Category: Consulting

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

How To Run Social Media Ads Successfully [Ad Campaign Structure]

In our current digital age, there are among 3 billion active social media users worldwide, making up about half of the entire population. (Source: Statista) If you run social media ads always keep this in mind, building the right social media ads for your brand on the wide spectrum of media platforms and for numerous users may seem like a strenuous task. Yet, with an effective strategic plan, social media advertising can present many opportunities to reach the right audiences, enhance awareness of your brand, and increase conversions for your business.

This blog will serve as a guide to creating the most valuable social media ads that will contribute to your brand’s overall mission.

 

Know Your Target Audience: Customer Avatars

One of the most essential aspects of designing your social media ad campaigns is to define your audience. In this, you can create the ideal customer avatars that will represent segments of your brand’s potential customer base. When defining your target avatars it’s important to do your research thoroughly. Here are some important aspects to identify: 

 

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The more you know your audience and are able to define their primary pain points, the more valuable your campaign will be; ultimately translating into more customer conversions. It will also answer one of the most frequently asked questions we receive, “What platforms should my business be on, and where should I run ads?”. If you know who you are intending to reach, you will know where to find them. For instance, do you sell products to an older demographic? Facebook may be the best ROI for direct conversions. Are you a B2B service needing to build brand awareness and organic connections? LinkedIn should be one of your main focuses. By understanding the who, you will be maximizing advertising costs with the greatest return.

A different approach to gaining knowledge of your target audience is to analyze competitors and industry leaders. Who are their primary target segments? What social media campaign strategies are they utilizing and what is the response and engagement they get from their followers? This information can serve to not only help define your brand’s ideal customer but also find gaps in your competitor’s strategy to spark ideas in differentiating your approach, content, and social media ad strategy by bringing more value to your audiences.

 

I love the saying ‘success leaves bread crumbs’. There are plenty of models out there to help guide decision-making in your industry. Not only looking at competitors (like, kind, quality) to find gaps that you can take advantage of and gain market share but businesses that have established themselves at a high level that have gone through the heavy lifting of target audience identification and testing content and ad implementation.

– Kate Donadio | CMO

 

Create A Strong Brand Presence Foundation

In order for your social media ads to convert your audience into potential leads, you must first create a brand identity. This begins with establishing a firm foundation for your brand’s social media platforms and website. In terms of social network users, 86% of Americans say a brand’s transparency on social media is one of the most determining factors for deciding whether to take their business to a competitor. (Source: SproutSocial) This emphasizes that brand authenticity will demonstrate credibility and boost the success of your social media advertising efforts. Ensure you have consistent brand colors, voice, and frequency of posting on the identified platform(s), and that you have a systematic approach to driving engaged prospects to a well-designed and optimized website.

 

Create a Sales Funnel

Building a sales funnel is similar to creating a blueprint of the desired outcome to your advertising plan. List what you want to occur and organize it into a chain of events. With this method, you are minimizing steps a potential customer needs to go through and maximizing organization for creating your ads. How many clicks does it take for them to perform the desired action like filling out a form or putting their contact information in to receive a download of valuable information from your website? Are there ways to optimize this process (I.E. have the ad go to a fillable form on the desired platform such as LinkedIn instead of multiple steps of your website)? 

For guidance on structuring a sales funnel that matches your company’s advertising goals, be sure to read our informational blog that discusses the fundamentals of utilizing the AIDA model. Please keep in mind that the funnel you create should be customized to your company, personnel, and capabilities. Do you have someone that can service the leads as soon as they come in? What processes do you have in place to direct leads into a CRM (client relationship manager)? Be realistic with yourself and your team, and literally draw out the intended plan visually. 

 

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Build Ad Strategy Focused on Budget

It’s important to establish a plan of action for your paid social media advertising based on how aggressive you can be with your budget. Create an overall monthly budget that matches your current advertising goals and adjust as needed. 

