November 7

Episode 76 : Casey Stanton On Hiring A Fractional Marketing Officer



We talk with Casey Stanton from CMOx on Fractional CMOs

Paul Barthel: Today we’re gonna be talking about a hot new trend, and that’s hiring a fractional marketing officer, a fractional CMO. 

Who Is Casey Stanton?

Today we’re joined by Casey Stanton, who is in one the foremost experts in building a business of a fractional chief marketing officer after working in a marketing agency for almost a decade. He is a professor of marketing at Tulane University. Then leaving New Orleans and in search their next home, him and his wife and their little puppy set sail on a three year city dating adventure in an RV, driving across the US and Canada. And then a few years ago Casey and his family, moved to Philadelphia, where he runs the premier fractional CMO, educational and support company, CMOx. Casey welcome.
Casey Stanton: Thank you. I’m really excited to be here.  

Paul Barthel: All right, Ken, I’m gonna start with you.  

What Is The Role Of A Fractional Chief Marketing Officer And Are There Niches That Work Better For The Fractional CMO Role?

Ken Tucker: All right. Casey, I’m excited to have you on. I’m a part of your group and I absolutely love it. I think it’s gonna be really helpful for our audience if you can just talk about what is the role of a fractional CMO or chief marketing officer? And also are there niches that you think work better for somebody who’s interested in moving into a fractional CMO type of a role? 

Casey Stanton: Yeah, really great questions. So the first thing that any marketer should consider when they’re listening to this is like you can ascend to the top role in marketing, and it’s to be the CMO, the chief marketing officer. And the CMO’s role is to lay out the strategy for the business. It’s pretty straightforward. The CMO should not be confused with the marketing department of one, which often happens in smaller organizations when they first hire a marketer. And they want a strategist, an implementer, copywriter, social media manager, email technician, they want someone to install analytics in their WordPress site and yada, yada. We’re talking about a proper chief marketing officer, so a fractional chief marketing officer is just a CMO. That’s what it is. They’re just the chief marketing officer. They happen to work for multiple companies. And the reason for that is because the company that they’re working for doesn’t need a 40 or 50 hour week CMO. They just need a 10 hour week  CMO. Or they need someone to lead the marketing strategy and build the team and champion the team to move forward. And that might only be a couple hours a week or a couple hours a month. It just isn’t the 40 or 50 hours of a full-time in-house CMO. Does that make sense?
Ken Tucker: Yeah, absolutely. 

Is The Trend Of Hiring Fractional CMOs Accelerating?

Ken Tucker: Do you see that as a trend that’s accelerating due to the Covid economy?  

Casey Stanton: Oh yeah. I think there’s a lot of acceleration happening. There’s a couple reasons we’re recording this right now, in November of 2021, so I think we’re moving into the most significant hiring time for fractional CMOs. And if you just look at the pressures that Covid has created, they’re unbelievable. So first let’s just talk about who led the fractional game. I think it’s lawyers. Years ago, an organization might have a full-time in-house counsel, and then they moved to having outside general counsel. So they have a lawyer down the street or across the country that is on retainer for 10 or 15 or 20 hours a month to support them. It’s a model that we all just take for granted. We also kinda have fractional, I guess you could say like gig based people who do art landscaping. You don’t have a full-time person that works for you. You don’t have an estate. You might have an estate, if you do, invite us all out there. So we’re seeing some of the fractionalization that’s already been in the market and then our friends over on the financial side, the chief financial officers, I think they did a really great job of kind of leading the pack here of the C-Suite, of having fractional CFO services. I think now is the high time for marketers to do the same. So that’s the first thing that was happening well before Covid and then through Covid what’s happened is organizations that have never sold online that have been reluctant to leverage marketing, they’re realizing that, oh shoot, we actually have to sell online. They can’t sell face-to-face anymore. So that’s been an issue. So they know now that they need this online marketing thing, even if they’ve been hiding from it. And there’s enormous companies that have been hiding from it that might have a traditional outbound sales team that just don’t use marketing. That the marketing person in those organizations produces like collateral. It’s a single person and she makes a flyer for the salespeople. That’s been their marketing. And now they’re realizing like, oh crap, for us to actually capitalize on this market of people being available to purchase online, we need to have better content. We need to think through this. So that’s happening. And then the third piece, so the first piece is what like the lawyers and the fractional CFOs did. The second piece is everyone now selling online. The third piece is the remote work environment. Organizations that 18, 20 months ago said, I will never hire our team remote. No one will get anything done. Actually realize that the quality of life is pretty high. Quality of output is pretty high. I don’t have to spend the same amount of money on like cleaners and overhead. In Philly, I’m seeing like the local CEO group, all of these companies shedding all of their office space. Hey, we’ve got a 50 desk office and we’re looking for someone to lease it because we only need 10 desks. So that’s happening, and I think that’s going to fundamentally shift work for a long time. So remote work is gonna happen, it’s gonna persist for a long time. So I think all of those three things are putting a lot of pressure on  organizations that have better marketing strategy, and to do that, they need to hire a CMO. And the final piece of this is they can’t hire a CMO. Because a CMO is a $250,000 a year role, plus benefits, plus equity, plus, plus, and they just don’t need that. If they pay $250,000 plus the benefits and everything, they’re not gonna have the cash left over to actually deploy the marketing campaigns that the CMO comes up with. So they’d much rather spend half that or less and then be able to leverage the marketer’s ideas and strategies and get ’em implemented. Does that make sense? 
Ken Tucker: Yeah, absolutely. 
Casey Stanton: Yeah. I think it’s high time right now if you’re a marketer to elevate to the top role and become a marketing strategist and serve multiple clients as the CMO. It’s a ton of fun, ton of leverage, and I think you become notable. You become known for a thing instead of just being an employee instead of an organization or just being an agency owner. 

