I’m not actually against the term ‘Fractional CMO’. I just don’t love it.
You may or may not recall, but there’s been a lot of terms for what we as marketing experts do—especially since the digital era.
Digital strategists, e-marketing specialists, growth hackers… the list goes on and on.
As one new term rises, another inevitably takes its place, making the former one look outdated.
‘Fractional CMO’ feels a little like one of those terms to me.
But here’s the thing: the fractional CMO positioning works right now. People get it when you say, “I’m like hiring a part time chief marketing officer”.
And that’s important when you only have a minute to explain what the hell you even do.
There’s another reason I don’t love the term:
It positions you like an employee. And employees are in many ways to take orders.
Not really, but kind of. As a fractional CMO, there’s the expectation that you’re hired to do what the client wants.
And while that’s true to some degree, I’d argue you’re hired to get a result a client wants, not to do what they want you to do.
Because what they want to do is often not entirely the thing they should do to get the result they really want.
Above all else that you’re a consultant.
You’re paid for your expertise, not to take orders and execute them.
And because even ‘consultants’ are sometimes used as a fancy term for a freelancer who executes hard things, I prefer the term ‘advisor’.
It’s timeless and says what it is you do: you sell advice.
So I’m not saying don’t position yourself as a fractional CMO. I just don’t want my content and positioning to use that term too much because it reminds me of all the other buzzwords that came before it.
It works today, so use it if you want. You can always change it later.
Just know the risks and constraints of fractional CMO positioning.