Why, How, and When to Hire a Fractional CMO

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Over the last couple of years, the fractional CMO (FCMO) has been gaining momentum as companies look for marketing leadership without hiring a full-time and expensive resource.

As a fractional CMO, I've been seeing more interest and more people embracing the title.

In this episode of Marketing Spark, I talk with David Poulos, a fractional CMO, about why there is growing interest, when and why to hire a FCMO, how to establish the rules of engagement, and how long a FCMO should stick around. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, I lost my job as the VP marketing of a BDB SASS company. To be honest, it wasn't a surprise. The CEO and I didn't see eye to eye and I missed the freedom and flexibility of being a marking consultant. I like being the boss, setting my own schedule and not having to attend endless meetings to make decisions. But as I re entered the consulting world, the key question was what kind of a consultant should I be? A brand storyteller, a content marketing strategist, a digital marketing strategist, a strategic positioning consultant? None of them seemed to fit and none of them seemed to resonate. Business was slow, albeit in the midst of a global pandemic that had seen a lot of marketing disappear. But one day, out of the blue, I decided to call myself a fractional chief marketing officer, or fractional CMO. It felt like putting on a freshly iron shirt. It felt good and reflected my strategic and tactical skills and experience, and calling myself a fractional CMO was a game changer. The leads and opportunity started to roll in and they haven't stopped coming. And the question is, why did a new title change everything? Personally have a few theories. One, my target audience, BB SASS companies, was looking for marketing leadership. They had plenty of access to tactical talent, but they want a strategic guidance. Number two, the fractional CMO title was new, different and somewhat mysterious. It peeped people's curiosity and broke through the marketing consulting noise. Over the past two years I've talked to many people about becoming a fractional CMO and I've started a coach fractional CMOS looking to raise their games. But to be honest, there's still a lot of confusion and lack of clarity around the fractional CMO, which is slowly but surely gaining traction. And to help me peel back the young in I'm excited to talk with Dave Polis, a fractional CMO, author, consultant and Speaker. Welcome to marketing spark. Thank it's mark. I'm glad beer. Why do we start with a marketing one? One question or a softball question. What is your take on the fractional CMO landscape? When I started calling myself myself a fractional CMO in mid two thousand and twenty, I thought that this was going to be rolling thunder. I thought there would be a tremendous amount of momentum, because fractional seem to be the right title at the right time and, to be honest, I'm surprised that it's still a slow burn. It feels like there's some momentum, but not...

...a lot of momentum. And you're also playing the same game that I am. What's your take on the landscape right now? It well, the landscape is one of that evolves, and evolves more slowly than you might have suspected. I first got hip to the fractional portion of all this in two thousand and sixteen. Was it a networking meeting here locally and ran across a gentleman who was a fractional CFO and I had never heard of that. They said, how do you do that job that requires your fingers and just about every pie in the company and only do it part time? And he said, when you analyze the amount of work that actually needs done, that the physical amount of being present, in the number of meetings you're actually required to be in, and the amount of focus you could give to it. If you limit that time, you can really do it in fifteen hours or twenty hours, depending on the size of the firm, and have plenty left over to sell to somebody else. And as soon as that light bulb came on, this could easily be applied to marketing as well. In many instances the landscape is shifted, and I think the effect that you experienced has to do with that change in title, because the consulting world had running to a point where the tacticians and the strategists were mixing and mingling freely and you could go on fiber and find somebody who is a marketing consultant and all they would teach you to do is how to put ads on facebook. That was that was his deal, because that's all he knew about marketing. He'd been doing it five years, had cracked the code on making facebook adds work and and figured he knew everything else wrong. They don't have the perspective, they don't have the depth, they don't have anything to go with that, including the structures and the strategies that go with it and certainly not the engagement structure that a real consultant would have, but they were still calling themselves that. So a lot of people were going down blind alleys that with what they thought were competent in consultants that were actually tacticians or technicians. So your flip into the partial CMO world automatically elevates people's mindset when they're looking and talking to you and saying, Oh, this is a guy that does the top end, this is a guy that integrates my c suite, this is a guy that connects those dots and wrangles those marketing cats and all those tacticians to make sure they're all going the same direction and manages them to the point where they're driving actual revenue that I, as a founder or a CEO, can get my mind wrapped around and understand. Yeah, I think it's interesting that the fractional CFO was a concept that had been around for a long time. In Toronto, where I operate, there was a fellow named Mark mcloud and he was serving four or five or six different BB SASS company at the same time and they all love mark because they were fairly early stage. They didn't need a full time CFO, but they needed someone with a lot of experience to help them manage their obviously finances and capital raising. People were comfortable with the idea of a fractional CFO. I think it's taken time for people to come around to the idea of a fractional CMO because I think a lot of companies it's a walk before you run with marketing. When they hire someone marketing, they don't want to.

