Fractional CMO versus Interim CMO: What's best for your business?

6 minutes

The support that CMOs offer your business is incomparable. Chief Marketing&nb...

The support that CMOs offer your business is incomparable. Chief Marketing Officerhave an expansive wealth of marketing knowledge and experience that is truly invaluable to your company and its marketing effortsThey’re able to support you in conducting marketing audits, setting up effective strategies and mentoring junior members of the marketing team. 

The biggest misconception about hiring a Chief Marketing Officer

Many believe that the only way to engage senior marketing support is to hire them on a permanent basis. However, there are often just as many benefits from recruiting CMOs temporarily. This is especially true for start-ups that might not have the right budget to hire a permanent Chief Marketing Officer.

Fractional CMOs and Interim CMOs are a great option for companies to engage senior marketing leaders on an advisory basis, giving the marketing leadership you require on a more flexible basis. So, what is a Fractional CMO and an Interim CMO? And which option is right for your organisation? We’ll be discussing the differences between them and the benefits of each in this article.  


What is a Fractional CMO? 


Fractional CMO is a part-time Chief Marketing Officer, employed by business to build and establish the marketing functionWhilst they can get in to the weeds if you need them to, the role of a Fractional CMO is to strategise, advise, challenge and mentor.

When employed by a company, the Fractional CMO will be regularly involved with the marketing team and the wider business. They tend to sit on the leadership team, so that they can work collaboratively with other areas of the company in order to deliver effectiveimpactful and co-ordinated marketing support. As the role is expected to be more involved with the business, they tend to be employed on a part-time basis for a longer period of time (c. 18-24 months) than an Interim CMO. 


Why should your business hire a Fractional CMO? 


The main objective of a Fractional CMO is to build the foundations of a strong marketing team, helping the team to develop, strategise and deliver effective marketing campaigns. 

This type of employment is best suited to scaling companies that are looking for a senior marketing leader to establish a strong marketing team. As they’re committed to your business for a longer period of timeFractional CMO will help embed marketing into the company and make sure the entire business is aligned on marketing objectives.  

They’re also able to provide consistent training for your team during the time that they’re employed by your business. When investing in marketing for the first time, we would recommend hiring a permanent Marketing Manager and engaging a Chief Marketing Officer on an advisory basis who can support the junior marketer's work and development. A Fractional CMO might be the best option for providing a more junior marketer with consistent trainingSo, when marketing is handed over to the Marketing Manager full time, you know that your business is in good hands 


What is an Interim CMO? 


An Interim CMO is a temporary Chief Marketing Officer, usually hired during a business’ transitional period. 

This type of recruitment involves employing a CMO on a consultancy basis, usually for a shorter period of time (c. 6-12 months) that might be extended if further support is required by the business. One of the main differences between a Fractional CMO and an Interim CMO is their working arrangements. Interim Chief Marketing Officers can work full-time during their tenure with a company, but continue to be flexible depending on business needs. Ultimately, they’re more involved with the leadership and development of the marketing team. 


Why should your business hire an Interim CMO? 


The primary goal of an Interim Chief Marketing Officer is to attract, employ and retain marketing talent by providing consistent marketing leadership for a period of time. As a result, Interim CMOs are a great option for your business if you’re undergoing a transitional period. 

There are a number of reasons why an Interim CMO might benefit your organisation. They’re a great asset for: 

  • Testing the CMO job within your business – not sure if a Chief Marketing Officer is required? Employing someone on a short-term basis will allow you to understand the impact they can have on your company. 
  • Filling a temporary gap in the team – when your Chief Marketing Officer is on extended leave, such as family leave, you’ll require someone temporary to cover the position in their absenceInterim employees are well-versed in this type of support. 
  • Maintaining consistent marketing support – if your previous CMO has left the company to pursue other opportunitiesan Interim CMO is a great addition to your team whilst you search for a permanent replacement. This is especially beneficial for C-suite roles, as an Executive Search can be a lengthy process. 

Employing an Interim CMO can help companies maintain strong marketing leadership and continue momentum within the marketing team. 

Finding the right recruitment solution for your business

interim employees are accustomed to coming into a business and making a difference immediately, as they have experience doing the same thing within other, similar organisations. By hiring a Fractional or Interim Chief Marketing Officer, your team is guaranteed consistent, undisrupted marketing leadership. 


Looking to hire a Chief Marketing Officer? Our dedicated Executive Search team can support you. 


No matter if you're looking for a Fractional, Interim or Permanent CMO, our dedicated Executive Search team can help you. 

3Search Executive are committed to facilitating connections between senior marketing leaders and exciting businesses that are ready to take their marketing team to the next level. Whatever your business requires, our specialist Executive Search recruitment consultants can help you. Get in touch with the team to find out more. 

3Search | England and Wales, (Registration Number 09135328)
Site by Venn