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.
First-Time Entrepreneur or Side-Hustle
If you have an existing company far along (funding or revenue) skip this. If you are a first time entrepreneur or doing your company as a side-hustle, I highly recommend you implement these exercises yourself.
The reason being is not so much marketing related as business-related; inevitably, your first company is going to be practice; just look at the rates of failed entrepreneurs, and approach it realistically. As such, your primary focus should be becoming a better entrepreneur – the most effective way to do this in my opinion, especially as solopreneur, is to work within every are of your business. (Development, Business, Product, Marketing, Sales etc) This is the exact opposite advice you hear given to most small business owners– and with good reason; a business you intend to sell should have yourself working on different parts of your business, that is rather than in.
But with The Marketing MVP this is not the case. In reality, its a learning exercise, I think best undertaken by you, yourself. I’m going to imagine you’re a smart person (you wouldn’t have gotten to this point if not!) so all this is going to take you not-so -long to implement in raw time – but you’ll have to donate resources (ads, paying for design assets – product stuff) to get the maximum.
Keep in mind this is a temporary solution and ultimately if you are not the source of marketing strength on your team, or do not intend to be, you must move on and get it covered elsewhere – discussed in the next lesson.
You have two hiring options, internally at the end of the day. Getting a CMO – a critical mistake I think we have addressed at-length before – really it’s down two options
Hire and Manage Lower Level Marketers (Managers, Content People Etc)
|Quite Cost-Effective||Little Pressure/Activation on Customer Acquisition Side|
|Good for certain industries (heavy/old school b2b)||Costs that potentially increase over time|
|Duties that become more complicated and less replaceable as time goes on.|
Conclusion: If you are going to hire lower level marketing people, make sure you have a true long term budget set out because you will need to develop and expand the department to keep things in motion. Do not place too many expectations on this person – they will not be responsible for strategy and ultimately not hold the cards.
Hire a Freelance Team
|Extremely Cost-Effective||Mixed Results|
|Good for certain verticals within marketing (design, video production, social media)||Hard to Vet|
|Sanctity of Your Systems/Security Potentially At Risk|
Conclusion: Having spent hundreds of thousands on Upwork, we know it can be VERY difficult to find a great freelancer that has time and reasonable rates; all the great talent is in business for themselves.
If you are going to hire freelancers, make sure you vet them thoroughly and have a clear idea of what deliverables you want; make sure you also have a system (project management software, login management etc) to help them operate and organize as they surely will not do this for you.
Ok. What’s the TLDR?
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.
This is an except from The Marketing MVP a re-release of the popoular course from You Don’t Need A CMO Founder and entrepreneur Chris Nicholas. Are you looking to kickstart your company? Already started? Learn how to get your company off the ground for real with the latest in marketing technology and industry expertise. Register here.