Are Certain Businesses Looking For Fractional CMOs More Than Others?

Ian Cantle: I have two questions for you. The first one actually bridges out of what you were talking about. Are there particular types of businesses that are looking for fractional CMOs more than others in certain  industries?

Casey Stanton: Yeah, great question. So I think generally speaking across the board, any organization can handle a fractional CMO. Like the market will bear a fractional CMO just about everywhere. And the real question to ask yourself is, are there organizations in a niche or in an industry that have a full-time CMO? And if the answer is yes, then there are organizations that are potentially smaller than them or more nimble than them, that are looking for a fractional CMO. Across the board the answer is yes. However, don’t think it’s prudent for a marketer to hop into a startup and act as a fractional CMO if they don’t have cash flow from other paying clients. I think it’s like a little too fast and loose. I recommend anyone inside the CMOs accelerator to get like $20,000 a month in recurring business before you start swinging for opportunities that have a big upside. The caution that I have for that is, if you look at this agreement, which is a pretty standardized agreement. Anyone listening can go to the website and it’s like a standardized agreement on how to have an advisor  in your business. So if you look at that, you can have a seed stage or like pre-revenue seed stage startup, and the most you’ll get from that is 2%. So the question is, is it worth betting your time and your effort in these years of your life on potential 2%? To me, the answer is no until I reach a baseline of revenue, get my nut covered, have enough money for the things I want in life, and then sure, I can moonlight, I can take a risk, I can try to bring in some startup equity, sweat equity. That’s fun. But I certainly wouldn’t recommend that unless someone has enough capital to cover everything else. Because odds are, it’s not gonna work out.  

How Casey Stanton Became A Fractional CMO

Ian Cantle: Awesome. And the question I was really supposed to ask you, Casey, that was a personal one cuz I was curious about which industries have the appetite for this. We heard a little bit about your story on the intro, but how did you become a fractional CMO?  

Casey Stanton: Great question. So I was in a marketing agency. How did I get into a marketing agency? I was on a date that went south and ended up talking to a guy in a bar because the woman I was on a date with didn’t wanna talk to me. And next thing I know, he and I worked together for a long time and I started off as being just like a low level marketer and worked my way up to project manager, sales and then CMO of that organization. And I started doing marketing consulting for other companies, and that was fun. But here’s the problem. The problem with a consultant is that they chase a revolving door. They’re always prospecting. They’re always selling. They’re always servicing and they’re always spinning down. So it’s this cycle that just like never stops. It’s this exhausting cycle and I found myself in it, and some months I did really well. I’d have a great month, I’d be thrilled, and the next month I could barely cover rent. I didn’t like that. How do you plan taxes on that? How do you pay the government every quarter when your income is really high or really low? It was frustrating. My wife and I were thinking about getting married. I’m like, how am I gonna afford this wedding? And it became very difficult. I didn’t know how much money I was gonna make the next month. So I decided what I needed to do was I needed to solve a couple things. The first thing I wanted to solve was I wanted to stay in marketing. I loved it. And I looked in marketing and I was like, wow, there’s some people that make a lot of money, have a lot of impact. They’ve got a great lifestyle. So I know that it’s possible. I didn’t have that at the time, so how do I get there? That’s what I was solving for. The next was we set off on a RV trip. So we drove around the country for three years trying to find our next city. We called it city dating. Actually got married in Nashville along the way. It was a wonderful time. It was special living in a 25 foot long RV that I pulled with my wife and our dog. A lot of close quarters. An intimate setting for three full years. Nothing like your sewer line freezing in Nashville just before your wedding and having to shower at the gym. It was nuts. So one of the things that the RV forced me to do was to solve for limited time. Sure, I hustle like I did in my twenties and really just outwork everybody. Just put in 40, 50, 60 hours of actual work, not of commuting and water cooler, but of like labor. Take a nap at five o’clock in the evening and go put in a couple more hours after dinner. Like I was doing that kind of stuff. It was fun because I was getting ahead, but I knew I wouldn’t actually get to where I wanted to be unless I solved for higher leverage. So the question I asked myself was, how do I create constraints in my life that allow me to hit the income goals I have and the impact goals that I have? And I wanna be useful and I want to have a great lifestyle for my wife and for my family. With that, the RV presented some really tough opportunities or tough, like guardrails. So one of those was WiFi. WiFi’s really tough when you’re living in an RV. I never had fast WiFi. At best, if we pull up to a McDonald’s then I could, work for a little while there. Because McDonald’s across the country has killer WiFi, little trick. So go in there, get the side of fries and work for three hours they don’t care. But I thought to myself, we want to have kids. I wanna be present with my kids. I want to be like a present father. I don’t wanna be like my father who worked a full eight hour day plus commuted both ways, and it was about an hour commute. He’s outta the house 10 hours a day. I saw dad just before dinner. After school just before dinner, that’s when I got to see my dad on most days. And it was just rough. I didn’t wanna do that to my son. I have a son now and the kids that we’ll have in the future. So how did I solve for that? Like how can you solve to have the lifestyle? How do you increase your effective hourly rate as high as possible? And it became really clear that the way that you do it is that you ascend to the top in any role that you’re in. So for me, I’m in marketing, I just wanna ascend to the top. Then I want to reduce the risk by serving multiple companies, and I want to do it where I have the most leverage. If I think of any role that exists, you can probably find the Pareto principle, the 20% of work that produces 80% of results. So all I did was I decided to work on that 20% of work for a number of different clients, and through that I was able to build notoriety and be able to support multiple companies as a marketing strategist. And then the last thing to kinda answer that question is, I wanted to extend the relationships because the marketing consultant just has the short-term relationships. So to extend them, I needed to create some kind of longer commitment. That’s really when the CMO thing came to my mind. What does a CMO do to extend those relationships? And that’s where the focus was. So at some level I fell into the consulting originally, and then I had to solve for freedom, flexibility, income, and impact. 
Dan Gershenson: Casey, one of those things that you have I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, your tagline is, solve bigger problems. 
Casey Stanton: Got it on my coffee cup right here.
Dan Gershenson: Ah, yes. Very good. 

