Maybe you need a $500K C-Suite power player to get things rolling, but certainly not full-time. And not at the expense of your R&D talent or burn rate. The answer? A fractional CXO that you plug into, when you need it. And then unplug, when you are fueled up and ready to run, solo. Thats the gig paradigm.

Fractional teams are the next evolution of the fractional hiring trend that’s grown in popularity over the past few years. Fractional hiring means bringing on part-time talent to fill key functions and infuse an organization with expertise. --Forbes

What does it mean to be a fractional CMO at Match? First, "fractional" refers to our relationship with our clients. We are not full-time officers, we are more like the SWAT team that come in as needed. We don't step on toes. We lift up everything and everyone around us. We work with all levels of marketing.

Image credit: HBR/Pierre Kleinhouse

What problem do you solve? 80% of our clients are startups that need senior-level work done to raise their Series A or B, and they like having one senior-level executive with 25+ years of experience that they can rent --not buy. Or need us to unite key stakeholders.

From an economic perspective, they only pay a fraction of the cost since the role only requires a fractional commitment. A good rule-of-thumb is 25%. Or a retainer range of $5K-$15K/mos.

Is this model proven and efficient? Post-pandemic, the gig economy is in full swing, so this plug-in CMO model is efficient for our clients and for you. Jane has served as an interim CMO for 12 companies in the last three years. Some lasting 6 months and others are rounding the corner on 6 years. Louis, her partner has completed several large engagements as a CSO and/or COO for several energy management start-ups in the Bay. And recently spun off Volta Blue, a consultancy dedicated to a chief strategist on demand.

What does the "C and O" stand for? It represents a Chief Officer role. This is an essential attribute of the title because it refers to taking on an interim C-level role (complete with responsibilities and direct reports) until the company is funded. We help the CEOs choice to manage their money and the equity in the company responsibly --while adding tremendous insight and momentum at a fraction of the cost. We are often featured on the official website and PPT under the leadership team. Our arrangements an include a combination of cash and equity. Or a longer term maintenance contracts, after a website goes live.

Then what does the "M" mean? The "M" has evolved over the years. It started by meaning "anything that needed to get done in marketing with your teams or with ours.

Is the chicken or the egg paradox relevant here as it relates to investment in human capital?

The cost of hiring paradox

Yes. A small company with a founder or CEO and a couple of employees will often need another leader to be able to grow the business but, until they grow, they often can't afford that hire. But they cannot hire until they grow. We call the classic chicken or the egg paradox. And that is what a fractional solution attempts to bridge, solve, and crack. All the support, and best practices, without breaking the bank.

As we look back on the history of our agency, the on-demand CMO came out of designing the brand first. And along the way our clients started asking us to stay and help run the departments for a little way. That is why Match CMO emerged and the market demanded it. The CMO became the gardener and keeper of the brand once it was newly designed by the Match Design teams. Then we found clients were asking us about other people on our team, so Louis spun off Volta Blue partners to focus on much more complex strategic planning and consulting for clean tech, fintech, energy, and more.

If you hire us for a plug-in CMO, here are some best practices:

1. The best CMOs are a rare breed of professionals with cross-functional experience in sales, marketing,  customer success, public relations, business development, metrics, banding, and strategic planning. They normally need at least 6-mos. agreements. And Jane has been on two projects for 6+ years.

2. Most CMOs monitor, analyze, and optimize all user experiences across all touch points in the organization and its user ecosystem. They work in the way you work. They learn your processes, your systems, and they become seamless. They are impartial advocates --yet are milestone focused. They never make you feel like they are too busy to jump in and help.

Jane Lalonde, CMO on Demand

3. Modern CMOs are responsible for fostering a customer-centric and brand culture, delivering a consistent user experience on the brand, refining the product roadmap, improving customer retention, and maximizing CLTV (Customer Life-Time Value.) Plus all the fun branding and design stuff, too.

4. CMO's give you all the power and performance --without the hefty overhead. The average CMO salary in San Jose, CA is $429,000 as of January 26, 2023, but the range typically falls between $371,000 and $522,500. Our fractional CMO leaders charge between $5,000- $15,000 a mos. retainers and are paid to be efficient and do the same job without the 401K's, insurance, and business class flights.

Behold the rise of the gig CMO on demand. So, there you have it—the recipe for a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer.  Please connect with me to learn.