Unlocking AI GTM & Execution, and the Fractional CMO

Dwayne Ernest
October 4, 2023
5 min read

Unlocking AI GTM & Execution, and the Fractional CMO


You've built an incredible product that's ready to disrupt the market. Now, you need to get it into the hands of customers.

The temptation is to start hiring a marketing team immediately. However, it is essential to exercise caution when hiring a part-time Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) too early. This can become problematic if you do not have a well-established go-to-market (GTM) strategy beforehand.

Before hiring, you need to establish a strategic backbone to support effective marketing execution. This means clearly defining your positioning, target audiences, messaging, and plans to engage buyers across channels. With the rise of AI, forward-thinking companies are taking GTM strategy and execution to the next level before making key marketing hires.






Why GTM Strategy Comes Before Hiring

Hiring a CMO or other marketing roles too quickly is like building on quicksand. At first, things seem fine. But soon, everything starts sinking as the shaky foundation crumbles beneath it.

Your GTM strategy acts as the rock-solid ground upon which effective marketing efforts stand. It encompasses your brand positioning, messaging, buyer personas, and customer journey plans. This strategic backbone enables you to connect with and convert your audience.

Without that foundation in place beforehand, your marketing tactics will seem fragmented and struggle to gain traction. Even the most talented marketing team will flounder without a tight GTM strategy guiding their work.

Doing the strategy work upfront sets your future hires up for success right out of the gate. Rather than starting in chaos and pivoting constantly, they'll have a solid strategic plan to execute from day one.





What Should a Strong GTM Foundation Include?

What key elements does your GTM foundation need before hiring for marketing roles? Here are some essentials:

Clear Brand Positioning

Defining your differentiated brand positioning gives you a firm stake in the ground. This includes your brand promise, messaging framework, competitive advantages, and the market opportunity you're seizing.

Your positioning will shape all downstream marketing activities. Having it clearly defined means new hires can instantly communicate your unique value and resonate with your audience.


Detailed Buyer Personas

You need to understand who you're marketing and selling to intimately. Comprehensive buyer personas include demographics, challenges, goals, behaviors, and motivations for each target customer profile.

These personas guide messaging, content creation, and sales interactions. With well-developed personas, your team can create relevant, compelling materials tailored to each audience segment.


Mapped Customer Journey

To create messages that convert, you need to map how people interact with your brand throughout their buyer journey. This includes the process from initial awareness to consideration to final decision.

Understanding this journey for each persona allows you to guide prospects by providing the correct information at the right time. You can nurture leads and move them towards purchase.

Having the customer journey laid out lets new hires create materials that propel prospects forward immediately.


Detailed Execution Planning

The final piece of your GTM foundation is thorough execution planning. This means defining specific strategies and tactics to reach buyers through each channel at every journey stage.

With detailed plans, your new hires can hit the ground running on day one. Instead of starting from scratch, they'll have clear guidance on budgets, timelines, metrics, creative direction, etc.

Examples of essential plans include:

  • SEO and content strategy
  • Website optimization roadmap
  • Owned, earned and paid media plans
  • Visual brand identity and assets
  • Paid social media strategy and creative
  • Email nurture streams and automation
  • Events/webinars timeline
  • Sales collateral tailored to each persona

TThe more planning you complete upfront, the faster your team can drive results.


Should You Hire a Fractional CMO First?

Many companies bring on a fractional chief marketing officer first to spearhead this strategy before hiring a broader team. Fractional CMO Services typically don't include execution and focus more on the strategy and long-term marketing function.


What is a fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is a marketing executive brought into a company temporarily to provide strategic leadership and execution support. Unlike a full-time CMO, fractional CMOs work on a flexible, part-time basis to deliver targeted expertise. Companies utilize them for marketing leadership without the fixed cost and commitment of a permanent resource. Fractional CMOs work on a project basis over a defined timeframe.

Fractional CMO meaning

The "fractional" in fractional CMO refers to how these marketers provide C-level leadership and expertise on a partial, as-needed basis. Companies pay for only a fraction of a full-time CMO's time and scope. Fractional CMOs offer marketing leadership in focused bursts to accomplish specific goals.

