What Every eCommerce Business Owner Should Know About Investing in Marketing Support

To Hire or Not To Hire?

Maybe you’ve been taking a DIY approach to your marketing or using an agency or different contractors. As I’m sure you’re well aware, all three options require a lot of your time and oversight, both of which would be much better spent focused on growing your eCommerce business. 

If you’re ready to hand off your marketing completely, it boils down to deciding between hiring an internal team or a fractional chief marketing officer (CMO).

Investing in a fractional CMO, or at least investing in a good one, isn’t cheap. But here’s the thing: hiring a fractional CMO is significantly more affordable than hiring an in-house marketing team. I’m talking hundreds of thousands of dollars more affordable. 

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t actually need a whole marketing team. I can just hire a marketing coordinator,” I’m here to tell you why that can also turn into an expensive proposition in the long run. 

But First…Let’s Talk Marketing Roles

Back in the day when marketing involved one or two channels, companies could get away with having one person handling all of the marketing. 

That’s not the case anymore. In today’s multi-channel environment, there are several important roles that need to be filled. Expecting one person to be an expert in strategy, management, coordination, and implementation is a surefire path to disappointment. 

At its absolute leanest, a solid marketing team will consist of a:

CMO or Marketing Director

A CMO or director is a leadership role. Your CMO is responsible for developing a customized marketing strategy, overseeing the planning, development, and implementation of campaigns, and, ultimately, increasing your sales through marketing initiatives. 

Your CMO is not the person who designs your Google ad assets or writes the copy for your brochure. They look at the big picture and ensure every tactic and channel used is driving results. 

Marketing Manager

A marketing manager is the link between executive leadership and the rest of the marketing team. They know how to translate the CMO’s strategic direction and ensure it’s being implemented across all channels. The manager’s job involves, well, managing internal team members or contractors and keeping your marketing efforts running smoothly. 

Marketing Coordinator

A marketing coordinator is an entry-level position that reports to the marketing manager. Most marketing coordinators today are implementation specialists in one area. For example, they might be a strong copywriter. In this case, they’d likely be tasked with QAing all of the copywriting, as well as handling things like creating, scheduling, and publishing social media posts and newsletters. 

The rest of their job is the day-to-day coordination of marketing campaigns. This can mean putting together creative briefs, setting up workflows, and gathering all of the assets.

The Cost of Hiring a Marketing Team

How much would it cost to hire a lean marketing team? Well, the minimum salary for a marketing executive – think director or CMO – is around $160,000 per year. A marketing manager is typically about $80,000 a year, while a marketing coordinator starts at $50,000.

So, at a minimum, it will cost $290K annually. And that’s just the infrastructure to help you build a strategy and push work through. That’s not even considering your implementation needs (i.e., graphic design, copywriting, ads management, SEO, etc.). 

For most SMBs, it isn’t realistic to bring on a full-time CMO, let alone the rest of the team. There’s also a pretty good chance you don’t actually need 40 hours per week of support from multiple people. 

What About Just Hiring a Marketing Coordinator to Handle Things?

The eCommerce companies I work with are forward-thinking and marketing savvy. However, there are companies out there stuck in the old way of doing things. They believe hiring an internal marketing coordinator will solve all of their problems. 

I’ve seen some mind-blowing job postings for marketing coordinators, expecting an incredible level of expertise in an enormous range of tactics, channels, and disciplines. 

Yes, marketing coordinators are an important member of a marketing team. But hoping to unicorn one into juggling copywriting, graphic design, SEO, planning, strategy, and everything in between isn’t going to work. And, frankly, it isn’t fair.

A person at a coordinator level doesn’t have the same breadth of knowledge and experience as a person at an executive level. They’re not used to dealing with complex marketing issues or orchestrating highly optimized, targeted omnichannel campaigns. 

It takes an in-depth understanding of marketing, business, and consumer behavior to build an effective strategy and the reliable processes needed to consistently reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time. Without a strategy in place, even the prettiest ads with the catchiest copy will be a waste of time and money.

As you burn through your ad budget with nothing to show for it and no way to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, you will spend more than you would have had you invested in a seasoned specialist from the get-go. 

The Cost of Hiring a Fractional CMO

A fractional CMO works on a flexible, on-demand basis and isn’t a full-time employee. Going back to the minimum salary of $160,000 per year for a CMO, that means you’re only paying a fraction of that. While the exact cost depends on the individual and how many hours a month you retain them for, it’s less than hiring an internal CMO or marketing team. 

When you bring me on as your fractional CMO, you can scale your investment up and down as needed. I rely on my 20+ years of experience to:

  • work with you to determine your business goals and target audience, as well as flush out your ideal customer profiles (ICP);
  • audit your reporting tools, website, content, existing marketing campaigns, and channels;
  • define your KPIs and build a customized strategy to achieve them;
  • put measurement practices in place; 
  • handle your budget and media buying;
  • ensure your team or contactors have the direction and mentorship they need so tasks get done correctly and on time;
  • oversee third parties, such as vendors or an agency;
  • dovetail all of your campaigns for consistency and increased brand awareness;
  • monitor results in real-time and continuously optimize campaigns to get the best ROI;
  • act as your single point of contact and provide clear communication and detailed reporting.

As you can see, you get a lot of value from the engagement. By taking ownership of your marketing and allocating your budget intentionally and strategically, I help you achieve real results while minimizing your time investment. 

Ready to explore more benefits of having a fractional CMO?

Let’s talk! Book a consultation to learn how I can help you propel your business forward. 

Picture of Tammy Martin

Tammy Martin

Tammy is the company founder and crafty innovator behind this article. Since 2000, she has worked with clients to refine their marketing strategy, perfect ad performance, and generate sales from the bottom up.

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