They eventually embrace it as opposed to tiptoe into it. The question that I had for you is the slow burn that we're seeing when it comes to being a fractional C Mo. Is it because companies are not aware that that fractional CMO exists, or do they not see the benefits, or aren't they not willing to embrace it yet? I'm just trying to get your sense on maybe some of the hesitancy or some of the things that are holding back the whole idea of hiring a fractional CEO and feeling good about hiring a fractional cmo. I think a lot of it has to do with the level of commitment that each individual company has towards its marketing and the mindset it has towards its marketing efforts. If it's still seen as an expense line, then you're probably not there yet. They have to realize that this is an investment and that it's an investment that will pay back multiple, multiple layers later, and years later in fact in some cases, and that you have to make a long term commitment. If you want to make money fast through beer, if you want to make money slow, you become a distiller. You gotta wait, you got to be patient and you got to wait for this stuff to go so the slow burn effect you're seeing is the fact that the level of commitment amongst a broad swath of companies and sectors is not there for marketing yet. They've often had the bigger companies, the enterprise folks, have had cmos for a long time because they've realized the value. That's what got them there, was realizing the value of marketing and letting it drive the boat, drive the show and pull in revenue as it is supposed to. The smaller companies, who often the founders are from the sales side or from the marketing side to a certain degree, think they understand it, but they don't have the depth in the breadth and their way way overloaded with other corporate duties to be able to focus on it adequately. But the first thing founders look for in some help is somebody who's not going to threaten their autonomy and their authority. Well, marketers are change agents. You call up that guy, you'd better be ready to reap the whirl with because they're going to come in and make some fairly impactful change is fairly early to get you on the right track and to get you going strong and to get those cats all moving in the same direction. So I think there's some hesitancy there. The whole concept that asking for help is a weakness sometimes plays into that as well, and I'm sure you saw that in the consulting world. You know, if you have to turn around and have somebody else solve a problem for you, you know maybe the board's going to question your abilities. So there's a certain amount of that going on. The other thing that I've noticed is that the people that are willing to embrace this are very, very comfortable knowing that someone else has taken that off their plate. The less secure the founder in the CEO is, the less comfortable, he is making that commitment and delegating that authority and driving that change somewhere other than his chair. So I think it's a combination of all three things that are that are driving the hesitancy in the slow creeping progress that...

CMOS have been able to make. The inroads are there, but you've got to catch the right people. It's like if you you own a castle for a house. Yeah, everybody likes to live in a castle, but there's only two or three guys that can really afford it and understand how much work that really is, so that your buyer pool is very limited for something like that. But it's a tremendous property and you don't understand why their buyers aren't lining up. That's why it takes a very specific buyer to make that work. I think my view of the world is that a lot of people they have a hard time understanding what a fractional CMO does. They understand what the director of marketing days or a VP marketing. These are the people are going to sit in the sea, they're going to drink the COOLA, they're going to be there two seven and they're going to handle marketing. They're going to run marketing and they're going to make marketing integral part of our business. And I don't know whether people understand exactly the rule of US fractional cm or how much time they're in invest and that's one and the other thing is really getting understanding of the fact that there's different types of fractional CMOS. We're not we're not all the same creatures and my take is that they're there's some maybe maybe it's fractional seems. We have to do more education. We have to walk people through how this engagement works and how the rules of engagement working with us are different than having a full time seem. Oh, I think I've seen the light bulb come on. If if I was able to get somebody into a couple of meetings and really get them engaged with me and I said when I send over my engagement agreement with some terms on it that I think I'm under standing that you'll be agreeable to and we'll see what happens from there. And as soon as they open up that engagement, which is really only about four pages, and they read the specifics and they see what the limits are in the scope and and the deliverer roles and everything else is all light out in front of him. The light bulb comes on and they go, Oh, this is what we're talking about. Now I'm comfortable with this because now it's concrete, now it's specific that I can say yes to this, no to this, and Oh, you're going to develop a plan and in twenty days, or you're going to put a plan in action in sixty days and you're going to read these results in nine months or whatever. You've got it up. It's like elites. You have a finite end to it, which makes people very comfortable. You can live with almost anything as long as you know it's going to endit a specific time. So even if they if they're a little off about it in the beginning and they still sign off, they know that if, no matter how bad this gets, it's got an endpoint. So they're a little more comfortable with that. The other thing is once they've seen those specifics, now they can get back and put their CEO coat back on and say, okay, I'm going to hold this guy's beat to the fire with these specifics and these overall scopes and say I know how to do that, I know how to manage department heads. I can manage that if that's what this looks like. The fact that he's only showing up to every third meeting, but it's the important one and it's the right one, doesn't bother me. So they're okay with it. After that, once they've seen it become Crete and specific, they're okay. I kind of look at the fractional semimoth title as CATNEP. It's irresistible when you see it. It's different, it's new, it's sparks your curiosity. But one of the things that I found in having conversations with people who are interested in my services is...