Types Of Problems Fractional CMOs Solve

Dan Gershenson: I’d love to drill down on some of those problems that a fractional CMO can really solve, because you started to speak to this a little bit in the beginning. A lot of people, don’t know exactly what problems they should be solving. Some of it may be strategic, but perhaps some of that is implementation. So I’ve seen everything from basically CMO or creative director to basically a VA for all intents and purposes that oh, I’ll bring in these people. And I don’t really know that can call themselves a fractional CMO or anything close to it. I think for the people out there, what kind of things do you really solve at your task to do for folks out there who are considering the jump to really  embracing that title and what it truly represents? Not, oh, I’m a fractional CMO now. From somebody who actually is one, tell us a little bit about that. 

Casey Stanton: Yeah, great question. I think of a friend of mine, Cameron Harold, who helps COOs. He’s like the COO whisperer or the CEO whisperer. I think maybe I forget what his branding is around that, but he’s all about the COOs. He had this really great post a few years back about how we over title people. Just because someone does HR stuff doesn’t mean that they are the head of HR in your company. Just because the person does some systems and processes stuff doesn’t mean that they’re the COO of your organization. When we over credential people we expect so much from them. And if you expect that from them, you have to pay them. And oftentimes you wanna say, oh, I wanna reward you with this title, but I’m gonna pay you three levels below it. So I think just as a reminder to everyone here, be very cautious of the titles that you give yourself and of the titles that you give people that are your direct reports or that you work with because you want them to feel empowered by it and not overwhelmed by it or whatever. To your core question though, what problems does a fractional CMO solve? Again, they’re this problems that a CMO solves. So what does a CMO solve for? And they’re solving for major outcomes. I think of it as the CEO needs to tell me, if I’m the fractional CMO, what they need to tell me, Casey, I want this outcome. And I say, by when? And they say by December 31st, 2021. Okay, cool. Got it. That’s clear. Let me think about it. Okay, in order to get to that outcome, what do I have to produce? As I think through that, I also am challenging in my mind if their outcome is even really in service to what they want. Oftentimes a CEO will say that they want something, maybe because they heard it somewhere, maybe because it’s buzzy, maybe because they want to double their company so they can double their take home revenue or how much they make. They wanna double their salary or their owner’s draw. But really what they need to do is just increase their revenue just enough to pay themselves more. You wanna challenge the problem that’s presented to you to ensure it’s the right problem. That’s first. Once you know that the problem is a solid problem to solve, you have to figure out how to solve it, and I want the biggest problem. I don’t want a client to come to me and say, Hey, what’s going on with email deliverability? I’m sure that’s important, right? And there’s like some rules around it get your DMARC and DKIM and SPF records set up. Maybe look into BIMI, B I M I as a record. That’s like a new standard that’s pretty hot, that helps with deliverability. Maybe use a tool like, or maybe you hire a company like Those are fine ways to solve for that. But I wanna go the meta level above that, which is how many customers do you want by the end of the year, and how much do you wanna pay for them? Tell me that, and then let me figure out if email deliverability is the issue. Tell me, Casey, I want a thousand new customers. I want the average cart size to be 10% above where it is right now, and I’m willing to pay 50 bucks per acquisition of a new customer. Which is down 10% from last quarter. It’s okay, you want 10% higher cart value, 10% lower acquisition cost. In Q4 when CPMs are notably rising, right? Okay, that’s a real problem to solve. So how do I think through that? What talent do I need? How do I know I’m on track or off  track? At the end of the quarter or at the end of the year, when you deliver that outcome, you’ll deliver it. If you’re focusing on it every single day with stand ups every single week with weekly team meetings. You have good teams around you, you have a KPI scorecard that everyone can rally around and track and see that they’re on track or off track. And what I want is, I want like a dogged simple 1, 2, 3 things the marketing department has to deliver by the end of the quarter. I’ll come up with subordinate pieces to that and I’ll tell individuals what they have to deliver, but I want the whole team to rally around one, two, or three deliverables and that’s it. And if we can have those things, oftentimes you can get adults in the organization to think like adults and self-manage and solve for their individual component of those major outcomes. 

