27 June 2024

How Much Does a Fractional CMO Cost?

Many growing businesses are turning to fractional CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) to oversee their marketing efforts. While there are many factors to consider when deciding between a fractional vs. full-time CMO, cost savings are one of the top reasons many business owners choose to work with a fractional CMO.

Depending on the stage of your company’s growth, you may find yourself in a position where you need senior marketing leadership but are either simply unable to accommodate the salary in your budget. Or perhaps you don’t quite have the need to bring someone on full-time. In both scenarios, a fractional CMO would be a great candidate to save on hiring costs. Let’s explore further to understand what the typical cost of hiring a full-time CMO would be, and how a fractional CMO can represent considerable savings in comparison.

evaluating how much a fractional CMO costs

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Full-Time CMO?

Like any C-suite employee, the salary of a qualified CMO’s salary can start at around $150,000. And that doesn’t include all the other added costs you’re required to cover as an employer, such as:

  • Insurance (health, dental, life insurance)
  • Annual bonuses
  • Payroll taxes (company-paid portion)
  • Employment insurance
  • Overhead costs such as office rentals, hardware, and software licenses
  • Training programs
  • RRSP matching
  • Anything else covered in a typical compensation package, such as benefits and vacation

If you’re considering hiring a full-time CMO, be sure to factor in all the associated costs of hiring a full-time employee. One of the biggest benefits of using a fractional CMO is that you save on these types of expenses.

Evaluating the Need for a Full-Time Salary

Client Meeting

As the saying goes, time is money.

So if you don’t anticipate using a CMO’s time for 40 hours a week, why pay for it? A fractional CMO is a great option if you recognize the need for strong marketing leadership, but don’t have enough work or projects available to justify a full-time salary.

If your business is in transition, a fractional CMO is a flexible, cost-effective solution that can help you bridge the gap until you’re ready to hire a permanent, full-time CMO. Hiring a full-time CMO often involves a lengthy candidate search, not to mention three to six months of onboarding, so it can be worth it to wait until you’re ready to make this type of long-term hiring investment. The reason for this is twofold: to mitigate the potential risk of turnover, and to ensure efficient use of your CMO’s time.

Finally, hiring a fractional CMO doesn’t require a long-term commitment the same way a full-time hire would. A typical contract to hire a fractional CMO might last around 9 months, and at Crisp, we only require 30 days’ notice to cancel.

Considerations: Fractional CMO Cost vs Full-Time CMO Cost

Ultimately, if you’re weighing the benefits of a fractional CMO vs a full-time CMO when it comes to cost, be sure to consider the following:  

  • How many hours of the CMO’s time you will need
  • Business goals that can be supported by marketing in both the short and long term
  • Potential volume of work, both immediately and in the future
  • Your current salary budget

Questions about what it’s like to work with a fractional CMO and how much it might cost? Book a free consult with us and find out what a fractional CMO can do for your business.

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