06 March 2024

What is a Fractional Marketing Director?

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you may have already heard of a fractional CMO, but what about a fractional marketing director? 

In this article, we explain what exactly a fractional marketing director does, and why and how you can hire one to work with your organization.

Why Hire a Fractional Marketing Director?

Similar to how a fractional CMO carries out the role and responsibilities of a Chief Marketing Officer, but for only a “fraction” of the work week, a fractional marketing director is a marketing leader available for fractional or part-time hire. 

Often, businesses and organizations will hire fractional leadership, whether at the C-suite or director level, if they are unable or do not want to hire someone full-time. This can be for a variety of reasons:

  • There’s not enough work or need for a full-time position
  • There’s a need to hire on an interim, flexible, contract, or project basis
  • There’s an urgent need to hire someone
  • It’s not possible to allocate a full-time salary, or a more cost-effective solution is desired

These situations are often the case with small businesses, startups, and solo entrepreneurs, who need foundational, strategic marketing just as much as (and arguably, sometimes more than) mid-sized to large companies do. Companies like these might also find themselves having hired a single contractor or junior resource who lacks the experience or scope to tie the organization’s marketing efforts to the bigger picture of the business. 

In these cases, hiring a fractional marketing director can also make a big difference as the company scales for growth, as they can provide the leadership to level up marketing efforts and capabilities during crucial transition phases such as investor pitching, launches, rebrands, or product releases. 

This is not to say that a fractional marketing director is only useful in the early stages of a marketing department or business. They can also be a wonderful asset to companies whose existing marketing efforts need auditing, further development, or reprioritization.

Duties and Responsibilities

Christine Pilkington working on a laptop

So what does a fractional marketing director do, exactly? And how is it different from a fractional CMO?

Just like a full-time marketing director, the job of a fractional marketing director might include:

  • Providing marketing vision, direction, and leadership
  • Owning the day-to-day of the marketing department
  • Setting and working towards strategic goals for a company’s marketing efforts
  • Developing marketing or campaign strategies and supervising their execution 
  • Defining KPIs and monitoring the success of campaigns and tactics through reporting, data, and analytics 
  • Advising on or implementing best practices and processes to add structure
  • Managing the marketing budget 
  • Conducting market research and staying up to date on industry trends 
  • Supervising, mentoring, and/or training an internal team or contractors

Although some of the duties of a fractional marketing director can overlap with those of a fractional CMO, the CMO role tends to be higher-level. It’s concerned with the bigger picture of the marketing department and/or the company as a whole, including things like strategic goal-setting, budget allocation, and resourcing the marketing team. On the other hand, fractional marketing directors tend to be more involved on the ground level, in a day-to-day executional capacity. 

Want to know more about the role of a Fractional CMO? Read this blog post.

Benefits of Hiring a Fractional Marketing Director

fractional marketing director writing in a notebook

Here’s why many organizations opt to hire a fractional marketing director:

  1. It’s a more cost-effective move than allocating a full-time marketing director salary. 
  2. It’s a lower commitment than committing to a full-time hire – meaning you can hire one on a trial, project, or interim basis.
  3. They’re usually quicker to hire as compared to conducting a formal candidate search.
  4. The organization might only have enough salary for a more junior hire, but need the experience of a senior one.
  5. They need someone who can bring an objective and strategic eye to unify and prioritize their marketing efforts.

Although these are some of the top reasons that might prompt a company to hire a fractional marketing director, there are many other benefits of working with one, including:

  • Driving more brand awareness and lead generation for your business
  • Having a dedicated project manager for key marketing and business transformation initiatives
  • The ability to hire one in combination with a fractional marketing team, should the organization need further support with marketing execution 
  • Adding efficiency to your team’s marketing efforts by setting priorities and ensuring they’re working towards the same goals
  • Tighter marketing budget management
  • Accessing mentorship and upskilling the team (unlike hiring a contractor, for whom there’s limited incentive to explain their approach or share knowledge)
  • Better collaboration between marketing and other departmental leaders, such as sales and finance 

How to Hire a Fractional Marketing Director

We’d love to chat about how a Crisp fractional marketing director can be a great fit for your business. Book a free consult with us and we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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