...being abundantly clear by what kind of marketer I am. So I only work with BBS as companies. I'm big into positioning and messaging and content marketing. But if you want to performance based marketer or somebody who's really heavy on the Seo Sem side, that's not me. So I think one of the things for our companies to think about is that a fractional cmo was just like any other CEMA. We have our strengths, are weaknesses. Were good at some things were not good at other things, and regardless of whether you hire a full time CMO or a fractional CMO. You really have to hire someone who's aligned with what kind of marketing you need to do. I think that's that's a one of the biggest things that you and I have to deal with in terms of being clear about I can help you or I can yeah, and you mentioned education. I think it is incoming upon us to educate the general marketing sphere or the corporate leadership sphere in the fact that a this can work and work well and be that we're out here as a resource, that it's really not just the cost savings that are driving this. It's the availability, the extra availability of time. That's one less person to manage half that time, the fact that you're getting so much more depth and and they come up to speed so much faster than if you were to do a full time higher and there's less risk and ball realistically, because the average tenure of a full fledged CMOS about two point eight years right and that's been getting shorter, believe it or not, over time, not longer, which is what we had all hope. So by the time the guy gets up to speed at your to you're really closing in on the sunset of his tenure anyway, so you're really not gaining anything. Doing the fractional bit gives people that endpoint we talked about and makes them comfortable with the fact that, okay, he's not just going to leave any time he feels like it. Are a new challenge comes along, he's already incorporated that new challenge into the schedule. We've got him for the full year. Let's use him as best in can. So there is that educational component as to how the structure of all this works that I think people need to get comfortable with, and you're exactly right. All these new stripes of marketers, all you know, the performance versus lead, Gen versus demand, jen versus all the different sort of tactical labels that have been at task to this thing. We've got the whole thing covered soup to nuts. In the real top end CEO integrator type field, we know how to do all that. But I'm not going to sit down and code you a website. I'm not going to sit down and and pick out your SEO content for hours and hours on end. We hire people to do that. To that end, I can apply all the places I'm strong and beef up all the places I'm weak all at one shot when I'm building that team, and you'll never know they're there. That's the beauty part of all of this is that I make make up for my deficits with your money. It's a beautiful thing. So let me ask you a black and white question, sort of a yeing and Yang question. What are the biggest reasons why a company would hire a fractional CMO? And then, on the flip side, why shouldn't...

