Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I go solo and dive into the trend in the marketing consultancy agency world that is: Fractional Chief Marketing Officers or CMOs. This episode is a must-listen for business owners, marketing professionals, and consultants seeking a game-changing approach to business growth. […]
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John (00:08): Hello, welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantz, and I’m going to do a solo show. It’s been a while since I’ve done one. So there’s a couple topics I want to get off my chest, so might do a couple shows in a row. Who knows? This first topic I want to talk about today is a trend, I guess definitely a trend that I’m seeing, and it applies to anybody in the marketing consulting agency world as well as frankly to anyone who owns a business in terms of how to get your marketing done, how to think about your marketing more strategically, and that’s the trend of what I will call the fractional CMO Chief Marketing Officer. This idea of fractional whatever titles, accountants, fractional management consultants, fractional hiring consultants. I think that this idea has really taken on a life of its own recently, probably like so many things here in the beginning of 2023, very influenced by the pandemic, but what I’ve seen is many, many business owners over the years really are looking for a marketing agency, a marketing consultant, somebody to get the tactical things done.
(01:25): They quite frankly, rarely hire unless they’re from a marketing background. They rarely hire strategic marketing folks internally because quite frankly, when you bring somebody in at a really high level to do marketing in your business as an employee, and you’re the owner of that business and don’t feel like you know that much about marketing or how to direct really a strategic marketing, dare I say, CMO type of role in your business, it can be a little intimidating. And I’ve experienced that over the years. A lot of times I’ve been hired, my firm’s been hired because there’s something easier about saying, Hey, this isn’t working out. It’s not an employee, it’s a vendor almost. And so they can part ways, but I think what’s happened over the last few years is people have dramatically increased their understanding and desire to really start with strategy. I mean, it’s been my mantra for 20 years strategy before tactics, but I think people are finally getting it right.
(02:23): And so this idea that they would hire a C-suite type of role where the implication is that that person’s going to be strategic, that person’s not going to write copy necessarily or do social media posts. They’re going to really develop the grand plan for how you’re going to go from where you’re today to where you want to be, certainly from a marketing standpoint, but they’re going to get involved in the dollars and cents of it, the objectives overall for the organization, maybe a little deeper relationship than you would think of your traditional marketing agency, but we are finding that both business owners are really embracing this idea of hiring us or somebody as a fractional CMO. And certainly a lot of consultants, agencies, coach implementers I’m finding are really drawn to this idea of maybe having a handful of clients that they are very deeply involved with and have a seat at the table for making or helping make big decisions, and obviously orchestrating the tactics, the implementation, maybe in some cases the team that’s already been assembled.
(03:31): So just the textbook definition, what is a fraction CMO? It’s a marketing strategist brought into an organization on a part-time basis to help set strategic direction and orchestrate marketing implementation using internal and external resources. So I spent the last 10 minutes just talking about what I just described there, but again, this role, this idea really has a lot of, I think a lot of appeal to business owners because it is a necessary piece that I think that you can acquire, or at least the idea you can acquire for much less. I mean, look at Google Trends if you ever do that. The term fractional CMO is definitely on the rise, and I think a lot of it has to do with, I think people are tired of the tactic of the week of no real direction. Everybody says they want customers, but a lot of the CEOs, business owners that I talk to, what they really need is some clarity first and the confidence that they’re making the right decisions and some control over their marketing.
(04:31): And I think that that’s a big part of what you get by at least taking this strategy approach and by bringing in somebody that is very strategic to help you get those customers. And the role of a typical CMO in an organization is strategic planning, brand management, obviously the marketing campaigns, analyzing data, helping develop and use a budget, and maybe even managing team players. And frankly, what most people do is they hire somebody just to do marketing campaigns and all those other things are left by the wayside. The reason I think this model works and why business owners should be really addressing it, looking at it, understanding it better, and certainly agency folks or consultants ought to be positioning themselves this way because typical, or I should say the average salary for a chief marketing officer according to salary.com, this last year was between 208,300 75,000.
(05:29): And that really doesn’t include any kind of implementation or other people that you might hire to actually supplement that. The typical average fractional CMO probably costs somebody 60 to $75,000 a year, plus a lot of the implementation now is done on demand. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to hire those people as full-time people. Your CMO fractional CMO is going to bring them in as needed from a consultant or an agency standpoint. If you do the math on what the average is working with five or six clients, that can be at the top, the absolute top of the CMO chain. So it really works for both parties as far as I’m concerned. And so what the typical sort of agency project-based path looks like. You put out free content as a marketer, you get a sales meeting as a business owner, you then ask for a proposal project gets worked on, or maybe a handful of projects get worked on, and then everybody starts over again.
(06:33): And I think the fractional CMO approach is more that the very first thing you do for 30, 60 days is that you’re going to actually develop strategy first. And what that’s going to mean is you’re going to really drill into the ideal client. Who is the ideal client you should be attracting? What is the core difference that your business makes out there in the market? And it’s not what you sell, it’s the problems that you solve for your ideal customers. What is your customer journey look like? What should it look like? What could it look like? What’s a content or editorial content approach going to look like? What are the near term priorities that you need to be looking at? I mean, those stopping and taking the time to develop that allows you to then month by month, look at, look, here’s what we’re doing this quarter, the next quarter, the next quarter, because we’re going to evolve our marketing.
(07:22): It’s going to grow. We’re not going to simply just throw another tactic at everything and see if it works. Some of these concepts, the idea of developing strategy, in fact, we have a set, I’ve done a strategy as I’ve described it here, probably in the neighborhood of a thousand times with businesses. I have taught hundreds of agencies and consultants how to do our product, if you will, called strategy first. It’s really how we start every engagement. And as far as I’m concerned, if you are buying marketing services, you should actually be engaging somebody who is going to demand that you do strategy first. And as a consultant agency, that ought to be the way that in my mind, that you lead with every engagement strategy has become more important, quite frankly than ever. It is the way that you not only differentiate your business, it is the way that you actually charge a premium for what you do because you are able to understand how to guide the perfect customer journey.
(08:26): You’ve heard me talk about things like the marketing hourglass for years, our approach to the customer journey that has seven stages, no, like trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. Just understanding what you need to move people through those stages that are essentially marketing, sales, and service or success is how you build long-term growth intentionally focusing on those stages. This is a tool that I’ve seen it change dramatically change businesses in the way they view marketing. But then secondly, this approach to marketing, hiring a fractional CMO who is going to become a senior, you’re not going to pay them as such. They’re not going to be their on-premise every day, but you can view them as a senior strategic hire in your organization. Even if you have people doing various marketing tasks, is an absolute game changer for most of the businesses that really can address or engage or embrace this idea.
(09:27): So that’s all I had for today. I wanted to introduce this idea of the fractional CMO. Whether you are a business owner who doesn’t understand why marketing’s not working the way it should, or you are a coach or a consultant who doesn’t understand why you’re always getting beat up on price and getting tired of just doing the tactics that are demanded of you lead with strategy and that will change completely change the relationship you have with your clients. So if you’re either one of those, a business owner or somebody who is in marketing consulting world and you want to see how this fractional CMO model could change your business, just visit duct tape marketing.com. You’ll see at the very top there, you pick your flavor. I’m a business owner, or I’m an agency that wants to license this fractional CMO approach. We’d love to talk with either one of you. Have an amazing day, week, month, quarter whenever you’re listening to this, and thanks for tuning in to the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast.
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