Fractional CMOs Solve Problems At Higher Levels

Dan Gershenson: I love that because I think it opens us up to the kinds of people we can work with more so than what we might even originally think. Sometimes we, we look at this stuff and we go, okay, they don’t have a marketing department, or they just have one person and that’s it. Then I can help them, which is okay, but what it sounds like you’re saying is it’s actually a good thing maybe in some instances though too, if they have 10 people or 15 people in that department, because you are solving problems at a higher level anyway than what any of those other people. Those are people who are great with the, in the trenches, if you will, for the stuff that you’re talking about, but you get to do the higher level. And don’t necessarily worry about how many posts should get out the door or this week on social media or things like that. 

Casey Stanton: I asked someone else to figure that out. Yeah, exactly. I asked someone else to own that. I want them to come up with a strategy on it, and then I’ll check it to see if their logic is accurate, but I wanna give them that growth opportunity to come up with the strategy themselves. And if they’re wrong, I’ll spend the time to tell them why I disagree and challenge them and help them rewrite the strategy. As you coach people into that, they become more self-managed, more effective. 

FMOs Bring Sales Concepts

Dan Gershenson: And it sounds like you’re also bringing in a lot of good sales stuff here. Sales intelligence, even though the title is technically fractional chief marketing officer there’s definitely some selling concepts here that marketing people don’t necessarily always think about the way they should. 

Should Fractional CMOs Be Considered Part-Time?

Casey Stanton: What’s interesting too is the term they’re fractional. The organizations that I serve as the fractional CMO for, they don’t call me the fractional CMO they call me the CMO. Everyone knows me as the CMO. That’s really important. They don’t think of you as part-time. They think of you as being there for everything that’s needed. And if there’s more need that happens, it’s either because you’re not delegating effectively or you need to increase the hours that you honestly work. And to do that, you probably need to get paid a little bit more. Different organizations do different things. I want to talk to the idea of coming into an organization that has a lot of marketing people in the department. When you do that it can feel scary to those people. The last thing you wanna do is first of all, be a consultant. Cuz consultants, anytime an organization, like the CEO’s Hey, we hired a consultant. Everyone collectively rolls their eyes. No one wants a consultant to come in cuz it’s a four letter word. That person’s gonna come in, they’re gonna give some lame boiler plate frameworks and they’re going to do a bad job rallying people, and then they’re gonna disappear and never understand the nuance of why the organization hasn’t been successful, right? They’re just gonna come in with these high level things. So you wanna dig in deep. So when you come into an organization, I always tell our fractional CMOs, when you go into an organization, the first thing that you say is, I’m not here to take anyone’s job. Yes, I’m here to remove the roadblocks so you can be more effective. Some of those things that you might do for a larger organization is have everyone inventory all the work that they do, grade themselves on how effective they are at it, and then have an open conversation with everybody about a little trade. Let’s trade work. Okay, I’m doing this thing and I’m really bad at it and I hate it. And the other person’s I love that stuff can I do it? And if you do this kind of draft of all of the tasks that happen, then everyone is really clearly in their vertical inside the organization and they’re doing tasks that they. A client that I work with that I’ve been working with for over a year. There’s a really wonderful team, larger team with a marketing director. And when I stepped into that organization, no one ever took vacation. Vacation meant I’m not coming to the morning meetings, but I’ll be available the rest of the day. And I instilled a new rule, which was called phone in the microwave. If you’re going on vacation, put your phone in the microwave. I don’t want to hear from you. People say stuff like, hey, I’ll be around if you need me, and the answer is no you won’t. No. Like we all cover for each other. Within three months of working with that organization, every single person took a week long PTO. It was tough. We all had to show up and support one another, but man, is it a better team for it. If no one can take time off, it’s your fault as the leader. Because you’re giving people a task that’s impossible for them to complete. You need more talent. Are you offshoring the talent? Can you go find someone offshore? Can you go find someone in Afghanistan, Philippines, South America, India, wherever? Can you go find talent that does some of that repetitive labor stuff that doesn’t require necessarily a person inside of your state or country or city to be doing. You can then get the arbitrage of that cost and also reduce some of the frustration of some of your higher paid people who might have 10% of their work being super repetitive and annoying. So the job of the CMO is to make the company better, more streamlined. You ultimately want to create a dream team of people, and these people are to rally around and support whatever the outcomes are that the CEO wants, and you want to be able to bet on that team every single time. It’s a phenomenal place to be, to really bolster a marketing department instead of just coming in and giving some ideas.  

