Virtual Chief Marketing Officer to Grow Business

By Eric Dickmann

February 11, 2020

Blog, CMO On Demand, Fractional CMO, Virtual CMO

If you’re searching for a Chief Marketing Officer, seeking a traditional full-time executive hire is not the only option available to you. As an alternative, it might be time to consider working with a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer.


This option is especially practical if you run a small or midsize company and are looking to increase your marketing capabilities. While a full-time CMO is entirely responsible for developing and executing your marketing strategies, a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer (also called a Fractional CMO or CMO On Demand) can help you develop a marketing strategy and manage the internal and external resources needed to implement the plan.

Additionally, a full-time hire may only possess specific industry knowledge, whereas, a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer has diverse expertise across industries and channels. As a result, this allows your company to leverage these skills and experiences to address the specific needs of your target market without a steep learning curve and unnecessary expense. It also frees up more money to go towards the actual marketing programs rather than to salary and benefits. Fractional executives are becoming a more common presence in business today as companies look to leverage the skills and experience of senior level professionals without having to bring them onboard full-time.

Reasons Your Business Needs a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer

Despite what many business executives believe, it’s not necessary to have a full-time employee to manage your marketing campaigns, initiatives, and teams effectively. This is especially true when you haven’t yet developed a comprehensive marketing strategy and have approached marketing activities mostly on an ad hoc or as-needed basis. Let’s look at some of the reasons it might be smart for your business to consider a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer and why it could have a significant impact on your bottom line:

Cost Savings

It’s no secret that marketing can be expensive. Many businesses feel burned by past efforts because it was challenging to track results, and they didn’t see the value they had hoped for from the investment. It can also be frustrating because while we’re all exposed to marketing in our daily lives, creating successful marketing strategies is challenging, as so many companies vie for a customer’s attention.

For businesses, marketing is the engine that drives growth. After all, how well you market your products and services directly impacts sales and revenue. It's important to note that marketing campaigns can be costly to run, and an in-house CMO also comes at a hefty price. A qualified CMO can cost your business upwards of $170,000 a year, not including additional benefits and business perks. By contracting with a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer, you could cut this expense by half or more.

Virtual, Not Invisible

One common fear often mentioned by CEO’s is the idea that products and services will be disconnected from the company due to the absence of a physical marketing department. However, virtual does not mean invisible. While most Virtual Chief Marketing Officers do work remotely, that doesn’t mean they are disconnected from your business. The goal is to bring them into meaningful management discussions. To have them participate with other managers to ensure the marketing strategy they design is in sync with the goals and objectives of the company. Often, leaders discover that the outside perspective of a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer can bring an unbiased view to company issues and, as a result, provide guidance based on years of experience gathered from similar situations.

Many companies continue to have internal teams as well. The Virtual Chief Marketing Officer can manage these teams as well as coordinate activities with external partners and vendors. They bring with them a Rolodex of contacts they can engage to help execute specific tactics within the overall plan. This provides scale to the marketing team without having to increase its size.

Been There, Done That

While having an in-house CMO comes with many benefits, their knowledge is often limited to a specific industry or outreach. For instance, if your company introduces a product and would like to target a different audience or use another marketing platform, an in-house CMO may not be able to lead your team in this new direction effectively. By working with a Virtual  Chief Marketing Officer, your team is exposed to a relevant experience that provides exposure to a broader range of expertise. While every company’s products and services are different, marketing tactics are primarily the same across industries. What changes are the target customers and the value propositions. Tailoring tactics to the unique needs of your target market is what can leverage the skills and experience of a marketing professional who has experience with different companies across multiple industries.

Measuring Results

Execution and measurement are the keys to a successful marketing plan. It's crucial to be able to measure and monitor results to make sure campaigns are delivering the desired outcomes. The best marketing strategies are comprehensive because Isolated campaigns that are executed over a few months are likely to be ineffective and not yield the results you desire. Implementing a detailed plan with effective measures in place is the best way for a team to stay on track. An excellent Virtual Chief Marketing Officer will ensure that as part of his strategy, metrics are defined and agreed to and systems put in place to track progress.


Today, we work in an increasingly digital workplace that calls for you to make investments beyond the walls of your office. If you have spent time building your business but haven’t yet developed a strategic marketing plan to fuel your next phase of growth, a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer might be the answer. They facilitate efforts to quickly build out a plan and move to execution without the cost and time associated with a recruiting process. As your business grows, you can transition into a full-time hire, but every day spent without a marketing engine to drive growth is revenue left on the table. It’s time to see what a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer could do for your business!

It's time to grow your company!

Learn how a Virtual 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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