When and How To Hire an Interim COO
In many organizations, the chief operating officer is one of the most important executives in the c suite. He or she serves as the head of the business’s operations and, in many cases, acts as a second-in-command and surrogate for the chief executive officer.
The significance of the COO means that some organizations can’t get by without one. Therefore, at certain times, such as during team transitions, deciding to hire an interim COO is essential. Other organizations are just reaching the point of needing a chief operating officer. In this case, an interim operations head may also be helpful.
What Does a Chief Operating Officer Do?
The chief operating officer is the c-level executive in charge of the daily operations of the organization. Depending on the size and diversity of the business, this can be a very strategically focused position or a more day-to-day-focused position.
This can include analyzing and refining operations. It can also include working to improve organizational communication and efficiency. In some cases, a COO may head up high-importance projects that require the involvement of a top executive. For other organizations, the head of operations may principally act as backup and a partner to the CEO.
It is perhaps the most variably defined member of the c-suite. In many cases, the role of the COO is to help the CEO achieve success for the organization. In other words, the exact purpose of the operations chief depends on what the top executive needs.
This relationship can make keeping the top operations job filled a high priority for the organization. Having the role vacant, especially unexpectedly, can become a critical concern for the CEO and board of directors.
What Is an Interim COO?
An interim COO is essentially just a short-term operations executive. He or she may hold the role for a preset period of time or may hold it until a permanent chief operating officer is named. There are two main types of interim COOs:
- Internal: An existing member of the business team takes on the role of the COO during the search for a permanent candidate. This arrangement typically arises when the existing chief operating officer leaves without a transition plan. In many cases, though not all, the internal interim COO may be named as the permanent successor.
- External: Sometimes there isn’t an internal candidate for the position. Other times, outside expertise is needed to achieve organizational success. In either case, a consultant or simply an external candidate takes over the role. Usually, this type of interim executive will not take over permanently; however, that may be the result in some cases.
Regardless of whether the individual is an existing member of the team or an external hire, the interim COO will typically function in the same way that a permanent one would. In some circumstances, this may be in primarily an oversight role, keeping the ship on course until a permanent candidate is found. In other cases, the interim COO may be specifically tasked with changing things up.
In short, much like a full-time operations chief, the role of the interim executive is very much dependent on the current needs of the organization and c-suite team. Thus, exactly what an interim COO does will depend on how and why the prior executive left, or in some cases why the position was created.
Reasons To Hire an Interim COO
Hiring an interim executive may seem like a distraction from finding a permanent candidate. However, there are many excellent reasons to hire someone in a temporary operations role:
- Allowing Time To Find a Permanent Successor: Executive searches take time. Finding the right person that can lead your organization’s operations to success rarely happens overnight. However, finding an interim COO, especially an external consultant, can be done almost immediately.
- Maintaining Confidence: Having a hole in your executive team can lead board members, investors and other stakeholders to get nervous. This is especially true if you don’t have a clear succession plan. Hiring a temporary executive can help to soothe any worries. Not only is the position filled, but this strategy also projects an image of thoughtfulness and confidence.
- Ensuring Internal Stability: When someone leaves your leadership team, it can make things feel uncertain for your team members. This is only multiplied when that person is a c-level executive who affects everyone in the organization. Choosing to hire an interim COO can help provide a sense of continuance and stability.
- Keeping Things Running: The top operation’s job in your organization is an important one. Keeping your day-to-day operations organized should always be a top priority. Hiring an interim COO may be necessary to simply keep things on track.
- Avoiding Overworking Other Leaders: In some cases, other operations leaders will be able to take over the responsibilities of the COO. However, this can lead to overworking your management team. Depending on your circumstances, it may be essential to find some outside help.
Of course, interim executives aren’t just about bridging the gap. Sometimes you need to hire someone to help manage a transition. Other times, you may be creating the chief operating officer position for the first time and want a trial run. Here are some other reasons to hire an interim COO:
- Getting the Necessary Skills: Sometimes a temporary, outside COO can bring new skills to the position that you need. For example, if you are opening up new global operations, having someone with international experience is essential. Therefore, you may want to bring on a temporary executive while you find an appropriate permanent candidate.
- Offering Outside Perspective: Objectivity is important in the c-suite. However, it isn’t always easy to maintain. Getting someone in from the outside can be very beneficial in terms of objectivity. It is an excellent way to get a fresh perspective on how your organization is operating.
- Managing Essential Projects: Critical projects sometimes need special attention. If you have not previously had a COO but need someone to ensure the success of a major undertaking, having an interim COO may be useful. You can either make it a permanent position or simply have a temporary operations head for the duration of the project.
Sometimes bringing on a temporary executive is the right choice for your business. It can help you ensure continuing success and/or manage a period of transition more effectively. Better yet, it prevents you from having to rush to find a successor or go without someone heading up your operations.
When Should You Hire an Interim COO?
Clearly, there are strong reasons to hire an interim COO. However, you may still be wondering when the right time is. Typically, companies hire interim executives after a c-suite member leaves and before his or her successor is hired; however, there are some other circumstances as well.
For a COO Transition: The simplest circumstance for hiring an interim COO is in between two permanent executives’ tenures. Sometimes people retire or quit without a clear succession plan or with one that can’t be implemented immediately. It takes time to find a worthy successor and having an interim chief operating officer can help keep things steady.
When a Turnaround Is Needed: If your company’s operations are in poor shape, it may be necessary to make a leadership change. In these cases, an interim COO may be helpful. Sometimes, an outside consultant with experience in operations improvement can be preferable to an internal or permanent executive.
During a Growth Period: Sometimes organizations, especially relatively new ones, find themselves on the precipice of a period of major growth. Perhaps you have landed a new deal for international distribution or earned a major contract. In these instances, it can be prudent to bring on board new leadership that is skilled in handling larger operations.
- Before an Essential Project: Developing new systems or undertaking large projects can necessitate specialized skills from your chief operating officer. In these cases, it can be helpful to hire an interim COO.
- Following a Firing: Although it is in some ways similar to any other transition, an executive being fired brings special challenges. Uncertainty tends to be much higher after a COO is fired than if he or she leaves voluntarily. Furthermore, there may be specific damage from mishandled operations that needs to be rectified.
- When Your COO Is Sick: Sometimes people get sick. If your chief operating officer needs some long-term leave to manage a health situation, it can be beneficial to bring an interim COO on board. In these cases, an external consultant is an excellent choice. Hiring such a person helps your team keep running without the appearance of replacing your unwell operations lead.
