The rise of ‘the fractional CMO’

The rise of ‘the fractional CMO’

The Media Leader Podcast

As marketing gets more varied in scope, the role of a brand’s lead marketer is becoming more divided and “fractional” in nature.

Rachel Forde and Marco Bertozzi, co-founders of The Zoo.London, revealed some key observations about the changing nature of marketing roles after setting up the consultants’ recruitment platform last year.

Speaking to The Media Leader‘s Ella Sagar, the former media agency colleagues reflected that this trend provides an opportunity for experienced freelancers who may be between jobs or transitioning to self-employed careers.

Listen using the player or read an edited transcript below:


Rachel Forde: Fractional CMOs are becoming a lot more commonplace; [a fractional role] has been very prevalent in finance and law; I’d say over the past 12-18 months, [it] has become a lot more commonplace in marketing. People are at very different ends of their consultant journey.

Some people, they may have been established and have been working this way for a couple of years; where other people, they’re actually looking for full-time roles. But either those full-time roles aren’t in the market at the moment or they don’t want to rush into the wrong job.

So, actually, to do some fractional work in the meantime, to keep your mind going and also to pay your bills (because the bills and the mortgages don’t go away), gives a little bit of a stopgap and a re-evaluation for a lot of people within advertising and marketing.

So it’s quite nice — we’ve got a real spread across consultants, established consultants and then those who will go back into a full-time role. It’s kind of an even split.

Marco Bertozzi: People are talking about fractional CMOs, as one example, and I think they think that means you just get a CMO who is going to work for two days a week or three days a week, and that’s why it’s fractional.

But what’s interesting is feedback, from talking to slightly smaller brands and companies, is that the role of the CMO is very, very broad. If you’re a CMO at Coke, it’s incredibly broad and you’ve got lots of experts that support that.

If you’re a smaller company, sometimes it’s like: “Well, actually, we want to spend two months just focused on how we make the most of our CRM system and really make it fit for marketing and how marketing and the CRM work together.” [Or] the next two months might be about brand positioning and “go to market”. They’re different skills.

So actually being able to go to someone and work with them on parts of what would come under the CMO umbrella: it gives people the ability to do a brilliant job of the different elements of marketing, as opposed to a sort of generalist that would try and touch a bit of everything.

So I think fractional works sort of vertically and horizontally.

Listen to the full episode

The Media Leader Podcast publishes twice a week and features the most important decision-makers in media and advertising.

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