All the expertise in the right portions: fractional vs.. full-time services

Woman measuring a huge pizza representing fractional vs. full-time CMOs

Have you ever fallen into the “bulk shopping trap?”

After years of resisting, I finally got a membership to a wholesale retail store. 

You know…the kind of place where you flash your membership card when you walk in the door, and enter a wonderland of bulk items that you never knew you needed!

I went *a little* overboard.

Five gallons of margarita mix? 

Yes, please!

A box of 50 snack-size bags of tajin snack mix? 

You had me at tajin!

A crate of toilet paper? 

If I’ve learned anything over the past several years, it’s that toilet paper is a valuable commodity!

It was exhilarating…until I looked at the receipt.

 $350 worth of snacks, cleaning supplies, bathroom tissue, and enough aluminum foil to last the next hundred years.

Maybe someone needed all that snack mix, but a fraction of that box (or fraction of any of those items) would have been more than sufficient.

But the sample was so zesty! I couldn’t help it!

“Might as well complete the experience,” I thought, and purchased a huge slice of pizza on the way out.

When full-time isn’t (yet) the best fit

Jigsaw puzzle with missing piece to be filled by a fractional vs. full-time CMO.

What does my bulk shopping mistake have to do with fractional vs. full-time CMO (chief marketing officer) services? 

Sometimes the best fit for your business isn’t five gallons of margarita mix a full-time CMO.
  • Maybe (at your current level of growth) you can’t afford $200-300k to hire an experienced executive-level employee. 
  • Perhaps you don’t need a 40-hour-a-week employee to address the challenges your business is currently facing. 

As a business grows, the end goal is to hire a permanent CMO to oversee and implement marketing. 

But not every business is at that point yet. An FCMO can get you there.

A Fractional CMO (FCMO) gives you the same level of skill, insight, and expertise at a fraction of the cost — at the level your business needs right now.

How are FCMOs similar to CMOs?

In the nuts-and-bolts of the job description, fractional vs. full-time CMOs wear many of the same hats. 

In a business, both are responsible for managing the marketing team, overseeing marketing and advertising efforts, and generating growth.

On the team

  • They’re both members of executive leadership.
  • They’re decision-makers who “take ownership” in the success of the company.
  • They assume risk and are held accountable for the business’s marketing.

What makes FCMOs different from CMOs?

While many of the functions and responsibilities are the same, FCMOs differ in that we:

  • Aren’t physically on-site at your business
  • Aren’t full-time employees
  • Allow businesses the flexibility to retain our services for only as long as needed instead of taking on a full-time employee
  • Pay our own employer taxes, professional liability insurance, and benefits
  • Work simultaneously with other businesses, and bring insight gained and best practices from across industries
  • Have a unique “outside” perspective while still embedded in the team
  • Pave the way to success so that a business can eventually hire a full-time CMO

Fractional vs. full-time CMO services have much in common, and distinct differences. 

If your business is developing a marketing team and strategy, or needs support during growth — an FCMO might be key to reach the next level.

How is being an FCMO different from working as a full-time CMO?

At 8 SIGNAL, we’ve seen the differences between working as a fractional vs. full-time CMO — and those differences go beyond the work schedule and remote contact!

Level of involvement

Although it might depend on the size of their former business, some CMOs of large companies find that FCMO work is more “hands-on.” Instead of relying on their team to gather data, create processes, and develop procedures, it’s up to the FCMO! 


Fractional leaders don’t have the same avenues for delegation — or any avenues at all! As an FCMO, you may be required to work on tasks that you haven’t done in many years.

Management Style

When you begin working as an FCMO to a new client, you might find that the team has less experience than your team as a full-timer. Often, businesses who hire Fractional CMOs want to develop their marketing team and create innovative strategies. 

For an FCMO to be effective, they may need to adjust their leadership style and also be willing to mentor the team.

 Business joins a new employee to the team in a fractional vs. full-time CMO position.

The right fit to help you thrive

Are you wondering whether fractional marketing services are the right fit for your business? Contact us to find out more about 8 SIGNAL’s FCMO services.