Does Your Business Need a Virtual CMO?

Once upon a time, there was a business experiencing a rapid growth cycle. The business had started as a one-person operation, and five years later, they were providing gainful employment to more than thirty people. Everyone was excited about the speedy progression of the company, but the CEO was worried.

The CEO was not only brilliant, but he was also very wise (which is a rare combination as these two characteristics are sometimes mutually exclusive). He understood that while his company had experienced quick expansion in a relatively short time frame, he couldn’t allow his business to “keep riding the wave” because eventually, as we all know, waves crash. 

This wise and brilliant man had gone from nothing to running an eight-figure company in only five short years. He had primarily achieved his success the old-fashioned way. He hit the pavement running, offered superior service, and provided his clients such a high value that it allowed him to keep raising his rates  knowing his happy customers would be willing and eager to pay.

He also got lucky. His business grew largely through word-of-mouth and referrals. 

Now, five years later, this CEO had the vision and foresight to realize that just like people have a lifecycle, so do businesses. Before his business peaked in the lifecycle curve and started to flatten out, he knew he needed to make some strategic changes. He knew what he needed to do, but doing it was going to take him out of his comfort zone. Big time.

You see, this CEO had a secret. None of his employees would ever have guessed that their beloved and fearless leader, who would boldly go into meetings with captains of industry and walk out with lucrative contracts, had an irrational fear of one area of business. 

This man’s Waterloo was marketing.

Like many financially gifted executives, this CEO was an analytical and linear thinker. He knew he needed to expand into marketing, but he didn’t quite understand how marketing was going to help him do what needed to be done for his business. He operated under the misguided assumption that all marketing is advertising.

Seeing as how his only exposure to marketing, had been the Intro to Marketing-101 course he was compelled to take as a business undergraduate student, and the 601-graduate equivalent class that was part of his MBA program, one could understand his thought process, mistaken as it was. Those college level intro classes only scratched the surface.

Feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, yet knowing marketing needed to become a critical part of his business strategy as a matter of survival, this CEO decided to seek counsel from a trusted third-party. Like many executives in the world today, this CEO had an executive coach he worked with to help him gain and keep perspective while navigating the high-pressure demands of his job. 

In discussing his problem with his coach, the CEO began telling her about his need to hire expert marketing support, but he also shared his utter disregard for the medium in its’ entirety. After all, he ran a service business. Advertising at the Superbowl was not going to help his cause.

His coach listened patiently to all of his complaints, fears, and rantings. Then, she made an inspired recommendation. She suggested to him that instead of hiring a full-time in-house Chief Marketing Officer, why not look into hiring a Virtual CMO, who specialized in working with B2B service-based businesses.

She went on to explain that by hiring a Virtual CMO, he would be getting all the advice and strategy he desperately needed, at a fraction of the cost of bringing in a full-time employee. A Virtual CMO could provide the same functionality needed to build his as of yet, non-existent marketing department and program. She further went on to tell him this would be a way for him to somewhat dip his toe into the world of marketing.

He would be getting an executive level consultant to create and execute a marketing strategy, hiring strategy and messaging strategy, but he wouldn’t be committing to a full-time, on-site hire. Instead, he could contract with a Virtual CMO, anywhere in the world. He could set contractual time limits from three months up to a year at a time. As goals were met, he could opt to extend the contract. If he wasn’t “feeling it” when the contract ended he was free to pursue another avenue.

Our CEO liked this idea. Especially, when he found that the average salary for a full-time CMO is $170,000 a year (not accounting for benefits packages). He could hire a Virtual CMO to be his trusted adviser and consultant (not his employee), for about 30 to 50% of that figure. Plus, thanks to technologies like video conferencing, project management tools and software, he could expand his search parameters to find the right person anywhere in the world, without being beholden to the local talent market, or having to pay a relocation package.

His coach advised him if he wanted a team built, he could have his Virtual CMO hire salaried employees to work at his company. Alternatively, for a higher overall project fee, he could find a Virtual CMO that could bring in her own team under contract, fully understanding that under this agreement, when the contracted ended, so too went access to support staff. Being a financially-driven guy, the CEO started calculating the savings on the salaries and benefits packages he could avoid by basically outsourcing his way into a full-service marketing department.

This CEO knew he had found his answer to his marketing dilemma. He was going to hire a Virtual CMO. What are you going to do in your business?

Do you know that Strategic Tactics Consulting Group, LLC offers Virtual CMO services? You can learn more about our Virtual CMO program here.

© 2019, Angela M. Insalaco. All rights reserved.