7 Tips For Getting the Most From Your Fractional CMO – From One of BizHack’s Best Clients
Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (FCMO): A Fractional CMO performs the same general tasks as a full-time chief marketing officer but in a part-time capacity. This means he or she leads marketing strategy and oversees implementation and results for the business. Schedule a call to find out more about how a Fractional CMO can help grow your business.
Meet One of BizHack’s Best Fractional CMO Clients
Jeff Condon of Flippers Cinema, a multiplex movie theater located in a strip mall in Hollywood, Florida, is one of BizHack’s best clients. He has had the fastest and best results of any of our clients. With our help, Flippers had its best Halloween in 30 years, turned Wednesdays from the slowest to the busiest day of the week, and doubled online sales within six months with a new website.
We asked this question to Jeff, as well as his Fractional CMO: What’s the secret to your success? And are there any principles that we can share with our other clients, as well as prospective clients, about how to work with a Marketing Strategist to get the fastest and best results? What follows is a step-by-step guide for getting the most out of your Fractional CMO.
1. Find Out What’s Holding Back Business Growth
Covid-19 had a dramatic impact on cinema-going, but Jeff used the opportunity to re-invent his business for the digital age. “Literally, we lost 90% of our business in the first year of the pandemic and our market was very slow to return, “ said Jeff. “ I realized our market had changed at its core, as well as the movie industry. And if I didn’t change my marketing process, I would not be able to build my business back fast enough to stay in business.”
Jeff knew he needed an experienced marketer to turn his business around and hired a BizHack Fractional CMO to re-energize his marketing department, develop efficient management processes and revamp his communications strategy. Enter Tatiana McDaniel. With both client and agency-side experience, Tatiana had the leadership and creativity Flippers needed to build a strong marketing department and a winning strategy.
Her first step was to review the strengths and weaknesses of the business and uncover any underlying issues. As Jeff put it, he was anxious ‘to know what he didn’t know’. “Tatiana and Dan focused on evaluating where my company was at the beginning and pointed out every aspect of my business that I was lacking and was a problem. And they were very blunt with it, which was extremely helpful. They said ‘You need to spend time and effort fixing these things before we can even start spending money on marketing’”. Getting an honest view of the factors that were hindering Flipper’s growth potential helped Jeff prioritize what to fix, such as building a better website, cleaning up his customer list, and tracking the right data. Only once he had built an engine for growth, did he feel ready to put gasoline in it.
2. Bring in Trusted Marketing Specialists
Flippers found itself in the same predicament as many other small businesses that are forced to reinvent their marketing; they could see the value of tools such as Google Analytics and Meta Business Suite but they didn’t know how to set them up or which ones they really needed.
Martec software has proliferated with such speed that keeping up is an insurmountable task for most small companies and even some large ones. The emerging knowledge gap has been filled by an army of suppliers who claim competence in all the latest tools but are masters of none. Flippers needed someone they could trust, and Tatiana was able to find the perfect solution.
Having defined the tools needed to execute an effective marketing strategy, Tatiana was able to draw upon BizHack’s broad ecosystem of trained and pre-vetted experts and hire someone who could set Flippers up the right way. Within two weeks a competent marketing technician was identified and got things moving, dramatically improving their SEO as well as setting up their website tracking and social media advertising platforms.
Jeff comments “ He was smarter than I would have been able to make any of my people and he allowed me to jumpstart my program because he knew exactly where the process was going. And he helped us focus on what we had to do first. When Tatiana, our CMO was telling us, we’ve got to do this, this, and this, the person we brought in was like okay, I know what you’re talking about. I know how we can do it, and he helped us get there. Faster.”
3. Make Data-Driven Decisions
Jeff knew that to build his business faster he needed more accurate information about his customers; what motivated them to purchase? Who were the most frequent buyers of cinema tickets and what sort of messages were getting through? This meant relying less on intuition and switching to a data-driven decision-making approach. Talking about his relationship with BizHack he said “They’re not going to give you the answers. They’re going to show you how to find the answers so that as you move forward in your digital marketing, it’s like the old saying ‘Give a man a fish you feed him for a day teach him to fish you feed him for his life.’”
Tatiana helped Flippers re-orientate their approach and rely more on data-driven decision-making. A key part of this was demonstrating how to test campaigns before scaling. It was here that Tatiana’s experience came in particularly useful. She knew what to test and how to interpret the results so that Flippers could scale their investment effectively.
A FCMO can design processes that ensure precious marketing dollars are not wasted. Jeff Condon said “ They helped me realize that there’s a process of marketing. It’s not just throwing your money at it. You try to evaluate how it worked. You try again. It’s like once you’re comfortable, you move on to the next thing that you have to try.”