The Outlook For Digital Marketing Jobs And How To Stay On Top

Paul Barthel: You said at the beginning that the way business is conducted has drastically changed in the last couple years, but let’s look at the future a little bit. Where do you see digital marketing jobs in five or 10 years, or even 20 years, if that’s not too far out?

Casey Stanton: Okay, let’s get a little nerdy. So I’m a big fan of Peter Diamandis. I was lucky enough to work on some of his book launches a few years back, and he’s a futurist. He started the XPRIZE Foundation, the winner of the XPRIZE. Was purchased by Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic. Peter created, incentivized this privatized space travel. I think in a lot of ways you could say Lou Origin and SpaceX came because of the interest in space that Peter was able to refoster. Peter’s this incredible futurist and he has six Ds of exponential growth. And these Ds the first one is digitization. So everything becomes digitized. We know that to be true. We can think of books. Books went from physical to digitized and like that changed everything. And then there’s this deceptive area in the curve where we think it’s a linear growth, but really it’s exponential and then it’s disruptive, right? Once we get really exponential. And then there’s a rapid demonetization of the thing, dematerialization, and then finally democratization. And if we think of the camera. Kodak invented the digital camera and they saw the megapixel rating grow so slowly. It looked like it was linear, but in fact it was exponential. They missed it. They were worried that they were gonna lose developer chemicals and paper sales to a digital camera, so they didn’t focus on it. And that deceptive end of the curve shot right into the disruptive. And as right now there’s a film shortage. Digital cameras are everywhere. Then those cameras became demonetized. I have cameras over here, like I’ve got like a Mamiya TLR and a Linhof Master Technika. These cameras used to be these incredibly expensive machines, and then that price just diminished very quickly. The cost of a digital camera was very expensive, and then that just diminished very quickly. Now you go out and buy a cell phone, and I’ve got the iPhone and these cameras on here are incredible. The phone cost me what? A thousand bucks, which is not a lot when you consider it’s a phone, it’s a calculator, it’s a web browser, it’s a camera, it’s a video camera. It’s all of these different things. And then the dematerialization that everything kinda moving together and then democratization. So knowing that this exists, I think that’s a really cool kind of way to look at things. Look at any industry. Let’s talk about marketing specifically. I think we’re seeing rapid demonetization of marketing implementer roles across the world, and the reason for that is if you want anything in marketing, I can find someone to do it offshore. They might not do it as well as someone else could do it. Maybe someone with more experience, but you can find it offshore. There’s a website, That’s a good secret. If you’re ever stuck on coming up with ad copy or an ad design for Facebook ads or whatever, go to dropkick ads, tell ’em what you want, and they’ll kick out like eight ad variations or whatever the pack that you buy is. And are they perfect? No. Are they written by a top tier copywriter? No. Are they good enough for most businesses? Yeah. Yeah, they really are. So that stuff’s happening. You can look at Jarvis and these other AI copywriters. They can write decent sales letters. They’re not perfect. They’re better than nothing, and it’s taking a lot of the lower end labor out of the market. I can go on a website like Penji,, which is local here to Philly. They’re like a design pickle where you pay a flat fee and get unlimited designs a month. Very cool. So like now we’re seeing designers that we can get very cheap. A designer that you would otherwise pay thousands of dollars in the U.S. You can’t get like a full-time in-house solid designer illustrator for what, less than 70 a year? And for seven grand a year I can get unlimited designs produced from Penji that’s really cool. So I think we’re gonna continue to see the demonetization of the tactic. So the tactician is gonna start seeing that their rates, they used to charge a hundred bucks an hour, they’re gonna start seeing proposals that are only gonna get accepted at 90 or 70 or 60 or 50.
And they’re become watered down by technology that exists, by platforms that make it easier. Just yesterday, I helped my sister-in-law set up a Google Ads campaign. Pretty simple, right? Anyone who’s ever done a Google Ads campaign, couple headlines, couple description link, couple keywords, done, right? This is a simple one for a couple exact matches. Google made it so easy. Man, I haven’t built a Google Ads campaign in a couple years, because I delegate it now, and just like seeing how simple it was, I was thinking, oh, we had to make all these different variations, Excel, spreadsheet or whatever. No, Google does it all for you. It was so simple. So this hard labor that we do as marketers, as tacticians, I think is becoming easier because of platforms. And then if it’s not becoming easier, it’s becoming easier to outsource to experts across the country or across the world. You can find agencies anywhere. You can find agencies in South America and Philippines and India, notably, that are killer. Last night I wanted someone to design something for me, just for a personal project. And I found two women who were illustrators on Upwork and I hired them. And I have the first comp back this morning. It’s incredible. So I think we’re gonna continue to find that. And the only way to stay relevant is to move up. You can start your agency and have all of these ad people under you. That’s a model. But I think you have to move up strategically so that you can solve the bigger problems. Stay ascended, be able to identify the better opportunities coming your way, be able to jump on them, support those organizations, make a bigger impact, and then leverage all this outsourced talent.
Dan Gershenson: And let’s face it, some of these just take too long. That’s just the thing. The logistics of getting the product takes too stinking long. If you wanna have a logo, you can have a logo. You can have 50 different logos if you want within a week. Like you said, are they the best that ever existed? Maybe not, but I think what you’re getting at here is if we put ourselves as at least fractional creative directors, we’re always going to see the work. Not even just fractional CMO, but fractional creative director. We will see the work before it goes out anyway, so why mess around with people who are gonna take a long time, charge more money, and then have maybe three concepts at most to show. Versus these platforms that you’re talking about. 
Casey Stanton: Go to 99designs and you’ll be able to get it too. I’ll spend a thousand dollars for this logo. They guarantee you’re happy and you go get 50, 60, 70 designs on it and you choose your favorite. Yeah, it’s incredible. I remember listening to Dan Kennedy tapes. So Dan Kennedy, the marketer. For anyone who doesn’t know, one of the classical marketers who wrote, I mean he didn’t invent a sales letter, but he was one of the, like the champions behind long form sales letters that emails to people and sell stuff. He’s like the guy behind proactive and other Guthy Renker’s infomercials. Just a very smart marketer. What I like about Dan’s process is, the idea in marketing here is to understand the customer so well that you’re able to find them wherever they are on. And you’re able to satisfy what their need is. You have to be able to test different ideas and avenues. When we think of what Guthy Renker’s done. I saw them at this event, titans of direct response, and I got to see all of their data and I don’t have my notebook in front of me, but they tested something like 25 infomercial, proper long form hour long infomercials in a year. Two of them made over a hundred million dollars in sales. It’s incredible. They were able to pull in the talent and the labor to be able to deliver something so valuable that it was able to achieve such a high outcome. First year launch, make a hundred million dollars in sales, but it wasn’t a high percentage of their offers. It was 4% of their offers, 3% of their offers. So as the marketer, we have to be able to create different variations of our content so that we can test it against the market and see what actually sticks and what works.  

