Featured Fractional CMO of the Week: Michelle Hsu
Michelle Hsu is working with startups and small to mid-sized businesses as a Fractional CMO. Michelle is helping her clients with crafting content, demand generation, and customer-centric marketing strategies. She is currently residing in Canada and helping startups from all around the world.
What is the definition of being a fractional executive for you?
It’s seeing the bigger picture of the organization from various departments’ perspectives and helping the company identify, strategize, prioritize, and execute initiatives that will move them towards their ideal state.
What roles within companies do you fill?
Head of Marketing – I help companies expand into new channels and optimize existing channels. My main objective is to understand the business goals and craft a holistic, integrated marketing strategy that supports it.
Head of Content – I help companies create a content strategy and establish a solid content marketing engine that’s suitable for their business model.
Head of Demand Generation – In this case, the company will already have some product-market fit (PMF) and they want to create more demand for the product or service they are selling. I help companies generate demand through organic and paid channels.
These three roles end up being combined into one Fractional CMO role that I fill for startups.
How do you help startups/companies as a fractional executive?
My focus is helping B2B SaaS companies establish solid marketing foundations within 3 months, whether that’s content marketing, demand generation, or integrated marketing.
The foundation work usually consists of an annual marketing strategy, marketing calendar, production and distribution frameworks, marketing channel tactics, metrics and reporting, sales enablement, competitive analysis, and tech stack refinement.
Tell us about an experience at a company you worked with that has defined your career.
Having the opportunity to take on a variety of marketing roles from content marketing to marketing operations opened up my eyes to see marketing from a holistic lens. It also enabled me to work more seamlessly with various business functions as I could clearly explain why certain strategies and tactics were implemented.
Are there any specific success stories you can share?
The one that I’m most proud of was getting industry publications to mention a trends blog post (first content initiative of its kind in the industry) that I wrote and curated. It garnered a large amount of website traffic and was a top engaging content piece that also brought in the highest number of leads. The year after, we did a global trends post that had similar results and we started seeing industry publications following suit. Could say I literally helped the company become the trendsetter in the industry for content. 🙂
Tell us about a time when you brought forth an interesting solution to a persistent problem at a company you worked with.
I was project managing global marketing campaigns and it was taking a while to source an official PM tool for the marketing department. So, I ended up creating my own project management system within Google Sheets for the team to use and coupled it with Trello. It helped the team to get organized, align with the tasks/deadlines ahead, and push campaigns out the door efficiently.
How did your prior experiences set you up to be a great fractional executive?
I’ve worked in both the private and public sectors of B2B SaaS for several years now. Essentially I’ve been in both the strategic and execution roles for content marketing, demand generation, ABM, advertising, events, and marketing operations. I’m able to see the bigger picture and do the tactical execution while working seamlessly with other business functions to deliver results for companies.
How do you typically structure your engagements with companies?
B2B SaaS companies often need to move at a quick pace, so to match that, the foundational work engagement is only 3 months. Within that time period, they’ll have the right systems, frameworks, processes, templates, and tools in place to run a well-oiled marketing engine that can withstand the influx of new hires and employee churn.
Why should startups choose fractional executives instead of hiring full-time?
It boils down to saving money, time, and resources on hiring seasoned industry experts who can quickly pinpoint your business problems and execute on solutions that are going to make a bottom-line impact. Even if they don’t know your particular business but they know your industry inside out, then you already have an advantage against your competitors who might still be looking to hire that perfect full-time executive. In the B2B SaaS world, speed is crucial, and getting the right fractional executive who can both strategize and execute is key.
What do you like most about being a fractional executive?
I only work with two companies every 3 months which gives me the opportunity to get to know their business deeply and solve key problems along with building their marketing foundations. The satisfaction comes from knowing that there’s another company out there that’s finally doing marketing effectively and efficiently.