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The Four Fractional CMO Archetypes

Understanding the Fractional Executive Economy (Fractional CMO’s)

There’s a significant shift taking place, in particular with a specific function in B2B Technology companies that are looking to find, expand and scale growth.

More rapidly, the traditional CMO’s (Chief Marketing Officers), are looking to expand their options. Emerging tech companies are looking to take on ‘CMOs-for-hire,’ and in an increasingly gig-focused and hybrid-centric workforce, such flexibility might just be the best option for all parties involved. Engagement is at an all-time-high amongst clients moving into digital marketing spaces, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated efforts to move toward interim, goal-based needs.

Here at GROW, we’re supporting an increasing network of B2B tech companies looking to move into such spaces using a Fractional CMO model, which allows CMOs to work on a contractual basis to drive performance-based marketing campaigns for larger corporations.

The new generation of Fractional CMOs (FraCMOs, for short) come from a wide array of backgrounds, and have become highly coveted assets to venture capital and private equity firms alike. However - not all fractional CMO’s are created equal.

In our latest podcast episode, we discussed the four main types of Fractional CMO’s, and how emerging tech companies can use these models to fuel growth.

1. The Newbie

The “Newbie” is new to both the CMO and Fractional CMO scene. There are mastermind groups who train SEO specialists, graphic designers, digital marketers and writers to gain the confidence in donning the ‘CMO’ title. More suited for helping smaller “mom & pop” businesses, particularly in retail and traditional industries - these folks are leveraging the title of ‘CMO’ to get higher paying consulting gigs.

I would not consider this group to be tried and true CMO’s who have proven their ability. This group is NOT a fit for emerging B2B Tech companies, but good for companies who are looking at marketing for the first time.

2. The Stalwart

The "Stalwart"—also known as "The Senior"—is the seasoned marketing executive. These CMOs come from larger, Fortune 500 corporations, and typically work with consumer goods, large retail, and manufacturing companies Excellent with larger and long-term engagements, hard-working, and dedicated, Stalwarts cater to their specific audiences, but are known for their occasionally rigid, pricier services.

3. The Army-of-One

Army of One’s are exactly what you think of when considering this model. manning the board, running all the operations, the Rainmaker means business. As the most entrepreneurial of the CMOs, this is also the subgroup which makes up most of the current Fractional CMO climate, and especially pertains to some of the work we do here at GROW. Those exiting full-time CMO work to pursue Fractional CMO work can expect increased autonomy and flexibility, but can expect a certain degree of unsureness regarding immediate future plans. The key to this is to find your TRIBE — once the groundwork is established, the community will lift you up to whatever heights you're looking to achieve.

If you're curious about where to start, be sure to check out our new Fractional CMO Community waiting for you over on Slack. Created to guide you through all things Fractional CMO-ing, our FraCMO Slack community was created for you, by you.

4. The iCMO

Finally, the iCMO. Here at GROW, we're working with some of the best growth-minded iCMOs throughout the country specializing in B2B technology and start-up marketing. Venture capital firms and private equity partners looking for growth-minded engagements can seek companies such as ours and expect high-level execution, fixed retainers with 30-day flexibility windows, dynamic iCMO placement, and strategic internal operations. iCMOs at GROW are known for their dually big-picture and tactically minded growth engineering, and are always on the lookout to increase engagement and long-lasting professional relationships amongst our client pool. Yes - we feel that our Fractional CMO model that’s designed for emerging B2B tech companies is the best, unapologetically.

The big picture.

Every model we've mentioned has its benefits and drawbacks, but the movement is shifting, and we want to be there for you every step of the way. If you'd like to learn more about what we're doing here at GROW, be sure to stay up-to-date with all our latest podcast episodes, and stay tuned for all things #GROWNation.

In the meantime, we'd love to know: what's your fractional CMO model of choice?

All the best,



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