Advice For Those Wanting To Become Fractional CMOs And How Businesses Can Find A Fractional CMO

Jen Kelly: Casey, I have a two part question for you. First one, if I’m listening to this, I’m a marketing professional. I believe I’m ready for the next level. I’m ready to go out and be the fractional CMO. What kind of first steps advice do you have for that person. And then on the other side of the desk for a company that’s listening to this and going, you know what, that’s what we need. Our first fractional CMO. How do they go about finding and making sure they’re gonna do the right choice the first time out?

Casey Stanton: Yeah. Those are big questions. So the fractional CMO. The CMO needs to instill confidence. I want people around me that protect my confidence. So Dan Sullivan says, and he’s in Toronto too? 

Jen Kelly: Yes. He’s amazing. 

Casey Stanton: Great. I love him. Just like one of the best thinkers today, and honestly, everyone should subscribe to his Twitter. He just drops these little Tweets every day, and they’re always so good. I’m like one of five people that comment on him. I just think he’s the best. So Dan Sullivan’s strategic coach, but Dan says the role of the entrepreneurs, you must have your confidence protected. So what can you do to protect your confidence? Think of that as the marketer that you’re going to support the entrepreneur. How do you protect their confidence? Right now, the thing that you should be saying to companies, if you’re trying to swing and go win business as a fractional CMO is, you should say, I want you to have a confident strategy for 2022. It’s a crazy market right now, we’re just about to go into the holiday buzz. Now, I’m not here to tell you that we’re gonna put together a Black Friday campaign, right? That might be too short notice, but let’s make sure that January 1 your rock solid and it’s your best year ever with a marketing strategy where you’re confident. If you come from the place of servant, you’re serving the organization helping the executive achieve their outcomes. You win more. That’s definitely more welcomed than trying to push something, right? You’re not trying to push fractional CMO services. You’re trying to push helping make their dreams come true. A line I like to use is my job is to bend you to your will. Not to my will, but to your own. You tell me what you want and my job is to get you there, and every time that you try to blow things up, I’m gonna stop you and show you why that doesn’t work and what we need to do differently. So that kind of champion for the organization is really needed. Another line that’s really helpful is no one wakes up for your organization every day and thinks, how do I help it grow? I want to do that for you. I want to be the person that’s in the role that helps you grow your business. I want to be aligned with that outcome. And what’s cool is you put yourself on the line there. You say, if I don’t do it, I’m not good at this. I’m not the right guy for you, I’m not the right woman for you, so let me go. We won’t lock you into long term contracts here. Let’s go fight together. Let’s go grow your business. And if it doesn’t work out, I’ll introduce you to someone that I think can help you. But I really think I’m the right person. So I think that’s one thing that’s really helpful.  

What Do Companies Want In A Fractional CMO?

