When the Time is Right: Why Startups Need a Fractional CMO

When the Time is Right: Why Startups Need a Fractional CMO

Are you ready? Spinning too many plates like Michael Scott from The Office? Or distracted by the next shiny squirrel like Dug from the movie Up?

Timing is everything.

We’ve seen those plucky startup founders juggling a million tasks while guzzling coffee and ramen noodles. But there comes a point when duct tape and hustle alone can’t cut it. To level up, startups need the steady strategic guidance of a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

As someone who’s evolved from brand strategist to Fractional CMO, I’ve witnessed many startups attempt to go to market…only to faceplant. What they really needed wasn’t more coffee or ambition – it was the right leadership at the right time.

Take Fred, a startup CEO stretched thin between his SAAS venture that had extended years in after-hour development, an established family business that drove revenue, a new relationship and wedding planning, and cross-state moves. (Picture a fledgling Michael Scott minus the World’s Best Boss mug). Relying on pals for talent, he’d end each workday realizing little got done. Or Gwen, a visionary leader with ambitious goals to create a go-to platform in the sustainability market. She’d get distracted by every new “squirrel” idea, leaving her team dazed and confused with team members rowing in different directions and uncertain who was accountable for what.

The lesson? A startup needs focused leadership with clear goals before bringing a Fractional CMO on board. Otherwise, you’re SpaceX mission control with nobody steering the rocket.

After 20+ years advising startups when to pull the Fractional CMO trigger, I have a sixth sense. I ask founders: Is your startup out of survival mode? Are you craving to catapult growth through strategy and execution? If you feel that hunger but leadership gaps are holding you back, chances are your startup has reached Fractional CMO o’clock.

As your Fractional CMO, I don’t just develop kickass brand messaging and bridge technical and creative teams. I integrate battle-tested frameworks like Traction EOS, aligning leaders to conquer shared goals. I cut through the noise, helping startups define their “why” and rally their people towards achieving it.

So make sure to call for that marketing cavalry before complete burnout. Be self-aware, get aligned, and tap into the superpower of a Fractional CMO to spark startup success. Reach out anytime to chat if you suspect your startup’s Fractional CMO timer is running down. Let’s grab coffee and dig in!

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