One issue I often see in the B2B world is that the marketing budget doesn’t necessarily support the business goals. In fact, the marketing budget sometimes isn’t really about marketing at all! I’ve seen items that should be in the sales or operations budgets, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard that this year’s marketing budget is simply last year’s plus a percentage.
It doesn’t have to be that way and taking a more proactive and thoughtful approach to the marketing budget can really pay dividends for growth-minded B2B companies. But, taking that strategic approach to your budget and selling it to the C-Suite usually means hiring a top-notch CMO. With traditional hiring, that’s beyond the reach of many companies—but it doesn’t have to be.
A fractional CMO can be a cost-effective solution that allows you to punch above your weight when it comes to making the marketing budget work for your business. It’s a great way for a business to access top-quality, experienced talent without all the heavy fixed costs weighing you down.
However, the benefits of a fractional CMO extend beyond simply reducing staff costs which typically run to about 25% of the marketing budget – about the same as a company’s paid media costs. Bringing a fractional CMO on board means your business can leverage experience, technology, and data in a way that might be out of reach for your in-house team.
Here are five ways a fractional CMO can help make your marketing dollars work more effectively.
1. Creating a strong foundation
Your marketing should help you develop a pipeline, guide qualified contacts and leads through a coherent buyers journey, and ultimately close more business. Chances are, your current approach is more about tactics than the overall strategy. But if you want to leverage your marketing budget and develop a more predictable pipeline, you need a solid foundation. You can’t skip this step. Your brand, messaging, website, and go-to-market plan need to align.
Building that foundation is a heavy strategic lift and best suited to someone with a track record in the area. A fractional CMO likely has experience setting these things in place in multiple companies, with an understanding of what it takes and the confidence to convince the C-Suite of the value of spending time and money to get the fundamentals in place.
2. Focusing on the goals
It’s often not just the assets that need a strategic overhaul. With the right foundation in place, you can take a clear-eyed strategic look at how marketing goals align with the company’s growth targets. It’s not just a matter of having the right size of budget; it’s knowing how to leverage the brand, messaging, and other foundational elements in the right channels to the right audience at the right time.
A fractional CMO can brings a fresh perspective, informed by insight into the latest trends, technologies, and what works for multiple companies with different missions and goals. They are in a good position to design a marketing plan tailored to your specific goals, budget, and market position. You get what you need and no more.
3. Using intentional methodologies to get the results you want
If you have aggressive growth goals, you need the right size of marketing budget to support them and the most effective channels and tactics to reach and convert your target customers. As marketing has evolved, specific methodologies have emerged, each appropriate for different situations. If you’re trying to attract a high volume of smaller customers, then an inbound marketing method designed to draw a lot of leads might be the right fit. But a much more targeted account-based marketing (ABM) methodology is likely better if you’re trying to catch a few giant whales.
An experienced fractional CMO understands the ideal mix of channels and tactics for your situation and can quickly steer you away from marketing efforts that likely won’t produce the results you want. This opens up a real possibility to leverage the cost of marketing automation technology to help you nurture leads and engage sales at the right time so they’re not knocking on cold doors—an expensive way to sell in today’s era.
Since you pay for exactly what you need and no more, being intentional about your marketing execution can stretch a lean budget further and make every dollar work harder to reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC) and boost conversions.
4. Leveraging data and metrics to optimize spending
In today’s business landscape, data is king. With access to abundant information about current and potential customers, data is the key to informed decisions that drive business growth. And a fractional CMO is armed with the skills and expertise to help you leverage this data to your advantage.
Gone are the days of blindly throwing money at generic ad campaigns and hoping for the best. A fractional CMO can help you take a more scientific approach to analyzing your marketing budget. By scrutinizing and interpreting the data trends, he or she can identify opportunities for optimization, test new strategies and tactics, and measure performance to improve ROI.
By focusing on what works and proactively refining your approach, you can reduce your customer acquisition costs and increase your internal marketing investment. It’s like hitting the jackpot in terms of business growth.
Moreover, with access to industry benchmarks, a fractional CMO can also show you what your competitors are spending on marketing, giving you the competitive edge you need to stay ahead of the game. By tying marketing spend to specific customer acquisition and other growth goals, you can be sure that your investment is delivering real, measurable results.
This is also the language of the C-Suite. Being able to present data and KPIs, explain trends and respond quickly to issues goes a long way in securing the budget and other resources you need. It takes the “voodoo” out of the marketing budget. A fractional CMO is the ideal partner, with the experience and external credentials to appear credible to your leadership team.
5. Freeing up more of the budget for marketing impact
The final great advantage of working with a fractional CMO is access to a network of other fractional specialists who can provide the specific expertise you need. It is much more cost-effective than relying on a small team of marketing generalists who may not have the skills to manage complex, specific demand or lead generation aspects. For the most impact, you really want the Julia Child of the particular tactic—someone who knows the field inside out and can deliver exceptional results. With fractional marketing support, you bring on the high quality skills you need without committing to a full-time hire.
In turn, you’ll get more from your marketing dollars, and you’ll have more to spend on paid media and outreach versus spending on full-time generalists who may not be the optimal contributors to your marketing program.
In short, working with a fractional CMO is not just a good business decision – it’s a strategic investment in your company’s future.