Category: Brand

The Fractional CMO: Everything You Need To Know

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), also referred to as an outsourced CMO, is a marketing executive brought in on a temporary consulting basis to implement strategic marketing programs, guide personnel, and help companies achieve long-term growth. The fractional element refers to the interim basis on which your company chooses to utilize this person’s expertise. A seasoned CMO can cost over $90k, not including benefits. Hiring a fractional CMO provides your business the same expert knowledge without the weight of executive-level costs.

You have the freedom and flexibility to create your own timeframe, depending on your company’s needs. You can work with your fractional CMO for 10, 15, 20 hours, or more per week and decide if you want them on-site or off-site, full-time or part-time. Typically, these directors are brought in for six months or more to establish a relationship and guarantee a strong level of commitment while ensuring your new marketing strategies will have time to gain momentum. 

What is the difference between a marketing consultant and a fractional CMO?

Marketing consultants and agencies typically work independently from companies. They use their industry knowledge to assess your current programs, develop marketing strategies for your team, and finally, send their recommendations to a key source within the company. These partnerships remain external and relatively hands-off while still delivering data-driven results. 

Conversely, fractional CMOs hold an official leadership role within your company. They provide a plan for overall growth, integrate new marketing strategies developed with your team, and are held responsible for monitoring budgets, and increasing ROI. Because they are typically working with your company for a longer period of time, they have a substantial investment in your overall success. Evaluating your business from the inside gives them the advantage to spot the problems that are slowing you down. 

Businesses are not one-size-fits-all and both of these options are viable depending on your specific needs. 

 

Six Skills To Look For In Your Fractional CMO: 

Companies hire fractional CMO’s to do the most valuable part of being a CMO: strategizing and driving key initiatives without getting stuck doing the day-day “fire drills”.  While it may be impossible to find someone who is good at everything, below are a few skills they must possess. 

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1) Leadership Ability

An outsourced CMO fills in any gaps in leadership you might have. They step in and take charge to strengthen your weaker areas, whether it’s your marketing tactics, team alignment, brand recognition, or sales force that needs the extra help.  

A strong leader can diagnose your problems and give clear direction to your team. They know when it is time to enforce change and when the campaign you’re working on needs more attention. They communicate regularly with executives and inspire morale and confidence in the company’s employees. In short, the leadership ability of just one person can positively impact an entire organization.

2) Team Building and Mentorship Experience 

You want a marketer with experience creating and leading programs and teams on a variety of different budgets. They understand the hiring process and they have developed methods to yield the best results. They’ve built and managed strong teams, mentoring employees so when it is their time to leave, everyone has a firm understanding of their role in the organization. 

3) Fits Your Company Culture

Compatibility is the most important quality to look for in a marketing leader. While it is necessary that this person has industry specific-knowledge, it’s even more vital that they align with your company’s values and vision. A skilled leader who also understands your company will work well with your team and know how to create a customized strategy that adheres to your long-term goals. 

4) Understanding of Analytical Data and The Key Metrics That Impact Sales 

Strategic plans require a firm understanding of key sales metrics to lower costs, track conversion rates, and improve your growth. Your marketing plan directly correlates with your sales funnel, and an experienced interim CMO will know how to leverage the important data in order to drive business.

5) Multi-layered Skill Set 

An outsourced marketer must be able to formulate a strategy while also being hands-on in the daily execution and direction. Your team members require support along with driven initiative, so you must identify someone who can do both tasks simultaneously. 

6) A Proven Methodology and Toolset 

The work they’ve done in the past has yielded results and they have the metrics to prove it. They’ve acquired tools and methods along the way and these will be passed down to your company. 

 

Six Benefits of a Fractional CMO 

1) Expertise 

This seems like a no-brainer benefit. Your interim leader is a marketing expert with experience driving a variety of initiatives, team building, and training, setting clear goals, and achieving results. This isn’t their first rodeo. 