Casey Stanton: And then the other side of your question is what does the company want to see? I think the company wants to see someone who’s committed to their growth. Someone who’s aligned, someone who has clear outcomes that they can actually fight for and win. Not quote unquote grow the business or make customers happier or whatever. Acquire more customers. You wanna have some clear, measurable KPIs. How many more customers? By what time? How do you know it’s successful? A really wonderful question to ask any company that you work with in the future as a marketer is, in 90 days from today if you were thrilled with the success that we made, what would it look like? You tell me, what would make you happy. And I’ll tell you one if it’s possible, and two, if I’m the right person for it. And if it is possible and you’re the right person for it, then just do it. And then the person’s gonna be happy. And if they’re unhappy because they have the disposition of someone who’s just never satisfied, just remind them that they agreed that this would be satisfactory and you achieved it, and now you want to know what the next quarter needs to be and you present your ideas and things like that. The last thing for that organization is the organization should work with someone who’s done it before. The best predictor of someone being able to help you, is that they’ve helped someone else already do it. Unless you’re in this wild blue ocean brand new industry that’s never existed before. If you’re coming up with NFTs for the Metaverse for brain transfusions I don’t even know, maybe you need to just go find someone that’s really smart. But for everybody else, go find someone who’s done it before and get that person to help you. They might have done it before because they were lucky, but they have an edge that no one else has. That’s the person I think that’s worth fighting to work with. And then hold them to high standards, hold them to real standards of measurable growth and if they’re able to achieve it, you should be able to do the math on, people say on the back of a napkin. I do it on the glass door of my shower like all the time, what’s the math that you can write out for how effective that person has to be in order to get the outcome you want? 

Recommended Length Of Time A Fractional CMO Is Hired?

Jen Kelly: Okay. Just to follow up on that, you mentioned quarters. Is your recommendation that somebody signs on for a full year, couple quarters? What’s the length of time? 

Casey Stanton: I personally don’t wanna take on a client for a full year until I know if I can help them and if I like them. The quality of my life is really important. I served clients for a while because I just needed business and those clients weren’t great. I had a lot of stress, had a lot of frustration, had a lot of late nights, had a lot of tension and anxiety. So I don’t want that. I never wanna put myself in that position. I wanted to be a mutual relationship where they say, yeah, I’m in. Or no, this doesn’t work for me, let’s fail. I want them to be all in, and I want to be all in too, and I recommend all of our fractional CMOs that I train to do the same. But to do that, you have to have enough time with the client to have some kind of result generated. That might be just an initial consultation that you’re paid for to dig deep and develop a strategy. Or it may be something a bit more long term where you’re working together for 90 days. At the end of 90 days. And always the first 90 days is just hairy. It’s just a mess. You’re coming into like a tangled knot, and your job is to straighten it out and make it perfect so that it can scale in the future. It’s a very difficult thing to do in the first quarter to do that and create dramatic results. If you have a good aligned team and they’re ready for orders, that’s one thing. But if it’s most companies, it’s mixed up. There’s no clear, delineation of roles or accountability. There’s no outcome focused. There’s no cadence for communication. There’s no communication channels that are standardized. People are texting. They’re slacking. They’re Skyping. They’re Facebook messaging. If you centralize all that stuff in the first quarter and you get the team ready to rock, then you can easily sell typically your second quarter with them, where you’re gonna actually generate a much bigger impact, like a measurable impact.

The Importance Of Having A Foundation With Proper Strategies And Simple Strategies That Can Be Implemented Fast 

Ken Tucker: Casey, that kinda leads into something that I think is really a challenge and a struggle for anybody who does strategy work, and that is you’ve gotta have the foundation with the proper strategy. And that’s fundamental. And as long as you push that down the road, you’re gonna be wasting time, effort, money, burning out people getting less than desired results, missing massive opportunities. Incurring opportunity costs because you’re not getting to where you want to be. But at the same time, one of the things that you talk about in the program that I’m in with you is you also do have to look at those fast cash opportunities. And every organization, I’m guilty of this as much as anybody. Maybe even more. People have 50%, 80% things that are done that have never been launched, or simple strategies that are just so fundamental that you can implement right away. So can you talk about that a little bit? 