- As a Test Run: Most companies aren’t founded with a full suite of executives. In fact, many chief operating officer positions are created to offload some responsibilities from the CEO. However, knowing when the right time is to hire can be difficult. You can bring on a temporary executive as a test run to see how things go first.
In all these circumstances, deciding to hire an interim COO instead of waiting for a permanent successor or offloading responsibilities to other managers can be an impactful decision. Doing so can bring stability and competence to your organization’s operations team during a period of uncertainty.
The Advantages of Short-Term and Partial Executives
An interim executive can be a useful addition to your team in many cases. Clearly, there are plenty of situations when hiring one is the right decision, and there are many good reasons to do so. However, it may seem like a permanent COO would offer all the same advantages. This isn’t quite true:
- Less Pressure: Hiring executives is not an easy process. They will have a major impact on your organization, so finding the right person is important. When you hire an interim COO, there is less pressure to find the ideal candidate. Instead, you can simply bring on someone who can do the job. Then you have time to worry about who will achieve long-term success.
- Malleability: Executives, especially those working with large teams, tend to have a lot of expectations about how they will run their operations. An interim executive, however, knows that he or she is only taking the job short term. Your temporary executive can more easily play whatever role is needed. This is especially true for external candidates.
- Try Before You Buy: Again, hiring a c-level executive is no simple matter. It can be nice to try out the role before making a commitment. This can take the form of a trial run for a specific person or a trial for the position itself if it is newly created.
- Fresh Eyes: There is no replacing an outside set of eyes. Sometimes you need this perspective right away, so hiring an interim COO can bring in that objective opinion without the need for a lengthy search process.
- Fast Turnaround: When you need someone quickly, there is really no replacing an outside consultant for taking on a vacant role. Often the turnaround time can be a matter of days or weeks rather than months.
Some temporary COOs also offer partial executive services. When you need some help with your operations but aren’t ready for a full-time leader, this can be very helpful. It has many of the advantages of an interim COO but functions as a part-time team member.
Considerations When You Hire an Interim COO
When you hire a temporary executive, it is important to set clear goals for the position. Specifically, know what that timeframe of the job is and what you hope to achieve. Having clear objectives will help you to ensure the process is successful.
The candidate’s qualifications are also a consideration. He or she must possess many of the same skills as a permanent COO. However, there may be less pressure to find an exact fit as the role is temporary.
How To Hire an Interim CMO
You work hard for your business. Naturally, you want it to thrive. It may be tempting to try to handle everything yourself so that you maintain control, but this can be a recipe for disaster. This is especially true when it comes to your public relations and marketing teams. Whether you own a startup with plenty of potentials, a small business that suddenly finds itself expanding rapidly, or a large corporation that could benefit from some reorganization, an interim CMO can help you fill in the blanks.
What Is a Chief Marketing Officer?
Before you can determine whether you need an interim CMO, you must understand what a chief marketing officer does. The CMO oversees the marketing plans of a small business or large corporation. Although specific duties depend on the type of business and its size, CMOs typically have a base list of responsibilities, including acting as part of the CEO’s executive team. Smaller companies might have a single marketer, but larger ones often have an entire team.
The main role of the chief marketing officer is to ensure the company presents a good image. This includes managing the public relations team, interacting with customers with a goal of creating a better product or service, and determining future marketing techniques. These tasks involve performing market research, communicating well, creating advertising campaigns, and much more. Some CMOs also develop new products and manage the sales team. Digital marketing is an important part of the job, especially now that most consumers research products and services on the internet before buying anything.
Chief marketing officers typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing or business. Many go on to attain master’s degrees as well. A variety of skills are also required:
- Leadership skills, including the ability to inspire others
- Analytical skills for understanding data
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Knowledge of branding, including principles and service management
- Ongoing knowledge of changes in best marketing practices
While some companies do have enough need to hire a chief marketing executive full time, many do not. For this reason, many CMOs work as freelancers. The interim CMOs work part-time for one or more businesses, providing expertise for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before moving on to help another business.
The Benefits of Hiring a CMO
You can’t do everything yourself. Hiring a chief marketing officer takes some of the pressure off the CEO so that he or she can focus on other aspects of the business. Adding a CMO to your team has a wide variety of benefits.
- A CMO creates integrated marketing plans. The purpose of these plans is to create a seamless branding experience for the customer and encompasses advertising, direct marketing, digital marking, and any other avenue displaying the company’s brand.
- A CMO knows the ins and outs of advertising. A strong campaign relies on someone who understands human emotion. Even the colors you choose for your advertising are important. A CMO knows how to create the best campaign and has the best software to track data and tweak advertising as needed to get the desired results.
- A CMO can save your company money. CMOs who have knowledge and tools aren’t just making your job easier, they’re keeping more money in your company bank account. Fewer “trial and error” incidents in advertising mean fewer dollars spent and likely a better return on investment.
Reasons Hiring an Interim CMO Is a Better Option
Unless you own a large corporation (and sometimes, in spite of owning one), you probably don’t need to hire a chief marketing officer full time. In fact, maintaining a full-time marketing team might even be costing you more money than it’s making you. For this reason, many business owners are turning toward hiring interim CMOs. These part-time chief marketing officers help during specific events to ensure things run smoothly. There are several benefits to going the part-time route when hiring a CMO:
- Hiring Someone Quickly – Despite your best intentions, there could be a time when your company ends up in a public relations nightmare. If you need to repair your professional reputation and quickly, an interim CMO will have the best chance of helping you do it.
- Assistance During Large Rollouts – Oftentimes, rollouts of new products or services are when businesses need the most help. Large rollouts require not only a strong advertising campaign but plenty of product design, packaging design, and product testing to ensure you provide the best item possible to your customers. An interim CMO can help you do this.
- Saving Money – Finally, an interim CMO is the best way to spend money. Imagine you have a large product rollout that will take three months, but you don’t do a lot of advertising for the rest of the year. Paying a full-time CMO means you’re providing nine months’ worth of salary with very little return on the investment. An interim CMO will only need to be paid for the three months you need him or her. Additional savings can be calculated when you factor in that most interim CMOs are independent contractors, so you won’t be required to provide insurance.
How To Know When It’s Time To Hire a CMO
Now that you know the benefits of hiring a CMO, it’s time to decide if you need one. The main reason you might decide to hire an interim chief marketing officer is that you no longer have the expertise necessary to handle marketing and public relations on your own. Someone who has specialized experience is more likely to help your business thrive.
