How Scale-Ups Benefit from Working with a Fractional CMO


Many businesses need to rethink the shape of their operations in the current evolving climate. One way that scale-up organisations can benefit from using a Fractional CMO is to have someone to help their young team develop their skills, guiding them in strategy and decision-making, without having the costs of a full-time CMO on board. 

We have recently interviewed one of our clients - an organisation operating on a franchise model in the holiday sector. Their previously steadily growing business needed to scale dramatically as more people sought to holiday in the safety of family bubbles and within their home countries during the pandemic. 

The company also found that several senior marketing staff members had moved onto new roles in different organisations. Seeing the talent in a young intern, they sought to nurture her capabilities under the guidance of a Fractional CMO at this pivotal moment in the company’s trajectory instead of bringing new full-time staff members on board.

Here, the company's CEO answers our questions and explains how working with a Fractional CMO supported the company in achieving its goals while helping her in her career development to benefit all parties.

Why did you and your company seek the support of a Fractional CMO?

First, it started getting to where things were happening within the business that I hadn’t come across before. Second, I needed someone who knew about marketing theory and had the experience of applying it to guide me. 
Bringing in a marketing consultant or Fractional CMO was something we had looked into before the pandemic began. However, when Covid hit, it presented us with different challenges for the company and, as a result, the market department. That escalated our need for a senior marketing expert. 
The idea was that with the support of a marketing expert, I would be able to manage the day-to-day side of things and eventually build a team under me.

How did the process work?

Initially, we would catch up for half an hour a day to go over particular issues or questions that had arisen. That was extremely helpful for navigating through Covid-19, the lockdowns, and coming out of the lockdowns. It required a fundamental understanding of marketing and the ability to apply it to an entirely new situation. It was also wonderful to have someone to bounce ideas off and check my thinking. 
In particular, our gigCMO Fractional CMO shows a genuine interest in the company and the individual, giving us confidence and reassurance in what we’re doing. He’s also got excellent knowledge of the technicalities and theory of marketing and its application, so we were able to talk about everything from analytics to running a PR campaign and internal marketing challenges.

Was working with a marketing expert what you expected?

It has been far better than I expected. That initial half an hour a day approach was great, but we soon realised we needed more time to get into more significant areas of strategy and planning and apply my knowledge. So, we have gradually increased the amount we work together, and it’s been integral to meeting the needs of a business that has grown exponentially over the last 18 months.

What surprised you about working with a Fractional CMO?

It surprised me how quickly I learned and how far I have come in a comparatively short time. It wasn’t just about investing in the business, but investing in me and my role within the company as well, which has been personally valuable and made me feel much more empowered and enthusiastic in my work. When faced with board meetings with senior leadership, I felt far more confident in what I was saying and presenting. 

Were there any specific issues where their marketing expertise helped?

One of the most significant changes I saw was in the perception of marketing's role in the organisation and the importance of taking a helicopter view and understanding the drivers of the business and the value proposition. The team at gigCMO is data-informed, so of course, we focused on understanding the total addressable market and customer profiling. This provided a basis for segmenting our customers, and now we can truly understand the target audience for each segment. We are even now looking at P&Ls for each segment! 

Of course, it isn't just the strategy that the Fractional CMO influenced but our tactics and execution. There were so many different areas that we benefited in, from reporting to using our marketing tech stack to its most significant effect, email campaigns and navigating messaging through Covid-19. It was even helpful to learn what kind of questions to ask when looking at purchasing potential new solutions for different marketing needs.
Perhaps the most prominent area in which the support of a Fractional CMO has helped is managing the changes in marketing and communications as the company has scaled up. For example, we have gone from a new organisation signing its first franchise to having more than 40 franchisees within two years. That has required changes in how we liaise with franchisees and our policies on everything from social media to email campaigns and sign off processes. 
Having the support of a Fractional CMO has helped us grow as a business and, as essential for me too, has helped me grow as a marketing professional. I actually have recommended my friend to consider gigCMO's recently launched CMO Whisperer programme.
Find out how a Fractional CMO could help your team and your business.

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