...a company higher a fractional CMO? Kee, were talked us to a company. They want to hire you. I Want I want you to work for me as a fractional human. You said no, I don't think you should do that. So let's talk about why you should hire a fractional C no and why not. Well, the wise are very easy and there's a number of them. I'm struggling more with the why not, because it really is a pretty good idea for most cases. Now, you mentioned that you have companies that you don't fit their key hole quite as well because of what they need. What I'm finding here is that companies really aren't sure of what they need and therefore you have to be sort of the Jack of all trades in order to me whoever comes down the pike. But that's not the best way to go about it. You're much more on the right track by niching down and being crystal clear and specific on what that value proposition for you is. You're going to have much better success that way, and so are the companies were serving. By the way, that's the same advice I give them. Make sure that value proposition is crystal clear and that you know what it is you need to do. Now the hiring proposition is exactly the same. The people who need us are anybody who needs depth, experience, breadth, control and perspective all in one individual but doesn't necessarily want to pay for it full time. And that runs the GAMMUT. We're almost sector agnostic in that level. We're not, sighs agnostic, by the way, though. STARTUPS, very small startups, probably can't take advantage of us because there aren't enough tactics, there aren't enough budget, there's not a big enough team. We're not needed at that level just yet. You would be better off hiring us as a strategy consultant and say, okay, set up my plan and then tell me what to do and I'll come back to you in three years when we built it into something you need to manage and go from there. So very tiny companies probably don't need to Seemoh, which is why they don't hire them. Fractional or otherwise very, very large enterprise companies. Google doesn't need a fractional CMO. They're huge. They've got a real guy at the real helm who's got, you know, fifty assistants and thirty five team members to do all this stuff for him and he just kind of keeps his hand on the throttle and the way they go. Big Enterprise companies run that way. They don't need. The savings is miniscule compared to the amount of extra horsepower you get by having that guy permanently embedded and being in every meeting and walking up and down every hallway and talking to every minion in the place to gather intelligence and information all the time. We can't do that for them, so we're not that helpful. It's the middle ground where we shy. It's the folks that are between say, ten and two hundred million dollars that really can take advantage not only of the savings but of the extra depth and breadth and the less management time and the less top end that needs to be done, and their founders are often have a much slimmer sea sweet to start with, and adding one more can make a huge impact, whereas if you've got nineteen vice presidents already in there and are all trying to gather and get their facetime and do this in that, having another full time guys just going to make the...

...room more crowded. Having a part time guy show up one day carry the water and he's briefcase and go okay, here's how it's going to go has much, much more impact for those middle market customers, regardless of the the the industry sector that they're in. I don't have a particular shining for us a US and you do, but throw me in with with any kind of membership association, any kind of professional organization, any kind of manufacturing plant, any kind of product group, and I'll be just fine because I've done those things, I've seen those things and there's a logic to it, there's a sense to it that that needs to be experienced. But I don't have to know who the big movers and shakers are to be able to pick up a phone call them. I'll figure that out along the way. The way that I look at it is twofold for companies that are looking to hire someone like me. One is, I feel, a GAPP usually the companies that are interested in and hiring a fractional CMO don't have marketing leadership. They may have a junior marketer, they're doing a little bit of marketing order, they're doing no marketing at all, and they recognize that that is a gap that needs to be filled because they're on one side their opportunities and the other side their threats. So that helps them out, and the other side is risk mitigation. Hiring a fulltime cmo cost you a hundred and twenty five, a hundred and fifty two hundredzero plus benefits, plus options, plus perks, and it's expensive and if you hire the wrong full time CMO it's a very expensive mistake. And companies that are especially earlier state, not stars, but earlier stage, they don't want to do that if they don't know what kind of marketing they need to do, and so hired a fractional CMO is a less risky way to go. So if he bindsed the idea that yes, I want to higher fractionally CMO. I see the benefits. I understand that it's a it's fills a gap and there's less risk involved. The question is, where do they start? Like what are some of the first steps they should take in terms of finding the right fractional Cmo for what they need to do? I think they need to do several things. One you mentioned risk. I think they need to do an internal risk assessment and see exactly what their goals are and what they're willing to pay to get there, because one of the things you didn't mention as you were tallying up all the expenses that going to hiring a full timer is the budget he's going to spend, and he's going to ask for about three times what you're comfortable with because that's what he knows he needs to make it go. So now you've not only spent the three hundred grand on his salary and Benny's and everything else, you've probably spent two or three million dollars of stuff in that year or so that he's there. Are Two years that he's there getting the ground under him and you don't know what he's doing, the plan in front of him. So that's a even bigger risk for those middle market companies is dumping that two or three million into the adspend and the the creative and all the rest of the agency work and all the rest of it that has to go with it. The fraction often...