Even if you don’t feel you need to hire a CMO, it is important to listen to your current team’s needs. A team that asks for more direction is often a good team. By hiring an interim CMO, you give the members the tools they’ll need to continue creating and implementing quality product design, package management, advertising, and more.
Finally, consider your story. This is especially important if your product or service is technological in nature. Even consumers who need these types of products want to feel inspired and have their emotions played to. If you aren’t sure how to create the type of story that will draw in more customers or keep current ones, a CMO can help. In fact, some of them even have niche skills in story creation that they can implement into your advertising and customer service efforts.
The Types of CMOs
Knowing what to look for when you’re ready to hire an interim CMO depends on what you need from him or her. Some experts believe every CMO fits into one of two categories: the storyteller or the quant.
A storytelling CMO is the type you want if you need someone who is intuitive and focused on reeling in customers based on playing to their emotions. These CMOs often read audiences more easily and have an extroverted and creative side that makes them charismatic and able to keep people interested. Storytellers are inspiring enough to keep your entire team motivated to handle large marketing campaigns, such as those that feature digital media, special events, and even billboards. Keep in mind, though, that these types of CMOs often operate on a grander scale and therefore use more financial resources.
The other type of CMO is the quant. These individuals are all about performance. While they still have the communication skills necessary to deal with the public, they appeal more to your company’s numbers than its customers in most cases. Quant CMOs have a strong understanding of product management and know how to track and analyze data to determine how well products or services are performing, how much interest is coming from your advertising campaigns, and whether your return on investment is reaching its potential. They often focus on growth marketing by generating leads.
Qualities To Look For During the Hiring Process
Whether you need an interim chief marketing officer who is better with people or with numbers, you should ensure potential CMOs have a strong understanding of several key components to marketing:
- Growth Marketing – Growth marketing refers to the tasks surrounding your company’s performance data. A quality CMO will know how to track and analyze that data and stick to (or improve) a performance budget. Members of the growth marketing team are responsible for bringing in new customers. Determine a potential CMO’s knowledge by asking about terms such as CAC (calculating customer acquisition cost) and LTV (lifetime value).
- Brand Marketing – Brand marketing refers to creating your overall brand. In addition to narrating the story of your company and its products or services, CMOs who are responsible for branding must lead teams of people who design and build your websites, run your social media sites, and create your television, billboard, or direct mail advertisements. Brand metrics are an important part of this skill set.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – CMOs who oversee a CRM team must know how to use email, data notification, retargeting, and other skills to keep existing customers engaged. This may include teaching your account reps how to be more personable if you work in a technological industry.
In addition to these important roles, the right interim CMO will have the skills to fill several other needs. He or she must know how to partner with other companies when needed, implement and analyze insight tools such as focus groups or polls, perform public relations work, and create all your company’s online and offline content.
Questions To Ask During the Interview Process
Finding the right interim CMO isn’t just about reading excellent resumes. You need to know which questions to ask during the interview process to ensure the person you hire really knows the ins and outs of his or her position and your industry. Consider some of these questions as you prepare to hire candidates for the job.
- What is your approach to company branding? There is no “right” answer to this question, but asking it allows you to get a feel for the candidate’s personality and determine whether he or she will be a good fit for your company. Ideally, you want someone who won’t take up a lot of extra resources and who understands your audience base. For example, an up-and-coming tech startup will likely want a stronger media presence, while a smaller business that caters to older generations may still find success in print advertising.
- How do you approach pricing? This isn’t about asking the CMO what he or she wants to be paid (although that is important too, especially when hiring a freelancer), but about how he or she charges your clients or customers. A quick look at the streaming services popping up each day shows that subscription pricing is popular among many companies, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. Remember to ask why the potential candidate feels his or her pricing idea is the best one for your company.
- What have you learned in the past year? Marketing trends are ever-changing, and your CMO needs to keep up with the times. By specifying “within the past year,” you show you expect your CMO to keep up with the trends. Of course, you’ll need to remember to research the most recent tools and techniques CMOs are using to ensure you receive a satisfactory answer.
- Can you provide an example of the strategies you think would work for our company? A good interim CMO candidate will have researched your company thoroughly before attending an interview. Asking this question shows you whether he or she did the legwork necessary as well as provides him or her with a chance to show off innovation and creativity.
Ultimately, learning how to hire a CMO is partly being able to understand the role yourself, partly knowing what you want your company to achieve, and partly going with your gut during the interview process.
The chief operating officer is one of the key members of the C-suite in many organizations. In addition to overseeing the operations of the organization, he or she may also be the second-in-command to the CEO. For a long time, this position has played a key role in running large organizations.
However, you may be surprised to learn how few companies have a COO position. According to the Harvard Business Review, only 37 percent of the largest European businesses had an active chief operating officer role in 2010. The United States isn’t far off of these numbers.
So, what is a chief operating officer? How did the position come to exist? What is changing about this role currently? And, what can we expect in the future for COOs?
What Is a Chief Operating Officer?
The primary purpose of this job is to oversee the daily operations of the company. It is a C-level position. Therefore, it typically handles a relatively high-level oversight of operations, with the specifics delegated to lower-level executives and managers.
In many cases, the COO position exists to allow the CEO to focus more on strategy and the long-term and less on the everyday management of the organization. As such, the specifics of the chief operating officer job description may vary depending on the needs and personality of the chief executive officer it is serving under.
Depending on the company, the COO may also function as a second-in-command to the CEO. While often unofficial, this relationship is why the duties of the top operations executive are so variable: his or her function is to support the CEO in running the business. This also means that the COO is frequently seen as the logical successor to the current chief executive officer.
The Origins of the COO
Although having managers dedicated to daily operations is hardly a new concept, the title of chief operating officer only arose in the second half of the 20th century. It emerged as the C-level nomenclature for corporate offices took precedence. Quickly the COO position became one of the big three C-suite jobs along with the CEO and CFO.
In many cases, the aim of the COO role was to shift some of the daily oversight responsibilities away from the CEO. However, despite quickly becoming a staple in many large corporations, the position was loosely defined from its beginning. Due to its nature as the right-hand person for the CEO, the chief operating officer was almost immediately a corporate chameleon.
For example, Richard D. Parsons held the job at Time Warner despite having no authority over the organization’s operating division. In other cases, the COO job was much more clearly operations related and the corporate president served as the second-in-command.
Trends Among Chief Operating Officers Today
EY, a research and leadership development organization, recently conducted a study of chief operating officers to learn more about their work. Notably, this included insights from COOs about what they thought of their roles and how things are changing.