2) Cost Effective 

A fractional CMO provides extensive value for a far lower price than paying an in-house team or hiring someone full-time, which can cost you as much as $300,000 or more. In addition to reducing costs significantly, you can pour these savings into new marketing initiatives developed with the aid of your interim leader. 

3) An objective, outsider’s perspective

The saying, “you can’t see the forest for the trees,” has relevance in the business world as well. It is often difficult to see what is right in front of you, especially when your own bias is involved. Your business may need honest feedback from a trained and impartial eye to foster new ideas and produce change.  

“Because it is much harder for in-house employees to divorce themselves from company politics and groupthink, the objective vision of outside agencies often produces out-of-the-box thinking.”

 

4) Experience within multiple industries

You will not only receive candid feedback, but their breadth of experience will benefit your team and supply knowledge you may not have otherwise acquired. They will be able to leverage knowledge from previous campaigns that have succeeded in similar industries while understanding how you compare to the competition. 

5) Stays up to date with the latest trends and best practices 

The CMO must be conscious of the newest trends in the market. “An outsourced CMO may be better positioned to recognize and capitalize on those trends than a startup executive wearing multiple hats.” Your company will have the flexibility to explore new marketing approaches without the long-term commitment. 

6) Save time with clear objectives and action plans

When you hire a fractional CMO, you are paying for the highest quality elements of marketing without the waste of energy on day-to-day tasks. They know how to get to the basis of your issues and clear out the cobwebs to drive key strategic initiatives. 

 

Five Reasons Why You Need A Fractional CMO

1) Your company isn’t ready for a full-time marketing executive 

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If you are a small company or start-up without a big enough budget to afford a full-time executive, outsourcing a CMO for a short period of time will be more cost-efficient while delivering the structure and proficiency to help your company mature.

2) Your marketing materials are coming from different sources 

Maybe you’ve downsized your marketing team due to the pandemic, or you don’t have one person/department leading marketing. You may even have a talented team of creatives, but their efforts need guided direction. In cases like these, your materials may not align or ineffectively represent your brand image. A fractional CMO will organize the process and create a clear strategy, crafting your vision into a reality. 

3) You lost your head of marketing 

In their absence, it may be beneficial to fill the position with an interim leader to give your marketing needs immediate attention. A fractional CMO can offer relief and make sure you maintain momentum while you’re searching for a full-time candidate. They will also assist in the hiring process to allow for a quick and easy transition. 

4) You are spending a large chunk of your budget on marketing, but not seeing the desired results 

A fractional CMO offers an affordable plan and the ability to direct your efforts. Their knowledge allows them to enhance your strategy and drive revenue so you aren’t wasting your time or money. At a certain stage, every company reaches a plateau, and bringing in an expert to assess your pain points could help you avoid this rut.

5) You want to take your company in a new direction and don’t know how 

Maybe you want to launch a new product or service and you need a little extra guidance, or you’re struggling to keep up with the competition. Someone with an unbiased perspective can step in and assess your needs with transparency while giving your brand an extra boost. Companies need to prepare for the future and outsourcing leadership will help you gain new insights and update your strategies and tools to keep up with the latest marketing trends. 

Fractional CMO Inforgraphic 1

Conclusion 

Marketing is an ever-changing industry and companies will need to adjust in order to prosper in the future. As you can see above, a fractional CMO only serves to help you. They are experts with the ability to align your team, boost your brand, enhance your marketing strategies and raise your ROI, all within a realistic budget and time frame. 

Key Takeaways 

  • If your company is in its infancy, lacks marketing organization and direction, or can’t keep up with the competition, hiring a fractional CMO is a smart move for you. 
  • A fractional CMO provides your business the same expert knowledge without the burden of executive-level costs.
  • Your company will benefit from the diverse experience they’ve acquired working with a variety of clients and industries. 
  • The most important quality to look for when outsourcing a CMO is their compatibility with your company’s values and vision. 
  • A fractional CMO is different from a marketing consultant because they work directly with your team for a longer period of time to ensure the success of your strategies and goals. 
  • Your interim leader will say it like it is, and this honest feedback can be just what a business needs to move to the next level.

