Case Study

Fractional CMO for a Food and Beverage Business

Building a New Foundation for Success

The Problem

Generic campaigns with poor conversion tracking

An eCommerce business in the specialty food industry, specifically the protein sector, was working with two separate digital agencies, one for email marketing and another for pay-per-click (PPC) management. The agencies launched basic, cookie-cutter campaigns with incorrect conversion tracking measures. The business owner didn’t have a clear picture of the accurate number or value of the sales coming in from marketing channels.

Too many cooks in the kitchen

The PPC agency would send reports that the owner couldn’t understand and when he asked them questions, he felt as if they were dancing around the point and not providing clear-cut answers. Additionally, he was spending an inordinate amount of time overseeing the agencies’ marketing efforts and dealing with numerous different people. Furthermore, the two agencies weren’t talking to each other, which was detrimental to their success.

A decline in sales

After hitting a peak during the height of the pandemic, our client’s sales started to decline. While all protein businesses have been struggling, our client knew his challenges were, in part, due to a lack of a sophisticated marketing strategy and cohesion across channels. He understood that he needed to step up his game.

Integrating advanced conversion tracking tactics

The client decided to hire a fractional CMO, or Chief Marketing Officer, and chose Martin Marketing. The first thing we did was set up a custom, interactive marketing dashboard in Google Looker Studio. With granular metrics and actionable insights, we could now continuously measure every campaign and pivot across platforms according to the data. We also discovered that things that looked like they were working, actually weren’t.

Selecting the right platforms for a unique food and beverage business

The previous agency took what worked for other industries and tried to plop it into a niche eCommerce business. Everything was focused on Facebook and Google paid ads.

As a specialty protein shop, we knew Pinterest and YouTube were going to be beneficial. Our strategy involved building out both channels organically with recipes and recipe-build videos.

As for paid media, we continued with Meta and Google ads, but also introduced another platform into the mix. We rolled out Microsoft Bing ads as an affordable way to generate traffic.

Creating compelling content and dialling back the discounting

When we were brought on board for our fractional CMO services, the emails were graphic-heavy with no real content. It was all promotions. In fact, the previous email marketing agency was running up to five discounts a month. Even worse, after digging into the data, we discovered lots of customers weren’t even using the discount codes.

Yes, discounts have their place (if they generate purchases that is) and they give you a short-term hit, but in the long run, you can start to be perceived as the discounted brand. Customers may no longer be willing to pay full price.

Our strategy focused on selling the product instead of discounts. We hired a conversion copywriter to write new email sequences with a focus on storytelling and the benefits of the exceptional quality products our client sells. We also interviewed the client each month to capture his voice and include timely information in the email campaigns and organic social media posts.

Showcasing the products in a new light

Next, we tapped a member of our digital marketing agency team to help with product photography. She’s been cooking with the client’s products, creating recipes and taking photographs as she goes. This has allowed us to gradually change over the photo inventory of the online store, replacing it with new images that have better lighting and a more appetizing presentation of the food.

Optimizing customer experience for visibility and conversions

The existing website was thin on content and only ranked for a secondary keyword. We strategically repurposed content to boost SEO, including embedding YouTube videos onto product pages and using copy from email campaigns for product descriptions.

We redid the website theme and worked closely with the operations manager to implement best practices. We performed conversion rate optimization (CRO) by continuously working on using the dashboard data to decide which product descriptions and images/videos needed to be optimized for better conversion rates.

We also identified an opportunity to attract organic traffic to the site, which wasn’t being utilized when we began. We invested time in adding product meta titles and meta descriptions to garner more organic impressions and clicks for search engine optimization (SEO).

Now that Google also monitors customer website engagement as an SEO metric, we built a recipe index page so customers can search for recipes by cooking category, meat type, season and more. We also created an introductory quiz to engage new website visitors to help them narrow down which products to consider.

Real-time marketing dashboards provide clarity

The client was receiving confusing automated monthly reports that didn’t drive any action plans. Our custom marketing dashboards provide him with the exact information he needs in a format that works for him. Now, he gets easy-to-understand reports that focus on the metrics that matter.

The Solution

The Result

Our virtual CMO services have helped our client improve brand awareness, scale online store sales and, ultimately, grow his business. His website is ranking for primary keywords and we doubled his organic traffic. We also improved his eCommerce conversion and begin-checkout-to-buy rates and we’re seeing stronger customer cohorts LTV month over month.

Unfortunately, as a whole, the specialty foods protein sector is struggling. The good news for our client is that while revenue is down an average of 8% for other businesses in the industry, our client’s sales are up 5% year-to-date in 2024.


Increase in organic traffic


Increase in sales YTD

vs. -8% in their industry


Website Conversion Rate Increase in March 2024 vs 2023

Of course, the financial growth our client has experienced is a big reward, but so is his time savings. By handing off the marketing to a fractional CMO, he has one point of contact and doesn’t have to worry about the nuts and bolts of it anymore. Having a trusted partner leading his marketing efforts has freed him up to be more strategic and focus on developing new business ideas.

The Reward

” Tammy Martin is the best marketer I’ve ever worked with.”

“I used subcontractors in the past and always had to be very involved in the orchestration. I felt like I was flying blind on the numbers side and it was hard to get a straight answer from anyone.

Tammy is the opposite. She doesn’t sugarcoat things and there is data behind every marketing dollar spent. She streamlined my processes and reporting and is my single point of contact from strategy to execution. Not only do I have more clarity, I also finally have the time to work on my business instead of in it.

Recently, I attended a roundtable of eCommerce store owners. The average year-over-year revenue was down 8-20% for all companies. Fortunately, that’s not the case for my business and sales are still strong. I credit this to Tammy’s expertise and ability to pivot quickly. I would recommend her to anyone who wants to grow their eCommerce business in a sustainable way.”

– ecommerce client

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