 A helpful tip in designing your brand’s ad strategy is with a top-down structure:

  • Campaigns (goals and desired outcomes)
  • Ad sets (well-defined target audiences and segments)
  • Ads (variations of messaging, aesthetics, and call to action to specific audiences based on goal)

 

campaign img

 

Organizing your ad strategy comes down to precisely defining your goals. For example, let’s say you would like to increase overall brand awareness and conversions. First, be sure to understand your brand’s bearings. Maybe your company is new, been recently repositioned, had a shift in management, etc. Now, dive into specifics. Think strategically; do you want to increase your number of leads, website traffic, or direct sales? If your brand desires to accomplish multiple goals, create different ads for each category. You may be thinking, “everyone wants to increase their sales”. While this is true, without the proper brand foundation, sales funnel, brand awareness and outreach strategy, and social proof, direct response ads are less likely to be successful. Be realistic with where you are in the process, especially based on your overall marketing budget.

Once you have properly determined your primary campaign outcomes, defined target audiences, and structured your social platform ads, you can begin to focus on what audience is most likely to convert. This allows you to pivot your marketing efforts to that specific target’s needs and grow potential leads.

According to the CMO Survey, sponsored by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Deloitte LLP, and the American Marketing Association, marketing budgets now comprise 11 percent of total company budgets on average. Meanwhile, companies on average spend 7.5 percent of total revenue on marketing. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends, “As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing.” This percentage is based on companies that have margins in the 10-12 percent range (after expenses).

 

Craft Multiple Ad Copies and Audiences

The main focus of your social media ads should be centered on your desired audience. We have the tendency to want to believe and act upon our own experiences and biases. By putting ourselves in their shoes, we will be more likely to identify trends in our audience’s behavior, their main pain points, and how to bring them the most value in your ads through strategic tone and language.

Don’t create just one copy of an ad for a specific audience. Design multiple that stay consistent with your campaign’s desired message for a greater selection of options. In addition, allow several pairs of eyes to review the social media ads. By collaborating, your team can provide diverse feedback and ultimately design ads that best complement your advertising strategy, and avoid silly mistakes that can easily turn away potential leads (like spelling, grammar, or tone-deaf content based on current political or economic landscapes).  

For further inspiration and ideas, be sure to research designs and models to help elevate your ad potential. Some examples of utilizing Facebook’s advertising opportunities can be found here. 

 

Execute, Evaluate and Update

The process of running social media ads is not a linear line. It can be unpredictable and may require many changes and updates after it’s been established. Think of your social media ad as a test run, once you have allowed the ad to learn and have gained analytical data, evaluate and update your strategy. Be sure to also elevate your strategy to comply with your budget and frequency of actions. For example, if it’s found many customers have left items in their cart, it may be appropriate to launch a campaign such as We Know Life is Fanatic, Take 20% Off Your Purchase On Us. Now, not only have the ads learned customer behavior, you have learned how to properly cater them to your audience’s needs. 

If an ad campaign is not performing as well as expected or desired, it does not mean that it is a failure. With each campaign, ad audience set, and ad variation, you are gaining valuable data about your audience. To truly be effective in ad campaign execution, you must be able to read and understand what the data (and your audience) is telling you.

It is important to develop several ads, and be patient with ad delivery because it takes about seven interactions with your brand before a user takes an action. (Source: B2Bmarketing) 

Paid social media ads can serve as a catalyst to successfully connecting with your audience on the largest media networks. At Dolomites Consulting Group, we specialize in developing strategies that align with your brand’s value proposition. Contact us today to see how we can assist with your brand’s vision. 

 

Key Takeaways

  • Gaining knowledge of competitor and industry leader ad strategies can help define your brand’s ideal customer and spark ideas to differentiate your social media ad strategy to bring more value to your audience.
  • Think of your social media ad as a test run, once you have allowed the ad to learn and have gained analytical data, update and evaluate your strategy.
  • By putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, you will be more likely to identify trends in their behavior, identify main pain points, and how to bring them the most value through strategic tone and language in your ads.
  • The process of running social media ads is not a linear line, it requires time to operate, evaluate, and implement updates.

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Kathryn Donadio April 1, 2021 0 Comments