An Outsourced CMO Service for Your Business

By Eric Dickmann

March 28, 2020

Outsourced CMO, Virtual CMO

In the business world, the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is the person responsible for marketing a company's products and services. Experience in management and leadership of the marketing function is how the C-suite designation is earned within a business. Most CMO’s will have many years of experience in both strategy development and tactical execution. For small and midsize companies, they might not have a formal role for a CMO but still require a manager responsible for developing and executing their marketing strategy. Whatever the formal structure, many companies should consider Outsourced CMO Services as a way to get experienced marketing leadership to help drive growth.

The CMO’s role is to inform the CEO and other management team members on how best to expand markets, increase brand awareness, build customer loyalty, drive engagement, and grow revenue. They are responsible for creating the “voice” for the organization through its brand experience. Additionally, the CMO serves as the brand ambassador, engagement advocate, and a customer champion.

Inside the company, the function of a Chief Marketing Officer is to bring together the talent, processes, and technology to help an organization realize its vision and execute a comprehensive strategy aligned to specific organizational goals and objectives. It's the CMO’s responsibility to build the marketing plan that outlines roles, responsibilities, budgets, resources, timelines, tactics, and measurable outcomes. They lead the marketing organization and project manage day-to-day activities.

How Do You Know If You Need Help with Marketing?

  • Have a strong tactical marketing team; however, you do not have a marketing person sitting at the table where company decisions are made about the vision, mission, strategy, tactics, and growth plans for the next 3-5 years
  • Lack a comprehensive marketing strategy or plan
  • Need a sustainable marketing engine that delivers predictable results
  • Spend money on marketing, though you see little ROI or do not have the capabilities to track budgets, measure performance, or forecast results
  • Need better competitive analysis and market research to know if you are talking to your target customers or delivering the right products and services
  • Need a comprehensive assessment of marketing tactics, team members, and capabilities to ensure you are built for long-term success
  • Lack the expertise needed to implement digital transformation and automation solutions into your marketing technology stack
  • Want to implement advanced tactics or implement marketing technologies to help the organization best utilize their data and assets to improve the customer experience
  • Need an expert that can help you improve brand loyalty, reduce churn, and support the business development team to achieve their growth targets
  • Dissatisfied with results of marketing's impact on revenue and know that you are missing out on existing market opportunities

What is an Outsourced CMO?

An Outsourced CMO becomes a part-time addition to your executive staff, bringing a market-based perspective to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy and manage its implementation. Think of it as an "executive-as-a-service." One way to think about the value of a Fractional CMO is that you are "renting" precisely the type of CMO your company needs. 

  • Speed – Recruiting is a slow process and often limited by the candidates available in your specific geography. Why recruit a CMO when you can "rent" one quickly? No hiring delays, head hunters, interviews, or relocations.
  • Convenience – Being able to select from a broader range of candidates means you can find an Outsourced CMO who closely matches your company's specific needs and values.
  • Cost-Savings – Hiring an Outsourced CMO costs 30% - 50% less than a full-time hire. No recruiting, relocation, or benefits costs. The savings add up, and a fixed-rate contract means you know what your expenses will be.
  • Up-To-Date – A significant benefit of hiring an Outsourced CMO is that they have experience from multiple engagements and stay current with the latest technologies and trends. 
  • Connected – It's not always feasible to have a large marketing team. Having a well-connected leader who has access to other consultants, vendors, and suppliers means they'll be able to quickly execute your marketing plan without the need for additional hiring.
Roles of CMO

Roles of a CMO - Deloitte US

What Are an Outsourced CMO's Responsibilities?

What are the functions that a marketing organization needs? These don’t necessarily map onto individual hires, and not every marketing team has every capacity, particularly early on. But as companies mature, they often hire dedicated resources focused on many of these areas:

