A representation of CMO-as-a-Service services

Let’s say you’ve got a great idea for a SaaS product. If you’re a technical founder, getting the product built is the easiest part. You might even have a small team of devs and designers. But do you know how to connect your app with potential users in a cost-effective way? If not, this is where a CMO-as-a-Service comes in. They can be effective, revenue-generating, and cheaper than a full-time marketing hire.

What’s a CMO-as-a-Service?

A CMO-as-a-Service is a high level marketing expert that can help you identify your customers, brand messaging, and the most effective conversion tactics for your product. They differ from a full-time CMO because you only use them as needed. This is someone intimately familiar with your product and market that you have on-call for consulting, management, team-building, and marketing work.

What Does a CMO-as-a-Service Cost?

A CMO-as-a-Service will usually be on retainer (fee-based) and doesn’t require a salary, tax payments, or benefits, saving you even more on top of salaried employees. The average CMO costs $171,000 a year in salary alone. Even the less-encompassing Product Marketing Manager will run you nearly $90,000 per year on average. That’s a ton of money that could go into the product or other marketing staff and efforts.

Pricing will vary, but quality CMOs will cost at least a few thousand dollars a month in retainer fees. Remember, this is still cheaper than a quality full-time product marketing manager as long as they cost less than $7,500 a month.

What Do They Do?

In short, your CMO-as-a-Service should do anything your product needs from a marketing standpoint. They can define your brand, create and implement your strategy and tactics, and build marketing teams and processes. You should consult with them often to discuss the product, road map, team members, and customers. They should report back to you often on tactics, successes and failures, and customer feedback.

What Do I Need Before I Look for One?

Most CMOs-as-a-Service in SaaS understand their position as an early-stage product marketer, which means you don’t need much aside from the funds to pay them. At a minimum, the product solution and your goals should be clear. That’s all a good marketer really needs to help you on your way.

How Do I Find and Pick One?

CMOs-as-a-Service are growing in popularity in the SaaS industry. If you know a good marketer already, ask them to come on board. Since you aren’t requiring full-time services, it provides flexibility for people to join in even if they have other commitments.

You can also ask around or do a quick Google search for companies that offer CMOs-as-a-Service. If you need to find one on the cheaper side, scroll deeper through the search results and avoid the ones that are paying for Google Ads. Qualify them by looking at their previous work experience and their own marketing efforts. If they do a good job with their own marketing, chances are they know what they’re doing.

All in all, a CMO-as-a-Service is ideal for the small, growing SaaS product without an established marketing team. By helping early with the high-level product messaging and brand, they can ensure that your marketing will grow with your product, not ahead of it or behind it. As your product and team grow, you’ll be able to make room for full-time CMOs, Product Marketing Managers, and marketing staff.


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