Achieving effective, strategic, cross-channel marketing for small businesses can be tricky. Limited staff and budgets often lead to team members wearing multiple hats and being spread thin across a vast and varying marketing to-do list. So, where does growth-focused, revenue-driving marketing fit in? Everyone has a marketing mix and an outbound—maybe even inbound—cadence, but a marketing cadence without strategy and measurement is like driving to a new destination without a map. It might be possible, but you should probably expect to get lost along the way.
Here are a few symptoms that could mean you need a Fractional CMO to help you create a map:
- You are struggling to maintain a basic marketing cadence (collateral, social media posts and emails aren’t going out regularly)
- You don’t have a plan to create intentional audience growth or drive engagement
- You focus on pushing content and do not circle back to analyze what is working and what isn’t
- Your marketing team doesn’t have a connection with sales or a process for facilitating harmonious sales enablement
A few examples of ways that a Fractional CMO can help support your existing marketing resources would be:
- Provide Executive Leadership for strategic marketing planning,
- Supplement existing marketing resources to fill skills/bandwidth gaps, or
- Create a metrics framework and reporting cadence to measure ROI and ensure progress towards marketing goals
One of the most beneficial things about a Fractional CMO is that varying levels of support are available to meet you where you are in building your marketing department and the CMO’s involvement can be adjusted as your company continues to grow. There are four specific areas where your Fractional CMO could provide support to internal marketing teams; strategic planning and guidance, process development and procedures, visual branding support and template creation. Addressing these four priorities will set your internal marketing department up for success.
Strategic Planning and Guidance
A Fractional CMO’s most valuable contribution is strategy. Assessing the state of your marketing mix and defining the plan to get it to where it needs to be will create short and long term success for your company. Your strategy should be fine-tuned based on your industry and business type, then the strategy will guide an action plan to align your marketing processes with best practices.
When Gladiator works with clients, we provide this insight in many forms (marketing channel reviews, as well as other consulting and evaluation tools), but the most significant and transformational document we give to an organization is a Strategic Marketing Plan. We believe in business-first marketing, meaning we write marketing plans with business goals in mind so that every marketing action drives you towards your vision. There are many risks involved in executing marketing without a marketing plan. Read about this in an earlier blog of ours here.
Process Development and Procedures
Once a plan is finalized, processes are a major factor in successful implementation. Having a baseline set of procedures for how the marketing team deploys content across marketing channels, performs website updates, communicates with internal departments such as sales, and secures approval when necessary will help your team be more efficient and effective. Your team will minimize miscommunication, errors and the timeline for these common marketing tasks simply by establishing clear processes. This is also important for the longevity of your marketing department because it creates accountability and ensures the integrity of operations through personnel changes. For our clients, Gladiator supports their team through this activity or we will provide the documentation for our work when we act in the place of an internal team.
Your brand is the culmination of the company’s messaging/voice and visual identity. Creating and maintaining the visual system and messaging structure across existing collateral to keep the brand consistent is a common pain point within marketing departments. Branding guidelines are vital to relieving this stressor. Your brand guidelines document the elements of your brand that will remain consistent across your communication channels. This should include any logos, icons, fonts, color palette, and visual styles like gradients or patterns that are standard for your brand. Messaging can also be documented. It is a good idea to compile taglines, basic product/service descriptions, key grammatical choices, and any key words that help keep the tone of your communications consistent. One of the ways in which our award-winning creative team can support internal marketing teams is by ensuring this documentation is well developed and there are points of accountability to maintain consistent implementation. If you are anticipating changes to your brand, we can facilitate brand updates with messaging workshops and collaboration on visual refreshes or complete rebrands. If you aren’t sure whether you are in need of a rebrand, check out our blog here.
Templates that align your efforts with best practices are the best way to build a solid foundation for your marketing department in the long term. There are two types of templates: (1) process templates and (2) collateral or branding templates.
Templates that facilitate processes bring structure to common marketing activities, such as developing campaigns or collecting technical content. An example would be a form with questions that you send to your technical team to share information for case studies, or an email campaign template that outlines the structure of your newsletter so you have a standard framework every time.
Collateral templates help you manage your brand and typically include letterhead, a basic presentation, email signatures, etc. and, depending on your staff’s skills, they can be produced in a variety of formats:
Marketing for your small business does not need to feel like trying to find success without a map. A Fractional CMO can help you develop a map that addresses these necessary elements for a solid marketing foundation. If you are not certain about where to start or what comes next, schedule a free consultation with us!
Nakevia Miller is our energetic Art Director and problem solver. As a Partner, she is passionate about building brands through dynamic marketing. She loves to watch companies grow as a result of her design and content collaborations. “Any small business can look large, or corporate, with the help of great design,” Nakevia said. “I strive to bring that polished and streamlined look to every company I touch because in today’s market, beautiful aesthetics create instant credibility.”