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Is Fractional Marketing the Secret Weapon for your Business?

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RX's Kate Bolland explores the power that fractional marketing (and frankly other fractional services) and the benefits it can bring to your business.


The past few months have been interesting. It’s felt like every week there’s another NZ business laying off employees. From NZ media (including Newshub and TVNZ) to huge cuts in the public sector.  Everyone we know is downsizing and any retailers are on round #2 and #3.

Business owners and leaders are understandably worried about decreased demand, consumer spending and higher interest rates. After the end of the financial year for many, businesses are acting with caution when budget planning and deciding whether to retain or employ more staff.

Effective marketing is vital to strategic success and key to staying ahead of competitors and retaining/increasing market share. However, when budgets are tight, businesses often cut back their marketing budgets first.  

For many businesses, especially small - medium sized businesses or NFP’s, maintaining a full-time, in-house marketing team can be resource intensive. This is where fractional marketing comes into play. 

Fractional marketing can be extremely beneficial for any type of company, and allow businesses to access marketing expertise that punches above its weight, when they don't need or can't afford a full-time time.

Now is a better time than any to change how you do things and if you need to right-size your business or need more horsepower, fractional marketing should be considered. 

What the heck is fractional marketing? 

Fractional marketing is outsourcing a part (or fraction) of your marketing department (or other services like merchandise/category management, HR, operations, store design and development) to part-time specialists. This is different to contractors as you get exceptionally experienced professionals who work within a framework of laser-focused delivery. It gives you the ability to tap into super-skilled marketing talent on a part-time or "fractional" basis - which can start and stop as you need. Perfect when you don’t have the budget or workload to keep full-time marketers busy all the time. The other benefit as these professionals have other work which means they are not reliant just on your work, making them both effective and efficient and not subject to trying to stretch out the project or having to find their next piece of work.

Marketing needs can fluctuate dramatically for businesses of any shape and size - from start-ups to mature multi-national businesses. A fractional CMO allows companies to scale their marketing efforts up or down as needed. They can bring in specific skills for a particular project or campaign, then adjust as priorities shift. Likewise, instead of hiring just one individual, people are able to hire an entire team—flexibly scaling their hours up and down based on a mix of skills, experience and required capabilities.

It builds a strong connection between marketing strategy and executional marketing activities, so everyone knows why they are doing what they do and how it contributes to strategic objectives.

Here are a few examples from RX's fractional services and partners.

A success story - Manawanui

A group of people standing outside in a circle holding hands above their heads

Manawanui is one of RX Group's favourite and longest standing partners/clients.

Manawanui is social enterprise and New Zealand's leading provider of Individualised Funding services for people in the disability community. Helping clients to manage funding, assisting with support worker recruitment and advice on purchasing equipment.

As a social enterprise, Manawanui must keep their costs efficient so their client's disability funding is used for what really counts - enabling good lives. And at the same time are in a period of rapid growth, putting the pressure on staff.

RX Group created a fractional marketing team for Manawanui. And for a little more than the cost of one full-time staff member, Manawanui get the flexible time of a c-suite level Marketing and Communications Strategist, a Senior Marketing Manager, a Social Media Executive, a Digital Marketing Manager as well as access to the RX Group creative studio.

We operate as an extension of the Manawanui team -with Manawanui email addresses and attend the bi-yearly team days!

It's a great model. It ensures the strategy and execution is class leading and that recommendations are timely and cost-effective. So Manawanui can focus on looking after their community and the RX team can do what they do best so ensure Manawanui's continued success.

Ensuring that business didn't go to the dogs

Prior to covid, Animates needed to recruit an exceptional GM CMO that would fit perfectly with the management team and evolve the strategic capabilities of the business. The CEO at that time reached out to RX to see if we could fill the breech with our fractional services with a GM Marketing that could keep the team together and the business on track as they found the "right person" and not rush the job.

One of our team with senior experience in both Marketing and Merchandising stepped in for 4 months, 3 days per week in-house between 9am-2pm. She was available for any other support the team needed remotely. It provided an external view of talent opportunities within the team also which allowed individuals to "step-up" with the right support. While keeping the business on tract, our fractional GM Marketing was able to provide a perspective and priorities for when the new CMO started to "hot the ground running."

The CMO was able to do a proper induction and our fractional team member transitioned out of the business after a proper handover (not a dump and run). We know if you spoke to the ex-CEO, the CMO and senior leadership team they will attest to just how great that process was to allow the business to run better than "just function," and find the right team member, rather than settle. A win/win all round.

Start-up to grown-up

Two large NZ retailers have engaged our fractional services for Merchandising and Category planning when they have had more work than their team could deal with. This has been because of growth aspirations but not enough headcount, internal change requirements meaning people only have capacity for their day-job and sometimes they have needed different skills sets for building and negotiating new categories and territories. Again, rather than hiring or contracting, fractional services have allowed the businesses to grow and explore with exceptional and talented experts, which otherwise they could not afford or potentially even recruit the calibre (because you don't actually have the depth and breadth of job long term).

Punch above your weight

Fractional marketing gives you access to a pool of talent that is proven, adaptable and available on tap. Your commitments can be as long or as short as you need and you won't have someone wanting to "hang around" to get a job. There are there to be your partner and get on with making business happen.


Wondering if fractional marketing could be right for your business? Get in touch with team at RX Group. Drop us a message and we'll get back to you shortly:


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