The rise of fractional marketing has emerged as a hot topic within B2B startup and scaleup circles, thanks to the fundamental shifts in how we work in a post-pandemic world. Remote work is here to stay, and its widespread adoption has accelerated new business models – like Marketing-as-a-Service (MaaS) – that are turning the traditional agency model on its head. At the same time, an influx of expert-level B2B marketers in search of greater flexibility are pivoting out of in-house roles and embracing fractional work, which is transforming how growing companies source top talent and execute marketing strategies.
What is Marketing-as-a-Service and Fractional Marketing?
Marketing-as-a-Service is an emerging approach that provides companies with access to outsourced marketing resources with deep expertise on a subscription-based model. MaaS providers typically offer a range of on-demand services that can be tailored to your company’s needs, including marketing strategy and consulting, content creation, social media management, marketing operations and more.
Fractional marketers are highly skilled in their craft and typically come with many years of experience and a long history of driving results. Unlike an in-house marketer, with fractionals you only pay for the services you need or a portion of their time. Seasoned fractional marketing teams can often be sourced through a Marketing-as-a-Service provider, to deliver focused, specialised work with clearly defined outcomes.
Why Marketing-as-a-Service is Rising in Popularity
More companies are opting for a Marketing-as-a-Service model because it’s a more scalable and flexible way of using marketing resources to achieve business goals – providing leaders with access to both expertise and technology they may not have in-house on terms they can afford.
And in an economically turbulent time where marketing budgets and headcount are shrinking, but growth targets remain high, investing in MaaS can be a more cost-effective option over both traditional agencies and in-house marketers for a few key reasons:
Traditional agencies come with big price tags and complex billing structures.
If you’ve worked with a big agency before, you’ve likely found yourself in an expensive annual retainer or gone the project-based route, which means negotiating contracts for a specific scope of work every time you want to launch a new project or execute a campaign. On the other hand, employing a fractional marketing team through a Marketing-as-a-Service provider means you pay only for the services you need, avoid the agency overhead costs, and can easily scale up or down as your business needs change.
Hiring highly skilled in-house teams can be expensive and challenging.
As the breadth of B2B marketing skills needed to create and capture demand has soared in recent years, it’s no longer feasible to hire one full-time marketing generalist to do everything from creating a regular cadence of compelling content to managing your marketing operations and tech stack. And hiring a large team of specialists across a range of marketing disciplines is impractical for startups who don’t have the capital to bring multiple marketers in-house right away. Leveraging a fractional marketing team through a MaaS provider is a more accessible option for a growing company – making it easier to hire professionals with years of experience who can provide tremendous value from day one – without the need to build or pay for an in-house team.
Fractional Marketing Teams vs. Freelance Marketers: Which Option to Choose?
There will come a time for the majority of founders and C-level executives at early-stage startups where they realise if they want to see predictable revenue growth year over year, they will need to invest in marketing. The challenge for founders is that they often don’t have a lot of hands-on marketing experience. And without ample budget to hire an agency or an in-house team, many explore freelance options as they look to launch their marketing function.
While freelance marketers are a viable choice for augmenting your existing marketing efforts, like increasing your content production output, sifting through a myriad of profiles to find available, reliable talent from gig websites to create and fuel your content strategy can be frustrating. Plus, a major time investment is needed at the outset of the project from both parties: the freelancer needs to spend time understanding your niche, unique value proposition and brand voice, and you need to spend time managing them and the administrative tasks that come along with adding a new contractor to your roster, so it can take a while to gain momentum.
When it comes to choosing a partner that’s seasoned in both developing a comprehensive marketing plan from the ground up and executing on it, fractional marketing teams are a sound option.
When it comes to choosing a partner that’s seasoned in both developing a comprehensive marketing plan from the ground up and executing on it, fractional marketing teams are a sound option. Why? They typically have more experience working at the senior leadership level in companies than freelancers do, and can bring a wealth of strategic planning and knowledge to your organisation.
Martech is Getting More Costly and Complex to Manage
MAP. CRM. CMS. SEO. The number of different types of tools needed to execute the kind of marketing strategy that drives results is vast and continues to grow in size and intricacy. More than 60% of B2B marketers say their martech stack is too complex. For a budget-conscious, early-stage company, procuring and managing a sprawling tech stack isn’t ideal or sustainable. The benefit of partnering with a MaaS firm for a managed martech service is that your processes and technology are maintained by a fractional marketing team with specialised expertise, who will continuously optimise performance based on your program goals. This enables you to reduce the total cost of ownership, avoid lengthy software implementations and leave the critical data automation and system integration work to the technical experts – freeing you up to focus on other key areas of the business.
Navigating a Shifting B2B Landscape with Agile Marketing-as-a-Service
In a marketing landscape that’s rapidly evolving with technology innovations, changing B2B buyer behaviour, longer sales cycles and complex data protection regulations, it’s essential to stay on top of industry shifts and adapt quickly to keep growing. MaaS providers are performance-driven and agile, and if something isn’t working as expected or the next major algorithm drops, they can help you pivot quickly to stay ahead of the competition and mitigate risk to your business before it happens.
To learn more about Salween Group’s Marketing-as-a-Service offerings and how we can help you grow smarter through content-driven omnichannel marketing, connect with one of our marketing experts.