“When my head of marketing left, Rich stepped in as Interim CMO and not only kept our marketing machine running, he also up-leveled it as we looked for strategic investors. He modernized our website, increased our SEO rankings and traffic, maintained a flow of fresh blog content, launched our new product releases, finished our Marketo implementation, and started our lead nurturing programs.” — Mike Azevedo, CEO
If your startup needs some strategic marketing management, but not at point where it makes sense to hire a full-time CMO, I can be retained for a few days a week—or even a few hours a week—to serve as your interim CMO or fractional CMO. Maybe your revenues don’t justify the expense of a full-time head of marketing or you’re in between marketing leadership. Or maybe your just not sure what skill set you need in your CMO yet. Regardless, I can take the reigns and help you get your marketing to the next level. I’ve led marketing for tech companies at a variety of stages, from seed funding, through series D to acquisitions.
I can build your marketing function, keep an existing marketing machine running while you look for the right CMO, guide your company through pivots, or increase your curb appeal for an acquisition.
I work virtually or come to your offices depending on your location and needs.
Why an Interim CMO or Fractional CMO is a Good Idea
Benefits of an Interim CMO and Fractional CMO
As your Interim CMO or Fractional CMO, I can build your marketing machine and launch your company, products, and marketing programs while you confirm you product and market, gain traction, and achieve momentum. Or I can keep your existing marketing machine running while you take time finding the right full-time head of marketing. As your Interim or Fractional CMO, I offer you:
- Flexibility — I work on a part-time basis, virtually, in your offices or a combination. My hours can be ramped up and down depending on the needs, stage, strategy and budget. I just ask for a minimum weekly hour commitment.
- Financial Savings — I can manage and mentor junior marketing resources to keep the marketing machine running on a day to day basis, while you only pay for a CMO part-time. If you need to hire, I can help you do that.
- Best practices — I’ve been around the block a few times and have seen what works and doesn’t in different situations, first hand. I can set up best-practice processes for you and keep you from making common mistakes.
- Headache Savings — Instead of dealing with multiple agencies, you just deal with me. I will manage any marketing vendors you have or need, or I will use my freelancer network.
- Focus — I can give your go-to-market strategy focus so you as a founder, CEO, COO or CRO don’t waste time and effort trying to learn marketing while building or running the business.
Savings from an Interim CMO or Fractional CMO
I’ve seen many a startup hire their CMO before they validated their product and market, in fact I have been that CMO a few times. Sometimes the problem is a CMO gets hired too early, before the right go-to-market strategy is known, and turns out not to have the skill set you really need. Or maybe they were just the wrong CMO. What I’ve seen happen is:
- Brand fatigue and damage — Your CMO generates broad interest and awareness, but if you don’t have a minimally viable product that can be sold at scale, you’ll burn bridges with prospects that might have bought a year or two down the road, but have since moved on.
- Unnecessary expenses — You commit to an expensive full-time, marketing leader who expects to have budget to spend. But if sales don’t take off, then you have to reduce marketing budget and are stuck with a CMO doing operational work that could be done less expensively.
- Company culture disruption — A CMO is key contributor to company culture, particularly at a startup. If you hire a full-time CMO too early, and have to lay them off, it can be a blow to the company culture. Many employees will see it as a sign they should be looking elsewhere.
- Wasted go-to-market effort — If your minimally viable product is not yet validated in the market, bringing on a full-time CMO can burn through a lot of budget and company cycles executing a go-to-market strategy that you have to abandon and pivot away from.
Interim CMO and Fractional CMO Services
I’ve successfully launched new companies and products dozens of times, once for Steve Jobs. As your Interim CMO, I’ll develop messaging and marketing materials, get your profile on industry websites, publish press releases, launch social media, and create buzz.
Navigate a Pivot
Sometimes the go-to-market strategy you are executing leads to a better opportunity and a pivot. The new direction may require different marketing skills. As your Fractional CMO, I’ll guide you through the pivot until you are ready for your next full-time marketing leader.
Validate a Market
Before spending significant budget pursuing an untested market, as your Interim CMO, I’ll run some test-content marketing programs to validate the market, messages, and product fit so you don’t spend your hard-won funding on the wrong programs or market.
Instead of blasting big out of the gate,and risking public mistakes, as your Fractional CMO, I’ll do some very focused, targeted digital marketing programs at specific constituencies with tailored messages that give you traction, credibility and momentum before you go big.
Build the Foundation
Having the right foundation of best practices and systems to build your marketing function on will improve your success. As your Interim CMO, my specialist freelancers and I will leave behind a website, marketing automation, standard messaging, and programs.
Strategic Marketing Plan
As your Interim CMO, I’ll analyze your website analytics, lead generation results, conversion to opportunity and sales rates, and which channels produce your best leads and customers. I’ll then determine the leads, programs, and spend you need to reach sales goals.
I can create or redirect a marketing machine to support a new go-to-market strategy, as your Fractional CMO. For example, a move from selling technology to products or solutions, targeting verticals, or focusing on specific use cases that best fit your offering.
Manage and Mentor Teams
I’ve been engaged as an Interim CMO after a head of marketing takes a new job and leaves behind an eager, but junior, marketing team needing leadership. I’ve managed and mentored many marketing talents into star-level players with great future careers.
Content / Digital Marketing
As your Fractional CMO, I can develop the plans and content to drive a year or more of lead generation and nurturing programs. I can then hand over the execution to an in-house marketing operations person to run the programs for the next 18-24 months on their own.
As Fractional CMO, I’ll develop a multi-level messaging and positioning platform using a proven process that drives cross-functional buy-in. Then all the related company and product digital content and programs will naturally fall out of the messaging platform.
Increase Value for Acquisition
Somehow I’ve developed best practices to make a company look bigger and more appealing and active in preparation for an acquisition. Even as Interim CMO and Fractional CMO, my efforts have increased valuations and resulted in more than one successful acquisition.
But Don't Take it From Me
“Rich’s messaging and content were instrumental in us communicating the value of our business and technology to our customers and ultimately to our acquiring partner, BroadSoft.” — Prem Uppaluru, CEO
“As an early-stage, self-funded start-up, we engaged Rich as our Fractional CMO. He quickly got to know our market, product, and target customer and created SEO-ready messaging that he and his team smoothly turned into a website that increased our traffic. He then delivered quality sales presentations, product PDFs, product demo videos, event signage, and sales playbooks for our partners.” — Ken Winer, COO