If hiring a fractional CMO makes sense for your business, contact the DCG Team and we can help you find the perfect fit today!

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DCG Team June 24, 2021 0 Comments

The Not-So Secret Weapon Behind Your Social Media Metrics

What is the one thing that every business has in common? The answer is data. They are all tracking, recording and analyzing data in one way or another. 

Now, what is the one thing that every successful business has in common? They have learned how to take the same old data and make it stronger. 

Their not-so secret weapon is social listening. This term is not new, but it has become increasingly more advanced with improvements in technology. 

In this day and age, consumers want brand authenticity and transparency, which requires businesses to do more than just analyze data; they must listen closely, respond quickly, and adjust their strategy based on these conversations. Social listening is not only crucial for maintaining your brand’s longevity, but it also dramatically enhances the social media metrics that define your success. 

What is social listening and how is it different from monitoring social media metrics? 

Simply put, social media monitoring is the process of searching and collecting data, while social listening involves tracking online conversations, analyzing the data, and taking action. 

“Where social media monitoring looks at metrics like engagement rate and number of mentions, social listening looks beyond the numbers to consider the mood behind the data.”

With access to billions of online conversations, social listening has made it easier to gain accurate insights based on our data and improve business strategies. The benefits include social media crises prevention, reputation management, enhanced communication, client relationship building, in-depth social media metrics analysis, honest feedback, and real-time monitoring capabilities.

5 Benefits of Social Listening combined with Social Media Monitoring

How to implement social listening into social media monitoring? 

First, you have to know who you are doing it for.

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Social listening tools such as mentions and keyword tracking will help you in every layer of your marketing campaign. Begin by using these tools to conduct audience research. With the most basic research, you can find out simple demographic data such as age, location, gender, occupation, and languages. Social listening tools allow you to dive even deeper and discover the consumers’ likes and dislikes, motivations, how and where they interact with content, and which influencers they trust, a term referred to as influencer analysis. 

To fully understand your target audience’s interests, you must research the opinion leaders they find popular. Search for highly followed accounts within your audience. Use your social listening tools to spot them with keywords, track conversations, and put together a list of top social media influencers. Finally, take the opportunity to reach out and collaborate with these influencers to gain brand awareness. 

Knowing your target audience is only half of the picture. You must also know your competition and your brand’s reputation. 

Set up listeners on your:

  • Brand name
  • Website 
  • Industry terms 
  • Branded hashtags 
  • Competitors 

This is where social media metrics meet social listening.

Your Every Day Social Media Metrics Explained Through the Lens of Social Listening

1) Engagement:

Engagement is exactly what it sounds like; the measurement of how engaged your audience is with your content. This umbrella term encompasses interactions such as likes, shares, comments, follows, and direct messages. 

In an effort to gain insights, many brands conduct surveys, polls, and Q&A’s. Although these types of tactics are valuable, keep in mind that they could result in response bias; due to the format of the questions, people may not always respond in a natural way. 

For a more trustworthy way of understanding your engagement numbers, use a social listening tool that monitors mentions and what people are saying about your brand in real-time. If you see a spike in engagement during a campaign, you can dig deeper to understand why. 

2) Response Rate & Time:

Remember, engagement goes both ways. While you’re monitoring this metric, make sure you’re interacting with your audience, a term known as consumer engagement. 

You can gain trust, build relationships, and manage your reputation by simply monitoring the conversation around your brand. For example, if someone writes a negative review, you need tools that catch this so you can put out the fire before it starts. Most consumers go to a brand’s social media page for support, so you need to be prepared to respond quickly. 

How do you know your social media managers are doing their jobs?

You can use tools in your tracking software to monitor how quickly your employees are responding to customers. One example is the Team Report function in Sprout Social.  