Casey Stanton: I love that. That’s such a prudent point here. So many organizations have paid for the ideas. They’ve gone to the workshop, they’ve bought the book, they hired the consultant, whatever it is. So they got it started. They get it. But there’s a problem with follow through. There’s a problem with completion. There’s a problem with launch. There’s also a problem with boredom. I was just talking to someone who just joined our fractional CMO accelerator just before this call. He’s got someone on his team, she’s doing the sales qualifying like the first part of sales, which you like to open the conversation and qualify it. My advice to her was, this might feel annoying or boring, but don’t let it, don’t deviate from the simple thing that works. Instead, double down on it and continue to ask the same questions in the same way because the result will matter. So many organizations get bored of a process that works really well. Or they get bored of going to an event or they get butt hurt because someone at the event said something and it made them sad, and for whatever reason they decided not to do the event next year. These are silly reasons that people deviate from a successful strategy. So very often when I start a fractional CMO engagement, or one of the members of ours does, they might dive in and they might identify that there was an event that used to produce really well for the company. Why aren’t you guys doing it? Oh our guy who used to coordinate that stuff, he left. Okay, but that drove so much business can we get someone on that? They’ll sure I’ll do it. Okay. Okay, great. That little thing could just bring in 20% more business overnight. And they already have all the stuff for the live event. They have the banners and the tables and they know what to do. So that exists. It also exists that they have webinars that they ran and they did one webinar. They did it live. Huge production. Took ’em tens of hours to put it together. They launched it to their list. Oh, only 20 people came. Okay, only 20 people came because you wrote about it on January 6th during the insurrection, and everyone was busy watching the news. Take that same video and relaunch it, and let’s use that. There’s these assets that you can re-leverage. You can put ’em on your website as webinars on demand. You can take that ebook that’s 80% complete and finish it. Get a ghost writer to finish it. There’s all these ways that you can leverage almost done work and get it to completion. Or completed work and then promote it and you can promote it in an evergreen way. Ken, when you were on my podcast the other day, you had this great conversation about how to repurpose content. You’re talking about what you said, like a 12 month repurposing for each piece of content. Most companies shoot it out once and then they get upset when not enough readership happened. 
Ken Tucker: Exactly. I think one of the things that can be just really valuable from a CMO perspective is everybody else is down too far into the weeds. They lose sight of all of that stuff. And they need to have somebody that has the responsibility of overseeing all of this stuff and utilizing all of the assets that have been created in the most effective way. It’s really hard to do when you get down into the weeds. 
Casey Stanton: That’s true. Yeah. Absolutely. 

Paul Barthel: All right. This is a great topic. We could probably go on for another 45 minutes. We tried to keep this under an hour and Casey, maybe you can come back for another episode sometime, but this is probably a good place to wrap it up for now.

Casey Stanton: Yeah. Great. Thank you so much for having me.  

Where Do See Yourself In The Future And How Are You Going To Reach Your Goals?

Paul Barthel: Yeah, absolutely. Do you have anything else you wanna say? 

Casey Stanton: Yeah, so this one thing that I want, that I wanna say, this is something that’s been on my mind for a while, which is what’s the future that I want for myself? People spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning their life. So I just want everyone here to ask themselves just like one simple question, which is, where do you wanna see yourself in the next 10 years, in the next 20 years? If you’re still working at that time, and personally, I don’t feel like I’ll ever retire because I just wanna work with companies like I love this stuff. And the way that I answer that question, it’s a simple question, where do you see yourself in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, whatever, set a timeline. The thing that kept coming up for me sure is, oh, I live in a certain place. I’ve got a family that looks like this, whatever. But the thing on the business side that came up for me is I want bigger and better opportunities presented to me. Every single year where I have the opportunity to say yes or no, and the upside is ever increasing. Just think of that vision for yourself. What if you didn’t have to go chase business, but the business came to you and you got to say, Ooh, that’s a really cool project. It’s not for me though, because I’m not wanting to work that hard right now, or I don’t like that niche, or I don’t like your attitude, right? So no thank you, or you pass ’em over to somebody else. But you wanna be in a position where people come to you. So the question is, how do you become notable so that happens for you? And what kind of opportunities are those? So I think ascend to the top role that you are in. If you’re a pay per click person, ascend to the top of pay per click. I really think the next meta level is to solve a bigger problem, which is all the strategy work that you often have to do for free in order to sell your PPC. Or if you’re an SEO company, I have to give you all this free strategy just so I can sell SEO. So for the person listening, where can you solve bigger problems? Where can you elevate and how can you put yourself in a position so that in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, the quality of the opportunities coming to you passively are greater than the opportunities that you’re chasing right now? That’s just an important question to ask yourself.  

Casey Stanton’s Podcast On Fractional CMOs

Ken Tucker: Absolutely. So Casey, you mentioned your podcast. Can you tell people about that and how people can find out about that? 

Casey Stanton: Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve got the Fractional CMO Show. It’s a podcast that we just launched. Second episode just dropped actually today. We do a couple things on it. I interview fractional CMOs, so Ken’s episode comes out here pretty soon. We talk about the fractional CMOs, how they got into the business, what they’re doing, the kind of companies that they’re working for. And it’s really important, I think that fractional CMOs are really tightly niched down because it helps them build notoriety, helps them get more word of mouth, and generate more business that way. Plus allows them to do other things that we talk about on driving new business and creating more impact. So we talk about that. Plus I’ve got a bunch of episodes in the can that we’ll be releasing that are shorter about lessons that I’ve learned from the clients that I’ve served. Just like little things that I wish I would’ve heard before. They’re in some levels, like a message to myself 10 years ago that had I heard that or learned that it would’ve propelled me to not make such a big mistake or not take so long to get to the level of success that I wanted. So you can find that or anywhere they get your podcast. Just search for fractional CMO show. 

Paul Barthel: Alright. Thank you everyone. Casey, that was awesome. Thanks to all of our marketing advisors here. Join us next week for another episode. 

Casey Stanton: All right. Great checking with you guys. Take care. 

Ken Tucker: Thanks, Casey. 


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