From the owner of several companies purporting to be an outsourced solution to various c-suite positions (YouDontNeedACMO, YouDontNeedACFO, YouDontNeedACXO) you can bet I’m a fan of outsourcing. The two most common outsourcing options are either to an Agency, or to a CMO. Let’s break them down.
Traditional agencies fall into two categories:
- One-size fits all solution to a vertical (ex: Google Ads)
- Niche oriented solution (ex: blockchain marketing firm)
Option 1: If you’re reading this course, chances are you are not at the point where you’ll be able to discern and allocate budget with great tact (unless you are in fact the CMO…) – the first category is not an appropriate one to consider.
Option 2: This is a reliable option I highly recommend, and has worked well for me in the past – as well as when white-labeling our own clients. Make sure to vet extremely thoroughly – there are not a lot of great options out there. I would look for notable clients in your particular industry, and read their case studies for believability – you’re going to need evidence to justify the premium costs of some of these firms.
CMOs are extremely expensive; to get a great one, there are perhaps more costs than any other c-suite position. It’s not a great move for most early-stage companies; especially given the average tenure is only 6 months; even if you can discount with stock options, the unreliability and inflexibility make it not worth it. You should not put the success of your company in the hands of one person.
Fractional CMO is a relatively recent concept; essentially it involves the placements of a part-time CMO with a specialized role, at a significant discount. It is a great way to try out a CMO; and highly recomend for a late-stage company with certain marketing positions already filled. (ex: VP marketing or senior marketing manager)
CMOs of any kind are a solution to lacking a marketing executive – not the solution to completely lacking a marketing operation.
Great. What do we do then?
If you’re a young company, you don’t have a marketing team. Your CMO is not going to create the campaigns; they are going to suggest hires to you; adding even more variables, costs, and slowing down your progress. The main issue – you don’t have time.
For those companies that have some success but need rapid growth and validation, a hybrid solution tends to be the best option. Such companies offer a complete solution; with both strategic (CMO) elements and all of the implementation resources necessary for success.
(If you’re interested in the latter, please check my company out for a free discovery session)