According to Sprout Social, “ 45% of consumers will post about a positive interaction if a brand responds well to their complaints on social media. And 37% will share their story with their friends online.”

3) Brand Awareness & Reach:

Discovering the degree to which consumers are able to recognize a brand has always been one of the hardest things to measure, but social listening makes it easier with these tools:

  • Search volume data tells you the number of times a specific search query has been entered into a search engine. You can use Google Adwords, Keyword Planner and Google Trends to track the volume of searches for your brand’s name over time.
  • Monitor your brand mentions with tools such as Brandwatch, BrandMentions or Sprout Social. These tools give you the ability to listen and track organic conversations about your brand across both social and the web. 
  • Share of Voice tells you how much of the online domain your brand is taking part in compared to competitors and helps determine customer satisfaction. Tracking SOV will likely be an ongoing task since you’ll always want to gauge how consumers perceive your brand. Within this category are two social listening performance metrics that further assess awareness. 
  • Volume– The number of mentions about your brand. A high volume of mentions can indicate brand popularity.
  • Sentiment– Along with tracking volume of mentions, you must also determine whether the tone of voice was positive or negative. Sentiment tells you how people feel about your brand by analyzing the emotion behind the text. 

Social listening tools use natural language processing (NLP) to identify whether a social post is negative, positive, or neutral. Discover how people are talking about your brand compared to your competitors. 

 4) ROI- Conversions and Referrals:

These metrics may be more relevant to business owners with websites or eCommerce platforms.

Conversions refer to when a purchase is made and referrals refer to how a user landed on your site.

  • Lead tracking is a social listening tool that looks for potential leads based on specific keywords or conversations. Finding them early gives you the opportunity to engage and possibly turn that lead into a conversion.

Social media monitoring relies on your ability to listen; Without social listening tools, you are at a competitive disadvantage. Your data will be as flat as the numbers on your screen.  One general goal of every brand should be to create an environment that embodies transparency and fosters consumer trust. The obvious plan of action is not only to listen to the conversation, but take part in it.

You can create a brand your consumers will loyally support by combining your social media metrics with your social listening tools. Use this information to better understand your audience, engage with them directly, keep up-to-date with the latest trends in order to improve, monitor your competition, and respond quickly and efficiently to any negative feedback. 

“Real insights come from seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. You will only ever get that by truly engaging with customers and listening to their stories,” Graham Kenny of the Harvard Business Review. 

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Key Takeaways:

  •  Social listening is not only crucial for maintaining your brand’s longevity, but it also dramatically enhances the metrics that define your success. 
  • Social media monitoring is the process of searching and collecting data, while social listening involves monitoring online conversations, analyzing the data, and taking action. 
  • Knowing your target audience is only half of the picture. You must also know your competition and your brand’s reputation.
  • Understand social media metrics through the lens of social listening to capitalize on data you are already collecting.
  • The obvious plan of action is not only to listen to the conversation, but take part in it.

Want to ensure you are taking competitive advantage of your social media metrics? Contact the DCG team for a free consultation and social media assessment.

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DCG Team April 21, 2021 0 Comments

Marketing During a Crisis

As we navigate through uncertain times, many questions run through the minds of not only the nation, but communities around the globe. Cities, states, and countries continue to escalate restrictions, slowing down operations and marketing to a crawl worldwide. We continue to watch the news and social media for updates on the Coronavirus and its impact in order to determine the best course of action for ourselves, our families, and our businesses. No matter where you stand in the political climate or the concern spectrum, there is a widespread need for many businesses and entrepreneurs to continue making strategic decisions on how to best move forward with marketing their business. 

So, how should you market during this crisis or recession? Where do you start?

