Revitalising Your Brand: How Fractional CMOs Can Reinvigorate Established Businesses

Discover how Fractional CMOs can help revitalize underperforming businesses with new approaches to marketing leadership and brand positioning.

Paul Mills
12 Apr
April 12, 2024
 min video
12 Apr


In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, many established businesses find their marketing efforts becoming stagnant or ineffective, leading to a loss in market position and brand engagement. This scenario often prompts a reassessment of marketing leadership and strategy. In this article, Paul Mills explores how a Fractional CMO—who offers strategic expertise on a flexible basis—can be a crucial asset in reinvigorating a company’s marketing approach.

Identifying Signs of Marketing Underperformance

The first step towards revitalisation is recognising the signs of an underperforming marketing department. The common indicators include (but not limited to):

  1. Declining Sales: A consistent downward trend in sales often indicates that marketing messages are not resonating with the target audience or that campaigns are not effectively reaching potential customers.
  2. Reduced Customer Engagement: If analytics show declining metrics in website visits, social media interactions, and email open rates, it suggests that the content is not engaging or relevant to the audience.
  3. Outdated Marketing Strategies: Relying on old tactics that no longer align with current market trends or consumer behaviours can lead to ineffective marketing, missing opportunities for innovation and growth.
  4. Poor Digital Presence: An underwhelming or outdated digital presence, including a non-responsive website, poor SEO performance, and low social media activity, can significantly hinder a brand’s visibility and appeal.
  5. Low Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI): If the financial returns on marketing expenditures are consistently low or declining, it indicates inefficiencies in campaign spending and strategy effectiveness.
  6. Feedback and Complaints: Increased customer complaints or negative feedback regarding marketing communications or the brand’s messages can signal misalignment with customer expectations and needs.

These symptoms usually suggest that the existing approach is no longer aligned with market demands or customer expectations, highlighting the need for a strategic overhaul.

paul mills - CEO & Founder, VCMO
"Implementing a fractional CMO can rapidly transform an established business, leveraging cutting-edge marketing techniques to reclaim and expand market presence."

The Role of a Fractional CMO in Established Businesses

In established businesses with set marketing teams and possibly a full-time CMO, the role of a Fractional CMO is not to replace but to enhance and recalibrate. They bring fresh perspectives, specialised skills, and extensive experience without the overhead or long-term commitment of a full-time executive, making them ideal for targeted strategic interventions.

Challenges of Revamping Existing Marketing Strategies

Changing the course of a well-entrenched marketing strategy presents several challenges for under-performing businesses. Navigating these challenges requires not only strategic insight but also adept change management skills, and an organisational culture that embraces change. Common marketing transformation challenges include:

  1. Organisational Resistance: Changing established practices can meet significant resistance, as employees may be attached to the status quo or fearful of new approaches disrupting their routine, or role in the organisation.
  2. Resource Allocation: Redirecting resources to new strategies may be challenging, especially if budgets are tight or previously allocated to long-term projects that are now deemed less effective.
  3. Skills Gap: Implementing modern marketing techniques may reveal a skills gap in the existing team, necessitating training or hiring, which can be resource-intensive and time-consuming.
  4. Data Integration Issues: Modern marketing relies heavily on data analytics. Integrating new tools or platforms with legacy systems can be technically challenging and hinder the effectiveness of new strategies.
  5. Brand Consistency: While updating marketing strategies, maintaining brand consistency across all platforms and communications can be challenging, risking confusion among customers and diluting brand identity.

Strategic Assessment by a Fractional CMO

To analyse the starting point, a Fractional CMO begins with a comprehensive audit of the existing marketing strategies and team dynamics. This audit includes analysing current marketing efforts, alignment with business objectives, buyer personas, ROI of ongoing campaigns, and the effectiveness of digital strategies. The outcome provides a roadmap for necessary changes and innovations.

Integrating a Fractional CMO with Existing Teams

The success of a Fractional CMO hinges on their ability to integrate smoothly with existing teams. This integration involves building relationships, establishing trust, and fostering a collaborative environment. Effective communication is key, as is the need to respect established workflows while gradually introducing new processes and ideas.

Learn more in our article Selecting the Perfect Fractional CMO for Your Business: A Comprehensive Guide.

Innovative Marketing Strategies for Market Re-entry

To regain lost market position, a Fractional CMO can deploy innovative marketing strategies tailored to the business's specific needs. These might include enhancing digital marketing efforts, leveraging data analytics for better customer insights, introducing modern content marketing techniques, and optimising the customer journey across all touchpoints.

Building a Scalable Marketing Framework

Another significant contribution of a Fractional CMO is the development of a scalable marketing framework that can adapt to changing market conditions and business objectives. This framework should allow for flexibility in scaling up or down based on performance and market feedback, ensuring the business remains agile and responsive.

"Fractional CMOs bring a revitalising energy, turning stagnant marketing departments into dynamic engines of growth through strategic and tactical innovation."

Evaluating the Impact of a Fractional CMO

To justify the investment in a Fractional CMO, businesses must be able to measure the impact of their contributions. This evaluation involves setting clear, quantifiable goals at the outset and using metrics such as lead generation, conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, and overall ROI. Regular reviews and adjustments ensure the strategies remain effective and aligned with business goals. Common key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate impact include (but not limited to):

  • Lead Generation Growth: Measures the increase in qualified leads as a direct result of new marketing strategies implemented by the Fractional CMO, indicating effective audience targeting.
  • Conversion Rate Improvement: Tracks the percentage of leads that turn into customers. Improvement in this area demonstrates the effectiveness of the marketing funnel optimisation.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Calculates the cost involved in acquiring each new customer. A lower CAC indicates more efficient use of marketing resources under the Fractional CMO's strategy.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) Increase: Assesses the total revenue a business can expect from a single customer account. An increase suggests better customer retention and upselling strategies.
  • Brand Engagement Metrics: Includes metrics like social media engagement, website traffic, and time spent on site. Improvement shows increased brand awareness and interest, critical for long-term success.


For established businesses experiencing marketing stagnation, a Fractional CMO offers a strategic solution that revitalises marketing efforts and repositions the brand effectively in competitive markets. By introducing fresh perspectives and innovative strategies, a Fractional CMO can help a business overcome inertia and adapt to the ever-changing business landscape. Their role, while temporary or part-time, can have lasting benefits—injecting vitality and vision into established marketing teams and leading the way toward sustained growth and renewed market dominance.

This approach not only redefines marketing strategies but also reinvigorates the organisation’s entire approach to market engagement, ensuring it remains competitive and resonant with both existing and potential customers. As such, the Fractional CMO is not just a temporary fix but a catalyst for long-term marketing transformation.

‍About VCMO

VCMO helps SMEs and investor-backed portfolio companies with a £2 million or higher turnover that operate without a full-time Chief Marketing Officer. Our Fractional CMOs and tailored services transform marketing potential into a competitive advantage that delivers scalable and predictable growth, increased profits, and enhanced enterprise value.

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Paul Mills
CEO & Founder

If this article resonates with your business situation, get in touch to discuss how we can help.

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