Outsourced vs. Freelance Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Choosing between an outsourced and freelance Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) can be a confusing decision for businesses. Factually, outsourcing provides greater flexibility in terms of hiring and contract terms for a CMO.

This will equip you with the necessary information to discern whether your company would benefit more from an Outsourced or Freelance CMO.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways of Outsourced vs. Freelance Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

  • An outsourced Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) gives many gains. They bring fresh eyes to your company and offer expert guidance.
  • Hiring a CMO can save money, especially for businesses with tight budgets. This is because they work part-time and don’t need full benefits like a full-time employee.
  • A hired CMO can start fast on tasks and give quick results. At the same time, it’s important to be careful about things like less control over project plans or pushback from your team.
  • Before you hire an outsourced CMO, do good research on different agencies or providers out there. Look at their experience level too. Make sure the one you pick fits well with your business needs and goals.

Understanding the Role of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

A Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is an executive-level position responsible for overseeing the creation and execution of a company’s marketing strategies, fostering customer engagement, improving operations, and guiding the marketing team to achieve business objectives.

Responsibilities and qualifications

A Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) leads marketing and advertising plans. They make a brand strong. These leaders work to get people to love the brand. They also make sure the marketing team has what they need to win.

A CMO is a big help when you hire them from another company or agency for your job needs. Some companies pick freelance CMOs who work on their own for different jobs or contracts, and not just one job.

Benefits of Hiring a CMO

Hiring a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) brings numerous benefits such as expert guidance, novel marketing strategies, improved operations, and increased customer engagement. A CMO can also manage and enhance your existing marketing team’s performance.

Objective viewpoint and expert guidance

Hiring an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer offers fresh eyes and expert advice. They bring unique views from the outside. This helps to see things you might miss. They have a lot of knowledge in marketing because they have worked with different companies.

Their broad experience can help your business grow faster and better. With their skilled advice, you can avoid making common mistakes in marketing. This leads to saving both time and money for your company.

New Marketing Strategies

A good CMO makes new plans to sell your goods. They might think of fun ways to get people to know about what you have. A hired CMO can help show the world all the great things your company does.

This gets more people excited about buying from you. Also, they make sure that everything runs smoothly and on time. Hiring a CMO means having someone who knows how to plan for growth using smart marketing moves.

Improved Operations

Outsourcing a CMO can enhance your firm’s operations. This expert will streamline processes, making work better and faster. They find and fix problems, helping the company to grow.

Their skills break down barriers that limit success. The hired CMO adds flexibility to your marketing plans. As market trends change, they adjust strategies for top results. In simple terms, an outsourced CMO helps a business do things more efficiently and effectively.

Increased Customer Engagement and Loyalty

A Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) can boost your brand. They make sure your customers like and come back to your business. This is called customer engagement and loyalty. A good CMO plans how people see and think about the business.

They help create a strong feeling of trust between you and your customers. They use marketing analytics to learn what the customers want or need. Then, they make mind-catching ads just for them. The CMO also sets up rewards for loyal users.

Having an outsourced CMO gives many gains here. It makes more buyers stick with you in the long run and keeps them happy too. This leads to growth of the company because glad customers spend more money on things they trust.

Managing and Improving Current Marketing Team

A top-notch outsourced CMO can make your marketing team better. They look for gaps in skills. Then they train the team to fill these gaps. They also bring new ideas and tools with them.

This fresh view can change how your team works for the better. Plus, a virtual CMO does not pick sides because they are not part of office politics. Team members feel more at ease working with them.

When to Consider Outsourcing a CMO

Businesses struggling with a limited budget, needing specialized expertise, or wishing to maintain a strategic focus may consider outsourcing their CMO position. Immerse yourself in an in-depth exploration of this option to ascertain whether it’s the right move for your company.

Limited Budget

A tight budget can make hiring a full-time CMO hard. Businesses may not find the funds for a big salary or extra benefits. This is where an outsourced CMO helps. It’s more affordable and offers the same skills as a full-time one.

With marketing outsourcing services, companies fill any knowledge gaps they might have without breaking the bank. They get top-level marketing help part-time, saving on costs while still pushing their business forward.

Need for Specialized Expertise

Companies need a marketing expert sometimes. This person has deep knowledge about marketing. Small firms may lack this kind of skill. Outsourcing a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) solves this problem.

A CMO from outside can give top-level advice on marketing. They know the best methods to promote your business or product. Teams get to learn new skills from them too. With an outsourced CMO, companies get the help they require without hiring a full-time employee.

Strategic Focus

Firms eyeing to hire an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer must have a strategic focus. This means the company already has a well-defined marketing plan. The outsourced CMO will bring his or her knowledge and fix their eyes on the company’s goals.

If there is no set marketing strategy, it’s the job of the CMO to create one. Developing and executing this plan is part of their duties. Thus, a firm will get skill and keen attention on its aims by choosing an outsourced CMO.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing a CMO

When outsourcing a CMO, businesses often enjoy cost-effectiveness and quick access to expert knowledge. However, potential challenges may include a lack of control over marketing decisions, resistance from the existing team, communication hurdles with the outsourced professional or agency, possible delays in deliverables due to varying time zones and work schedules, as well as potential culture fit issues that could impact collaborative efforts and overall output.


Outsourcing a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is smart money-wise. It can save your company a lot of cash. Hiring an outsourced CMO costs less than getting a full-time one. You may spend 30% to 50% less on an outsourced CMO.

This cost cut can help your company to have more funds for other things. So, hiring out instead of in can lead to big cost savings for your firm.

Quick Access to Expertise

Hiring an outsourced CMO can give your company fast results. You get a skilled pro right away. This expert knows marketing inside out. He or she can make plans and start tasks quickly.

An outsourced CMO is like having a top-notch consultant on call. They share smart ideas and new ways to market your products or services. Their know-how helps you avoid common mistakes in marketing.

Outsourcing lets companies of all sizes get the best help at lower costs than full-time hires. Choose this path if you want high level advice without big spendings or long waits.

Potential Lack of Control

Outsourcing a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) can sometimes lead to less control. The firm may have reduced authority over projects and plans. This limited influence might affect the quality, costs, schedules and other parts of a project.

Impaired management is another issue firms could come across when they outsource their CMO position. The company’s power over its marketing moves may lessen. In short, restricted supervision could be one downside you face if your company chooses to outsource a CMO.

Resistance from Team

Your team might not like an outsourced CMO. They may feel pushback or resentment. This happens if they think the CMO is a stranger who doesn’t know about your company culture. They might worry that this new person won’t value their input or respect their work.

Some people may object to change and could show disagreement towards the decision to outsource a CMO. Handling these concerns with care is important for smooth operations.

Communication Challenges

Outsourcing a CMO often means facing communication issues. When your CMO is not in the same office as you, clear talk can be hard. For example, schools may find it tough to make their message heard on the marketing scene.

The success of an Outsourced Marketing Director also hangs on how well they can talk with your team. Sometimes lawyers and money experts struggle with this choice too: should they keep a marketing pro close or hire from outside? How well everyone talks together plays a big part in that decision.

Delays in Deliverables

There might be times when you face delays in deliverables. This is one downside of outsourcing a CMO. The gap in time zones or the burden of several clients may slow down their work.

They don’t always finish tasks on time.

Outsourced teams can run into problems that lead to holdups. Communication gaps, for example, could create confusion and mistakes. As a result, they take more time to give you results.

It’s important for companies to think about these points before making a choice.

Possible Culture Fit Problems

Outsourcing a CMO can sometimes cause cultural fit problems. The outsourced chief may not grasp your company’s culture right away. This lack of understanding may lead to issues with aligning their work to your company values.

As such, there might be difficulties integrating these hired experts into the team smoothly due to this cultural mismatch. So, it’s important for companies to note that while outsourcing comes with its perks, potential culture clash is one downside they need to prepare for.

How to Choose the Right Outsourced CMO

Choosing the right outsourced CMO involves careful research on various agencies, scrutiny of their experience and track record, and assessment of their compatibility with your business.

This section will delve into these aspects further to help businesses make informed decisions. Continue reading for a comprehensive guide on choosing the ideal outsourced CMO for your organization.

Research and Compare Different Agencies or Providers

Start your search for the right outsourced CMO by checking out different agencies. Look at what each one offers and their costs. Are they big or small? What kind of businesses have they worked with before? These questions can help you pick the best one for your company.

You should also see what other people say about them. Read reviews online to find out if clients are happy with their work. By doing this, you will make sure that the agency you choose is good at their job and fits well with your business needs.

Assess their Experience and Track Record

Looking at their past work is key. It tells you if they can do a good job. You want to hire a CMO who has made businesses grow before. Check how many years they have worked in marketing.

Look for proof of their success.

A top-notch CMO will have a record of wins under his belt. He should be able to show that he has helped other companies rise up the ladder with sharp marketing expertise and strategy skills from previous roles or as an outsourced marketing professional.

