June 28, 2017
By Kathy Leonard, President of Freeman+Leonard
I first heard the term fractional when I went to Mexico on vacation about 25 years ago. A free breakfast and mimosa’s in exchange for a presentation on fractional condominium ownership seemed like a fair exchange and so I enjoyed the bacon and scrambled eggs while learning that even I could afford to own a vacation home in Puerto Vallarta.
Over the years fractional has applied to any number of luxury opportunities for those of us not quite in the upper 1%. Think NetJets® and Flexjet. Fractional ownership has become a way to access and own things you could not afford without sharing the cost with others. But, not limited to the upper crust, fractional has become a concept embraced by businesses for much the same reason — the ability to have executive-level talent without incurring the all-in cost of a permanent position. More importantly than cost, a fractional executive gives a company on-demand access to deep experience and strategic leadership.
The fractional CFO has been popular for quite some time followed by fractional CIOs. More recently the concept has taken hold in the marketing function with fractional, interim or recurrent CMO’s becoming more in-demand by small to mid-size companies.
Why does a company need a CMO? After all, didn’t Coca-Cola just fire theirs? The answer to the second question is, in fact, yes. Coke has shifted its marketing emphasis to growth and has replaced the CMO with a Chief Growth Officer, hired to turn the company into a “growth-oriented and consumer-centered” organization. Exactly what marketing was always intended to do. So, whether your emphasis is on marketing communications that drive leads to sales, supporting the sales team with brand awareness and selling materials, or growing the company by highly targeted digital strategies, profit and growth are still the two key measures of success and your sales team and your web site cannot do it alone. A key component of any business success is getting the selling story into the right hands. And that’s what your marketing function must accomplish.
Now, given the need for marketing and growth leadership, the question becomes Why a Fractional CMO? Essentially the fractional executive is called in because of a leadership void or to deliver highly specialized strategic planning and solutions. One of the main purposes of a fractional CMO is to interpret the company’s vision and goals and then help the company reach that by directing the internal staff, often more junior and capably executional versus strategic thought leaders.
The value of a fractional CMO is they can provide a deep understanding of the category, the brand, the competitive challenges, the growth opportunities, etc., without being in a full-time, permanent position. And, it is leadership that can be made affordable for those companies who need big-time leadership at a smaller-time or shall we say, fraction of the cost.
I didn’t buy into fractional ownership of a condo in Mexico some 25 years ago. In retrospect, it was probably a decent investment, as a number of friends who did buy in have enjoyed low-cost vacationing at high-end destinations over the years. I do buy into the idea of the fractional executive and particularly the fractional CMO for small to mid-size companies looking to add some sophistication to their own growth strategies. These former corporate CMO’s who provide fractional services are available through a few specialized companies. Freeman+Leonard is specifically in the business of providing flexible marketing solutions like fractional CMOs to small and mid-size companies across the U.S.
Kathy Leonard is president of Freeman+Leonard, a Dallas-based marketing services company providing talent and project solutions to both corporate clients and agencies. www.freemanleonard.com
April 25, 2017
Several years ago I made the decision to let our staff bring their dogs to work. At first it was mainly only one dog, Bailey, who came a few times a week. Everyone fell in love with Bailey and she is now an institution here. She is well behaved, doesn’t bark or growl, doesn’t jump on people – most of the time (she is older now) she sleeps in her bed in her owner’s cubicle but she is allowed to roam and visit at will. Then others started bringing their dogs – not every day but enough to make a positive impact on our environment.
Bringing dogs to the office has definite benefits: improved morale as pets bring out our softer sides, increased interaction among departments as staff now have something in common that might not have existed; increased retention if bringing a pet to work is of great importance.
There are rules however. Dogs must be well behaved meaning no barking or yapping, no jumping up on people, no “accidents” (we do have an outdoor green area for that purpose), no biting (immediate expulsion), no fighting with other dogs. They must have had their vaccinations and flea treatments. The dogs that visit our office just love being with their owners and around people so they are a joy. So far, we don’t have staff with dog allergies, and now we let candidates that we are considering for a position here know that we do bring dogs to the office. As other issues surface, we will make other rules but so far, the positives have far outweighed the negatives.
I am the only one who has brought a cat to the office and it was not a good experience for either one of us. Even though cats sleep a lot, many are more timid and less social and can be frightened of a lot of strangers trying to pet them which is what happened with my cat. I finally had to take him home and his mood immediately changed to happy and purring!
Many companies are now realizing the benefits of pets in the workplace, but know that there must be proper pooch etiquette and behavior!
Chief Pooch Lover,
Valerie Freeman |CEO
BravoTECH | freeman + leonard | Imprimis Group
February 14, 2017
I was recently asked by a candidate for some advice. She was interviewing for an account director position with a well-known New York City-based advertising agency. She wanted to know what level of compensation to expect for the position, but more important, what kind of questions she might expect. As I read over my response, it seemed to have merit for many candidates interviewing for all kinds of positions. So I thought I’d share it with you. Below is what I told her.
I’m not sure of the questions they will ask, but I can give you some perspective as to what they will be looking for. Basically great, energetic attitude, clearly knowledgeable in agency process and loyalty programs; has experience (you can describe) in how to engage customers, and is very proactive in bringing up ideas and opportunities to the client.
Think of your experience in terms of three or four best stories. These stories should be examples of your having done the things they are looking for. Then, regardless of the question, you can use one of your examples to tell a compelling “story” about what you did, how the client reacted, etc. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a case study where you go into “and the results were….” It does need to give the idea that you took the initiative, worked really well with your team, bonded with your client, etc.
Illustrate in your stories something that was innovative, something you or your team brought to the client they hadn’t thought of or asked for. In other words, how you brought “the next big thing” to the client. And remember, while it doesn’t have to be literal, it has to be illustrative. Your excitement and passion need to come through without being over the top.
Your prospective employer has provided a nice job description, but don’t expect everyone you interview with at the company to have read it. Have a few questions for each interviewer: for example, Define what you believe success looks like in the position. Describe the team and how you like to communicate given the different markets involved. What makes this client unique? How long have you had this client? Do you do client satisfaction surveys each year? How does this client view the agency? Is this a new position? If not, what happened to the last person in the role? Why do you like working for (agency)?
These are just some suggestions.
Good luck and let me know how it turns out!
When you make it to the interview stage, you can be pretty sure the company believes you have the skills and experience to do the job. How you are perceived by those interviewing you will make the difference in whether you get the offer or not. Find out as much as you can about what the client is looking for beyond skills and experience, then build your own stories that illustrate those assets.
December 2, 2016
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially in our area, where there is something special planned in nearly every corner of the Metroplex. If you’re looking to fill your calendar with memorable activities and events for you and your family, here are a few can’t-miss ideas: