What is a Fractional CMO? Why it’s Important in a Startup

In this blog I’ll share some insights into the role of a Fractional CMO and consequently what makes the role so important for Startups like Prelo

We will explore the duties of a fractional CMO, the benefits of hiring one, and how much a good CMO can earn. 💳

With the insights from this blog, you will be better informed to decide if you have the skills and the time to take on a Fractional CMO’s job. 


Fractional CMOs can earn anything between $300k - $700k per year
Fractional CMOs in the U.S. earn anywhere between $150 – $350 per hour. That’s a staggering $300k – $700k per year



If you want to diversify your time between being an agency owner and providing advisory services as a Fractional CMO to Startups, then be ready to take on the development and the execution of marketing strategies. For early-stage Startups be prepared to rollup your sleeves and dive into the detail.

You can’t be an “arm chair general” working at a Startup.  

Fractional CMOs are not only responsible for the execution of marketing strategies at a Startup, their role includes taking accountability for the success or failure of those strategies. 


What is a Fractional CMO?

Hiring a fractional CMO is great for a Startup like Prelo. Especially now, as we try to build out our brand and acquire new customers to grow our revenue. My vision and expectation for a fractional CMO is someone that’s capable of working with the Startup’s leadership team (for pre-seed to Series A Startups this person is usually the founder).

So you’ll be stuck working with me for now :). 

What does a CMO at an early-stage Startup do?

Your key focus will be to create a marketing strategy that aligns with the Startups goals. For us at Prelo we want to identify profitable channels and get to product/market-fit fast. We don’t have junior marketers yet, but when we do, I’d expect your job as fractional CMO will be to manage them, provide strategic direction and manage their work.

What is your key focus as a CMO at an early-stage Startup?

Time management is extremely important if you want to be a successful fractional CMO, so I’ll recommend that you “time-box” your engagement. It’s the only way to deliver value whilst running your agency. Depending on the Startup’s business maturity, your role as a fractional CMO will definitely fluctuate.

What do I mean by this . . well initially you need to set the marketing strategy and execute that strategy.  Once you begin to see results from the strategy execution, you become a recruiter . .sorry but you need to build a team to take on the day to day operational tasks.  

What Fractional CMO Services  can you deliver to a Startup?

Here’s a summary of the tasks I’d expect from a great CMO :

1) Constructing brand awareness campaigns
2) Building customer acquisition channels
3) Analyzing marketing performance
4) Hiring and leading a marketing team

Let’s get into the detail of a CMO’s Role

When crafting a marketing campaign, your role as a fractional CMO is to work with founders to specify target audiences, and create a content strategy and plan. It doesn’t stop there, founders would expect you to estimate a budget for marketing activities. You just have to be a generalist.

The CMOs I’ve had the pleasure of working with, are responsible for establishing a consistent brand message across all marketing channels, including social media accounts, email campaigns, and online advertisement networks.

As a Startup founder, we live or die by the success of our customer acquisition campaigns. So as a fractional CMO you will develop an approach that uses multiple channels to drive visitors to our website.

Furthermore, I would expect you to continuously analyze progress in order to determine what works well and what changes need to be made – the data you gather from these experiments is gold dust. Use this data to tweak tactics that will help us founders to succeed.

A Fractional CMO or part-time Chief Marketing Officer provides Startups like us with senior-level marketing insights and higher-level strategic expertise, without having to hire a full-time CMO. It’s a win/win.

You get to promote your agency as a Startup-friendly agency and we get to promote the awesome work you do!

Why is a Fractional CMO Service so important for Startups?

As a founder with some marketing experience, I’m currently pulled in so many different directions. I am unable to focus on building the company and building a recognizable brand identity, an online presence and convert customers to buying our product.

A Fractional CMO Service makes this all possible while keeping costs down. 

Fractional CMOs come with a wealth of  experience, which helps prevent mistakes, and I’ve made my fair share of those.

Aside from avoiding mistakes they help with making good strategic decisions quickly. As we all know – Time is the enemy of Startups. 


Roles and Responsibilities of a Fractional CMO

A Fractional CMO’s duties can range depending on the Startup’s needs. Typical responsibilities may include:

1) Crafting a marketing plan that fits the business goals,

2) Organizing and steering marketing campaigns,

3) Analyzing data to measure success

4) and providing leadership to the marketing team to foster innovation.

Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CMO

One of the great advantages of hiring a Fractional CMO for a Startup is cost-effectiveness. Unlike hiring a full-time CMO, a Fractional CMO typically works part-time, making it more cost-efficient for early-stage Startups with limited marketing budgets.

As a marketing professional with at least 8 years of industry experience in assisting Startups across multiple sectors, your expertise is invaluable to early-stage Startups struggling to build and execute a winning marketing strategy.

Most of the time, we don’t know what we are doing – that’s why we need your help. 

Hiring a Fractional CMO offers increased flexibility to a Startup like ours. It gives us the opportunity to bring on an experienced professional for as long or as short as we need.

The benefits gained from adapting your marketing approach to market demands is hugely undervalued. This can be especially important for Startups active in fast-changing sectors or facing heavy competition.

Finally, your job as a Fractional CMO is to help Startups adjust their marketing efforts upwards or downwards at any given time.

As the Startup grows and expands its reach, the Fractional CMO can develop new strategies to support the founder’s business development efforts.

Moreover, if the startup needs to reduce its expenditure on marketing for any reason whatsoever, the task of the Fractional CMO is to assist in getting the most out of that budget.

How Much Does a Fractional CMO Earn in the US, India, and Europe?

The salary earnings of a fractional CMO vary. Factors that affect the  on several factors like the industry, size of the company, location, and of course, experience. But there are average salary earnings of these fractional CMOs. Let’s get the average earnings of fractional CMOs in the US, India, and Europe.

United States

Fractional CMOs in the US earn an average of $150-$350 per hour. That is an estimate of about $300,000 to $700,000. These figures depend heavily on their experience in the field and expertise. 


Fractional CMOs in India, however, earn an average of INR 5,000 to INR 25,000 on hourly rates. That brings us to approximately INR 10 lakh to INR 50 lakh. Again, their experience and expertise comes to the fore in gaining an estimate.


And finally in Europe, fractional CMOs here earn up to €150 to €300 per hour. This gives us an annual salary of €150,000 to €600,000 approximately.


Some Successful Fractional CMOs and Their Thoughts:

I’ve taken some time to research three highly successful Fractional CMOs across a number of sectors from healthcare to food and beverage:

  • Heidi Lorenzen is a Fractional CMO who has had the chance to collaborate with many Startups and small businesses. She sees them as invaluable, providing strategic insight and leadership that can help Startups meet their targets more effectively. 

  • David Rodnitzky, another Fractional CMO with experience in technology and healthcare sectors, also believes this type of professional is ideal for Startups since they are flexible yet knowledgeable.
  • Jennifer Harris is another Fractional CMO, having worked with food and beverage industry Startups, who see them as essential for Startups as they bring a new perspective and novel ideas.


Looking for a Fractional CMO Job?

When it comes to finding Startups to collaborate with, there are many resources available. However Prelo helps you cut through the noise.

Prelo is a platform that helps agencies, freelancers and businesses target decision makers from well-funded Startups.

One of the advantages of using Prelo to find startup clients is that the platform is specifically designed to help you with outreach to Startups. 

Unlock LinkedIn Profiles and email addresses of key decision makers
Fractional CMOs can unlock email addresses and LinkedIn Contacts of decision makers

Whether you’re just starting out as a fractional CMO or you’re a seasoned professional looking for new opportunities.

Prelo is a great place to find Startups that are in need of your skills and expertise.

With its user-friendly interface and focus on facilitating effective collaborations, Prelo can help you take your agency and your career to the next level by helping you to target well-funded Startups with exciting and innovative businesses.



To sum up, Fractional CMOs are pivotal in the prosperity and success of Startups.

They bring a ton of experience and knowledge that can help Startups conquer their unique hurdles during the nascent stages of their expansion.

If you’re an agency owner, a b2b marketer or a freelancer looking to work as a Fractional CMO there are a lot of opportunities open to you, and you can start on Prelo

Tired of pitching to Startups with zero budget?

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