Jeff saw that reliable data was critical for good decisions. “If you’re not measuring it, you’re throwing your money away. Because you don’t know that it actually worked.”
4. Use EOS to Build a Process of Accountability
Management processes may improve efficiency but the most effective ones, such as EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) develop a greater sense of accountability. It’s why all BizHack’s Fractional CMOs are trained to use it. Jeff found it uncomfortable at first but saw the value of establishing clear quarterly objectives in the form of ‘rocks’. He found that setting objectives with his team and monitoring completion helped to bring a clearer focus to the entire organization, improving communication and motivating his staff. “Initially it was awkward but eventually it became very useful,” he said. “It allowed us to focus marketing on the things we had to address first. Once you start doing it, you get used to it and it becomes very comfortable.”
The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) provides a cadence of regular meetings that helps improve efficiency and ensures everyone in the marketing department is ruthlessly focused on activities that really drive results. For small businesses, the implementation of EOS with the help of an FCMO is the single most effective antidote to ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’, a mindset where the CEO finds themselves tempted to try something that promises immediate benefits but ends up being a distraction.
The EOS process enabled Tatiana to work with Jeff’s team to set realistic objectives. “She wasn’t trying to take a shortcut to get us there.” said Jeff “ She was very honest about what needed to be done. She was always trying to help me succeed in what we were trying to attempt, which was very important because a lot of the time when you are watching or trying to get your information from a Google search or a YouTube video. You can’t trust the motive of the person that you’re getting that information from.”
5. Upskill Your Marketing Department
Employing an FCMO helped Flippers to develop a marketing strategy, however, Jeff quickly realized that he would also need ‘doers’ within his company who would be able to execute against the new roadmap. Reluctant to lose control to an outside agency and worried about paying high agency rates, he decided to upskill three of his own marketing staff by sending them to BizHack’s Lead-building course; the Digital Marketer’s Edge.
As a complementary service provided when hiring a BizHack Fractional CMO, the in-house training allowed his employees to improve their marketing skills by building and testing their own ads and showed them a scalable way to generate leads that could be adapted to other digital channels. “ The reason that I keep sending people through it is if I want to work with them in the future, I need to make sure they know a base set of information. And what Dan’s digital marketing program does is it gives you a foundation. It’s like we’re all talking about the same process. “ Training everyone to speak the same marketing language helps a Fractional CMO build a more efficient marketing team that can grow the business in the future, long after they have left.
6. Brainstorm New Ideas with your FCMO
Jeff’s openness to new ideas from Tatiana was instrumental in helping to develop a new direction for Flippers and he was prepared to invest time in sharing his own past industry experience with her to ensure the strategy they created was rooted in reality. With no prior experience in the movie theatre industry, Tatiana relied on Jeff to help her identify where the opportunities might be and avoid repeating mistakes that Flippers had made in the past.
As a team, the Flippers CEO and the BizHack FCMO were then able to generate a raft of tactical ideas to better compete with the big cinema chains that had moved into their area. One idea was to increase traffic through discounted theatre tickets for specific events like Halloween and ‘Discount Wednesdays’. Customers were then sold higher margin products such as food from the concessions or coupons to play the arcade games. The initiative was successful because it built customer loyalty with a more entertaining cinema experience.
Jeff credits the successful ideas his team generates to setting aside regular time to brainstorm solutions. “Every single week, we talk about the different ways that we can affect the business and that’s part of our meeting with our Fractional CMO. So every week we talk about what can we do to spark interest. What can we offer the customer to get them to come here? We were thinking of a bunch of different ways in our marketing meetings. We threw out the Wednesday one and we gave it a shot. And it worked very well.”
7. Know Your Customer
A focus on creating great a customer experience for local families helped Flippers stay competitive when big cinema chains such as AMC and Regal moved into the area looking to take market share.
One tactic that Jeff used was to create experiences that brought customers back between blockbuster releases, such as Valentine’s day specials featuring classic rom-com movies. Another was a birthday event package for kids that combined a film with an opportunity to play at Flipper’s arcade. Before working with a FCMO Jeff didn’t have a strategy to fully engage existing customers and didn’t appreciate the revenue they generated. Tatiana helped him examine customers through the lens of CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value) which uncovered a profitable target group of passionate cinema-goers, who were the first to return to cinemas after the pandemic.
Jeff says “I pay to get their feet in my door. And once they’re there, how do I get them to keep coming back? That’s basically how we’ve changed our approach to what the customers are for us. It’s what’s their lifetime value? And prior to this, I never looked at it like that. Because I looked at customers as a never-ending supply.” Now he is looking at ways to continually improve his entertainment experience to bring these passionate cinema-goers back more regularly.