  • Content - Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Content is a critical component of an inbound marketing strategy.
  • Brand Awareness and Positioning - Brand awareness is the level of consumer consciousness of a company. It measures a potential customer’s ability not only to recognize a brand image but also to associate it with a specific company’s products or services. Brand awareness is achieved through inbound and outbound marketing efforts. When there is significant competition in an industry, brand awareness can be one of the business’s greatest assets.
  • Marketing Communications (MarCom) - Marketing communications refer to the tactics adopted by a company to convey messages about its products and services, either directly or indirectly, to persuade customers to purchase. In other words, the different mediums that the company adopts to exchange information about their goods and services to the customers.
  • Events - These can be either live, in-person events such as trade shows, conferences, seminars, etc. or virtual events like webinars. While these tend to be expensive, they also provide unique opportunities to meet customers and prospects face-to-face and build relationships.
  • Lead Generation - Helps a company grow by the direct acquisition of actual and potential customers. Lead generation involves multiple channels, including paid search engine marketing (SEM), organic through search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and advertising. For many companies, this usually represents a significant part of their marketing budget spend.
  • Customer Engagement - Focuses on getting engagement and potentially additional sales and referrals from existing customers. Tactics include email, newsletters, promotions, direct mail, etc. to maintain contact and incentivize customers to purchase additional products and services.
  • Business Development - Strategic partnerships can be an essential tool in scaling your business. Working to partner with other companies to create win-win relationships can expand your reach and give your company access to new pools of potential customers.
  • Analytics and Metrics - You can't successfully implement a successful marketing strategy without knowing what you need to measure and how you're going to measure it. Analytics and tracking metrics are critical to monitor the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and strategies. Being able to optimize your marketing programs through data analysis is a significant cost-saving measure to be implemented. 

What are the Benefits of Outsourcing Your CMO?

An Outsourced CMO or Virtual CMO brings many benefits to an organization:

  • A Virtual CMO represents the fastest way to grow your company and less cost than a full-time hire and with lower risk. These Fractional CMO's are driven to demonstrate immediate and ongoing results. 
  • Experienced Outsourced CMO's can quickly spot trends, gaps, and problems in a company's sales and marketing strategy through their years of experience in helping growing businesses. This experience and outside perspective provides an enormous value to drive an increased ROI for marketing activities and new sources of revenue.
  • Executive outsourcing is more cost-effective than hiring a marketing agency or an in-house manager. Demand for competent and experienced marketing executives is high. A Virtual CMO costs significantly less than an in-house manager and allows your company to invest in growth programs rather than high salaries and compensation packages. Savings of 30% to 50% are typical in salary and benefits alone. Add to this the savings of being able to ramp up marketing activities without a lengthy onboarding process, and the savings add up. 
  • Forward-thinking companies understand that a Virtual CMO is an innovative and sustainable alternative that provides them a competitive advantage. Growth in your business is tied to creating and executing effective marketing plans. Successful companies are intentional in planning and implementing their strategies.

The Outsourced CMO Service

Understand Your Vision

Have a big vision for growth? A Virtual CMO will explore how you'll get from here to there, and what steps are necessary to grow your business. There are no cookie-cutter plans. Each business is unique and a comprehensive strategy only works with a detailed understanding of where you want your business to go.

Create a Strategic Plan

With market-based insights, an effective marketing strategy can be crafted and executed efficiently. A Virtual CMO will collaborate with you and  your team to determine areas of opportunity and how to build out a plan to capitalize on market potential. A Virtual CMO brings the best ideas, within or outside your industry, to deliver results. This executive-as-a-service model lets you engage the best marketing minds in a cost-effective manner. Time is money and a Virtual CMO gets your strategy underway quickly.

Execute, Measure, and Optimize

A strategy is only as good as the results it produces. To that end, being able to use the right tools to execute tactics, measure results, and analyze outcomes is critical to an effective marking plan. A Virtual CMO knows the tools, metrics, and resources needed to help your company get the best ROI for its marketing investments.


To stay abreast of trends, recognize opportunities, align resources, implement strategies, and reduce wasted money, having a competent leader is critical for any organization's success. Whether working within the existing leadership team or as an outsourced contributor, having a seasoned and experienced marketing professional can have significant impacts on your growth. An Outsourced CMO provides the experience required to create, define, build, manage, and execute the many tactics necessary to achieve your revenue goals. If you lack the right internal resources, outsourcing the Chief Marketing Officer function can provide the flexibility for businesses to engage an experienced resource for the required time and budget the company can afford today.

It's time to grow your company!

Learn how an Outsourced CMO can help your business grow!

Contact us today to learn more about our CMO On Demand consulting service.

It's time to grow your company!

Learn how a fractional CMO can help your business grow!

Contact us today to learn more about our Virtual CMO advisory service.

Eric Dickmann

About the author

Eric Dickmann is the Founder / CMO of The Five Echelon Group, host of the weekly podcast "The Virtual CMO" and YouTube series "Work-Life" and a fractional CMO for a variety of small and midsize companies. An executive leader with over 30 years of experience in marketing, product development, and digital transformation, he has worked with large, global companies and small startups to develop and execute marketing strategies to bring innovative products to the market.

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