Ireland's No.1 for Marketing Freelancers
1,350+ Specialists on our books
Experienced team with deep knowledge

When Flexibility Meets Expertise: My Journey as a Fractional CMO

When Flexibility Meets Expertise: My Journey as a Fractional CMO

Mark Ody

In the dynamic landscape of modern business, the role of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is pivotal. Yet, not every company can afford or even needs a full-time executive in this role. Enter the concept of a Fractional Marketer, an innovative trend in the freelance talent market that's gaining traction and it has now come to Ireland through my friends in The Indie List.

A Fractional Marketer, essentially a part-time CMO, offers strategic marketing leadership to businesses without the commitment or expense of a full-time hire. This approach is particularly appealing in an era where agility and specialised expertise are highly valued. Companies can harness the insights and experience of seasoned marketing professionals, gaining access to high-level strategic thinking and customer-centric perspectives, at pace, that might otherwise be out of reach.

Let me share my own experiences as a Fractional CMO and explore the various scenarios where this flexible arrangement has proven to be not just viable, but incredibly beneficial for a different array of businesses:

On-Line Dating: A team of 50+ Marketers and a budget of over €40Mper year across all marketing disciplines. With 5 Marketing Directors, their execution was top drawer, but they lacked that strategic penetration and thinking to get the most out of their execution - I worked hard to challenge the paradigms they had, notably around the age of their most valuable customers, and helped them to rethink and reposition their brands, based on Customer needs and perceptions, not their own.

Deezer Music Streaming: A company with a new C-Suite in need of transformation. . Working in concert with a the C-Suite, we revolutionised the company, aligned people, product, tech, marketing and content - It took new people with new ideas to transform and all during an IPO. I then helped to hire the permanently Paris-based CMO

Waterford Carpets: During the property crash in Ireland in the2000s, how could they unlock new markets and maximise existing International markets - and stay afloat!. Working with this company for over 4 years, sometimes 1 day a week, sometimes 5 days per week. Together we built a brand new global strategy, created brand new distribution partnerships in 5 new markets, closed the US subsidiary and set up multiple distribution agreements there with 3rd parties. In support of this we re-designed the websites and all Sales and Marketing Collateral

FEG Gaming: Problem? Business was growing but losing share everywhere. The CEO needed to know if his marketing department was up to scratch, or if he needed minor or wholesale change. 3 months, 3 days a week working with the local team in developing their strategy for the year, whilst assessing their capabilities. My final report was submitted and significant changes made.

I’ve seen first hand the diverse and significant impact a Fractional Marketer can have on a variety of businesses. From reinvigorating stale marketing strategies to injecting critical customer-focused thinking into existing teams, the contributions are manifold. Key areas where a Fractional Marketer can make a substantial difference include:

●       Strategic Repositioning: As with the online-dating business example, a Fractional Marketer can challenge existing paradigms, fostering a rethinking and repositioning of brands based on customer perceptions rather than internal assumptions.

●       Cultural and Strategic Transformation: In the case of Deezer, the Fractional Marketer played a pivotal role in breaking conventional moulds, aligning teams and strategies, and driving a cultural shift essential for staying competitive in the market.

●       High-Level Strategy Formulation: For businesses that require strategic marketing and sales insights at the executive level but cannot justify a full-time position, a Fractional Marketer offers a cost-effective solution. This was clearly demonstrated in the example of the Irish floor covering manufacturer.

●       Assessment and Optimisation: The ability to assess and optimise marketing teams, as seen with the digital business case, is another area where a Fractional CMO can add value, providing critical analysis and recommendations for improvement.

In summary, the role of a Fractional Marketer is not just an alternative to a full-time CMO; it's a strategic choice for businesses seeking flexibility, high-level expertise, and fresh perspectives. This approach aligns perfectly with the evolving needs of today's market dynamics, providing a pragmatic solution to a wide range of marketing challenges that enterprises of all sizes now face.


Mark Ody:

“I enjoy building and leading high-performance teams to win in competitive markets. I have worked on and built some great premium, and distinctive brands; I particularly enjoy rejuvenating brands that have lost their way. Entrepreneurial by nature, I have sat on exec committees of PLC’s and have experience as a globe-trotting international carpet salesman! I have a healthy bias for pace and action and have experience across traditional consumer goods companies, "pure play" digital brands and a mixture of both.”

Find Freelancers →Register as a Freelancer→