The secret recipe for a great fractional CMO

Woman lifts the lid on a large pot of spaghetti sauce.

The world is full of secret recipes.

Whether it’s the secret formula to Coca-Cola, the Colonel’s secret blend of eleven herbs and spices, Chick-fil-A sauce (it’s honey mustard and barbeque), or your neighbor Betsy’s spaghetti — the special elements that make a product awesome are often closely guarded. 

At 8 SIGNAL, we believe we know the right ingredients for fantastic fractional marketing. And we’re not stingy with the recipe either (I’m looking at you, Betsy!).

What’s the secret sauce for great fractional marketing?

When it comes to successful fractional marketing, it’s not about one secret ingredient — it’s more of a special blend!

Just like an amazing recipe, it’s (usually) not just one ingredient that makes the dish — it’s how the elements all work together. Ingredients might taste fine individually, but the flavor becomes something exceptional combined.

 The same is true for fractional CMO (chief marketing officer) services.

What are Fractional Chief Marketing Officer services, and how can they spice up your business’s effectiveness?

A fractional CMO (Fractional Chief Marketing Officer) is a marketing leader who joins your leadership team on a part-time basis to develop and implement the strategy your business needs to achieve its goals. These experienced executives take ongoing accountability for the major functions of your business’s marketing — working with you on a customized level. 

Fractional Chief Marketing Officers often use technology to meet with teams, so we aren’t limited by location. As outside members of the leadership team, we are able to bring valuable perspective, best practices, and measurable results — “top-shelf” service at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CMO.

Qualities of a successful Fractional Chief Marketing Officer

There are multiple qualities that a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer needs in order to produce results, and these elements build on (and amplify) each other. Here are some of the most important “ingredients in the sauce” for a successful Fractional Chief Marketing Officer.

Time Management

Time is valuable — to your business and to your Fractional Chief Marketing Officer. And because a business and Fractional Chief Marketing Officer contract limited hours a week with each of their clients, effective time management is essential!

But how do you know if a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer is managing their (and YOUR) time well?

An effective Fractional Chief Marketing Officer communicates:

  • What they’re working on for your business this week
  • Their priorities for next week
  • Their marketing goals for your company (along with dates to evaluate progress!)


As a business owner, you want your marketing leader to have the knowledge and expertise needed to generate results! Fractional executive team members bring the huge benefit of insight from past experiences and best practices gained across industries. A knowledgeable Fractional Chief Marketing Officer should bring innovative ideas to the table based on past success.

At 8 SIGNAL, we’re passionate about using our marketing expertise to help businesses succeed. We have experience across many sectors and industries and love using our knowledge to make a positive impact in companies, teams, and communities.


A successful fractional CMO should have the leadership experience and ability to guide and train their team. Fractional Chief Marketing Officers aren’t just consultants that give advice and leave it to you to implement — we’re leaders hired by a company to oversee strategy and meet goals.

This isn’t a “first rodeo” position — it’s a job for someone who has a track record of leading successfully and effectively. Often, Fractional Chief Marketing Officers are former CMOs who choose the challenge and flexibility of fractional services. However (unlike being a CMO of a large company), a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer must have the skills to build a business’s marketing from the ground up. As a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer, you can’t call in for back-up — you ARE the back-up! Successful fractional marketers lead their clients’ teams as if they are running multiple departments or business locations (which requires good time management!).

How can you assess whether a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer has the skills to lead your marketing team?

  • Have they led teams before?
  • Are they willing to “roll up their sleeves” and do what’s needed when there isn’t a trained team?
  • Can they foster collaboration within the team?
  • How well do they delegate tasks?
  • Does your Fractional Chief Marketing Officer listen to the team’s needs and get them the required tools and training?
  • Can your Fractional Chief Marketing Officer respectfully challenge (or say “no”) to ideas?
  • Do they know how to create goals, metrics, and accountability to ensure the team is on track?


Flexibility is a major ingredient in the recipe for a successful Fractional Chief Marketing Officer. 

Fractional marketers (like 8 SIGNAL) must be ready and available to do what it takes to help a business meet their goals — whether that’s creating a marketing strategy from scratch or leading and training a team. And as strategies develop and cadences evolve, we’ve got to be able to adapt, evaluate effectiveness, and make changes as needed.

Because Fractional Chief Marketing Officers work with multiple clients at a time (all with different challenges and needs) — we need the agility to shift gears quickly. And even though Fractional Chief Marketing Officers have a variety of “irons in the fire,” successful Fractional Chief Marketing Officers need to be “on” and accessible for our clients.

A recipe for success

So what makes a great fractional CMO? It’s a combination of experience, skill, and passion. 

And like an amazing sauce, all of these elements layer together to make something that makes a BIG impact! At 8 SIGNAL, we’ve seen the difference that a successful Fractional Chief Marketing Officer can make for a business. Schedule a short call to find out if 8 SIGNAL can help your business generate growth and achieve your goals.