Name: Carmen Guerrero Job Position: CMO, Marketing, Digital Product, eCommerce, Growth, Acquisition - ExLowi, ExFreepik, ExTiendanimal Country of residence: Spain
- Tell us about yourself and your professional path?
I started working in the digital world and marketing in the late 90s, just after finishing my degree in Business Management. I believed the internet was going to change everything: our lives, jobs, and how we interacted with each other, shopped, engaged, and worked.
Since then, my professional career has been marked by curiosity and a continuous desire to learn and experiment in an environment distinguished by the dizzying speed of the changes that have come with the internet. Over the past years, this curiosity has led me to take on professional challenges in remarkably different companies.
I firmly believe in the value of transversal professional experience, therefore, I have worked in various sectors: pets, telco, legal, fashion, and media & content. Also, I have been lucky enough to know diverse business models, from e-commerce to SaaS, including CaaS and Direct to Consumer models.
Perhaps because of all of the above, I am increasingly convinced that marketing should be approached from a holistic and strategic point of view that is not limited to the pursuit of the results of today’s efforts, but that also considers the outcomes of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Performance, brand, product marketing, demand generation,digital marketing, content, channels, automation, customer experience, online, offline, social, PR…. all add up and must pull in the same direction. That’s why I’ve tried to touch all areas of my professional career.
- Why did you decide to start your career as a fractional executive?
In my case, it was a bit of a coincidence. At a certain point in my career, I decided to take a sabbatical, and then I started to receive projects from former bosses, colleagues, collaborators, and some start-ups that were going through product-market fit, digital marketing, growth, acquisition, product development or scale-up challenges in which I already had experience.
These collaborations allowed me to work at my own pace, select the projects I found most interesting, meet talented people, immerse myself in new business models, and, above all, keep learning.
So, I gradually began to collaborate partially with various projects and to research the figure and role of the C-level fractional.
- What are the main challenges and benefits of being a fractional executive?
In addition to the flexibility and dynamism of this collaboration, the main benefits about the fractional lifestyle are related to the possibility of sharing the experience that I have accumulated over the years with talented founders and the most interesting startups, some of them facing growth and acquisition challenges.
In this order, it is extremely rewarding from a professional point of view because it allows you to continue learning from new experiences, and at a fast speed. Also, the fractional lifestyle has allowed me to learn about new business models and develop more innovative strategies and tactics, some of them inspired by other sectors or business models.
On the other hand, I believe that working as a C-level fractional executive allows us to seek a purpose in the projects we join. And that is also something that gives additional meaning to your work.
The main challenge I see has to do with the lack of knowledge about this type of collaboration. It is sometimes difficult to explain that it is not a freelance consultant role and that it seeks a strong and continuous commitment over time, so it requires dedication to be able to add real value to the company.
I also think that sometimes companies don’t understand if it is the right time to incorporate such a profile and how to properly manage the relationship with them. So, this situation often leads to the scenario where a few months later, the company offers you a job as a full-time CMO. In other cases, the necessary dynamics are not created for fractional profiles to be part of day-to-day business.
As for fractional profiles, I think we still have a lot to learn. The management of the agenda is sometimes complicated. Another significant thing about the main changes in this working life, is that when you end a collaboration as a C-level fractional executive, the market is not liquid enough to engage with the next one in the short term. So, this makes it necessary to know how to manage uncertainty and use that time for other parallel activities like giving classes, signing up for an interesting course, dedicating enough time to networking, getting visibility in interesting forums, etc.
- What made you bet on the fractional lifestyle?
Of all the things mentioned above, what I value the most about the fractional lifestyle, are the constant learning possibilities that this way of working offers me. Also, I appreciate the flexibility and feeling more in control of my time.
- What excites you the most about working as a fractional executive?
Constantly meeting new talented people and interesting projects.
- How do you see the fractional scene in Spain?
I think we still have a long way to go. In part, it is the responsibility of professionals like me, and communities like BlueQuo, to educate the market about the benefits of these profiles, about the fractional lifestyle and all the changes in working life that are taking place. This entire movement is still in its infancy, so it’s hard to get rid of the freelance label.
I also believe that over time, companies will learn to manage the relationship with fractional executives better. To improve this working experience it will be necessary to establish a dynamic where meetings are not necessary, eliminate bureaucratic tasks, and create a framework of reporting and bidirectional communication. Creating a communicational structure is especially necessary because this process is left aside when working with fractional profiles, despite that this is as necessary for C-level fractional executives as with a full-time profile.
Right now, “fractional” is a very unfamiliar term. For some roles, such as finance, it is more intuitive to understand what a managerial profile brings to a growing startup. With marketing, it’s a bit more difficult.
- Can you give 2 tips to who wants to succeed in fractional work?
- Resilience: I think it is key both for those times when you are a bit overworked (and for days when you don’t have that flexibility) and for those other times of transition between projects.
- Empathy: it helps to assess the situation that a company is in and evaluate if you can add value. On the other hand, empathy allows you to understand that you have to be flexible, and that sometimes, this means you will have to work late hours and make last-minute changes in your schedule.
- How do you believe you deliver value as a fractional executive to your projects?
I often say that fractional C-level profiles that have been through several projects are usually worth more for what they know not to do, than for having a clear idea of what to do at any given moment.
They say that experience is the mother of science, and I think that professionals with long careers can make a fantastic team with passionate and energetic founders. I believe that together they can take the company to the next level.
Transversality, hybridization, and innovation. Being or having been involved in projects of different natures brings an out-of-the-box approach and background when facing frequent business challenges, such as knowing how to manage a growth phase in a team, introducing a strategic vision and not merely tactical to the business, etc.
- Why did you join BlueQuo?
BlueQuo speaks my language and we share a common vision about the benefits and challenges of fractional work. I think it’s something that we all need to push together and I can’t think of a better platform to do it than a fractional executive community like the one BlueQuo is generating.