Virtual CMO

Fractional CMO services for SMBs

looking to increase revenue growth and profitability.

Strategic Marketing Advisory Services

The Five Echelon Group's Virtual CMO advisory service was created for SMBs to provide the seasoned expertise of a CMO on-demand. We design and execute strategic marketing plans to fuel growth without the cost of adding a full-time marketing executive.

Define a Strategy

We want to understand your business's goals and objectives to build a strategic marketing plan that can get you there.

Enhance Positioning

What is your product-market fit? Your competitor's offerings? Your target customer personas? We will look at these factors to determine how best to enhance your brand positioning in the marketplace.

Increase Awareness

Increasing awareness of your brand, products, and services is critical to driving new leads and organic web traffic. We will look at areas of investment to get your company more visibility with your target buyers.

Improve Lead Generation

To increase sales, you first need to increase the quantity and quality of your leads. Building a predictable, lead generation engine is an important factor for long-term growth.

Measure & Optimize

To be successful, you have to be able to measure your results. Having analytical systems in place to monitor and optimize programs. This helps your company achieve a positive ROI on marketing campaigns.

Align Sales & Marketing

It's critical to have Sales and Marketing working together to coordinate lead flow and follow-up activities. Generating quality leads is expensive and making sure Sales is leveraging the work done by marketing is critical for growth.

What is the Virtual CMO advisory service?

The Virtual CMO advisory service from The Five Echelon Group is a CMO on-demand offering  for part-time, outsourced marketing leadership. It's a program developed to bring high-end strategic expertise to small and midsize businesses. While the role is outsourced, it's designed to be a part of your core leadership team.

By outsourcing your marketing to someone with seasoned expertise in branding and marketing strategy, it facilitates the design and execution of a comprehensive marketing strategy that's aligned with your business goals and growth objectives.

Marketing needs to be strategic to be effective and it takes time and money to produce results. A comprehensive marketing strategy delivers long-term value, creating a foundation for a prospering business. Ultimately, strategic marketing increases brand awareness, drives new leads, and produces sales growth and profitability.

Marketing is the engine that drives growth. Yet the ever-changing dynamics of marketing effectiveness require seasoned knowledge and expertise. Outsourcing your strategic marketing planning and execution gives you marketing plans with a fresh perspective. It's a flexible alternative to a full-time executive leader which saves your business time and money.


  • The service provides an engage and experienced professional to give you both advice and recommendations
  • It facilitates the development of a comprehensive marketing plan to grow your business
  • It provides a mentor who will transfer knowledge by working as a part of the core leadership team
  • It brings years of experience knowing the most appropriate marketing channels, best practices, technologies, tools, and software to your marketing mix
  • It helps you best utilize your marketing budgets
  • It lowers the cost in comparison to a full-time hire. You pay a contracted flat rate without worrying about salary, benefits, and recruiting costs.
CMO On Demand

Not all businesses have a Chief Marketing Officer

It's important to note in this discussion that not all businesses have the executive role of Chief Marketing Officer. This is especially true of small and midsize companies. In those firms, they might have a VP of Marketing, Director of Marketing or even a Marketing Manager. The title really doesn't matter, they have been tasked with building a plan and executing marketing tactics.

The concept of a fractional CMO is an experienced marketing professional who can help create a comprehensive strategy and manage its execution, on a fractional or part-time basis. It's like getting a senior level professional at a cost similar to full-time hire who is much less experienced.

No matter what title may or may not exist within your organization, if you're looking to grow revenue, chances are you'll find significant value in hiring an experienced fractional CMO for your business.

What's the best way to get value from an on-demand CMO?

Having an outsourced CMO can help your company quickly design a comprehensive marketing strategy and implement the execution of specific marketing tactics. But to get the most value from an engagement, here are some suggestions on how best to leverage your Virtual CMO's skills and experience:


  • Advice - As a business leader, people in your company look to you for direction. That’s part of what being a leader is all about. But who do you talk to for advice? Where do you go when you want to bounce ideas around with someone? Who pushes back on your preconceived notions? Who tells you that your cool idea is a huge distraction? These are ideal scenarios to interact with your Virtual CMO.
  • Developing a strategy - You know your goals for the business and ask your Virtual CMO how to get there. He can present multiple scenarios that align with your reality and work with you on breaking them down into an achievable and actionable plan.
  • Exploring new ideas - You may have an idea for something in your head – you want to explore a new angle to your business, or you think you should enter a new market. A Virtual CMO can help you take it to the next level – he can brainstorm with you, do research on the options, and find a way to turn your idea into new revenue for your business.
  • Execution - There are many moving pieces to a marketing strategy. A CMO on-demand can help manage but internal and external resources to help execute the plan. Whether you already have marketing staff, existing vendor relationships or need advice on the best professionals and tools to bring your strategy to life, your Virtual CMO can orchestrate activities and get things done.
  • Building an internal team - Once your Virtual CMO helps you develop a strategy, identify activities to achieve your goals, and determine the best way to execute, you can decide if hiring full-time marketing staff is right for your company. When the time comes, the CMO on-demand can help you define the roles to fill and hire with confidence.