...brings partially his own team with him. That cuts risk as well. I know I can pick up the phone and hire creatives all day long and know that they're going to perform without even blinking an eye in terms of risk and no, I'm going to get what I want the first time around, cutting my cost down. So I'm going to work on the cheap for you as well as with you, which is a much better thing. Now, as far as the first steps that a company needs to think about, I would make sure that they know what it is their goals really are and make sure that they're realistic. Setting expectation is our number one job. When we go in the door and they say well, we want a triple sales in six months, you need to stone up your face and say no, we're not going to people to do that with the resources you've got in the time you've Allis allocade and it's not my time, it's everyone's done. Things take a while to evolve. You're not going to unless the machine is running perfectly and all it's lacking is fuel, which is money. You're not going to be able to triple sales in six months. It's just not going to have unless there's a whole bunch of pent up demand that you're aware of that no one else is, that hasn't and if they are, they stolen it from you're not going to get that from from just about any company. But if they say I want to increase by about forty percent, I'm going to give it about a year to do that, and here's three million dollars to do it, then you know they've got to embrace the thing and set their mind correctly in what the job really is. Now you have a concrete goal, you have a specific way to do it, you have a specific size and scope and budget. So those things were all decided before you walk in the door. Now you have a set of parameters to sell to that candidate. Now you can go about finding the right candidate that fits the needs you to have within those parameters. That, to me, is the the path that most companies need to take. Get Your House in order first, then go looking for the carpenter. It's a whole bunch different than saying well, we need another team member. Okay, who do we need? Let's go find him. You need to be a little more specific than that, because we've got our finger and a lot of eyes and we're at the top end of the pyramid. We're going to interact with accounting on a very peer to peer level, we're going to interact with sales on a very peer to peer level, we're going to interact with your accounting department and and your compliance department and everything else at a very peer to peer level, and we're running make demands and we're going to push back. So you've got to be prepared for all that stuff. One of the biggest challenges that I've run into when I do start working with the company is establishing the rules of engagement and expectations. Now, some of that is around what a success look like, you know, being realistic and setting both sides up for Suss and in terms of saying, yes, we can achieve forty percent growth in a year. Three hundred percent, girl, maybe not so much. That's one, but the second one, and I think this is sometimes more challenging, is how much are you going to get from me in terms of time and commitment, because I could work for you for three hours a week, I could work eight or two or three days, and then how do you manage what I call service creep?...

I want you to do these things, and then it's I want to do these things and these things in these things and then also in your fractional se me and seem I was really a fulltime CMO, because you're relying on them that much. So what's your experience in terms of being very clear about how we're going to work together, how much you can expect from me, how much time I'm going to commit to you and what success looks like? Because you don't tea that up, if you don't get those all established before the engagement starts, then you're going to run into problems at some point in time. Either you or the client is going to be unhappy, and that's just a recipe for disaster. So what is your approach to saying expectations and the rules of engagement? Hey, you're absolutely right be I take it back to the the engagement contract that we set up in the beginning. That at least sets the the broad strokes of what the scope of this thing looks like, and you're right, scope creep is an incredible pitfall to fall into, because they do start. Once they see some some activity and see things changing and see you engaging with other people in the company and making things happen, then the competents kind of sorts to ooze out and they go, Oh, this is a guy I can trust to get stuff done. Why don't we sick this audience and why don't we have him do this and why don't we run with this? And that's okay, you can do that, but it's going to take away from this other thing that we've already talked about. My plate is of a limited size, but because that's what we've agreed on in terms of number of hours. I know my speed and my efficiency levels and my productivity levels. I'm telling you now that you've just taken away about a third of what was on that plate for the new things you just tossed off. So you have to prioritize which one of those things you want. That's a difficult conversation to have the first time. After that they get the message really quickly because it works out well and they understand that. Okay, which one would you deprioritize to get this new thing? So part of it is understanding that you do have a mind of your own and you're not shaking in your boots all the time worried about one of these erratic CEOS is going to fire you on the spot out of peak. You've got your own standards and you're going to maintain them and hold them. That's part of setting expectation. The other is understanding that not everything happens at once. Rome wasn't built in a day. I got a plan this first, I got a budget at first I gotta figure out what it is you need that's going to work with what you've given me. If I've only got, you know, twenty yards of concrete, I'm going to have to make a different kind of house then if you've got fifty, it's just that simple. You work with what you're giving. So I can either turn around and say no, that's not enough and ask you more, or I can figure out how to make what you've got work as well as it possibly can, and I generally choose the ladder and then show proof of concept and then I can go back to the well and say, okay, this is how this work the last time. If you want to up your game, we can go for twenty hours to thirty and we can triple the the the output budget. And here's what you're going to do now that you're comfortable with it. My goal is to build a machine that works at any level, and the more you fill it up, the...