About a third of COOs and half of their colleagues in the C-suite consider the position to be the toughest job in the organization. This is largely informed by the necessity for flexibility and foresight. Large organizations are growing increasingly complex and ensuring their operational success both today and in the future can be a serious challenge.
This level of challenge may see the COO filling the role of C-suite MVP. It can serve as both a reward for top team members and a way to get the most value out of talented people.
Many of the respondents to EY’s research also indicated that the job is not sufficiently strategic. Its historical role has been in executing the long-term goals of the leadership team. However, many people holding the position today think that this focus is too microscopic. Instead, they believe chief operating officers of the future will need to play a greater role in the strategy to be successful.
Undoubtedly the biggest trend of the research is that people in the top operations job feel the role is in a state of flux. New challenges and opportunities mean that it is not as defined a position as it once was. This can make being a COO stressful. However, it can also present opportunities for growth and success to ambitious executives.
A large percentage of the COOs studied by EY noted that their greatest concern is the “lack of acceptance or understanding” of their roles. They believe that a lot of people don’t understand what the operations chief is supposed to be or how best to use his or her talents. This may help explain another major trend today: the declining prevalence of chief operating officer positions.
The Decline of COO Positions
Many organizations have done away with the chief operating officer role. According to executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates, only 36 percent of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies had a COO in 2014, down from 48 percent in 2000.
This is likely the result of new information technologies allowing chief executive officers to oversee operations more directly. Therefore, they are able to handle the various non-C-level, operations-related executives and managers reporting to them without the need for a COO as a middle person.
It is also notable that it is growing increasingly less common for the CEO and chairperson of the board to be the same individual. This split has further increased the leadership capacity of the CEO. In turn, this minimizes the need for a C-level executive specializing in operations.
As individual executives are able to handle more responsibilities, organizations are also getting flatter. Rigid hierarchies are going out of vogue as leaders realize that a collaborative approach to running their businesses is more productive. Again, this reduces the need for the traditional hierarchy of executives.
Finally, more boards are expecting their executive searches to be both internal and external. They want to find the right person for the job rather than simply elevating an anointed successor. This trend has taken away from the function of the COO as the heir apparent to the CEO.
All this means that maintaining a chief operating officer position is less popular among the world’s largest corporations. However, removing the position isn’t the only option. Other organizations have reimagined it to better match the needs of today. In fact, many companies that have eliminated the role may, perhaps, have been better served by a creating a new definition.
A New Chief Operating Officer for the New Business World
Over the last decade or two, the C-suite has been introduced to some new titles. For example, some companies now have chief brand officers and chief diversity officers. These new roles reflect new priorities for organizations. Branding has taken a larger stage and maintaining a diverse workforce is a requirement for many companies.
Not surprisingly, changing priorities means that the chief operating officer role of today is different from when it was first conceived. In some organizations, it has become the top leader for the employees while the CEO acts as the public face.
The COO may also help other C-level executives connect their work with the rest of the organization. For example, if a CIO is working to introduce new technologies to the company, the operations chief may help him or her better understand the needs of the team members.
Furthermore, as more businesses take a collaborative approach to their work, having someone focused on aligning team members with the strategic goals of the organization is important. So, while the need for an executive head of operations may have changed, that doesn’t mean the role is unimportant. In fact, it may be more necessary than ever to have a COO.
Roles a COO May Play Today
As the positioning of the chief operating officer changes within the leadership team, his or her key roles also change. There are many ways that a COO can continue to be helpful in the modern business world:
- Strategy Implementation: This is the role most closely related to the traditional responsibilities of the job title. The top operations executive can focus his or her efforts on making the C-suite’s strategies a reality. This may be executing the CEO’s long-term goals, working with the CFO to find well-aligned acquisitions or a host of other implementation-related jobs.
- Change Leadership: Perhaps the only constant in the business world is change. In some cases, an organization will bring on a COO to handle the leadership change of a particular strategic shift. In other cases, an organization may want someone in the role to help manage the ever-changing needs of the organization in a dynamic world.
- Experienced Mentorship: Developing leaders is essential to the success of an organization. The chief operating officer can offer his or her experience and insight to help develop younger leaders. This can be a significant job, especially if the demands on the CEO prevent him or her from filling this role.
- Partner: Sometimes chief executives simply need someone to work with them to get things done, whether that is as a sounding board, someone to serve as backup or someone to be a right-hand. This facet of the job is why the top operations executive has often been considered the second-in-command in many organizations.
Someone serving as a chief operating officer may fill some, all or none of these roles. However, they represent some of the most common applications of the position in companies today. They also demonstrate how flexible the job can be and how organizations may be able to better use their COOs in the future.
Expected Changes for Chief Operating Officers in the Future
You may wonder what to expect from chief operating officers in the future. Some suggest that we are seeing a resurgence of the use of COOs. As leadership teams begin to better understand what the position can achieve, the interest in having one as part of the C-suite increases.
According to Nate Bennett and Stephen A. Miles, writing for the Harvard Business Review: “We can easily argue that there is a growing need for the role. First, consider the widening scope of the CEO’s job. Today, we have bigger companies, with expanding global operations, aggressively pursuing acquisitions.”
They add that CEOs are expected to be the public face of the company while also interfacing with the company’s team. In other words, while the CEO may have greater leadership capacity, the expectations for the top executive have also increased, perhaps to a greater degree. So, many organizations may be able to benefit from an operations chief acting as second-in-command.
Others argue that with the always increasing rate of change in the business world, COOs are needed as an agent of change. David Spencer, writing for CIO, summed it up simply: “the modern COO connects the dots.” Organizations need to adapt to stay competitive and they need someone who can help hold things together as they change.
Exactly what will happen is impossible to say. One thing we can be certain of is that the future of the COO will not look like its past. The business world is ever-evolving and leadership teams evolve with it. So, whether there is a resurgence of chief operating officers or a continued decline, those who do hold the title will need talent and experience to be able to face the challenges of tomorrow.
Ensure Your Company’s Operations Success
Whether you have a growing company that isn’t ready for a full-time COO, want to reduce the position to part-time or just need some outside expertise, Kamyar Shah’s fractional remote COO service can help. As the role of the chief operating officer is constantly changing, it can be helpful to have on-demand access to insight and talent when you need it.
Get in touch today to learn how Mr. Shah can help with your operations or other executive needs. His years of experience across multiple industries afford him unique insight into how to prepare a business’ operations to meet the challenges of today and the future.
Who could forget when IHOP changed its name to IHOb last summer, a move that had people talking and creating memes for weeks afterward? What about when SpaceX took the Tesla Roadster into space? You might even remember when Coca-Cola named K-pop group BTS as its new spokespeople, generating more than 1 million conversations about the announcement. Each of these events had two things in common: they got people posting to Twitter and making Facebook posts about big companies and there was a marketing team, complete with a chief marketing officer, at the helm. These days, marketing is practically a buzzword: everybody knows what it is. Despite that, most consumers — and even big business owners — don’t have a real idea of the importance of a CMO and how the role evolved.
The Early History of Marketing
When most people think of marketing, they imagine the online, print and digital advertising campaigns of recent decades, but the reality is that marketing has been around practically since the dawn of time. Even when bartering was the most common form of payment, only the best cobbler got meats from the best butcher, for example. Honing your skills and ensuring everybody knows you have them has always been an important part of success in any community.
Marketing in the 1900s
Although “chief marketing officer” was yet to become a job position, marketing truly started to take off after World War II. D. Steven White, a professor at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, wrote a blog post indicating that companies in this era had one umbrella that covered sales, promotions and public relationship, and only that department cared about the marketing initiatives. Businesses slowly began to shift to a company-wide marketing model in the 1960s, and by the 1990s, it was the most common method. Customer service was of the utmost importance for every corporation, and every employee was expected to do his or her best to provide a high-quality experience.
Enter Marketing Technology
During the 1990s, companies began to expand their marketing technologies, creating data mining programs and customer relationship management software to help them track their customers and create a better experience. Around the time when more information became available and required analysis in order to be effective, the chief marketing officer really started to come into its own as a vital role.
Then vs. Now
When the role was born in the 1990s, the chief marketing officer was simply responsible for analyzing market research and focusing on advertising. While a tough job in and of itself, it was not nearly as expansive as it is in today’s digital world. Today, CMOs focus less on selling the product and more on building mutually satisfying relationships with current and potential customers.
It Wasn’t a Straight Shot to the Spotlight
Despite the appreciation for the role of chief marketing officer today, the same couldn’t be said just a few years ago. Forbes even went as far as to proclaim the role dead in an article in 2012. The article claimed that the CEO is the person who sets the overall marketing strategy and then requires the CMO to do all the grunt work, leaving most people in the role of CMO with little job satisfaction. They weren’t wrong. Just six years ago, many marketing officers found themselves considering career changes because they felt undervalued.
The Change Began
Simply put, social media began the change. In 2012, only 56 percent of Americans had social media profiles, but that number jumped to 67 percent by 2014. As of 2018, 78 percent have a social media profile, and most have multiple profiles. In the last few years, marketing has become even less about advertising the product and more about creating a communicative, personable brand as a whole. Social media users want to see interaction from the companies they support, and the chief marketing officer is the one who can make that happen. Why? He or she is the one who spends time “in the trenches,” taking the information from CRM software, analyzing it and turning it into facts the company can use to further its marketing campaigns.
By 2017, the role of the chief marketing officer was once again at the forefront of corporate branding, with an increasing number of people in the role saying they have a major responsibility not only in marketing but in customer service. Many of them also now have seats at the executive table as companies realize the importance of inclusivity in their ad campaigns and online correspondence. The CMO has a deeper understanding of the company’s audience and exactly what type of advertising will work best. For example, a business catering to those 60 and older may not have much success with meme-based marketing, but those catering to millennials are likely to have more success when using memes. Simply put, without a chief marketing officer, most big businesses would simply be left floundering and using a hit-or-miss approach to advertising and maintaining a customer base.
How CMOs Are Benefitting Businesses
A chief marketing officer benefits the business or businesses he or she works with by helping to create an excellent customer experience. In turn, that customer experience makes it more likely that the business brings in more sales and bigger profits. A CMO doesn’t just bring in more profits in the form of more customers, though. He or she is also responsible for analyzing marketing campaigns to determine what works and what doesn’t. Are fewer people clicking on email campaigns now? The CMO can decide where to tweak them so that they perform better. Perhaps a certain social media campaign didn’t go quite as planned. The CMO can use this information as a learning experience when creating the next campaign. The role of chief marketing officer is a pivotal one that no big business can do without and many small businesses don’t want to do without, either. In fact, the scope of what it means to be a CMO is larger now than ever before.
How Companies Can Improve CMO Tenure
One of the biggest problems with hiring a chief marketing officer is that many don’t stick with the job, and with seemingly good reason. Even now, most CMOs feel they are overworked and underpaid, and as much as 80 percent of CEOs feel their chief marketing officers are doing a dissatisfactory job. The communication breakdown likely enters the picture because many people don’t have a well-defined idea of what a CMO is supposed to do.
Some CEOs seem to expect everything from their CMOs, but nearly half of CMOs feel that they spend so much time approving campaigns and reviewing finances that they never have the time to spend assessing the long-term growth plans the company expects to see. If a company truly wants to get the most out of its chief marketing officer, the CEO must be willing to set clear, defined goals and provide time, space and proper compensation for the CMO to do the job well. Above all, remembering that the market is an adaptive one is extremely important.
The Three Types of Chief Marketing Officers
As with most job positions, the role of chief marketing officer is not a standard one and does not work the same for each officer or within each company or organization. While the different types of CMOs can vary greatly, most roles fall into one of three categories:
- Commercialization CMO – More than 46 percent of CMOs fall into this category. They are primarily responsible for sales and marketing, such as hosting events, creating digital content and running promotions on social media.
- Enterprise-Wide CMO – Enterprise-wide chief marketing officer roles cover about 23 percent of CMO roles. These CMOs are strategic players in terms of creating more profitable businesses. They are often vital components of the product design teams and sales innovation teams.
- Strategy Focus CMO – More than 30 percent of CMOs focus on company strategy. They analyze company growth strategies and plans to determine how well they work and where changes can be made. These CMOs focus on product design, customer insight, and innovation.
While some chief marketing officers specialize in one area above the others, a strong CMO will have working knowledge in all areas. A business owner may choose to hire someone who has one specific purpose or who works across all areas, depending on the company’s needs and budget.
How CMOs Fit Into the World of Independent Contractors
The way we work is changing. An increasing number of people want to work from home exclusively. Others want to take their services where they’re needed, as they’re needed. People who work as a chief marketing officer are no exception. For this reason, many CMOs are now working as independent contractors, focusing their skills on several companies at once, working part-time or on an as-needed basis. This business model is beneficial for both the contractor and the corporation alike.
For the CMO, working as an independent contractor offers freedom. Shorter contracts mean he or she is never locked into one position or company for too long, which is especially helpful if the job isn’t what was expected. The freedom also means being able to work in different locations or take time off between jobs to travel or otherwise experience life. Finally, a CMO who works as an independent contractor often gets to hone more skills since he or she works for multiple companies, often that have very different needs.
Hiring a part-time chief marketing officer is beneficial to the business owner as well. Sometimes an organization doesn’t require a full-time, long-term employee to help with its marketing campaigns. Even so, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t benefit from an expert when the time does come for a new ad campaign. This is the perfect situation in which it would be advisable to hire a CMO who works as an independent contractor. It allows the business owner to spend money only when needed to instead of keeping a full-time employee who may not always have work to do. Additionally, because the business owner won’t need to provide benefits or other compensation often related to long-term employment, the company can focus the budget on finding someone who is truly the best for the job.
What the Best CMO Looks Like
So, how do you become the kind of chief marketing officer that companies want to hire? If you’re a CEO, how do you find the best CMO? The answer is to look for several specific skills:
- People Skills – A good CMO must have the people skills necessary not only to work with his or her superiors but with a team of other marketing specialists. In some cases, the CMO will also be required to speak directly to current or potential customers.
- Analytical Skills – CMOs must have strong analytical skills. They must be able to look at large amounts of intricate information and find patterns that show what works for a company and what needs to be reimagined.
- Creative Skills – A CMO must be creative. In many cases, he or she will need to use that creativity to design new products, create their packaging and imagine entire ad campaigns that are both cost-effective and engaging enough to bring in new customers.
The Future of the Chief Marketing Officer
Experts believe the need for professional, qualified chief marketing officers will continue to grow. As marketing continues to shift from “sell, sell, sell” to “engage the customer and create a relationship,” CMOs will become even more vital if corporations want to succeed. Technology will continue to advance, too, and as new AI programs cover even more data, the chief marketing officer will be there to bridge the gap between computer data and creating products that truly keep the customer coming back. Whether you’re a business owner who hopes to employ a CMO in the near future, or you’re a CMO who wants to understand more about your role in the marketing world, one thing is certain: the CMO isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Advance Your Growing Business With a Fractional Chief Operating Officer
Running a growing business is an exciting and fulfilling experience. However, it is not without its challenges. One of the most common is deciding when to create new positions. For example, your business may need the experience and insight of a chief operating officer but not yet have the need for a full-time executive. A fractional chief operating officer may be the answer you’ve been looking for.
What Is a Fractional Chief Operating Officer?
A COO is a top-level executive whose primary focus is on the operations of the business. The right COO can improve your productivity and efficiency. Many companies forgo this role during their initial stages. This creates a gap in which the company has some need for a COO but not enough to justify a full-time position.
A fractional COO is a consultant who functions as a part-time chief operating officer. Your company gets the insight of a top operations executive without having to bear the full-time cost. It is a powerful way to achieve your organization’s goals in an affordable manner.
What Does a Fractional COO Do?
The job functions of a fractional COO are largely identical to those of someone in a full-time position, only the job duties are performed part-time and/or on a temporary basis. However, the purpose of the fractional option is often a little different and more specific than that of the full-time individual.
A full-time COO is in charge of the daily operations of the organization. Basically, he or she is the executive who oversees the functions related to creating and distributing the products and/or services the business sells. In a new or growing business, these functions may be performed by the founder and/or the top executive, often the CEO.
One of the key roles filled by the COO is ensuring that the business’s operations run smoothly and efficiently. This can be through analyzing, organizing and/or improving the company’s processes and allocation of resources. It is in this area that a fractional executive offers the most value.
All businesses have limited time, monetary, human and other resources. Applying this capital efficiently can be the difference between success and failure. For a growing business, greater efficiency can significantly accelerate expansion.
A fractional COO will help to oversee and improve several aspects of most businesses.
- Allocate resources to generate the maximum possible value
- Translate the company’s strategic goals into operational actions
- Assist with planning based on stakeholder requirements
- Monitor and streamline staffing
- Oversee knowledge management and sharing
- Enable the executive team to have greater visibility of key performance indicators
- Plan and implement processes that support all the above
Most companies use a fractional COO for around one or two days per week. However, you can use the service however much or little your business needs.
The most significant benefit of a fractional COO is getting the experience and ability of a senior operations executive at a substantial discount. Many growing companies opt to hire a less-experienced individual full time. This option is often more expensive and less impactful than engaging a fractional chief operating officer.
By bringing a wealth of experience to your organization, a fractional COO can help you in many ways. Here are just a few possible benefits:
- Offer insight into process best practices: The processes that work for a start-up business can be significantly different from those of an established business. Having someone with insight into which practices work and which don’t can be very valuable.
- Provide unbiased and experienced assistance with strategic planning: A COO is typically a central part of planning for the future. He or she is charged with not only creating plans but also translating them into daily operations. An experienced perspective can help you make the right choices for your business.
- Align organization’s teams and their communication as an outside expert: Weakening communication is a familiar growing pain for many businesses. This is especially true as they transition from the start-up phase to being a more established organization. A fractional COO can help you to overcome those obstacles.
- Ensure success by offering capable project management skills: Critical projects often need an experienced hand to guide them. It is common for COOs to directly oversee the most important projects. This can be the key difference that leads to lasting success.
- Enable better budgeting through a focused review of operations programs: A fractional COO can analyze and develop the budgets of your programs. This can help ensure better allocation of resources while also improving your insight into how your business spends money.
There are many other benefits to hiring a fractional COO, but they all translate to greater efficiency, profits, and growth. Simply having an unbiased, outside perspective brought in can be a major boon to your organization. When that perspective is built upon experience, the effect is magnified.
Beyond simply making your company run better, a fractional executive can also help you prepare your business for the future. Growth brings new challenges, and expanding organizations need to consistently adapt to match their business operations to their size and capability.
The Value of Timeliness
Another important benefit of a fractional consultant over a full-time employee is the time needed to get started. Hiring a new executive can be a significant resource investment. It can take months to find the right candidate. Even after finding the right person, it usually takes at least two weeks before he or she can start.
A fractional COO, on the other hand, can potentially start as soon as you engage him or her. As the individual works as a consultant, the only barrier to starting immediately is having sufficient schedule time.
Similarly, your relationship with this individual can be temporary and can be concluded relatively promptly. This temporary nature is significant because it means you can have a fractional COO when you need one and not when you don’t.
How Can Your Company Use a Fractional COO?
There are numerous ways that companies use the services of a fractional COO. One of the great benefits is that he or she can work on the tasks that will bring you the most benefit. Some possible job duties include the following:
- Assessment: Legacy processes are sometimes the greatest obstacles to success for growing companies. You can use your fractional COO to assess your current methods of operation and offer advice on how to improve. Even small increases in efficiency can lead to significant improvements in profitability and growth over time.
- Executive Project Management: The most important projects need the right set of hands to guide them. Consider using your fractional consultant to act as the manager for your most critical projects. This could be a broad, executive undertaking such as transitioning to a new system of organization or a specific, high-priority project such as delivery of an important product.
- Interim COO: Whether you have had a COO before or not, you may find yourself with a need for a temporary hire while you find the right full-time candidate. A fractional executive can be the perfect option for fulfilling this need. If you are preparing to hire your first operations chief, having a test run with a part-time consultant may be advisable.
- Alignment: One of the challenges to organizational success is teamwork. Whether you have a small team or a large one, helping people from different disciplines work together well can be hard. Your consultant can help you to not only align your teams with each other but also with your strategic goals.
- Planning: If you are developing your plans as your company enters a new phase of growth, a fractional COO can offer advice and experience. Alternatively, if you already have goals set, he or she can help you turn those goals into reality.
- Improvement: Sometimes your business operations teams don’t perform at the level you need them to. Your executive can help you to find the right personnel and make necessary changes to increase effectiveness and efficiency.
- Reporting: Understanding what is happening in your business can become difficult as you grow. Reporting metrics and analyzing key performance indicators can help you have better insight. Your consultant can help you develop the reporting practices as well as the analytics to fully understand what is being reported.
Chances are, as a company founder or executive, you have taken on many of the most essential roles of a COO yourself. Having a fractional hire means that your company will have an experienced and focused individual handling your operations. Additionally, it means you will be able to spend more time on the strategic growth of your business rather than on running all of its day-to-day functions.
Effect on Silos and Communication
Many growing organizations experience issues with operational silos. These occur when different units don’t communicate effectively with each other. One of the key responsibilities of a COO is to ensure that silos don’t exist or are broken down if they do.
Silos can lead to misalignment between groups. This can have some pretty significant impacts on the company as a whole.
- Inefficiency caused by groups being out of sync
- Poor understanding of the effect of each team on the larger picture
- Errors resulting from poor communication
- Low adaptability to new opportunities and challenges
A fractional COO can address these silos and improve alignment. The outcomes of breaking down silos are worthwhile for almost any organization.
- Improved visibility for every team and individual of the rest of the organization
- Better communication between teams about current activities, goals, and obstacles
- Superior organizational foresight for future roadblocks and bottlenecks
- Enhanced feedback loop throughout the company
- More flexible approach to new opportunities and challenges
- Lower chance of errors occurring and a better ability to respond to them
- More competitive value proposition to customers
- Stronger cultural development
Perhaps the most significant issue with organizational communication is that the needs change as the company grows. In fact, even as new products are created, new customers are found and new technologies are leveraged, communication needs change. Therefore, having a fractional COO who can help you respond to the ever-changing teamwork dynamics of your business can be immensely valuable.
When Is the Right Time To Hire a Fractional COO?
One of the best qualities of a fractional executive is the flexibility. You can hire a fractional COO for four hours per week if that is all you need. The right time to start working with one is whenever you have a need for operational improvement.
Chances are that if you are asking yourself this question, you already have some need for assistance in running your company’s operations. Consider starting with a consultant on a short-time, limited basis to determine how much value he or she can bring to your business.
If you are certain that you need someone to fill an operations executive role but aren’t sure whether to hire a full-time individual or not, a part-time team member is likely the right choice. You can engage a fractional COO full time on an interim basis if needed. This will provide you with a chance to evaluate your needs and the impact of an operations chief.
In short, fractional executives are great for businesses of various sizes and in differing stages of growth. Since you don’t have to make a long-term commitment, simply starting a trial run is often a smart move.
Find Your Fractional Chief Operating Officer
Having a fractional chief operating officer is an excellent way to get the valuable benefits of a COO without the sizable cost. This service can also be a useful opportunity to try out the COO role without having to commit to a full-time hire. In short, if you have been wondering whether your company needs an operations chief but aren’t fully committed yet, a fractional consultant may be the right answer.
Kamyar Shah is an experienced executive and consultant who can provide the fractional COO services your business needs. He has worked in strategy, management, operations, marketing, business development and more. Click here to contact Kamyar Shah to learn more or to engage him as your new fractional chief operating officer.
Fractional Chief Marketing Officers: Is Hiring One the Right Move for Your Company’s Bottom Line?
What’s up next for your company? Are you launching a new product or merging with another business and in need of some rebranding to fit the new deal? Maybe you just need to get the hang of using social media more effectively or mainstreaming your current projects so that you have increased profits and productivity. When it comes to marketing, your company requires somebody with a specific set of skills and a knack for getting things done. Even so, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to hire a new, full-time employee. Before you add another name to your permanent payroll, consider whether a fractional chief marketing officer might better fit your company’s needs instead.
What Is a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer?
Simply put, a fractional chief marketing officer is someone who spends a portion of his or her time consulting for your company. When the individual isn’t working to help you build up your own business, he or she spends time consulting for other companies. Fractional CMOs often have specialized skill sets that benefit a company part of the time but that don’t make sense to use on a full-time basis.
Are There Different Types of Fractional Chief Marketing Officers?
While most fractional chief marketing officers have the same basic set of qualifications in terms of education and necessary skills, they tend to separate their duties into four different categories. The most common type of fractional CMO is the part-time, temporary contractor, also known as an on-demand CMO. This type of individual works for a specified amount of time and provides executive leadership to create marketing tactics and strategies that ensure the company sees a rise in profits. The three other types of temporary CMOs include the following:
- Advisory CMO – Sometimes known as a coaching CMO, an advisory CMO helps to train your current marketing team by teaching them to hone their skills, such as thinking more strategically and implementing those strategies in a more productive manner.
- Interim CMO – An interim, or provisional, CMO works as a bridge between the time at which your former full-time executive resigns and when the company hires a permanent replacement. This contractor helps to maintain daily operations and may even assist with the interviewing process for a replacement since he or she has more specialized knowledge than the broader human resources department.
- Turnaround CMO – Also known as a revitalization CMO, this person is responsible for helping a company turn things around when its marketing team isn’t performing well. He or she may nix some projects, tweak others to be more effective, or create entirely new strategies to build a better business.
What Does a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer Do?
A fractional chief marketing officer performs a range of duties that depend on what the company needs. For the most part, the job entails providing insight, creating strategies and executing those strategies to raise profits and create better brand awareness. The fractional CMO works in five distinct categories: the market, the company, the product, marketing the product and creating the execution pipeline.
The process begins by assessing the company’s perspective and then gaining product-specific market insight. This involves determining the current need for the product as well as the potential need in the future, analyzing the competition, gathering information about the current customer experience and determining the size of the market now and in the future. SWOT analysis (determining a company’s current strengths and weaknesses) and segment analysis are also important parts of the job.
After the CMO gains enough insight into the company and its product, he or she creates strategies for both. In terms of the company, tasks include assessing its branding, creating a market alignment strategy, determining market segmentation and value proposition, and creating an overall go-to strategy. When it comes to the product itself, the CMO plans the product from idea conception to launch, determining its pricing and how to be innovative in getting the product out the door and into customers’ hands. This also includes branding it, such as its packaging and delivery, and positioning it in the market.
Once the planning process is complete, the CMO can finally begin to execute the plans. Marketing is an important part of the implementation. The CMO must create the optimal mix of different types of marketing, such as communications and public relations, digital marketing, social media and appealing to any customers who are already loyal to the brand. Throughout the process, he or she must also measure the metrics to determine if the return on investment (ROI) is at an optimal number and, if it isn’t, reevaluate and change the strategy as needed. Once ROI is optimal, the fractional CMO can create a pipeline that automates marketing, tracks lead generation, aligns and enables sales, and finally, teaches the permanent marketing team how to maintain this level of ROI.
Why Do Companies Hire Fractional Chief Marketing Officers?
A company may decide to hire a fractional chief marketing officer for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest is because it simply can’t afford to put someone on its staff full-time at the moment. Because a fractional CMO is usually considered an independent contractor, the company pays only for the services it needs and doesn’t have to provide a full-time salary, healthcare benefits or any of the other costs that are often associated with bringing on a full-time employee.
Fractional CMOs are especially helpful for situations that require their expertise but aren’t expected to last forever, such as when a company is rebranding or if it is launching a new product on a large scale. In addition to being experienced in helping companies perform these large tasks, which require strong strategic planning, a CMO who doesn’t work with the business all the time is likely to offer a much different, often better perspective than what the executives thought of on their own. This is especially helpful for a business that is rebranding or otherwise needs to gain an improved reputation.
Perhaps a company isn’t necessarily rebranding or launching a new product but is realizing the importance of having a solid digital marketing strategy. A fractional CMO should be adept at every type of marketing, and that includes the increasingly popular and necessary digital strategies. The chosen CMO can help the company create a more user-friendly website that works across mobile devices (very important since almost every consumer searches the internet on the go now) and can also teach the proper full-time employees how to create social media accounts and use them effectively. These always include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and, depending on the type of business, may also include Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.
Before the time with the company is over, the fractional CMO can also teach someone how to properly monitor and tweak search engine optimization for the website and social media accounts. SEO is the use of keywords, image tags, link structure, incoming and outgoing links, title tags and more, and each component determines how many visitors are checking in, what they’re looking at and how long they’re sticking around. Proper use of SEO also helps a company’s website and social media accounts rank higher in search results on Google and other search engines.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer?
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a fractional chief marketing officer is its cost-effectiveness. Adding a full-time employee when you don’t have full-time needs does more harm than good to the company budget, but hiring someone on an as-needed basis often means larger profits. Hiring an as-needed professional further proves its cost-effectiveness and even boosts company productivity because you won’t need to train current employees to take on new jobs, leaving them free to handle their current daily duties more effectively. This is also beneficial because your employees won’t feel stretched too thin, which means they’ll have better overall morale and provide better work within their assigned tasks or departments.
A fractional CMO often provides a better quality of service as well. A full-time CMO must handle all aspects of marketing for the company, from the smallest product to the largest, but hiring a chief marketing officer to handle a specific task or product launch means the individual can put his or her specialized skill sets to better use, creating a better-quality campaign and product launch that lends itself to more publicity, bigger influencers and a larger, more lucrative rollout. Someone with a special set of skills often knows how to manage time more effectively as well, meaning a speedier job on top of a more productive one, which is likely to further increase the company’s return on investment.
How Do You Determine if a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer Is Right for Your Company?
Now that you understand what a fractional chief marketing officer does and why one might benefit your company, you can ask yourself a few questions to determine if it’s the next move you should make for your bottom line. First and foremost, consider your upcoming product launches or other rebranding initiatives you may have on the horizon. If you already have a full-time CMO, there’s no reason to hire a fractional one; on the other hand, if you don’t have a full-time person in charge of your marketing endeavors, hiring a part-time one could be the best idea for the company budget.
What about if your business needs to bring in a new perspective? The old saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but what if it just isn’t working as well as it used to? Just because something isn’t entirely broken doesn’t mean it won’t benefit from a few tweaks. In the case of lessening profits, a fractional CMO may be a good idea even if you already have a full-time marketing team. The combination of a fresh pair of eyes on your company’s current product line and a specialized skill set like that of the part-time CMO may help you find new ways of doing things that create a better return on investment.
Has your current full-time chief marketing officer turned in a resignation letter? This is an excellent reason to hire an interim CMO. Rather than rush through the interview and hiring process to fill a full-time position, which could lead to accidentally hiring someone who is underqualified or otherwise doesn’t fit in with the company culture, go the route of a fractional CMO. This interim member of the team can not only keep the daily operations on task but can also assist the human resources team with finding a suitable full-time replacement.
Finally, you may need a fractional chief marketing officer if you simply feel that you have too many unfinished marketing projects. Just like individuals, companies sometimes get into a rut of creating too many good ideas but never following through on any of them. A fractional CMO with a new perspective and specialized skill set can help the business find the motivation to see its current branding and marketing ideas through to the finish line, or if they are no longer relevant, tweak them so that they are.
Getting Started on the Path To Hiring a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer
Of course, just because the fractional chief marketing officer you hire will only be working with you for a short time doesn’t mean you should skimp on the interviewing process when choosing one. After all, this contractor will be responsible for helping to launch a product, creating a better branding strategy and bringing in a better return on investment, so you want the individual to do the job right. When seeking a person to fill this position, it is important to hire someone who is dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable and experienced. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, verify credentials and speak to references to ensure you hire just the right person. Kamyar Shah is an example of a highly qualified consultant who enjoys helping every company he works with. Contact him today to learn more about hiring a fractional CMO and the services he provides.