What is the difference between a Virtual CMO, Fractional CMO, and On-Demand CMO?

The short answer is nothing. All describe an outsourced consulting offering where the CMO provides services to a company on a contract basis. Usually, those services are contracted for 6 to 12 month periods and are based on a fractional time commitment, not a specific number of hours. While in certain cases, it could be a full-time engagement, the cost savings generally come from the CMO being able to work remotely and on a part-time basis.

At The Five Echelon Group, our unique offering is called the Virtual CMO advisory service. 

Additional Articles

Fractional CMO For Your Business

What is a CMO On Demand

An Outsourced CMO Service For Your Business

6 Reasons to Add a Virtual CMO to Your Marketing Team

Virtual Chief Marketing Officer to Grow Your Business

How can I find the right Virtual CMO for my company?

A key reason for hiring a Virtual CMO is flexibility. You are not limited only those candidates living in a specific geography. Instead, you are free to find a leader who understands your company's mission and shares its values. While specific industry experience might be important, it's also worth considering that outside experience can be tremendously valuable by bringing in fresh insights and new ways of approaching problems. The most important factor is hiring some you and your team feel comfortable working with and knowing they understand where you want to go with the business.


  • Budget - If you have a specific project, our CMO on-demand can give you a quote for the time and dollars required. If you want focused time for feedback, brainstorming, and strategy development, you can work together to make sure the time is used most effectively.
  • Professional experience - In general, the B2C vs. B2B split is probably the most important – someone who specializes in convenience store marketing, for example, is perhaps not the best fit for a software developer. That said, our CMO on-demand does not need to be an expert in your industry. You're hiring an executive for their marketing skills, not expertise in your industry. They will work with you to understand your products and services, then apply that knowledge with their marketing expertise to develop a strategy based on proven marketing principles, techniques, and tools.
  • Cultural fit - You need to be able to tell your Virtual CMO some uncomfortable truths – and you need to be able to accept feedback from them too. As the adage goes, the first step toward solving a problem is recognizing you have one. The more open you are, the better your chances are of finding solutions. Ask for your outsourced CMO to sign a non-disclosure agreement to help you start building trust. Recognize that openness and full disclosure are the keys to finding solutions and accelerating growth.

Additional FAQ's

My company can do our marketing in-house. Why do we need the services of an on-demand CMO?

In an ideal world, time would be an infinite resource. Unfortunately, time is a business professional’s most valuable commodity. A Virtual CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), Fractional CMO, or On Demand CMO can help you accomplish more, faster. They help you scale.

Just as importantly, our CMO On Demand consulting service can fill holes in your team's expertise. You may tell your company’s story better than anyone, but have no clue on how to get in front of the right people. When you're trying to grow, you need programs in place that can accelerate those efforts. Marketing is complex, and especially in today's noisy environment, it takes time and effort to stand out and build awareness of your products and services. A CMO On Demand can help build out a strategy, secure the right resources to implement the plan, and manage the execution. Everything from your website, product messaging, collateral, presentations, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), advertising, and more need to be in sync to maximize the effectiveness of a marketing strategy.

The CMO On Demand can work with internal and external resources to make sure there is a comprehensive and coordinated strategy in place. If you already have a marketing manager or team in place, the CMO On Demand can work with them to accelerate the implementation of the overall marketing plan.

Why hire an outsourced CMO rather than invest in a full-time member of my team?

There are two primary reasons: experience and cost. You want the best possible people in every role, and hiring a Virtual CMO means you can get a lot more expertise for your budget than hiring a full-time team executive.

According to PayScale, the median salary for a Chief Marketing Officer is $170,000 per year. Add in bonus/profit sharing plus benefits, taxes, and overhead, and the cost rises to about $246,000. Hiring a VP of Marketing comes in around $146,000 or almost $200,000 all in. If that’s in your budget, by all means, go for the full-time professional. But if you need to scale up, you can get a CMO On Demand for a fraction of that price. You can get things moving, improve operations, and be in a much better position to understand what you do and don’t want in a full-time manager once you're ready to hire.

Does an outsourced CMO require an extended contract?

If you have a specific project, your On Demand CMO should give you a timeframe needed for completion. If your needs are broader, understand there will be a ramp-up period to establish a relationship and delve into issues. But if things are not working out, you should know within three months.

Be forewarned, this works both ways – your Virtual CMO may decide that you aren’t a great fit if you are dishonest or refuse to listen to even the most basic of advice. Marketing is an expense, there is no way around some costs. If you're looking to grow, marketing plays an important role and it will require an investment. But a good marketing strategy that's well-executed can pay huge dividends to your business. The goal of creating a marketing strategy is to build a plan and implement programs that will yield the best result, at the lowest costs. It's crucial to enter into this executive engagement knowing that a comprehensive marketing strategy is an investment in your company's growth.

The Virtual CMO Podcast

A weekly podcast masterclass for marketing professionals looking to improve the effectiveness of their marketing strategy and accelerate growth.