What is “fractional marketing”, and why is it important?

After a year in this business, meeting my fractional counterparts, and learning about all the questions that circle this kind of work from my prospects and clients, I was inspired to share some observations…

Fractional.  By definition it means “…a fraction less than one; small or tiny in amount.”[1]  In the business world, it usually describes a professional resource relationship in finance or human resources, where a company leverages the experience and expertise of a subject matter expert, at a fraction of the time and cost of hiring someone full time.  In fact, it is quite common for small to medium sized companies to more efficiently spend their dollars with fractional help in an area that may not be a main line on the ledger, rather than employ part-time or full-time help and incur unnecessary overhead.

It is a less common approach in marketing.  Traditionally, if a company needs support in the area of marketing, they will invest in a full-time hire, a consultant or an agency.  The challenge with these options can be work product vs. cost.  You may hire a full-time employee, but will they be at the level of experience you need vs. what you can compensate?  You can certainly engage with a subject matter expert in the form of an industry or <insert niche> consultant, and receive great insight and recommendations, but do you ultimately have the time and talent on the team to execute on the recommendations and pivot on the strategy once the consultant has departed?  Full-service agencies are also great options, if you have the need and budget, but if you are a small to medium sized company, can you afford the project costs or need all of the things the entity offers?  Each of them produces magnificent results and ROI – if they fit the need and business model – and all have an important purpose in a traditional setting, but do they work for your company’s needs?

Enter the fractional marketer.  Bridging the gap between a full-service agency and consultant, while being a senior-level experienced resource, that you can use as an extension of your team, for a fraction of the time and cost of a full-time employee (and no overhead I might add!).  As tired as it may sound, as we evolve our work processes and business needs in a post-pandemic world, some major shifts in workplace culture and expectations will lead how things move forward.  Perhaps you found that things are more efficient with a remote workforce.  Perhaps you determined that you need a different way to reach your target audiences.  Maybe, you still need marketing support, but not in the same way as before.  The point is that traditional business practices are moving forward, and the way in which they can be executed should as well.

Signs a fractional marketer (or resource!) may be right for you:

  • Are you a company that has a senior-level resource need, but can only afford entry-level?
  • Do you find yourself needing strategic insights and overview, but unable to add to the official c-suite?
  • Do you need project-level or temporary help for your over-capacity team, but not a full-time hire?
  • Do you have a subject matter expert resource need, but not all the time?

What a fractional marketer can do for you:

  • Provide experienced senior-level insight, at a fraction of the time and cost of a full-time employee.
  • Be an extension of the team and not only help develop and initiate plans and strategies, but execute and pivot as time goes on.
  • Allow for interim support as organizational charts shift and evolve, or jobs are left open and BAU (business as usual) practices and plans must continue on – without creating panic or incorrect hires.
  • Create perceived bench-strength in start-up companies as a “white labeled” associate, again without having to pay the large dollar signs for engaging a senior-level resource at the table.

It’s a numbers game: 

More experience (10-15+ years) – Overhead of a full-time associate (~33-41% additional costs with benefits) = Efficient and optimized work product!

Fractional resources work in Finance and HR – they can work in marketing too!

Stay tuned for more from TCS next month!

Sarah Heximer, Owner & Chief Visionary Officer

True Colors Strategy

[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=fractional&oq=fractional&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l7.1351j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8