By Eric Dickmann

February 12, 2020

CMO On Demand, Virtual CMO

For many businesses, the problem is all too familiar. You have your email marketing software, your website presence, your social media accounts, maybe even invested in some SEO efforts. You’ve looked into advertising, but it seemed expensive and didn’t generate the results worthy of the investment. And while some tactics were managed internally, others needed to be outsourced. Nothing worked as it should, and an overall strategy was lacking. This is the kind of environment where an On Demand CMO can help.

Your company has big ambitions with goals to succeed and thrive. But to grow, you can’t wear too many hats and spread yourself too thin. There are only  24 hours in a day, and the demands on your time can be overwhelming and time-consuming. To be successful, you need to focus your energies on what you’re good at and bring in expertise in areas where your company lacks specific skills and experience. Why not relieve the stress of marketing your products and services to an experienced professional so you can focus on your craft?

Without an experienced marketing professional to drive your business’ growth, your company is left with several options. You can:

  • Do the work in-house and assign it to another member of your management team
  • Hire a marketing assistant or build a junior-level team to execute marketing programs
  • Focus on other aspects of the business and rely on word-of-mouth or referrals
  • Outsource the work to an agency or other vendors

As you may have already learned, doing the work in-house can divert your time and attention from focusing on your product or services. The lack of necessary marketing skills and expertise can inhibit efficient and effective marketing leading to wasted money and poor campaign performance. Building a marketing engine that develops brand awareness and fuels your company’s growth is key to the long-term success of your business. Wasting time and money on marketing programs that don’t perform is not only discouraging, but it can severely impact your ability to drive new revenue. While sometimes it appears on the surface that hiring a marketing assistant or outsourcing some work saves money, the opportunity cost of an ineffective marketing strategy can be a higher cost to your business in the long run.

The Marketing Assistant

You might be able to hire a marketing assistant for $40,000 per year plus benefits. This gives you an internal resource to execute marketing initiatives. However, there are a couple things to consider"

  • Is this person the right person to build out your marketing strategy?
  • What real-world experience do they have working with similar companies to your own?
  • What problems have they faced that give them insight into how to meet your company’s specific needs?
  • Do they understand your target market and product-market fit?  

You’ll have a full-time person to focus on your marketing tactics; however, relying on this assistant who lacks real-world experience and knowledge can be detrimental towards your long-term marketing efforts. 

Alternatively, leaving the marketing duties alone can leave your company stagnant, unable to generate new leads and grow the business. Relying solely on word-of-mouth can prevent your business from growing to its fullest potential.

Double Duty

The same is true when passing marketing duties off to another manager such as the sales manager or worse, someone in the back office of IT. While they might have the bandwidth, it's unlikely they'll have the expertise. Trying to save money by adding tasks and duties to managers ill equipped to handle these new responsibilities is not only unfair to them, but hurts your business. It can result in costly mistakes or missed opportunities that hurt sales and ultimately, your ability to grow. 

Why not rely on a marketing professional to take the reins in developing a comprehensive strategy for pushing your business forward and increasing brand awareness?

The In-House Marketing Manager

Like with other professions, marketing managers compensation is mostly a factor of their experience. The market is full of young professionals, eager for a career in marketing but they often lack the experience that comes from working in a variety roles, industries and companies. The value of a a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is that they are seasoned marketing professionals, often with cross-industry experience, working with many different kinds of companies. They  will take the lead on strategizing how to grow your business. Averaging about $170,000 per year in salary plus benefits, a CMO is responsible for assessing your current market position, evaluating your value proposition, and devising and executing a comprehensive strategy to deliver business growth. A CMO knows how to best reach and convert your target audience by providing quality leads to your sales team. But with that significant salary requirement, CMO's are often out of reach for many companies.

The New Trend for Businesses: On Demand CMO

For small and midsize businesses looking for experienced leadership to steer their marketing efforts, a new trend is to contract a Virtual Chief Marketing Officer or an On Demand CMO. This option provides an experienced professional who can give marketing guidance to your business without having the salary cost a person of that caliber would require if they were hired full-time. Essentially a CMO On Demand is like having a real CMO work for you but 30-80% of the traditional in-house salary costs. This On Demand CMO service is geared towards helping small and midsize businesses create effective strategies to help their businesses grow through a variety of different marketing tactics. This person will fulfill the duties of developing a marketing plan for your business. They will work together with your management team yet remain unbiased and focused on marketing, bringing fresh insight and an experienced perspective to your business. They will have access to a broader network of resources to execute various components of your overall marketing strategy. By bringing together internal and external resources, they will coordinate and manage the execution of the marketing plan.


Investing in a CMO On Demand can help your business grow by bringing in outside expertise and experience to build your marketing strategy. Rather than spending time focusing on marketing activities yourself, pushing them off to another manager, or giving them to a junior level in-house team, the On Demand CMO can more cost-effectively execute a comprehensive marketing strategy. Time is money, and revenue is sitting on the table. Where new customers aren't found, and sales aren’t made. A good marketing strategy created a predictable engine for driving leads to sales by increasing awareness of your products and services. Rather than wasting time and money trying to stumble into a strategy that works, why not investigate the services of a CMO On Demand to jumpstart your marketing efforts?

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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