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The Startup Guide to Fractional Marketers: Four Tips for Success


"You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step."

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


There’s no denying that tech is currently in a state of flux, with many startups making tough calls on layoffs, hiring freezes, or spending reductions to weather the turbulent market.


Despite the current volatility, many teams still have aggressive roadmaps in play, with growth goals that require reducing churn, driving demand, and continuously innovating on the product. That's why it's more important than ever to have the right marketing talent in place.


Unfortunately, finding the right marketers isn’t always easy. Over the past decade, the marketing talent landscape has become increasingly complex, with the proliferation of a wide range of specialties that makes it hard to identify the skill set you need – both now and as your company evolves.


Enter the Fractional Marketer

A fractional marketer solves for what you need right now. These experienced professionals have played this exact role many times as operators, cultivating learnings from past companies and honing the ability to make an immediate impact on key projects and initiatives. With deep expertise in areas like go-to-market strategy, customer acquisition and organizational structure, they deliver valuable insights and guidance through customizable roles that fit your startup’s current phase of growth.


Fractional marketers strike that perfect balance between experience and flexibility, with benefits that are tailor-made to the startup environment:


  • Custom fit: For startups in growth mode that frequently shift their strategy, fractional marketers offer a versatile skill set, making it easier for companies to align their talent with the specific requirements of any given moment.

  • Time to impact: Experienced fractional operators know how to roll up their sleeves and drive change quickly. Further, while it can take months to find the right full-time marketing hires, fractional talent can be in place within days and start delivering real impact quickly. They can also help onboard FTEs as they come on board to accelerate the learning curve.

  • Fresh ideas: As marketing experts who've worked in various industries and companies, fractional hires not only bring insights and perspective on proven strategies but also offer an objective viewpoint from someone outside the day-to-day of your business. This outside point of view can help identify untapped opportunities and new solutions to challenges.

  • Punch above your weight: Not every startup can snag top talent for full-time roles from the hottest startups or from industry behemoths like Google or Salesforce. However, you can benefit from the expertise of alumni from successful startups and big tech companies by engaging them as independent consultants.

  • Flexibility: Fractional hires allow you to scale marketing investments up or down based on evolving goals and insights. This approach can be especially useful when testing the viability of new strategies without prematurely committing to future plans. As a result, you reduce the risk of a making the wrong long-term hire and gain the flexibility to make informed decisions about the direction of your marketing model.


Fractional Hires: Four Tips for a Successful Partnership

Here are four simple principles to guide your marketing segmentation:

  1. Align on high-priority deliverables. By nature, fractional marketers are ready to jump in and get started, so building a shared understanding of where they can drive maximum impact is critical. Work with your fractional hire to jointly identify goals and priorities and make a plan for how marketing can help achieve these. Align on a project roadmap that includes timelines and metrics to track progress and success.

  2. Commit to sprint cycles, with room for experimentation: Sprints break up large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks, making it easier to bring a project to fruition. This is ideal for fractional marketers, with clear objectives and deadlines that help you monitor their progress. Sprints should leave space for experimentation and iteration, so you can test and refine your approach along the way.

  3. Embed and parallel path: Fractional marketers are able to effortlessly sync with your team, as well as work asynchronously, depending on your needs. Be sure to provide them access to internal resources and collaboration opportunities with the team, but know that fractional marketers can operate autonomously, independently managing projects and achieving targets. The benefit of the fractional hire is that they can seamlessly plug into your current cadence as required, ensuring a consistent, valuable contribution.

  4. Stay flexible and adjust scope as needed: Market changes and strategy pivots are a constant in the startup world, and the best fractional marketers have experienced these realities first-hand as operators. It’s critical to stay in sync with your hire, so you can adjust scope mid-stream if the situation arises. A great fractional partner can also help you identify needs that other resources may fill. Staying aligned and adapting quickly helps everyone stay focused on the most urgent tasks and achieve solid outcomes.


621 Consulting: Fractional Support for Scalable Growth

At 621, we believe that the right marketing talent is critical for business growth, and it's our mission to provide you with fractional CMOs and experienced marketing operators to support your team. Our fractional marketing resources have helped startups and established organizations with a wide range of needs, such as go-to-market planning, demand generation, revenue operations, brand positioning and more.


To learn more about how 621 Consulting can support your growth needs contact us at info@621consulting.com.

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