interim marketing leadership

Rumblings about a coming recession haven’t quieted, leaving many companies scrambling for ways to save money and cut budgets. You already know that cutting marketing leadership is a bad idea all around, and you also already know—if you’ve been reading this blog, anyway—that a Fractional CMO can help you solve several different challenges at once.

When you take the step of hiring interim marketing leadership for your business, you’re setting yourself up for success. However, there are a few common pitfalls that could make their job harder and stifle your potential results. To get the most value out of your Fractional CMO, here are the steps you’ll need to take.

Provide the Right Tools

If, during your budget slashing, you eliminate the tools your Fractional CMO needs to do the job, you’re setting your new leadership and your company up for failure. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction to the costs, spend time with your interim marketing leadership to investigate each available tool to determine which will provide the best value for your marketing efforts.

Your CMO will need the tools to automate many marketing tasks, particularly smart marketing that helps track and define buyer behaviors. These buyer behaviors then help your marketing leaders develop strategies for convincing and converting buyers. Without the analytics that accompany most of the tools your marketing department needs, your Fractional CMO will be flying blind, and that’s not valuable to anyone.

Understand Separation from Sales

To get the best possible results from interim marketing leadership, there is one big understanding that must occur between you, marketing, and sales, and that’s this: marketing is not sales. They should be closely aligned and work together for the ultimate outcome, but they should be two separate departments with different strategies, tasks, and goals.

Expecting your CMO to also manage or even handle sales is a bad idea for multiple reasons, but the two biggest are these: Your Fractional CMO already has a full plate leading the marketing efforts, and the skills and activities needed for sales are vastly different from those in marketing.

Realistic Expectations

Expecting a marketing leader to also handle sales leadership is only one unrealistic expectation you might have that affects the value you could receive from a Fractional CMO. Other expectations can and will be affected by several factors, not the least of which is our current financial environment.

Instead of developing your own expectations, allow your Fractional CMO to set them. With some investigation into your products or services, your target audience, your brand advocates, and the tools they will have at their disposal, your interim marketing leader can make you aware of any needs they may have and the outcomes you can expect with your current state of business.

Then, together, you can work to increase those expectations and improve marketing performance.

Trust Their Expertise

When your Fractional CMO lays out the strategies and outcomes you can expect, trust their expertise. When concerns are raised about the work environment, team members, the tools being used, potential gaps in the brand messaging, and missed opportunities with your target audience, trust their expertise.

You’re a leader in your company for a reason, and your Fractional CMO has risen to the top of marketing leadership for a reason. While board members, team members, and executives may all have opinions on the strategies and output from the marketing department, your CMO can’t experience success if their efforts and expertise aren’t trusted and supported.


We already know that marketing and sales should always be in alignment, but that’s not the only place your Fractional CMO should be allowed visibility and insight. Bring your Fractional CMO into executive meetings and board meetings. Allow them to experience the inner workings of the business and learn the brand as it applies to the people who work in your company.

By giving them insight into company goals, and not just those that apply to revenue, your CMO will feel empowered to make decisions that are best for your company and your brand. This places in you a much better position, whatever your reason for working with a Fractional CMO—whether your company just isn’t big enough for a full-time marketing executive, you have recently experienced budget cuts that make a full-time marketing executive unreachable, or you’ve experienced recent vacancies that left you in need of interim leadership—to have a fully comprehensive marketing strategy in place instead of a plan to limp from month to month.

With these tips in mind, you will set your Fractional CMO—and your company—up for success. If you’re ready to take the next step toward solid marketing leadership on a fractional basis, reach out any time. We’re here to help.