Fractional CMO – Confusing or the right way forward?

Marketers are constantly criticised for creating new ways to describe products and services, the simple aim being to distinguish them from other services or products that are already on the market.

As a marketer with over 25 years experience I have always strived to speak and communicate using simple language rather than using terminology that only another professional would understand. At the end of the day when I work with clients I aim to educate them to use simple language that anybody will understand so why shouldn’t I do the same.

So, when I started seeing the term “Fractional CMO” used, to say I rolled my eyes was an understatement.

The definition of a Fractional CMO is a contract Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), retained on a part-time basis to provide executive marketing leadership for a growing business. A fractional CMO is a great solution for organizations that need experienced, strategic marketing guidance, but aren’t yet ready to fund a full-time CMO hire.

As a profession and me personally, we have long been providing support and expertise to client organisations on a contract, part-time or interim basis, especially for start-ups or businesses not wanting to commit to the overhead of a full-time CMO. Surprisingly we used to call them Part-time Marketing Directors or CMO’s.

So why is it then, that we have to create a new term for an existing service? The simple answer is to try and distinguish one consultancy from another. What is has ended up doing is confusing a large part of the market they are trying to engage with.

The answer is very straightforward, keep to simple language when marketing your services or products, use language that the target audience will not have to work to understand and do not confuse them, make it easier for them to make a decision.

I have recently updated our website to include a page titled Fractional CMO / Marketing Director to see what impact it has and if it gets more visits than the old page and would be very interested in your views. Have you heard of a Fractional CMO and would you understand what it means?

Let me know or contact me if you want to know how I can help your business grow.