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Fractional CMO, Marketing Agency, Marketing Consultant - Which One is Right for Your B2B Business?


If your business needs help with B2B marketing, the good news is there are many people and companies that can help you! The bad news is, there are many people and companies that can help you. How do you know which to work with? The first step is figuring out what type of external help will benefit your business the most. Here’s an explanation of common marketing resources to hire and how they help growing businesses:


What is a Fractional CMO?


A fractional CMO is a senior-level marketer who has worked in marketing for large companies and knows how to apply best practices in B2B marketing to smaller businesses. If you’ve thought about hiring a marketing director or head of marketing but are not quite ready for the investment, a fractional CMO is a good option. They work as an accountable extension of your team, but for less cost and commitment than a full-time hire.


What does a Fractional CMO do?


A fractional CMO joins your company as a member of the team, attending regular meetings, interacting with customers and company partners, working with you to prioritize marketing goals, and developing and executing marketing plans. They are an advisor, strategist, and will implement recommendations. Some projects include:

  • Brand strategy and messaging development

  • Marketing plan development and execution

  • Lead generation marketing activities

  • Marketing technology implementation

  • Hiring and managing a marketing agency

What is a B2B marketing agency?


A B2B marketing agency is a company that brings together marketing specialists, usually in digital marketing-related activities. They have a deep understanding of the latest advertising and technology strategies and tools, like Facebook, Google, Wordpress, Shopify. If you have specific goals for your marketing and need a team to work with you to execute them in specialized digital platforms, then it’s worth bringing on a marketing agency.


What does a B2B marketing agency do?


A B2B marketing agency is a partner to your company, meeting with you regularly about their projects. They benefit from working with someone at your company who can direct them on a marketing strategy to ensure their work relates to the broader marketing plan and goals. Some projects include:

  • Website development

  • Paid search and retargeting ads

  • Organic and paid social media

  • Influencer marketing

  • SEO research and implementation

What is a B2B marketing consultant?


A B2B marketing consultant is someone who will work with you to help you dive into a specific challenge. They meet with you to discuss your problems and work independently to conduct research, bringing to you recommendations. If you have identified a targeted project that you need help with and would like an outside perspective from an experienced marketer, a marketing consultant is a good solution.


What does a B2B marketing consultant do?


A B2B marketing consultant mostly works on their own with periodic check-ins with you on their projects. They will want to quickly understand your business and situation as it relates to the project they’re working on and will come to you with recommendations that you will need to execute on. Some projects include:

  • Brand strategy and messaging development

  • Product marketing research

  • Go-to-market plans

  • Pricing strategy research

  • Marketing staffing structure

When your company is ready to invest in marketing, it’s an exciting time! It can also be intimidating to navigate all of the options for whom to work with. The first step is determining what you need help with and how much you can direct the marketing resource. A fractional CMO is best if you need someone to own marketing end-to-end. A marketing agency is best if you can direct their work. A B2B marketing consultant is best if you want recommendations on specific challenges you’re having. Once you better understand your marketing needs, you can focus your search for the best resource.