Does your vision correction practice need a Fractional CMO?

Your vision correction practice might be ready to scale, but you need the right person to take ownership of your marketing and create that growth.

You might not want to hire yet someone you’ll have to manage, so you may be looking for someone who be accountable for marketing strategy and execution.

You could hire a full-time Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), but their salary would be a significant investment for your practice (see sample figures below).

A fractional CMO might be a perfect solution for practices like yours. A fractional CMO is an experienced marketer who provides guidance and strategy for a fraction of the cost of a full-time CMO.

They’ll help you create a marketing plan, measure your progress against it, and help your business grow by implementing marketing tactics – all without breaking the bank.

What is a fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is an experienced marketer who provides guidance and strategy for a fraction of the cost of a full-time CMO. They do everything a genuine “Head of Marketing” might do, but part-time.

What are the benefits of a fractional CMO?

There are several benefits of working with a fractional CMO in your vision correction practice:

  • You’ll get the expertise of a CMO without the high cost.
  • You can bring in a fractional CMO for a specific project or provide ongoing guidance, giving you flexibility.
  • Fractional CMOS are experienced marketers.
  • Fractional CMOS aren’t distracted by office politics and can still bring in outside perspectives.
  • Fractional CMOS doesn’t require you to spend the additional costs involved in employing a full-time person.

How much does a fractional CMO cost?

Some Fractional CMOS charge by the project or hour, making them more affordable than a full-time CMO.

Alternatively, you could hire a Fractional CMO on a retainer (i.e. a monthly fee for guaranteed access to their skill and expertise for your practice).

For example, you could pay a Fractional CMO £3200/month (i.e. £200/hour). They might reserve two days a month for your business (which is likely all the strategic help you’ll need) for £38,400 annually.

By comparison, a full-time CMO earns an average of £109,463 base salary per annum (Glassdoor).

A marketing director (who would be less experienced than a CMO) earns a base salary of £52,046, according to Glassdoor).

So, you could be getting the expertise of a Fractional CMO for less than you pay a marketing director.

What is the difference between a CMO and a marketing director?

In a nutshell, A CMO takes accountability for increasing your practice’s profits by tapping the marketing and sales function to its maximum potential.

They will typically have the ability to approve the budget and content for significant marketing projects (e.g. websites, video projects, lead magnet funnels, paid traffic budgets, SEO, and traditional broadcast media buys).

Conversely, a marketing director tends to specialise in a specific area of marketing (i.e. paid traffic, SEO, or social media).

Most marketing directors do not have the power to approve the types of projects a CMO. Why? Because, regardless of their title, they are not the “Head of Marketing”.

In most scenarios, that power is in the sole hands of the managing director or the CEO.

A Head of Marketing without budgetary approval is a head of marketing in name only.

A CMO should have quantitative analysis expertise to assess your practice’s needs and prepare a documented strategy to market it.

They need excellent communication and motivational skills and understand how to exploit every customer journey stage. They act as a leader of the marketing and sales teams.

A fractional CMO’s experience in vision correction marketing should be sufficient for you to let go of your marketing to them.

Yes, that’s hard to do, primarily if you’ve held the helm on that function since starting your practice.

Your CMO will cooperate on strategy with you and other leadership team members. They will diagnose, ideate, plan, execute, measure, and report on significant marketing initiatives every 90 days. They will also propose annual marketing budgets aimed at hitting sales objectives.

A marketing director is skilled in marketing team management, communications and branding. They might generate ideas and execute projects, but they are typically not devising or leading the marketing strategy for the practice.

Marketing directors manage marketing team members and execute the significant marketing initiatives proposed by the CMO. Typically a C-level executive will give the Marketing director a budget to use, but the final approval power remains with the C-level executive.

The marketing director might organise budgets, supervise teams to ensure they meet deadlines and standards and work with advertising vendors.

In addition, marketing directors develop relationships with media and execute the strategy with campaigns to generate awareness, engagement and lead generation for the practice.

The marketing director should channel their focus into a specific function (e.g. lead generation) or market segments (e.g. specific customers defined by demographics).

Typically, a marketing director will still need approval for major initiatives and budget spending from you or a CMO.

The key difference between a marketing director and a CMO is accountability.

What is the difference between a CMO and a marketing agency?

There are a few key differences between a CMO and a marketing agency.

First, you might bring in a marketing agency to provide specific expertise or services on a project basis, whereas a CMO is more likely to be a company’s full-time employee. A fractional CMO, on the other hand, might direct the projects of a marketing agency – but needn’t be on your full-time payroll.

Second, marketing agencies usually work with multiple clients from different industries, giving them a more objective perspective. Whereas a CMO would be ideally be more focused on the company’s specific niche for which they work (e.g. refractive surgery).

Finally, marketing agencies typically have more resources and staff than a CMO to provide a broader level of support. They usually offer a range of services, such as SEO, paid traffic, lead generation and lead nurturing.

Ultimately, your CMO or Fractional CMO will direct your marketing agency so that the practice can best convert the leads the agency generates to create profit for the practice.

Similar to a marketing director, a marketing agency will be given a budget by a C-level executive. The marketing agency may make recommendations and action plans, but the final approval power typically remains with the C-level executive.

Finding the right person for the job of CMO can be a challenge, but with a fractional CMO, you can get all the benefits of a full-time CMO without breaking the bank.

In addition, a fractional CMO will help you devise and lead your marketing strategy while also overseeing marketing projects implemented by team members or marketing agencies.

How can you find a good fractional CMO for your vision correction practice?

The best way to find a good fractional CMO is to ask for recommendations. Talk to other owners of vision correction practices and see if they have any suggestions.

You can also look online for reviews of fractional CMOS. Once you have a few names, reach out to them and set up an initial consultation to see if they’re a good fit for your organisation and your needs.

The best fractional CMO for vision correction practices will

  • Be able to explain how they work with vision correction practices with a proven strategic framework that is ready to go from Day 1 of the engagement
  • Have demonstrable experience (i.e. case studies and references) in creating sustainable growth in your industry
  • Be able to speak the language of your industry and answer specific questions you may have about marketing within it
  • Quickly understand your vision correction practice and devise a marketing strategy specifically for you and your competitive scenario
  • Implement the marketing strategy and measure its success

Wrapping up

A fractional CMO is an answer if you’re ready to take your vision correction practice to the next level. But having a role like this in your practice isn’t for everyone.

If you genuinely want to scale and are prepared to hand over the marketing reigns to a seasoned marketing leader, then it might be for you.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your vision correction practice with a Fractional CMO.

(NOTE: Want to see how your practice marketing measures up against the best in class? Take this 5-minute quiz to see how you stack up in the 9 areas of practice marketing and get specific tips and advice on how you can improve your weak points and better leverage your strengths).

About the author

Rod Solar
Founder & Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor for its customers. Rod mentors and coaches eye surgery business CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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Meet our Founders

We’re passionate about helping leaders of high-quality, growth-minded practice owners double their practice revenue

Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK