General Leadership Marketing Small Business Marketing

4 Signs It’s Time for a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Many small business owners, this year especially, are still trying to get a grip on what works and what doesn’t. All the marketing goals in the world are only as good as the direction and leadership of the marketing efforts coming from the top. 

Did your marketing efforts pay off during the first quarter of this year? Are you woefully unsure and wildly self-conscious about it? You’re not alone. 

Whether your marketing is directionless or you need more financial resources to invest in a solid strategy, here are four signs it’s time to consider a fractional chief marketing officer (CMO).

1. You Have a Marketing Plan, but No One Is Available to Be in Charge of It

This is a common trap when the marketing direction is steered by multiple people or by someone who is not solely focused on marketing.

Your company brand and success may have been built long before the days of complex marketing channels and automation. In order to prepare for the future (or present), businesses are tasked with adapting at lightning speed, to keep pace with contemporary strategies, tools, and tactics.

Oftentimes, especially in small and growing businesses, marketing initiatives are scattershot and lack a cohesive plan. An experienced marketing strategist can help right the proverbial ship for a strong and successful future.

2. Your Sales Team Is Creating Their Own Marketing Materials

Your sales team may be great or your sales team may be YOU. Either way, if your sales team is creating their own presentations, one sheets, and PDFs, it’s very likely that those materials are unfocused and weak.

A fractional CMO can develop a unified message that creates an exceptional customer experience, makes you and your team feel more confident in presenting your offerings, and improves conversions – all for a more cost-effective approach.

3. You Have Lots of Pricey Marketing Tactics Without a Supporting Strategy 

It’s an easy trap to fall into. Someone says you need a new website, so you get one. You sponsor events and buy branded swag. You create a Google Ads campaign and get swallowed by the ad costs. You hire an intern to manage your social media because young people know social media, right?

You did all the things and yet, not a penny of ROI to be found. The absence of strategy will leave you frustrated and broke. You need marketing insights that help inform executive decisions, build the reporting you need to make smart business decisions, and then closely track revenue and growth. That will give you ROI for miles.

4. You Need More Financial and Organizational Flexibility

The very first ingredient needed for continued success is flexibility. You need to be agile so you’re available to capitalize on shifting situations or unforeseen challenges.

Locking your business into a yearly salary commitment for a CMO, Marketing Strategist, or even a social media coordinator is antithetical to the needs of many small businesses. Why? Hiring staff is a big commitment. What’s more? So is firing them.

If the relationship doesn’t work out with someone closely involved in your marketing efforts, separating from them can be an arduous and costly process.

Conversely, if your fractional CMO or outsourced marketing team isn’t working out, it’s much easier to end the relationship and find another fractional CMO or team. 

How Is Your Marketing Going?

As your business grows and your needs shift, a fresh perspective with more experience may be needed. While reviewing your first quarter sales this year, ask yourself this: Do I have the time necessary to devote to marketing and sales?

If you’re not sure, feel free to score a free strategy session with GoBeyond SEO. ROI is within reach, we promise.

Content Marketing Marketing

Put Their Needs First with an Audience-First Strategy

Have you ever tried to draw an E on your forehead?

Take your finger, pretend it’s a magic marker, and write a capital letter E on your forehead. Don’t think. Don’t read ahead. Just do it.

Now, for the fun part.

Did you draw an E or an Ǝ? In other words, did you write it so it makes sense to you, or did you write it so it makes sense to someone facing you?

American professors Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer devised the five-second ‘E’ trick, which they believe separates those who are boss material from those who aren’t. Those who wrote the E so they could read it are more self-focused, a common trait among top leaders.

Legendary business mogul Jack Welch disagreed. He mused that those who draw the Ǝ — who are believed to be more community focused — value collaboration, which is more likely lead to longevity in leadership. 

So what did you do? And, what does that have to do with marketing strategy?

When Communicating Your Brand, Write an “Ǝ”

Marketing firms tend to think in terms of how they can show potential clients that they’re the best. These tend to be agencies that are well-awarded and have awards all over their office, website, or social media. This is not an audience-first strategy.

Sounds good in theory, right? Sure. And there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this, except for one big snag—clients aren’t really interested in you. They’re interested in what you can do for them, or, more specifically, what problem you can solve for them.

But how can clients know you’re really good at what you do? You have to demonstrate something about what your business does, right?

Let’s look at an example that demonstrates the difference between telling clients about you in a way that’s not very helpful, and telling clients about you in a way that communicates what you can do for them.

Consider the following business description:

Acme toy company is family-owned and operated and all of our toys have batteries included.

This information is just information. It’s not completely useful. It reads a lot like this: ƎƎƎƎƎƎƎ

Now, take a look at this variation, which shares the same information, but is worded differently to really speak to the audience:

Acme toys can be enjoyed right away because we’ve included batteries. We’re family-owned and operated, so we get it.  


This slight variation puts the focus on the target audience (the parent or gift giver) and the sub audience or recipient (the child). The second line leads with the benefit (enjoyed right away) and demonstrates that your business is considering their needs. 

So What Does an Audience-First Strategy Look Like in Real Life?

Of course, this snazzy example was helpful. But let’s take a closer look at how this would play out in your own brand messaging in real life with some tips.

  • Provide value in everything you share with your clients. How? Make your audience feel something! Make them smile, laugh, think, or even cry.
  • Be consistent about the value you deliver. Your audience will only come back if they expect you to continue giving them something.

You have an opportunity to do this in nearly every correspondence you have with your audience, whether it be a social media post, an email, or a blog article. Put their needs first and watch how this transforms your relationship with your clients.

Are you ready to begin demonstrating your worth to your clients? Contact us at GoBeyond SEO to discover more about our strategies for your digital marketing success!

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Kristy is an Assistant & Coordinator of Awesome. She has worked extensively in academic administration and brings a varied wealth of knowledge. As a self-starter, she is ready to take on news projects and see them through to completion. Always curious, Kristy is an avid researcher and delights in the challenge of learning new skills.

When Kristy isn’t organizing or researching something, you can find her listening to a true crime podcast, re-watching How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory and coming up with some crazy shenanigan for her family’s next adventure.


  1. Kristy prefers the Harry Potter books over the movies. Her favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban and her favorite character is Luna Lovegood. Ravenclaw house. She just started her 8-year-old son on listening to the books.
  2. Kristy has a nail technician license, esthetician license, medical assisting certification, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree. She didn’t get her full cosmetology license because she can barely do her own hair, she shouldn’t be trusted with someone else’s.
  3. She doesn’t know how to gamble but is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Colorado three months before her 21st birthday.
  4. Her high school graduating class consisted of only 20 people.
  5. Kristy loves gift giving. One of her great joys in life is finding the “perfect” gift.
Kristy Elias