Here is a quick guide on marketing strategy during emergencies:


1.Pause and evaluate your current marketing efforts. What do you have scheduled or on autopilot on various platforms and mediums? Do you have ads running or email campaigns scheduled to go out? Identify all queues and put a stop to them immediately if it makes sense to do so. It will be much better to delay communication from your brand to evaluate and update it, rather than risk the interest, trust, or even respect of your follower base due to messaging that is not relevant, tone deaf, or in bad taste

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2. Update your customers and followers on what your business is doing. Yes, we see news about it everywhere, but it’s important to let your customers know what to expect during the foreseeable future. Make sure you update your Google listing, website, and social media pages with adjusted changes (i.e. hours and closures). If you are able to assist those in need, be sure to have clear information on how customers or community members can take advantage of your products or services. Even if you are unsure of how you will move forward long term, acknowledging the circumstance and informing your followers with updates goes a long way in keeping your brand relevant

3. Be real and genuine in your efforts. Address your employees, teammates, and consumers with a caring message. No matter what industry or vertical in which you operate, nor the size of your company, people’s lives are being affected. Almost 89% of American consumers say that they are loyal to brands that share their values, so it’s wise to emphasize your core values in your messaging and how you will be handling what the future holds. Communicating empathy reinforces qualities that are human, and offers a chance to reinforce an emotional connection with your audience. Messaging using “we”, “us”, and “together” shows solidarity with your company culture and gives a positive message of resilience.

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

– Seth Godin

4. Know your audience to understand and predict consumer behavior. We are seeing first-hand how individuals and groups act in crisis and uncertain situations. A lack of trust in media and news outlets, combined with an overload of information sources, causes confusion, fear, and distrust that drives people to act in ways they normally may not. Economic uncertainty drastically changes financial and buying practices for everyone.

Understanding your audience and their decision-making process allows you to create a strategic marketing plan that aligns with what is most important to them. Focus more on how you can help your consumers and what problems you can solve more-so than simply what your company does. Something like, “Got your hands full? Eliminate the stress of planning meals by ordering online!” will speak to your restaurant audience more than, “We are open and deliver”. Communicate what consumers could miss out on if they wait, let them know about how a product could be helpful during stressful times, and let them know you’ll be there for them whenever they are ready.  Use this time to lay a foundation to build brand loyalty as the economy improves.

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5. Look for other creative ways to connect as consumer values and attitudes shift. If your company hasn’t modernized yet, it’s crucial that you do so now. Adopting videos, webinars, and video chat in communications will allow you to keep connected and top of mind. Find unique ways to reach out with a personal touch like handwritten notes to top clients. Send big supporters a private message on social media and let them know you are there for them. Think about parts of your experience that you can share to relate to your consumers. Our social media feeds will continue to be saturated with stressful information. Sharing a bit of humor on your feed can stand out to your followers and reinforce a positive sentiment, loyalty, and conversions when the time is right. Creating engaging content like polls and asking consumers to share photos is a good example of ways to connect. 

6. Stay focused and update your goals accordingly. While operations are slow, you will naturally have more time for other things. It can be a golden opportunity to PLAN! Make sure you are still paying attention to how you’re spending your time, even with adjusting habits to accommodate work-from-home dynamics. Think critically about projections. The business landscape will shift dramatically, but that doesn’t mean opportunities don’t exist. As competitors cut back, there may be opportunities to take advantage of lower marketing costs to increase market share. 

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Make sure your operations are ready to handle increased interactions digitally. Make sure your website is optimized to be found on google. Take advantage of organic social media tactics to grow and connect with your audience, and provide a high level of customer service. And when you see a good story, pass it along.

If you are looking for customized recommendations for your business, our MC360 team is here to help. Contact us to get started today, or click here to read more on our strategy consulting services. 

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Kathryn Donadio March 28, 2020 0 Comments

Building a Business Strategy is Like Throwing Darts

The time has finally come. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your most recent content piece, and it’s ready to be packaged up and sent to the client to be pushed live. After a few final checks and only…

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DCG Team July 9, 2019 0 Comments

What is a Brand?

The time has finally come. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your most recent content piece, and it’s ready to be packaged up and sent to the client to be pushed live. After a few final checks and only…

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DCG Team November 16, 2018 0 Comments