...faster and more quickly at scales. My advice to companies hiring a fraction of CEOMO, one of my piece of advice is that in many respects you're hiring a change agent, as you said earlier. They may see you as a consultant with a fancy title and there are often expectations for media grat instant gratification. I hire you, you're going to do something right away. So one of the things that I highlight when I'm working with the new client is not only how we're going to work together and, ultimately, what success looks like for you, but I also try to help you identify what are your biggest pains right now. Where's the house on fire and when we're and how can I help solve that or figure out that problem? So I look for quick wins. In my case, what I'll say to a company is tell me your biggest problems, the things that you would like me to solve right now, and it could be I need an updated sales deck or I need a one pager. And what I find is that it does a couple things. One is it helps a fraction of seemo prove their worth and demonstrate you made the right decision by hiring someone who can get stuff done and to it helps to make the client more confident they're seeing marketing actually start to happen, and I think that's an important rule or important element in terms of successful long term engagement is actually actually start things off on the right foot, and I always live for ways that I can prove value right away. Oh absolutely, in in a full time roll or in a fraction role. Early wins are key and and promoting those early wins on a broad scale only helps you gain accolytes and and supporters inside, because once everybody wants to be on the train that's got the winner on. So if you can show a couple of key early things that take away those pain points early on. I just started an engagement with a with a small company that's growing that the founder already inherently knew this, and I said, I'm going to help you realign your brand, I'm going to help you do this or that. Was Multiple entities. They all had to play in the same sandbox, different value props for each you wanted them to hang together as a unit. It was a bunch of functional and and visual problems that needed to be solved. But she said, that's fine, we're going to do that right away, but here's five things you can work on in the meantime while you're getting all that lined up. I need this, and need this, I need this. Start working on these things and, oh, by the way, sinus up for this conference, this trade show and this and I said okay, and we took care of the those are early pain points very quickly because they were very specific. It was pick up the phone, find a creative, find a distributor, find a producer, get the thing done, and in those instances you can find an early win. And when you show them the proof in the pudding, look, it's done here finished, they really do start to gain a lot of confidence in the fact that the things you tell them are true, they are doable, they're real and they help. One of the tricky questions when it comes to using a fraction of scene. Know. I was how long the...

...engagement lasts. Ideally, you know, a fractional semo, in my view, needs at least three to three two months at least, but ideally at least six months to really start to build the engine, get established priority start to get stuff done. In my experience I've been with a couple of companies for a year and at that point in time the relationship starts to sort of what I call engagement fatigue. You're essentially their full time resource. I often feel in those cases they really need a full time resource. Is there an ideal period of time in which the fractional CMO delivers magic and then it starts to fade, or can it be something that continues for as long as they want to start working? I want to keep working together. I think there's a couple of things. One, it determined. It's determined largely by the level and depth of the problem you're trying to solve. If you've got a big company that needs rebranded and re maneuvered and goes after a slightly different market share and it may be running away from a PR problem that has four or five other things that need done, I think a year minimum is pretty much where I start, because it just takes time. You're busy as a one armed paper hanger and you're also limited by the number of hours you're really committed to. So there's a constant squeeze on your time. You trying to be as effective and efficient with it as you can, but things just take time sometimes and they take time to develop, they take time to spread internally so that you have support to do things quickly. You know when the accounting department takes four days to get back to your email, you know you haven't quite spread the seed as far as you need to because that check needed to be there yesterday. So what you end up with is there needs to be a timescale that's set up and built to accomplish the bulk of the work that needs done in an effective amount of time. I don't do engagements if I can help it, for less than a year because you're shortcutting the process. Marketing takes time. You have to be patient with it. You're not going to eat the fruit off the apple tree you plan today. You're just going to have to wait. So given that year to take care of all the details and to get all the story straight and to get everybody all the internal buy and you need. This takes time, but you're right. There is some fatigue because you quit producing those magical moments. As you're going into the second year, you're looking at it going okay, now what levers do I pull that I haven't pulled already? And you start looking around for new challenges and new things to put at them. And you've built the machine well enough that all, realistically, your twenty hours aren't being spent as effectively and his high impact as they were in the beginning, because things start to run themselves after a while. Other apartments are now busy. Sales is very busy. They've been fed, you know. Accounting is now busy keeping track of all these massive expenses they got going. Other departments are busy making sure operations and customers are happy and and the all the new software standing up at all that thing. So you push the productivity down the hill and the rest of the department's start picking up on it after about a year and suddenly you're left with a whole lot less to do. That has visual and visible impact. You're still...

