At ClearVoice, when we say we understand a marketing pro’s content production (and even general marketing) pain points, we mean it. In 2022, our internal marketing team was affected by a mid-year reduction in force, a surprise Q4 budget cut, and other team churn that left us struggling to keep up, let alone grow our lead generation efforts.

We were limited by our ability to bring out new full-time employees, so we were forced to innovate with a more flexible solution, and the results were nothing short of transformative. Our approach not only revitalized our marketing efforts (while saving nearly 38 percent of marketing operating expenses) but also paved the way for ClearVoice Flex, our new offering designed to offer the same agile solutions to you and your team.

Below, we break down how we did it — including our decision-making process— to help you rebuild your marketing apparatus so that it is as effective as possible.

Want to skip the backstory? Click here to jump straight to our Flex solution.

ClearVoice's marketing team chose fractional talent over full-time

Building Our Marketing Team: Requirements vs. Resources

You know how it goes — the classic “requirements vs. resources” conundrum. In mid-2023, Catalant Consulting Services reported that the hiring challenges of previous years merged with resource constraints, and boy, did we feel that on our end, too!

Along with the 2022 force reduction, team churn, and budget cut, 2023 presented additional challenges. One of our key players was on maternity leave, we lost even more of our marketing operating expenses, and we had to make the tough call to part ways with another person in our crew. Suddenly, we were left very short-staffed with a ton of work to do. Sound familiar?

We needed skilled marketing and content resources yesterday. Finding and onboarding new people could take ages — and that’s if we nailed the hiring process on the first try. Budget constraints were the cherry on top.

half of B2B marketing teams outsource at least one content marketing activity.

The good news is we’re ClearVoice — an outsourced content production solution for mid-market and enterprise teams. We know how to build freelance content production teams. We’re a subsidiary of Fiverr, so we know the future of work looks different from the past. Reflecting broader industry trends, half of B2B marketing teams outsource at least one content marketing activity. After weighing our options, with the support of our General Manager, we decided to jump into fractional feet first.

Choosing fractional talent over full-time

Most businesses look at fractional resourcing from the perspective of the C-Suite. They engage a fractional COO or fractional CMO to lead their more junior (and more cost-affordable) team. We have a different view — full-time departmental leadership that remains entrenched in the brand and strategy while building a team of fractional contributors.

The increasing demand for skilled labor and flexible roles is changing how we all work:

Benefits of Fractional Talent

Benefits of fractional talent

Here’s the scoop on why we’re all in on fractional talent:

  • Time Savings: Waiting for what feels like and sometimes is forever to fill positions just doesn’t cut it. With fractional talent, we skip the slow dance of traditional hiring. We get access to pros ready to jump in and get going right away. 
  • Cost-Efficiency: Hiring fractional talent has slashed our hiring and operational costs by 40 percent. These folks are independent contractors and freelancers, so we skip the hassle of taxes and benefits. We pay only for the hours we need, which means no scrambling to find extra work to fill a full workweek. This approach saves money and directly addresses the 39 percent of B2B marketers who struggle with accessing subject matter experts due to budget constraints.
  • Flexibility: One of our fractional hires brought dual expertise in high-level content strategy and WordPress, filling two critical gaps simultaneously. This flexibility lets us adapt on the fly without stretching our budget thin or dropping the ball on productivity. 

Fractional Talent for ClearVoice Marketing Team

The ClearVoice Choice: Fractional Talent for Our Marketing Team

Deciding if a fractional talent strategy is right for your company requires a thorough look at your current team and the tasks at hand. Here’s what we considered when making the choice:

What skills do we have vs. what we need? 

In our ClearVoice team, we had a Director of Marketing (hey, that’s me!), a Social Media Manager, and two Marketing Designers. We were missing content marketing management, multimedia/video production, brand copywriting, campaign management, search engine optimization, sales enablement, and marketing web development (… to name a few). While some of the above functions were split across the existing team, it meant:

  • we had people doing tasks that were outside of their zone of expertise;
  • we were spending resources having senior people do junior-level tasks;
  • we weren’t doing anything as well as we could have.

Once we recognized the areas of focus, we started training and developing our team where we could and then finding people to fill in the gaps while being mindful not to repeat the same mistakes (e.g., hiring a senior content strategist who spends a lot of time doing coordinator work).

Do we have a growth path for an in-house role?

Typically, when you hire someone full-time, there’s a career trajectory in place — think a salesperson rising to sales manager. But what if there’s no clear upward path for roles like copywriters or content strategists? We faced a similar issue here in our ClearVoice marketing team. We’re small, so upward growth is, admittedly, limited. So, for us, going fractional was a strategic choice so we could engage the right talent at the right level.

What are our leaders marketing and organizationally caught up in day-to-day?

In most organizations, mid-level executives often serve both as individual contributors and managers. At ClearVoice, our directors and VPs are deeply involved in daily tasks. However, in our case, the marketing lead (again, me) spent too much time in the weeds of content review and publishing, brand copywriting, sales enablement, and email marketing — even when taking advantage of ClearVoice’s content production solutions — than focusing on bigger-picture planning and strategy.

75 percent of B2B organizations outsource three-quarters of their content marketing activities to focus more on strategic initiatives rather than day-to-day operations.