Consider their Approach and Compatibility with Your Business

Check how the outsourced CMO works. Does it match with your company’s style? It’s important for them to get along well with you and your team. Their way of thinking should line up with your business goals.

If not, they may not be right for you. They should also have a high level of trustworthiness and attention to details. These traits are key in any good CMO. So, think about their work style before hiring an outsourced CMO.

Communication and Reporting Methods

Clear talk and good reports are vital in picking the right outsourced CMO. This person must know the new trends in talking and reporting. The top pick will foster regular chats with your team.

They will keep track of goals to see how well things are going. These methods can help measure success when you choose a CMO from outside your firm. So, ensuring sound talk and tracking is key to getting value from outsourced CMO services.

Freelance CMOs vs. Outsourced CMOs

This section will delve into the key differences between freelance and outsourced CMOs, discussing their respective work arrangements, responsibilities, benefits, and drawbacks to help businesses determine which option aligns best with their marketing needs.

Differences in Work Arrangement and Responsibilities

Freelance CMOs and outsourced CMOs have different work setups. A freelance CMO works on his own. He picks projects to work on when he wants. This gives him a lot of control over his time and tasks.

But an outsourced CMO is part of a team or firm. The firm sets their duties and they often follow a set plan.

Both types offer flexible marketing arrangements for companies. They can be hired per project, so you only pay for what you need. Their jobs include driving sales strategies forward and giving strategic marketing advice to the team.

But each type also comes with its unique abilities.

For example, an outsourced CMO can adapt well to any company or industry because they are used to working in many places at once.

On the other hand, freelance marketers bring their personal touch in solving your business’s problems as they take fewer projects at one time and can give more focus from start to finish.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Option

Freelance and outsourced CMOs bring different benefits and drawbacks. Freelancers are skilled, self-employed pros that fit well with jobs needing less training. They cost less too.

But there may be communication issues. Outsourced CMOs can handle harder tasks using their special skills and you can hire them for single projects only. Yet, they might not match your company’s feel or vibe perfectly, causing a culture shock.

Some in-house teams may also resist them because they’re outsiders. Moreover, you could face more challenges due to the lack of direct control over outsourced specialists compared to an in-house team member.

This section details some of the most popular and reliable services for outsourcing a CMO, including renowned agencies such as CMOx, Chief Outsiders, Marketri, Techcxo, and Hawke Media.

These organizations offer varied levels of expertise and specialties that can cater to different business needs in terms of marketing leadership and strategy.


CMOx is a top pick for outsourced CMO services. They offer virtual CMOs who work full or part-time. This gives your business more control and freedom over how you use their skills.

Plus, it keeps costs low compared to hiring a full-time staff member. Startups and small to mid-size firms find this useful when they can’t hire a full-time senior marketing person.

Using CMOx also helps boost productivity by freeing up your own resources. You get the best of both worlds expert help without taking away from what you do best.

Chief Outsiders

Chief Outsiders is a top pick for companies needing a CMO. They focus on mid-size firms ready to grow. You can get high-level skills and knowledge from them. Their marketing executives work part-time.

This means you pay less than for a full-time CMO.

They also provide fractional CMOs to guide your firm’s growth plan. Chief Outsiders has proof of their good work too. They have moved three of their own CMOs up to big roles in client firms, showing they know how to make fast company growth happen.


Marketri is a top choice for companies needing an Outsourced CMO. They offer Fractional CMO services too. This option lets businesses save money while still getting expert help. Marketri’s team gets to know your company well.

They work hard to make sure you succeed in reaching your marketing goals. Their special plan, the Momentum Marketing Model, works great for B2B companies. It gives them ways to keep growing and winning.


Techcxo is a big name in outsourced CMO services. They offer help from part-time CMOs. Their team also provides sales and marketing work that you can hire when needed. They put a lot of focus on making good plans for marketing.

Techcxo does not just give advice, they join your team and work with you to grow your business. If you need to build an app, they can do it too. Unlike regular advising firms, Techcxo works with growth partners to push your company forward.

Hawke Media

Hawke Media is a top pick for outsourced CMO services. Erik Huberman, the founder, offers a new way to do marketing. His goal is to help all businesses, big or small. Hawke Media has won awards in digital marketing and gives full-service help.

This means they give guidance, make plans and put these plans into action. They use a contract model rather than an agency model. With this setup, companies find great worth in efficiency and savings.

FAQs about Outsourced vs. Freelance Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

This section provides answers to common queries regarding outsourced CMOs, touching on the cost, services offered and various models like virtual and fractional CMOs.


