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Do you need another employee, or do you need a Unicorn?

By Jen Neumann on November, 21 2023
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Fresh Thinking by de Novo.

At de Novo, your goals become our goals. It's how we help our clients succeed. Want to pull back the curtain and see how we do it? Check out our various insights and musings on our blog.

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(AKA Fractional Marketing Team / AKA Retained Marketing Agreements)

Hiring. It’s exhausting, time-consuming, and not always effective. Think about the amount of resources, time, and money it takes to find the right candidate, train them, and integrate them to the team. And there’s always the possibility they don’t work out or leave after a short period of time. 


There is a solution. Partnering with an agency like de Novo decreases the expenditure of energy and mitigates the risk — especially if your candidate pool isn’t producing the ideal fit. 


Imagine gaining a team of experienced marketing professionals working on your projects. What if, instead of trying to find the magical employee (or two or three) who can write amazing content, shoot and edit videos, build out and execute a web strategy, manage your advertising, and meet all of your design needs, you could have that all for about the same cost as those one or two employees? Envision building consistency and maintaining continuity, regardless of whether you add or lose team members.  


This is where a fractional marketing team comes into play.


What is a Fractional Marketing Team? 


An internal team assembled by your marketing agency to partner with you to develop and execute strategy. It doesn’t replace a marketing director (although it can in some cases) or internal main contact, and it doesn’t even need to replace employees on your staff. Rather, it’s a team of experienced professionals who can work with you to meet your goals, reduce the amount of freelancers or interdepartmental employees, and give you a dedicated scope of work they are charged with completing. 


Instead of hiring another full-time employee, you can hire an agency to work on specific projects or campaigns. Rather than hiring one employee with a few skill sets, you can access an entire team with all the skill sets, allowing you to focus on the key objectives you need to achieve — with support and reliable expertise.

What are the Pros of Hiring a Fractional Marketing Team?


  1. Access to a team of experts: When you hire an agency as your fractional marketing team, you get a collection of experts with a wide range of skills and expertise. 


  1. Flexibility: A fractional marketing team offers flexibility that a full-time employee cannot. You can hire them on a retained basis for continuous support that builds on itself over time, or for a specific project or campaign. This allows you to save on long-term costs associated with hiring a full-time employee.


  1. Cost-effective: Hiring a fractional marketing team is often more cost-effective than hiring a full-time employee. You don't have to pay for benefits, taxes, or other expenses associated with hiring a full-time employee, but you get the commitment, consistency, and continuity of a rockstar employee. This also keeps the liability of an employee off your expenses. 


  1. Consistency and Continuity: We aren’t an employee who may suddenly take an extended period of time off, find another job, or underperform. Even if our staff fluctuates, it’s the value of our team-based account management (Collective Creative) that ensures we still deliver on our promises. 


What are the Cons of Hiring a Fractional Marketing Team? (And how we address them)


  1. Can be easily expendable in a budget. It’s easier to cut the expense of an agency, versus an employee. However, a good agency/fractional marketing agreement will produce results that the budgeting powers will find valuable. 


  1. Communication: We make communication as easy as possible when you engage with us, but it’s true we aren’t in the office next door. We pride ourselves on our responsiveness to our clients’ needs, and work to establish a rhythm that works for you. We also dedicate an account manager to you, giving you a main point of contact to keep everything moving smoothly. 


  1. Integration: Integrating a fractional marketing team with your existing team can be challenging. It's important to have a clear plan and communication strategy to ensure seamless integration. We love working with teams large and small, partnering as a collective unit and  striving toward the same goals. 




Q: How do I know if a fractional marketing team is right for me?

A: If you need marketing support on a specific project or campaign, a fractional marketing team can be a great option. It's also a good option if you're looking for flexibility and cost-effectiveness.


Q: How much does it cost to hire a fractional marketing team?

A: The cost of hiring a fractional marketing team varies depending on the expertise required  and the project's scope. Generally, fractional marketing teams charge a monthly retainer fee. At de Novo, we work with you to develop the scope and determine the responsibilities of all team members (ours and yours) to calculate the monthly cost. It is typically similar to the cost of one employee, but that cost varies on the amount of work and expertise required. 


A fractional marketing team, or a dedicated retainer agreement, can be a great option for companies or organizations that need marketing support but can’t or don't want to commit resources to a full-time employee, or don’t have the budget to build out a full team with all the skills needed. 


The flexibility, access to a team of experts, and cost-effectiveness of fractional marketing teams make them an attractive option for many businesses. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully and choose a team that fits your specific needs and goals. The result is an efficient and empowering path to reach your goals. And it's way cheaper than a real unicorn. 

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