dynamic and evolving part of business these days, and managing it is getting more and more difficult.

It’s the Wild West in the marketing industry right now. You have to embrace this and realize that you may not be quite equipped to judge new marketers as effectively as you have in the past.

Why go through the pain, time and expense of verifying and integrating a CMO that could turn out to be in vain in less than a year? Why not test a potential CMO before hiring, or get a premium CMO to temporarily guide your existing marketing department while you get your next campaign in order?

This is where fractional CMO comes in.

A fractional CMO is someone who acts as your company’s marketing manager, but is hired as an entrepreneur or consultant.

Why are long-term CMOs so hard to find?

Good CMOs are actually REALLY easy to find. Advertise and you will likely get over 100 submissions from many qualified and experienced professionals. Many will be excellent in interviews, their past results will shine and their credentials will sparkle.

The problem is that they won’t be long term. Just think about your last CMO.

It’s not that your last CMO was inherently bad, he just didn’t “fit”. Or the income has not grown fast enough. Or they misjudged their projections. Or the CEO / CFO / COO / etc hated their guts. Or whatever.

The truth is, letting go of a CMO is easy because the results are VERY tangible and obvious. While a CEO can blame a number of abstract factors such as the economy, world events, the movements of competitors and the actions of each department, analyzing the performance of the marketing director is straightforward. They look something like this:

CMO ACTIONS = GROWTH / DECLINE IN TURNOVER

The incomes are going down, they did a bad job and you can’t argue with exact numbers. You should have left with that other candidate who looked better. Then the cycle will repeat.

How to judge your fractional CMO chart

Why aren’t CMOs more efficient?

The position of Marketing Director is very different from what it was five years ago. Between new methodology, technological development and societal change (click here for a more detailed breakdown), today’s CMO has a lot to think about.

Here are some of the reasons CMOs are so short-lived in business today:

  • Traditional Marketing Managers lack the experience to effectively manage current marketing techniques
  • A lack of understanding of the business they are marketing for
  • Too much focus on short-term results rather than long-term goals
  • Lack of support from other executives
  • Lack of resources or adequate marketing budget to implement plans

The solution to high CMO turnover: fractional CMO

With the role of marketing evolving every day, it’s easy to see how hiring a good CMO has become a monumental task.

At DigitalMarketer, our entire business is built around the skills to be a successful marketer in the 2020s, and let me tell you, the list is not short.

Here are some of the benefits your business can gain from using a split CMO for your next marketing campaign:

  • Easily assess results based on time-limited contracts and campaigns
  • Create an effective brand education process when transitioning between multiple F-CMOs
  • Save money in the form of employment-related expenses (insurance, workplace accidents, etc.)
  • Test different CMO personality types before committing to long-term agreements

Why 2021 is the year to use a fractional CMO

Outsourcing in general has grown tremendously in recent years. In 2019, it was estimated that more than a third (37%) of all companies outsourced a business process. Also, one of the major outsourced components was marketing.

After the health challenges of 2020 and 2021, you can see why this percentage could definitely increase. Everything has changed, both the task of marketing and the environment in which it is used. You can’t afford to make a costly hiring mistake during such a vital transition period.

You need to start using fractional CMOs.

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