This situation highlights a common scenario in large organizations where, interestingly, 75 percent of B2B organizations outsource three-quarters of their content marketing activities to focus more on strategic initiatives rather than day-to-day operations.

How do we grow amid our (very real) budget constraints?

With our limited budget — seriously, we were maxed out in the paid campaigns we could do — our main focus was doubling down on our earned and outbound channels. But as most marketers know, those programs take people to execute. We needed expertise in content strategy, SEO, and multimedia production, and we needed people who could execute day-to-day content refreshing, publishing, distribution, etc.

Instead of hiring one person to cover all of these areas, we engaged four different people on a fractional basis — content strategy and production, brand copywriting, multimedia production, and web development —  to focus on their areas of expertise. And there were some real pros to this approach:

  • We could pay each of them their asking rate as we were aligning the exact work to their current skill level and time available
  • We didn’t overspend by having a senior resource do coordinator-level work
  • Our team felt ‘full’ but not bloated. We benefited from having more minds working together toward the goal without wasted spending
  • We were more effective at executing because each fractional resource was singularly focused on their programs and not distracted by other in-house noise
  • We knew we had the flexibility to shift resources quickly should one of the fractional workers not meet our quality standards (don’t worry, they’re all crushing it, and they even helped with this article!)

This is how we saw a 30 percent increase year-over-year in Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) — our marketing North star metric — while saving nearly 40 percent in our marketing operating expenses.

Other achievements include:

  • A revamp of our on-page SEO approach throughout the site, complete with new landing page copy, imagery, and tagging
  • Bringing our paid cost per SQL down by over 50 percent throughout the year
  • Increasing our funnel conversation rates across the funnel with better content and conversion pathways
  • An overhaul of our extensive resource center and blog, including auditing and refreshing over 1,500 blogs
  • Redesigning the onboarding process (in partnership with our awesome post-sale team) to create a better brand experience for our customers
  • Producing dozens of sales enablement and general marketing videos to help increase inbound leads and buyer conversions
  • Launching new brand advocacy campaigns for our employees, freelancers, partners and more

And, my favorite is that we helped innovate a new program for ClearVoice — ClearVoice Flex.

ClearVoice Flex provides access to seasoned marketing and content professionals who aren't just temporary fixes but strategic additions to your team. 

Rolling It Out: ClearVoice Flex

ClearVoice Flex is our answer to the common dilemma of marketing resource constraints. Via Flex, we provide access to seasoned marketing and content professionals who aren’t just temporary fixes but strategic additions to your team. 

These experts bring a wealth of experience and are capable of supervising teams, crafting compelling copy, and overseeing the writing and editing process.

ClearVoice Flex vs. ClearVoice Subscription & On Demand

The difference boils down to how you connect with and manage talent. Our classic ClearVoice Subscription solution is great for straightforward, project-based needs — think a set amount of articles each month. It’s all about quick and easy access to freelance talent for ongoing content production managed by a trusted partner. ClearVoice On-Demand is an extension of that solution but for companies with less predictability in their content needs.

Flex, on the other hand, is like your content marketing Swiss Army knife. It’s perfect for businesses that require continuous content creation and production with consistent quality but also need to enhance their marketing apparatus with people to help fill functions. Flex lets you embed seasoned pros into your team but aligned with your actual time requirements (and not 40+ hours per week). These aren’t just freelancers; they’re like part-time team members who are constant and consistent, fully aligned with your brand and goals, and keep pace with your ongoing business needs.

ClearVoice Content Plans

ClearVoice Flex in Action

Let’s talk about one of our Flex customers — a company behind a popular daily stock news reporting app. Staying relevant means updating with fresh, accurate content every single day. That’s a daunting task for any team, but with ClearVoice Flex, it’s business as usual.

Our solution for them includes a team of freelancer creators who pitch and produce high-quality articles daily but are also managed by a top-tier, fractional content manager, strategist, and editor. This fractional content pro not only guides the writing team but also contributes articles, ensuring all content is up to the mark and publishes the content on the application as it is complete.

These specialists are part of the ClearVoice Talent Network and are available to work on Flex projects. They dedicate time each week to the customer instead of responding to one-off projects. They’re compensated in a retainer model rather than per assignment, which aligns perfectly with the client’s needs for steady, reliable content output.

With ClearVoice Flex, we didn’t just fill the gaps — we boosted our operational agility and tapped into a goldmine of stellar expertise that was ready to roll at a moment's notice.

ClearVoice Flex: Your Strategic Advantage

At ClearVoice, we’ve been in your shoes — needing to amp up our marketing game amidst a real crunch for top talent and that never-ending push to keep innovating.  It’s a common challenge, one that many companies face, and it definitely demands a smart, flexible strategy.

Transitioning to a fractional talent model wasn’t just about quick hires for us; it revolutionized how we manage our workforce. With ClearVoice Flex, we didn’t just fill the gaps — we boosted our operational agility and tapped into a goldmine of stellar expertise that was ready to roll at a moment’s notice.

Facing similar hurdles with scaling, budgeting, or needing to be more nimble? A fractional approach with Flex might just be the game changer you need. We’re here to demonstrate how fractional isn’t just an option — it’s a strategic powerhouse.

Ready to tailor your fractional talent strategy that nails your content marketing goals and objectives? Connect with a ClearVoice content specialist to start the conversation.