I’ve heard it said a few times that fractional CMOs who have never been a CMO for a company shouldn’t call themselves fractional CMOs.
I get the point—but that assumes people naturally graduate from an in-house career as a senior marketer into self-employment.
The reality is, a lot of us begin our independent marketing career a lot earlier than CMO tenure would allow.
We may actually be better marketers because of it.
When I worked in-house for a corporate law firm, I was challenged for about a year and a half and then plateaued.
The only challenge I had was from my part-time freelance work—before and after that job. That’s where I really learned the nitty-gritty of marketing.
You can be a fractional CMO if you want to. You don’t need to have been an actual CMO in the past.
I prefer you work towards being a marketing advisor, but fCMO is a reasonable step on the journey to advisory work.
It all comes down to whether you have the skills to help your clients achieve growth.
Most businesses hiring a fractional CMO are small businesses. Ones that have no chief executives outside of the CEO.
Unless you work with Fortune 500 companies., you don’t need Fortune 500 marketing experience. It wouldn’t even help if you did.
You need small business marketing skills. Or tech startup skills. Or B2B SaaS marketing skills.
Fractional CMO—like all terms—comes with a lot of baggage. But there’s also a growing demand for the service.
Don’t let people tell you if you’re allowed to call yourself one. Your job is to define what fractional CMO—or any other term—means to you.
As long as you get a profitable result for your paying clients—in a way that clients like—it doesn’t matter what you call it.
Just don’t end up with an inadvertent part-time job in the process.