6 ways to spot when you need a Fractional CMO

6 ways to spot when you need a Fractional CMO

Recognising when it’s time to bring in strategic marketing leadership can make or break your growth trajectory. In this blog, we’ll discuss six key indicators that signal the need for a Fractional CMO. This role, often underestimated, can provide the expertise and direction necessary to revitalise your marketing efforts and drive success.

Your business may find value in a Fractional CMO for various reasons, whether the marketing team lacks a designated leader or the current Marketing Head could benefit from mentor support, a Fractional CMO offers a solution. They bring an objective perspective, inject energy to stretch and challenge the team, and in some cases, deflect conflicts. It’s not for everyone, and many companies have an established CMO and operational marketing team, but it is increasingly being seen as a strong flexible solution. One of the great things about Fractional support is the transparent, clear pricing – as their time is usually based on day rate, it is easy to determine how much you want to spend and how much you will get out of it.

Our recent blog gives an overview as to who a Fractional CMO is and what they do, so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already. In this blog, however, we want to dive into how to spot when you need fractional specialist support as it’s on the rise. In Forrester’s External Talent Trends report, they project that enterprise adoption of Fractional CMOs will rise to over 50% by 2025 (source: Geisheker, The Future of Marketing Leadership: The Rise of Fractional CMOs in 2024 and Beyond).


6 reasons why you might need a Fractional CMO

  1. Limited marketing expertise – Many businesses struggle with where to invest in their C-Suite skills and this can result in limited in-house marketing expertise due to stretched teams or budget constraints. This gap can hinder your ability to execute effective marketing campaigns. A Fractional CMO fills this void, offering specialised knowledge and leadership to elevate your marketing efforts without the commitment of a full-time hire or overhead. Less risk and less commitment. 
  2. Lack of strategic marketing direction – A consequence of not investing in or having to deprioritise a full-time CMO is that the marketing team can become operationally focused. This can feel like a win-win as output increases. However, it can sometimes lead to a business looking “busy” rather than being effective. Without clear strategic direction, marketing efforts can become scattered and ineffective. A Fractional CMO provides the strategic guidance needed to align your marketing activities with business goals and KPIs. They help define a clear path, ensuring all marketing initiatives are purpose-driven and goal-oriented.
  3. Paused growth – When growth stagnates or declines, the strategic focus can move back to marketing. A Fractional CMO can inject energy. An outside-in approach to look at a problem differently and innovatively, while leveraging their extensive experience can reignite your growth. Fractional CMOs can step in for as long as needed, supplementing your resources and providing the strategic push your business requires. An outside view can often offer a new perspective for as long as it takes to get the momentum going again.
  4. An objective view on KPIs – It’s sometimes easier to take an objective view on KPIs when you haven’t worked on their formation. It’s also important to keep on top of industry benchmarks, as external perspectives can be incredibly valuable. 
  5. Changing markets – Market trends and dynamics are constantly evolving. Businesses that fail to adapt can quickly fall behind. Fractional CMOs are great at navigating these shifts, bringing a wealth of experience in adjusting strategies to align with new market conditions and working across multiple markets. Their insights can help you stay ahead of the curve.
  6. A change in marketing requirements – The requirement for specialist support at a strategic level may well mean that you have different requirements from your CMO. It might move from branding to performance marketing, or classic B2B marketing to a more specialist ABM approach. Taking a fractional route allows you to swap in and out what you need most at that point in time.


Recognising these six signs can help you determine when it’s time to bring in a Fractional CMO. Their expertise and strategic vision can revitalise your marketing efforts, aligning them with your business goals for optimal success. 

As an experienced Fractional CMO, these are the trends I’ve seen over the years and when it is best to bring a professional in. Fractional CMOs can be in place for a few months or a few years, depending on your business needs. If you’re interested in how Moreno can help elevate your marketing strategy, drop us a message via LinkedIn or an email at: chrislawson@moreno.co.uk