In case you haven’t noticed, marketing seems to be changing every day. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) often face the impossible task of keeping their organization in line with rapidly changing trends and expectations while juggling seemingly endless priorities. High-growth companies these days are looking for more agility when it comes to cash flow, which has contributed to the rise of an outsourced CMO or fractional CMO.
With the rate of change in B2B and B2C buying preferences and the shifting sands of media platforms, a CMO who is wildly successful one moment may be struggling the next. For companies looking to fill a CMO position, it is becoming apparent that the perfect candidate right now, may not have the skillset or temperament to handle the challenges a new year might bring. Also, typically fractional CMO’s have a network of freelance designers, developers, copyrighters and other resources for tactical execution.
Some organizations are approaching this issue in a bold new way, by outsourcing the position of CMO to an agency. For many C-Suite executives, this may sound like a risky move. Those who understand the central role of marketing may wonder why a company would eliminate one of its most essential roles and hand it over to outsiders. In fact, some high-growth companies are finding that this decision puts more emphasis than ever on the essential nature of the CMO role.
What is a CMO?
Let’s take a moment to consider the role of the Chief Marketing Officer. In most organizations, these are talented and highly experienced marketing professionals trained in both marketing strategy and executive leadership.
They tend to hold an office in the C-suite as their advice and counsel is essential to the overall strategy and direction of the company. Without proper marketing insights, businesses have little chance of expansion and growth.
The CMO role also speaks for the brand. Brand identity is more critical than ever, and senior leadership needs assistance in making decisions that reflect the voice and identity of the company. Away from the board room, the CMO oversees every aspect of the implementation of the marketing strategy along with recruiting, developing, and overseeing the talent that gets the work done.
The Outsourced CMO
Given the essential nature of the Chief Marketing Officer, it may seem a strange move to outsource the role. However, that thinking equates outsourcing with devaluing the role. Instead, there is an argument to be made for outsourcing because of the recognition of the value of the role and duties of the CMO.
10 Reasons for Hiring an Outsourced CMO
If an organization currently has a CMO that is a qualified expert in every aspect of marketing and has the ability to constantly stay on top of new trends, they should hold onto that person. However, those who don’t may find value in the flexibility of outsourcing the role. The needs of an organization shift requiring different types of expertise from season to season. When the company faces new or different challenges or if market shifts call for a new approach, it may be useful to have access to someone with a different set of skills and expertise. Working with an agency allows the organization the benefit of always having the right person at the table.
Companies that hire a full-time CMO may succeed in finding the right person for right now. However, successful companies tend to grow. It is difficult to know if that perfect candidate will still be ideal as the organization faces a new stage of growth. It is difficult for any manager to excel at their position while preparing for the next evolution of that position. That is especially clear in the area of marketing, where things are changing every day. Outsourcing the CMO position to a firm or agency allows the role to grow with the company.
3. Deeper Level of Expertise
If you are lucky, a full-time CMO is a deep level expert in one or two aspects of marketing. With the right agency, an organization has access to deep experts in every aspect. Suddenly, your organization has access to a depth of knowledge and experience on channels and aspects to match the need at any given moment.
4. No Recruiting
Recruitment is one of the most prominent challenges organizations face. It becomes even more of an issue when it comes to one of the most critical roles in the organization. The longer the process takes, the longer the company is drifting in its marketing strategy. Outsourcing to an agency still takes research and due diligence, but the process is much less taxing and is undoubtedly faster.
5. Less Startup Time
Even if you do find the perfect CMO, it can take a significant amount of time for them to get started. Between ending a previous position, moving, going through onboarding, and then learning about the company, it could take months before your organization starts reaping the benefits of your new hire. Meanwhile, outsourcing to an agency means that you get access to people who are used to hitting the ground running and showing results fast.
If you can find the right CMO for your organization, chances are the price will be high. Candidates with the right credentials may be out of range for small to medium-sized businesses. Larger organizations can afford the cost, but CMOs with the experience for a large corporate setting are even more expensive. It is worth looking at what that same money or less can get you from an agency. You can have access to a broader range of talent and expertise for a lot less money.
Even if you find the very best CMO you can afford, you are hiring just one. An outsourced CMO connects you to an agency with a variety of backgrounds, training, experience, and points of view. Agency team members are continually engaging with other marketing professionals and learning about the latest trends and approaches which brings a new level of diverse thinking to an organization.
A real perk about an outsourced CMO is that, with an agency, you know exactly what you are getting. Agencies are used to showing clients what they are getting for their dollar and work hard to prove their value. Not only will they report the time they are putting in, but they will also be glad to show you the results of their efforts.
When you hire a regular CMO, you get just that, one person. When you hire an outsourced CMO or fractional CMO, you get access to the resources of the entire agency, which that CMO has worked with many times. That includes their additional people, proven processes, specialized software, and expertise.
10. Outside Perspective
When you hire a new CMO, you get the benefit of someone coming into your organization with fresh eyes and a new perspective. However, it doesn’t take long for that to wear off as they become a part of the organization.
One more reason for hiring an outsourced CMO is the fresh perspective that the agency brings in every day. They are continually moving among other clients and other professionals and will be a constant set of new eyes for your organization’s marketing efforts.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.