Marketing Orgs are Morphing: Why Fractional Marketing is the Future

By Natalie Nathanson, Founder and CEO, Magnetude Consulting

Top talent is in demand and expensive and the days of A-player generalists are no more. It’s time to evolve.

Remember the days when you could send your recruiting team on a mission to find you three or four well-rounded, hard-working, creative marketers that could deliver on the entire marketing toolkit?

I can – and it wasn’t all that long ago. Ten years ago, that was my model for my in-house team. Demand, social, direct, advertising, content, events – we did it all and we did it all well.

But somewhere along the way, things changed. The technology evolved and did wondrous things – but it also got far more specialized. The business – and it was about time – recognized the enormous value marketing can deliver in a digital world – in fact, it’s absolutely essential to get it right in order to grow, whether it be building brand, leveraging data, or arming the sales team with leads.

Perhaps this wouldn’t be a big deal if it weren’t for the demand for increasingly specialized talent. For the first time in modern history, employees – not employers – have the upper hand. They choose opportunities not solely on money or run room for growth, but on soft things such as where they work, when they work, the benefits they receive, the opportunity for upward mobility and/or to achieve their goals and, of course, the financial package.

This environment has made it near impossible for a CMO to hire a talented group of generalists and, worse, has put them in competition with a litany of others for specialized talent.

That’s why now – particularly for small-to-medium-sized businesses – is the time for fractional marketing.

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Fractional has emerged as the marketing department of the future

With these challenges mounting for CMOs, fractional marketing has emerged as a strong solution. Fractional is an outsourcing model that enables CMOs to bring in teams of marketers with expertise in different disciplines to complement in-house marketing teams. Fractional teams are generally comprised of very senior people who can ramp quickly, bring external vision and best practices, and enable you to hit the ground running – and it’s affordable because they aren’t full-time hires. Fractional teams can be scaled based on business priorities – so, say, the business priority is business development, you can scale up the marketing activities that drive leads and scale down in other areas.

Working with one consultancy has its benefits. It provides integration and cohesion and is simpler to manage because you don’t have multiple vendors. When done correctly, a fractional marketing department becomes a true extension of your team.

This model is cost-effective for not only growth-stage companies but also bigger companies that may only need help with one or two skillsets. Rather than hiring in-house for each specialty that the business needs, they can work with true specialists for just the components they need. Need a press release written and promoted? Just leverage your fractional team’s PR expert and know it’s done right—and in line with your company’s messaging. Want to try a new LinkedIn ad? Work with an ad expert and a graphic designer in perfect harmony.

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Why do companies adopt fractional as a strategy? Beyond the current climate, some organizations aren’t digitally savvy or haven’t matured at the same pace as marketing leaders. Neither is an indictment because the marketing tech stack is driving innovation at a pace we’ve never witnessed before, but it leaves these organizations needing both strategic guidance and execution. Other organizations are looking to grow quickly and can’t wait to build a full team to handle every component of their marketing- time to impact is critical. And yet others are more mature but can only afford a couple of marketers in-house and need a breadth of execution areas with distinct disciplines and skillsets.

With a fractional agency, you have access to top talent: you can get strong generalists and strategists and depth of specialized domain execution. Marketing tactics, capabilities, and technologies are evolving fast and continuously. You can’t do it all by yourself while running your business. Having a small in-house team can’t cover all the bases, and having a large in-house team has become cost-prohibitive and tough to hire.

Take a more customized approach with a fractional marketing team that can help you break through the noise of the digital world and progress your business and marketing goals. It just makes business sense.

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