Val Brown | Fractional CMOs & The 90-Day Win

This video is a podcast interview with Val Brown discussing the role and strategies of fractional Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) in achieving significant business wins within the first 90 days of engagement.

Fractional CMOs focus on addressing growth issues, conducting thorough audits, and ensuring clear communication and buy-in from the existing marketing team. They aim to identify opportunities for revenue diversification, build trust within the team, and provide strategic direction to drive growth and efficiency.

Key points
🔍 Growth Challenges: Troubleshooting growth issues, especially for companies without a senior marketer on staff.
📊 Audit and Analysis: Conducting thorough audits to identify underlying problems and growth potential.
🗣️ Effective Communication: Ensuring clear communication and transparency within the executive and marketing teams.
📈 Quick Wins: Focusing on immediate improvements to demonstrate value and build momentum.
💡 Revenue Diversification: Identifying opportunities for revenue diversification and brand extensions.
🤝 Team Collaboration: Building relationships with existing teams, understanding their skills, and integrating effectively.
🚀 Supporting Growth: Helping companies, particularly in entertainment and dining, to expand geographically and into new verticals.
👥 Leadership and Advocacy: Providing leadership and direction to marketing team members, advocating for their ideas and contributions.
🧠 Marketing Education: Educating clients on the importance of strategic marketing and the role it plays in achieving business goals.
📋 Long-term Planning: Balancing short-term goals with long-term strategic planning to ensure sustainable growth.

  1. Introduction: The podcast introduces the topic of fractional CMOs and their impact within the first 90 days.
  2. Val’s Background: Val Brown shares her experience with entertainment and dining brands, building brand platforms and revenue diversification strategies.
  3. First Problems to Fix: Val highlights common growth issues, such as lack of senior marketing staff and troubleshooting revenue problems, as initial problems to address.
  4. Audit and Growth Potential: Val discusses the importance of conducting audits to identify growth potential and opportunities for revenue diversification.
  5. CEO and Leadership Involvement: Val emphasizes the need for clarity and transparency from CEOs and the importance of clear communication within the team.
  6. Team Integration: Val advises building trust and relationships with the existing marketing team to avoid feelings of threat and ensure collaboration.
  7. Advice for New Fractional CMOs: Val provides guidance for new fractional CMOs, emphasizing inclusivity, collaboration, and understanding team dynamics.
  8. Avoiding CEO-related Issues: Val warns about potential issues with CEOs and advises finding ways to communicate honestly and effectively.
  9. Conducting Thorough Audits: Val highlights the importance of thorough audits and avoiding roles that require immediate personnel changes without proper evaluation.
  10. Marketing as a Collaborative Effort: Val discusses the challenges of working in environments where everyone feels entitled to give marketing advice and emphasizes the need for strategic planning.
  11. Advice for Junior and Mid-level Team Members: Val encourages junior and mid-level team members to see the arrival of a fractional CMO as an opportunity for learning and growth.
  12. Encouraging Openness: Val stresses the importance of showing vulnerability and being open to mentorship to foster development and improvement.
  13. Gender Dynamics in Marketing: Val touches on the gender dynamics in marketing and how it might influence the perception of the marketing department.
  14. Sprint vs. Marathon Engagements: Val discusses whether a fractional CMO engagement should be viewed as a sprint with defined targets or a marathon, and how the nature of the engagement depends on the company’s needs.
  15. Transition to Permanent Roles: Val talks about the possibility of transitioning from a fractional to a permanent role and the factors that might influence this decision.
  16. Benefits of Fractional CMOs: Val highlights the benefits of having a fractional CMO, including the ability to bring in high-level expertise quickly and adapt to different challenges.
  17. Cultural Influences on Marketing: Val reflects on the cultural influences on marketing practices and how different regions approach marketing strategies.
  18. Optimism in Marketing: Val emphasizes the importance of optimism in marketing, comparing it to sales in terms of the need for a positive outlook and the ability to push for better results.
  19. Testing and Research: Val discusses the importance of testing and research in marketing, and the challenges of working with companies that are averse to research.
  20. Contact Information: Val provides her contact information for CEOs of small and midsize companies interested in growth strategies or revenue diversification.


  1. 00:21: “I specialize in two areas: entertainment and dining brands globally, like Hard Rock Cafe, and I build brand platforms and revenue diversification strategies for companies.” – Val Brown
  2. 00:33: “I work for companies that want to extend their reach into people’s lives and imaginations, like the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Cavern Club in Liverpool.” – Val Brown
  3. 00:85: “Generally speaking, the first problem is usually growth. It can be because they’re having a problem, so I’ll go in and troubleshoot.” – Val Brown
  4. 01:10: “I tend to work more for existing companies than for startups, and it can be across different areas like geographic growth or expanding within the United States.” – Val Brown
  5. 01:18: “I came in and did an audit of course right away, but I also work for companies who have growth potential but don’t have the in-house skill to do that.” – Val Brown
  6. 01:48: “They may want to grow internationally as well, but they don’t have the skill, so I do creative proposals and strategic proposals, imagining what could happen.” – Val Brown
  7. 02:02: “It’s very common in the industries I work in, particularly dining, because certain brands have so many elements to their brands.” – Val Brown
  8. 03:03: “They waste it because they don’t implement the strategy, which is a big frustration for a lot of CMOs and consultants.” – Val Brown
  9. 03:10: “McKinsey published a study that 75% of their clients do not implement the strategies that they do, sometimes for six and seven figures.” – Val Brown
  10. 03:45: “The most important thing for me is to have clarity and to tell people what’s going on. I work for a lot of founder CEOs, and sometimes they don’t want to deal with a marketer they think might be underperforming.” – Val Brown
  11. 04:55: “You have to be clear about what the goal is, and I want the marketing staff’s buy-in because I’ll be interviewing them about their interactions with the department.” – Val Brown
  12. 05:05: “People think you know they feel threatened, and I do everything I can to discourage them from thinking like that.” – Val Brown
  13. 05:35: “Beware of the CEO in a way because sometimes the problem is the CEO. That’s a difficulty, especially in SMEs and founder-led companies.” – Val Brown
  14. 06:55: “Be inclusive to start, and they’re my most important resource for the research stage of the business. I meet with each and every one, including senior management.” – Val Brown
  15. 07:35: “Sometimes the marketing department hasn’t been given professional development, and there’s an opportunity to just train them up.” – Val Brown
  16. 08:55: “Everybody thinks they’re a marketer, and it takes you off the strategic plan that you have, which can make it hard.” – Val Brown
  17. 09:30: “Find out what the marketers have been up against. Sometimes they have four different bosses from different departments.” – Val Brown
  18. 11:50: “Meet with the CMO early on to collaborate on what you’re going to say or present to leadership to ensure alignment.” – Val Brown
  19. 12:55: “Acknowledge that this is a change for them and help shepherd them through it. This can make a big difference in how they perceive their work.” – Val Brown
  20. 13:55: “It’s my belief that if you’re a fractional CMO, the engagement should not run for too long because if it remains in perpetuity, at that point you’re not fractional, you’re completely integral.” – Val Brown