Fractional CMO agency

Some marketing agencies provide fractional CMO services by maintaining a bench of experienced marketing executives ready to support clients on a project basis. This allows clients to augment their team with proven marketing leadership tailored to their immediate needs.

Fractional CMO hourly rate

Fractional CMO cost,  typically billed hourly, with rates ranging from $150-$500+ per hour based on experience level. This allows clients to right-size investments and only pay for hours aligned to priority initiatives. It's a flexible way to tap into CMO-level expertise for the short term.

This can be smart if you lack the bandwidth in-house. An experienced CMO can quickly assess your goals, market landscape, and customer needs to create a strategic blueprint.

But be sure to review their recommendations against your vision thoroughly. Before moving forward, you need to own the positioning and plans fueling your growth.

Either way, arm your team with a well-defined strategic foundation first. This empowers them to execute effectively from day one.





AI is Transforming Marketing Execution

Traditionally, hiring a fractional CMO has only gotten you a high-level strategy. But new AI capabilities are disrupting old models.

AI now enables startups to accelerate strategy execution across every element of the customer journey. Rather than slowly building a traditional marketing team, you can instantly spin up a 10X squad with AI.

Marketing strategy & marketing initiatives

AI enables companies to develop data-driven marketing strategies and initiatives at a fraction of the cost. AI can analyze customer and market data to identify growth opportunities and fine-tune strategic positioning. It also allows for rapid iteration of messaging and campaign initiatives based on performance.

Marketing leaders

AI augments marketing leaders by automating time-intensive tasks. AI autonomously handles data analysis, campaign performance tracking, asset creation, and reporting. This frees up leaders to focus on high-value strategy and innovation. The collective time savings make AI a cost-effective digital teammate.

Marketing plan

AI helps create comprehensive marketing plans more efficiently. It can synthesize data, define audience segments, map journeys, and outline integrated channel strategies. AI also generates campaign briefs tailored to different segments and objectives. This creates a solid, cost-effective plan foundation.

Marketing campaigns

AI powers the orchestration and execution of marketing campaigns at scale while optimizing budgets. It manages digital campaigns end-to-end, from targeting to creative iteration to performance analysis. The cost efficiencies of automating execution with AI are immense.

Here are some examples of how AI is transforming execution:



AI Content Creation

AI can develop huge volumes of strategic, high-performing content tailored to your brand voice and audience interests. It churns out blogs, social posts, emails, and more - all optimized for organic reach.

AI Graphic & Video Design

AI-powered platforms create on-brand graphics, ads, and videos at scale. This automates asset production to fuel your campaigns and content.

AI Media Buying

Intelligent AI optimizes and automates your paid ad campaigns across platforms, finding your ideal audiences and maximizing ROI.

AI Campaign Management

AI handles campaign management, from creative direction to asset production to performance tracking, optimization, and reporting.

AI Insights

AI extracts strategic insights from your data, enabling better marketing decisions. It spots trends, opportunities, and areas for optimization.

Instead of slowly scaling a traditional team, AI supercharges your tech stack for agile strategy execution. It's like having an entire world-class marketing department without the headaches.



Lay the Foundation, Then Build the Team


The key takeaway is this: lay your GTM strategy foundation before hiring your marketing team. Resist the urge to make big hires too quickly. Set them up for success by having the core strategy mapped out first.

Use AI to execute while strategically hiring roles over time rapidly. This unlocks transformational growth.

You've built a fantastic product. Now, you need to get it into the hands of customers.

Don't derail your marketing efforts by hiring roles like a fractional CMO too early without a solid GTM foundation first. This unstable base leads to fractured execution.

With the rise of AI, smart companies are taking GTM strategy and execution to the next level before hiring. AI powers your marketing tech stack for agile strategy implementation.

See how AI can accelerate your marketing execution and transform growth. Request a demo of Rocinante-GTM’s AI-powered marketing platform today.

Learn more about AI-powered marketing at Rocinant-GTM.

Dwayne Ernest