Hiring an outsourced CMO costs less. This plan is smart for companies that want the best but have a tight budget. Some groups let you pay by the hour or on retainer. A part-time, or fractional CMO, can save more money.

They work up to 20 hours each week. Your company saves money and grows with an outsourced CMO’s help.

Services Offered

Outsourced CMOs offer many services. They give marketing tips and work on special projects. Their ideas do not cost much but help a lot. They know things about marketing that other people don’t.

They can make your workers do more in less time. Some of them only work part of the time, such as JRR Marketing’s Josiah Roche. This is called fractional service. Your company gets a plan made just for you with outsourced CMOs’ help.

Virtual CMOs

Virtual CMOs work from anywhere. They use the internet to do their job. This is great for companies that want a top-level marketing expert but don’t have a big budget. Virtual CMOs are also good when a company needs help fast.

And, they fit in well with teams who work from different places, not just one office.

Fractional CMOs

Fractional CMOs are part-time marketing leaders. They help small businesses and startups with their marketing needs. These experts share smart tips on how to make a business grow. They plan and put in the work for all things related to marketing.

Some people also call Fractional CMOs Outsourced CMOs. These two terms mean the same thing. Hiring a Fractional CMO lets businesses tap into top-level marketing skills at lower costs.

So, smaller companies can also get high-grade marketing help without spending too much money.

Deciding Between In-House or Outsourced Marketing

When it comes to marketing efforts, many businesses must decide between developing an in-house marketing department or outsourcing their marketing services to an external marketing agency. Both options have their own pros and cons.

Having an in-house marketing team allows for complete control over marketing campaigns and initiatives. There are no communications issues and you don’t need to provide extensive briefings to align an external team. However, developing in-house marketing capabilities requires significant investment in recruitment and office space, even if you only hire a few employees.

Conversely, outsourcing to a marketing agency provides fresh perspective and proven track record. Agencies have experienced marketers and access to specific skills like web developers and marketing strategists without the recruitment costs. Outsourced teams work for many clients, so they bring extensive experience across business growth, social media, and strategic planning.

However, outsourcing does mean less control over day to day marketing efforts. You need to provide the agency with clear direction and have an executive team member to oversee the relationship. Outsourcing also means sharing resources with other clients, although larger agencies can provide dedicated teams.

For smaller businesses with limited budgets, outsourcing is often the most cost-effective option. It provides vital marketing leadership and skills without the overheads of hiring multiple employees. As your business grows, you may consider developing in-house capabilities to gain more control. Many businesses use a hybrid model, with some skills like social media management or content marketing outsourced.

Ultimately, assessing your needs, budgets and marketing goals allows an informed decision on the best approach. There are pros and cons to both in house and outsourced models. The right choice provides the marketing capabilities your business needs to grow in the most efficient, cost-effective manner.

Frequently Asked Questions about Outsourced vs. Freelance Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

1. What is an Outsourced Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)?

An outsourced CMO is a professional who provides marketing strategies and services for a company from outside the organization.

2. What Does a Freelance CMO Do?

A freelance CMO works independently, offering their expertise in creating and implementing marketing plans on a contract basis.

3. Which is Better, Outsourcing or Hiring Freelancers?

The choice between outsourcing and hiring freelancers depends on your company’s needs, budget, and specific project requirements.

4. Is it Cheaper to hire a Freelancer or to Outsource?

Generally, hiring a freelancer can be more affordable because you pay only for the work done but costs can vary based on their experience level and the complexity of your project.

5. Can I Switch from an Outsourced to Freelance CMO?

Yes, you can switch from an outsourced to freelance CMO depending on your business needs and agreements with these professionals.

Conclusion and Summary of Outsourced vs. Freelance Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

It’s not easy to pick the right person for your company. It takes time and thought. You have to decide if a freelance or outsourced CMO is best. Think hard about these options before you choose.

Deciding between an outsourced or freelance CMO is an important choice for any business seeking to bolster their marketing efforts. As summarized in this article, both options provide valuable expertise and strategic direction. However, key factors like cost, flexibility, management and team integration must be weighed.

Ultimately, outsourced CMOs offer broad experience and new perspectives at a lower cost. But freelance CMOs allow for closer management and cultural alignment. Smaller companies can benefit from the cost-effectiveness of outsourced or fractional CMOs. As companies grow, developing some internal capabilities balances strategic control and efficiency.

There is no one size fits all solution. Businesses must assess their budget, existing team, growth stage and marketing goals. This allows them to make an informed decision on the best model to meet their needs. With careful evaluation, companies can leverage outside marketing leadership to maximize their strategy and success.

Marty Stewart