Fractional marketing may sound like complicated business terminology, but it simply means you contract out marketing experts for a fraction of work/time. It’s a popular marketing solution accelerated in these Covid years with marketing budgets and personnel resources squeezed more than usual.
This concept means that any size business can access top marketing talent without having to pay salary and benefits for in-house staff. While many small- and mid-size businesses (as defined by the Small Business Administration) may choose the fractional marketing route to hire out a chief marketing officer (CMO), most small and/or “micro businesses” may find that the retainer cost can still be a budget stretch. However, if you don’t have the budget for consistent marketing help, outsourcing your marketing strategy and content on a per-project basis may be the perfect solution for meeting your content marketing needs and your budget.
Today’s Fractional Content Marketing Skill Set
Fractional marketers are leaders who are highly skilled. They are organized. They see the big picture. They know what’s needed to achieve goals. They bring strategic thinking and they help you (and your team) create multiple pathways to reach your target audience. Their must-have tools of the trade:
- An understanding of marketing best practices while also offering out-of-the-box thinking.
- Experience and knowledge of which actions and marekting tools and platforms will provide the best ROI for your business.
- Strategic content planning (no more random blogs, emails, or social media posts)
- Brand development that differentiates you from your competitors.
- Brand messaging across all channels that builds customer relationships and fosters brand loyalty.
- A network of copywriting, design, SEO, web developers who they can call on to ensure your project gets exactly the talent and skills it needs.
3 Big Benefits of Fractional Marketing
There’s more, but here are the top three:
1) Better for Your Budget
In the Boston area (where I am based), hiring a full-time marketing manager would mean paying an annual salary of about $93,000 (according to Glassdoor). That’s a lot of money to pay out (especially when you realize it doesn’t include things like benefits) when it doesn’t guarantee all the skill sets you need for successful marketing.
Marketing managers bring strategy and many skills, but more often than not, they don’t have ALL the skills you need for good (hopefully great), effective content marketing: 1) strategy, 2) copywriting, and 3) design. That’s THREE different jobs. Three different salaries and benefits. Outsourcing could actually save you tens of thousands of dollars!
2) Access to Marketing Expertise
Digital marketing is changing at the crazy pace of technology. You can’t expect someone in a marketing position, even an in-house salaried position, to be an expert at EVERYTHING. When you outsource specific marketing projects (e.g.: refreshing/creating a brand, or developing a website, brochure, or direct mail campaign), look for a small agency (like Message Artist Creative Group) that can provide the EXACT skill sets you need to get the job done. One hire and you get a complete team.
3) Combined Flexibility for Your Marketing Needs and Budget
You’ve looked at your budget and your business goals … you know you need help with your marketing plan and an update on your brand soon, but you can’t afford that much-needed website refresh until later in the year. The fractional marketing approach means you can hire out for the projects you need when you need them. Of course, you’ll have to work with a contractor or agency on timelines and availability, but this approach is set up as a win-win for the business and the contractor. When the relationship works well, you can continue to work together on an as-needed basis for years.
Prepping for Outsourcing
As you begin to look for your just-right fractional marketer(s), you’ll want to be sure that your needs match their skills.
Here’s a sampling of key questions to ask:
- What is your process for developing and/or updating a brand? (Brand and messaging awareness informs ALL of your strategic marketing decisions, so brand experience is a must.)
- How do you determine how a company fits — and then stands out — in the competitive market?
- What strategies do you use to apply consistent messaging to promote products and/or services?
- How do you come to understand the WHOLE business — the story, the customers, the goals/vision, and the big WHY that drives the company?
These are the big questions. And they’re relevant to all your marketing efforts. Then, depending on your specific project needs, you can ask more specific questions. For instance, if you need a new logo, you’ll also be asking about how they lead the design process.
How Can We Help You?
At Message Artist Creative Group, we’re a concierge agency specializing in messaging, branding, and content marketing. We create brands that share the right vibe, and we create messaging that reaches your target audience. Check out our Why Choose Us page to learn a little bit more about how we work, then schedule a meeting so we can chat about your content marketing needs.