...running the show and the show has many, many, many points and many, many levers, but you got them all pretty much dialed in where you want. I'm occasional adjustments here and there so it doesn't look as busy, it doesn't feel as busy and yes, they're starting to get a little fatigued with it. Eighteen months is a good time frame. I it depends on the industry. In some cases, though, I worked for a financial advisory firm, good sized one, and they started to get anty with their results. That roughly the nine to twelve month mark. But we also worked with a much, much larger firm who had made the marketing commitment a whole lot earlier in their tenure. And we're run by a CEO who came from another industry, so he understood marketing very well. He was a consumer industry and when they went on a buying spree and bought a bunch of other companies and expanded, he gave each of those new companies that they'd purchased twenty eight months to get their marketing house in order because he knew it took time to put all the flooring underneath all that stuff and to get them aligned properly. He had the patients to really make it work. Now had, I had an engagement as a fractional CMO for him for twenty eight months. They should have just hired me because ultimately it comes out cheaper that. But there's a tipping point for everyone. Just depends on the depth of the problem as much as anything else. You know, it's consultants. You know we want to stick around as long as possible. I mean long term cust or. It's all about the follows. It's all the time, you know, making sure that we've got that. The check comes in every month and it sort of gives us economic stability. But at some point in time every client, well I would say nearly every client, needs to hire a VP marketing. If you've got the marketing machine established, if it's rolling, eat somebody in the seat. At least. My view is twenty one seven. What are the signal says to you as a fractional CMO, that my client is probably better off with a full time VP marketing or our CMO? And then what is the rule that you, as a fractional CMO play in terms of hiring your successor? There are several instances. One if the scenario was try it before you buy it. You have to decide whether that's a company you want to be aligned with full time and just take the full time Gig. The second alternative is, yes, it's time to turn this over someone slightly less senior but also considerably less expensive, that can really mind the store twenty four seven. So when I start to look at the plan for the following year and I'm not making massive sweeping changes in it from the prior year, that's one of the signals. I used to say, okay, this thing is pretty well established now and it doesn't need massive sweeping changes, it needs minor adjustments and incremental changes. Anyone coming in cold to that situation with that good roadmap can make those incremental changes and and those those small adjustments and do well enough internally because their fingers on the pulse all the time, but they lack in depth. They'll make up for an attention at that point. So that's kind of one of the triggers I look at is when that plan flips over and, instead of being a crash and burn, it's more of us you can destroy,...

...then I can kind of walk away and say okay, now, if you want to keep me around as an advisor on a pay as you go basis, I'm very comfortable with that and that's how you do the extension at the end, at least how I do right, because then they can call you up out of the blue and go look, you set us up with all the stuff and this guy's good at about three quarter or something. We need the other core covered somehow. What do you recommend? And I can look at the situation and not come in with a pair of literally recently revealed eyes and look at it. I know the background, I can I can see where it went off, I can see where it's been missed and I can make very strong and very specific recommendations to write the train again and get it going at a very minimal cost, because I've done all the learning a ready. So for them it's really a matter okay, write the guy at tenzero dollar check having come in and fix the other little pieces, and we're good. Most companies are very meanable to doing that. It's like hiring the sniper rather than a whole battalion. You just come in and fix the one problem. We have covered a lot of ground in the last thirty thirty five minutes. I hope that we've provided companies with insight and advice on how to hire the right fractor. Will see them. I'll have why to hire a fractill seem. Final question to you is where can people learn more about you and what you do? I certainly Linkedin is a great spot to do that. I'm I'm posting on a daily basis with all sorts of learning and content that's valuable for companies in that middle market sector. You can certainly go on Amazon and purchase my book, The Marketing Doctors Survival Note. You can certainly go to my website, the marketing Doccom, and find out more about our services and how we offer fractional CMO as well as consulting services for tactical and strategic executions. Those are places you can find more about me. They thanks for the amazing advice and thanks for everyone for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review, subscribe by Apple podcasts or your favorite podcast APP and share via social media. To learn more about how I help be TOB SASS companies as a fractional CMO strategic advisor and coach, send an email to mark at Mark Evans Dot Sea or connect with me on Linkedin. I'll talk to you soon.

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