Why You Should Hire a Fractional Marketing Director

by Debra Andrews | June 2, 2020

Hiring a Fractional CMO has become more commonplace in recent years, especially for mid-sized B2B companies that need the strategic presence and mindset of a marketing leader but only on a part-time or interim basis. A Fractional Marketing Director is similar in concept to a Fractional CMO, but it’s a little different in terms of expectations and experience.

Hiring a Fractional Marketing Director gives companies flexibility in their marketing staffing, while keeping expenses low and leaving more budget for executing marketing campaigns. The Fractional Marketing Director is primed for companies that need less executive leadership and want to focus their spend on a spread of strategy, planning, execution, or measurement.

What is a Fractional Marketing Director? 

A Fractional Marketing Director is a part-time marketing resource who provides direction, guidance, and leadership to a company’s marketing department. The people who work in this role have a lot of experience across marketing channels like digital, social, web, SEO, and events. This gives them the ability to research, plan, and manage 360-degree marketing campaigns.

Fractional Marketing Directors are great additions to marketing teams, both as leaders and tacticians for the department and organization. Within an organization, they’re skilled at working across departments, presentation marketing initiatives, and reporting on results.

They’re particularly useful if you want to make your current marketing department’s efforts more impactful, close some knowledge gaps, and train employees on a combination of tactical and strategic skills. They understand how to delegate marketing activities to the right team members, mentor those who need support, and execute tactics when they need to.

Marketing departments are the main revenue drivers in many consumer-facing companies. These companies often have large departments and carve out roles for specialized (or several specialized) employees who focus on one discipline of marketing. At middle-market B2B companies, we typically see smaller marketing departments and marketing plans that are better suited to marketing generalists than specialists. A Fractional Marketing Director can be a great addition to those types of marketing departments, which can greatly benefit from seasoned, director-level talent to incrementally improve results and the capacity of the staff.

Another great use of a Fractional Marketing Director is in reporting, vendor relationship and budgeting, which often fall by the wayside in middle-market companies. The breadth of work in those marketing departments often causes teams to forgo these tasks to move onto the next hurdle, or even because they don’t have the skills required to tackle these tasks. Vendors may need more attention to ensure they keep up with their service-level agreements, don’t over-charge, and deliver what’s expected. Experienced directors also know how to plan a budget, estimate costs of campaigns, and foresee additional marketing needs that will require dollars.

As with every job description, a Fractional Marketing Director can fit in where they are needed – be it on a certain project, initiative, or overall marketing efforts.

You may need a Fractional Marketing Director if…

  • You have a set of company initiatives that need marketing support to kick off or take them to the next level.
  • You have a lot of tactical generalists, but lack management and leadership to execute a cohesive marketing campaign.
  • You need someone to amplify the effectiveness of your marketing team’s work.
  • You have started a lot of marketing initiatives and plans, but can’t seem to get them across the finish line.
  • You are marketing tactically, but you are missing a holistic view of how your marketing is performing and how to improve it.
  • You need someone to direct your team on best practices of tactical marketing.
  • Your current Marketing Director is leaving, and you need someone to fill in.
  • You see the need for (or are) implementing a large marketing technology like HubSpot or Marketro and you need extra bandwidth to complete the project.
  • You recently implemented a CRM or marketing automation platform and need to ensure that you are using the tools to capture, nurture, and convert leads.
  • You are launching a new product or business line that needs to be proven before investing in a full-time resource.
  • Your marketing is stuck in a rut of “how we’ve always done it,” and it’s not as effective as it used to be.
  • You want to implement an ABM strategy and need a hands-on leader for the initiative and/or to get sales and marketing on the same page.
  • You see the B2B marketing shift to more digital, more mobile, more customer-first, and you don’t have the knowledge in-house to adapt.

If any of the above describe you, or a challenge you are facing, then hiring a Fractional Marketing Director could be a good solution for you.

Aside from the experience and skills they bring to the table, hiring someone on a contractual basis has a lot of benefits. For one, it’s cheaper than hiring someone full-time with benefits, so you’ll get more bang for your buck. You can also avoid the difficulties inherent in hiring for full-time roles, including cultural fit assessments and fear of a full-time hire churning quickly. (On the contrary, their motivation will be to extend their contract, so they are more apt to contribute quickly, stay on goal, and go above and beyond.) Hiring a Fractional Marketing Director may not be right for everyone, but it offers a lot of upsides for middle-market B2B companies looking to augment their existing marketing efforts.

More on Structuring Your Marketing Department

If you’re considering expanding your marketing function but aren’t sure about in-house or fractional marketing talent, we’ve put together a checklist to help you find the right approach for your organization: